A new season of anime is finally here! The Spring season surprised us with a couple of unexpected titles, but it’s time to prepare for one of the most anticipated titles this April – The Rising of the Shield Hero. The second season of The Rising of the Shield Hero is coming to Crunchyroll in just a couple of days, so let’s refresh our memory of the first 25 episodes and find out if we’re ready for a new adventure with Naofumi and his friends.
Kids, Watch Out for the Library
There was nothing special about student and a run-of-the-mill otaku Naofumi Iwatani before he got isekai’d into another world. Even his isekai moment was pretty unremarkable – he found a book (at a public library of all places) that summoned him to another world. Still in his hoodie and sweatpants, he finds himself standing in front of the King of the unfamiliar kingdom of Melromarc and is forced to join the Four Cardinal Heroes fighting the Waves of Catastrophe as the fabled Shield Hero. Poor Naofumi – all he wanted was to curl up with a good book and a cup of instant ramen with but it seems that Fate had its own plans in store for him.
The Four Cardinal Heroes
If Naofumi is the Shield Hero, then who are the other Cardinal Heroes? Like Naofumi, all three were summoned from another world and assigned one of the four Legendary Weapons within the world of Melromarc. There’s Motoyasu Kitamura, the egotistical, flirtatious, and gullible Spear Hero. Then there’s Itsuki Kawasami, the arrogant, narcissistic, and greedy Bow Hero. Finally, there’s Ren Amaki, the anti-social, cynical, and resourceful Sword Hero.
In comparison to fellow heroes, Naofumi is even plainer in this new world than he was in his old world – especially when he is assigned the least flashy weapon of them all, the Shield. After being summoned and assigned their Legendary Weapon, each one of them must master their weapon during their adventures and battles fighting against the Waves.
The Waves of Catastrophe and Raphtalia’s World
So what has our titular Shield Hero been summoned to do in the first place? To explain that, we first have to understand Raphtalia’s World, the new world that Naofumi has been transported to. In Raphtalia’s World, a Wave is a mysterious, recurring phenomenon in which two separate worlds collide, resulting in raids of evil spirits that flood the both worlds from an interdimensional crack in the sky that looks like it was pulled straight out of Vincent Van Gogh’s imagination. Whichever world successfully repels the wave wins and gains power while the losing world becomes a vast and barren wasteland, its sun destroyed in the process. In ancient times, Waves were rare and infrequent occurrences, but the manipulation of the all-powerful entity known as the World Eater has resulted in these events happening with greater and greater frequency and have become known as the Waves of Catastrophe.
Raphtalia’s World as it stands when Naofumi enters the picture is the fusion of four ancient worlds – the world of the Legendary Bow, Sword, Spear, and Shield – which merged together the course of three previous Waves of Calamity. This is where Naofumi and the rest of the Cardinal Heroes come in – they have been summoned to repel the raids of evil spirits and monsters during each Wave of Calamity and ensure the survival of Raphtalia’s World, specifically Melromarc – a matriarchal kingdom ruled by the Melromarc monarchy where the Queen holds true authority over the country.
It’s the Friends You Make Along the Way
It’s a well known fact that every hero is supposed to have a companion because it’s hard to save the world alone. That’s where Raphtalia and Filo enter the picture.
Raphtalia is a raccoon demi-human who lost her family during the First Wave. When Naofumi first meets Raphtalia, she is plagued with health issues, too weak to fight even the smallest of enemies. After joining Naofumi’s party, Raphtalia’s health improves dramatically and she learns how to fight with a sword. After a long and tumultuous journey, Raphtalia eventually becomes Naofumi’s most loyal companion and develops a strong bond to the Shield Hero. Despite the circumstances of their first companionship, they establish a unique trust as they battle a bunch of enemies throughout the journey. In the end, Raphtalia becomes the sword to the Shield Hero.
The next character to join Naofumi’s party was Filo, a Filolial who can change between her human and her giant bird forms. Naofumi bought her from the same trader who introduced him to Raphtalia. After the fighting with the Queen of Filolials, she got an extra antenna on her head, representing her strength and her right to the throne. Yes, Filo’s form was inspired by Chocobo from the Final Fantasy series, as mentioned in volume 2 of The Rising of the Shield Hero light novel by author Aneko Yusagi.
Even Heroes have Dark Thoughts
When Raphtalia and Filo joined Naofumi on his quest, it was clear that the man wasn’t immune to the dark forces. Starting his journey alienated, betrayed, and falsely accused, full of resentment and spite toward a world that has caused him so much suffering, Naofumi discovered a powerful Curse that turned him into a Berserker. With such power, the Shield Hero almost lost his humanity and only Raphtalia was able to stop him from losing his sanity entirely. The Curse Shield’s abilities are amplified by a special crystal that is sewn into Naofumi’s armor and was extracted from a dragon’s womb. Will he be able to resist the power of the Curse in the future?
The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 2 premieres on Crunchyroll starting this Wednesday, April 6.
Asya Zabolotskaya is a RU News Lead for Crunchyroll.