A new isekai anime series known as The Rising of the Shield Hero (or Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari) is set to be released January 9, 2019, on certain platforms depending on where you live. The first anime episode was a one-hour special, which I was able to watch a week before its official release. The Rising of the Shield Hero was a light novel fantasy series along with having a manga adaptation. Genres within the story involve action, adventure, comedy, drama, romance, and seinen.
The premise of The Rising of the Shield Hero anime episode 1 seemed simple at first but the story gets much more complex than conceived. The characters played out their roles that will eventually impact the story and the main character. I noticed that the story did exhibit moments of comedy, hope, and dark behavior. The cinematography displayed great character designs, lighting, camera shots and angles, purposeful transitions, great soundtrack, and flawless voice work. My thoughts about the episode will be detailed in the paragraphs that follow.
The episode starts out with an otaku living a comfortable life without the need to work for a wage. He gets summoned to another dimension to be one of the four heroes that will save this fantasy world from a looming threat. The four heroes must level up to be strong enough to fight the threat similar to an RPG. One thing after another happens and the main character becomes a completely different person.
The main character Naofumi Iwatani loses his simple life by being summoned to another dimension and being reborn as the shield hero. As it turns out, no one cares less about him in this world because he is nothing more than a shield user who cannot use other weapons. By the end of the episode, he drastically transforms into a completely different person.
The other three heroes are stoic know-it-alls who are respected more by the people of this fantasy world. Motoyasu Kitamura is the Spear Hero, Ren Amaki is the Sword Hero, and Itsuki Kawasumi is the Bow Hero.
The king of Melromarc is the one who insisted on summoning the four heroes to save the world from an evil threat. All the other characters are either companions to the four heroes or salesman selling something to the four heroes.
Tone & Themes
A large portion of this episode was very entertaining watch because of the comedic moments and a little action that was shown. But there are parts of this episode that is dark and miserable for certain characters. As I was watching the episode, I can tell that the plot as well as some characters were not as they seemed.
One underlying theme I noticed in this episode was about having good companions you can trust when working on something important.
Animation & Sound
The animation in this episode was not bad at all, but I’ve still seen better in other anime series. I do commend the animators with how they use certain art styles to make the animation stand out; their camera shots, camera angles, and panning of the camera tells you everything of what a character is thinking, and the transitions are perfectly timed.
A good example of great direction in animation is where the main character and some girls are on a rocky shore, and then the sun light got brighter and brighter, which then transitions to the main character seemingly waking up from a dream.
The soundtrack of music I hear is for the most part subtle, but is somehow fit the tone and themes of the series. Sometimes certain scenes would be silent during moments of important dialogue. Also, the voice actors kept cool and didn’t exaggerate their performances.
The Rising of the Shield Hero Episode 1 – Final Thoughts
This hour-long first episode was very impressionable and I am looking forward to seeing more of what this story has in store. The main character of this isekai anime reminds me somewhat of the character Suburu from Re:Zero, someone considered a loser at the beginning of the series, and incidentally the main character in The Rising of the Shield Hero is considered a joke to the people of this world. Though, the difference with the Shield Hero is that he has the potential of becoming a powerful protector down the line, and defense can be just as strong and useful as offense.
The plot of this episode has got me hyped to seeing more from this series, this story displays complex characterization that will get even more complex as the series progresses, the tone of this first episode is for the most part on the light side, but gets intense when it’s time to be gritty. Lastly, the cinematography stands out mostly from its art style, camera direction, subtle soundtracks, and the relaxed performances of the voice actors.
Based on my analysis, I give this episode a score of 9 out of 10.
Please give me your thoughts about this review or the episode down in the comment section below.