Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari (or Rising of the Shield Hero) is the next highly anticipated “isekai” anime this year. Similar to Goblin Slayer in the previous anime Fall 2018 season, many, many people were expecting this anime and hopefully, it would be just as good as other isekai anime which arrived before like Overlord or Goblin Slayer. There have been 3 episodes released at the time of this article (January 28, 2019), and so far, the general reception for this anime is quite positive. And with no further ado, let’s try digging deeper and take a look at Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari first impression.
*Warning: First 3 episodes spoilers alert!
Table of Content:
1. Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari Overview
2. How good is Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari?
3. First-Impression Verdict
1. Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari Overview
For quick recap, Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari (Rising of the Shield Hero in English) is an “isekai” anime and as many of us already know, this is an anime adaptation of the popular light novel series of the same name. Originally, it was a web novel series written by Aneko Yusagi back in 2013. Soon after, it changed to light novel series and so far, there have been 20 volumes in total as of December 25, 2018. There is also a manga adaptation series which has 12 volumes released so far as of December 21, 2018. And of course, on January 9, 2019, the very first episode of Rising of the Shield Hero anime was on air. In addition, the anime was confirmed to have 25 episodes in total.
According to the light novel, Rising of the Shield Hero tells a fantasy story of 4 young men who got summoned to a parallel world to become Heroes. Each hero has their own predefined weapon: a bow, a sword, a spear, and unfortunately, the main protagonist Naofumi Iwatani got a shield, which considered as useless. Each hero also got their own team, yet as for Naofumi, he only got one teammate who was also the princess of this kingdom. But soon after, he got betrayed by everyone in the court and framed as a rapist. Even his “heroes” comrades did not trust Naofumi and ultimately, he was abandoned and drove away, not only by the court but also the majority of the citizens, as an evil hero, a criminal. As the result, the “Legendary Shield Hero” has to struggle in order to survive. And in such a bizarre and unfamiliar world, what kind of fate is waiting for him at the end of the line?
The core storyline of Rising of the Shield Hero stays relatively the same across the light novel, web novel, and the manga. However, the story in each medium is in fact significantly different between each other, notably the differences in the latter half of the story between the web novel and the light novel. Some readers also noted that there are differences between the light novel and the current development in the manga (as of chapter 40-50). Based on this notion, it is highly possible that the anime will also have certain changes as the story progresses.
2. How good is Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari?
Visual & Animation
Frankly speaking, when Rising of the Shield Hero anime is confirmed to be made by Kinema Citrus, it did raise a bit of concern since they are not exactly well known for many good anime, aside from some exceptions like Made in Abyss or Bakaramon. However, after the first three episodes, we do believe this is arguably among their best works yet.
The visual in Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari anime is quite solid. Its art-style stays relatively similar to the manga version, which looks enjoyable (given the fact that we have been following the manga long beforehand). Animation (like the combat scenes) is also quite solid, especially in the current episode 3 when the “Wave” of monsters began. The dynamic between Naofumi and Raphtalia is fluid and interesting to watch. However, we do understand why some people criticized this “Wave” battle scene due to some bizarre stuffs like the “AFK zombies” or the giant bees. Still from our perspective, the overall visual and animation may not be excellent, but at the very least, they are solid and they will not take audience out of experience.
That said, visual and animation are just one thing, but what about the story itself?
Story & Characters
As mentioned, Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari is an “isekai” story and therefore, it also has several “isekai” elements which many people might not like it. But the thing which made Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari’s story different compared to many others is its somewhat darker and more realistic theme, especially in terms of people’s psyche.
To certain extent, this storyline is a bit like a “revenge story” in which the main protagonist is being framed or betrayed. And so, he/she has to struggle to survive by himself/herself. This is the case of Naofumi Iwatani, a young man who just got summoned in a weird world due to bad luck. Despite being one of the so-called Four Legendary Heroes, right at the beginning he was considered as useless just because of his weapon: a Legendary Shield. Naofumi sensed this notion, yet he did not expect things to go worse… and unlucky for him, they did. Just when Naofumi thought that he found a good ally to rely on – Princess Malty, turned out he was set up in a rape accusation. Not only that, the entire court framed him as such, while the other three “heroes” did not believe him. This ultimately pushed Naofumi on edge as he now became like an unwanted outcast, an evil existence in the society.
This is the basic summary of the anime’s beginning and it effectively warned the audience that this story will not be a happy-dilly one. Compared to the manga and light novel, the anime did follow this sequence quite faithfully; however, it might feel rushed since the 3 first episodes did not include some details. But just like any anime adaptation, rushed content is not an uncommon thing. Still, as long as the core idea of the anime is successfully delivered, we consider that is a well-done job and Rising of the Shield Hero anime truly nailed it in this regard.
Continue to the next two episodes when Naofumi bought Raphtalia from a slave market, this scene did bring up a stir among anime community. However, for the sake of this first impression, we will not discuss it in details here. Back to the story itself, we also believe that the anime did deliver necessary details regarding the relationship between Naofumi and Raphtalia. At first, we saw him coming to the slave market to get a person who can be his “sword” since he cannot use anything else besides his shield as weapon (which also got explained beforehand). Although this did cause some uneasy feeling from viewers, based on this world’s context, it does make lots of sense given the situation Naofumi is in: a man who deemed as an evil demon. Obviously, no normal person would want to team up with him. Furthermore, he was quite panic at this point due to the fact that the next “monster wave” would come and he would definitely die if there was no one helping him.
Moving on, we saw a bit of Raphtalia’s tragic background as demi-human who considered as a low-life in the kingdom Naofumi is in. At first, we saw Naofumi pushing her extremely hard during their combat training, to the point that some people might think he was torturing her. But then, when he saw Raphtalia going in broken state, he felt sympathy with her and decided to stop doing this. Furthermore, he told her to run away when the two-headed dog monster attacked, and he willingly jumped in and protect her. This was an interesting detail since at the beginning; Naofumi was portrayed like an “anti-hero” character who was pretty much “edgy” to everyone around him. But now, we saw a development in his character, or rather, a glimpse of his true personality. It seemed like Naofumi is actually good man, it is just due to the court and the society who made his life miserable. This notion was further reinforced by the fact that he took a great care of Raphtalia. On the other hand, Raphtalia herself started to know more about her “master” and thus, understood that her master is not a bad man as people said. In such a cruel world for a demi-human like her, she saw Naofumi as a man who gave her light in this world, and also, a man she could rely on.
Now to be fair, the plotline and characters are not all that perfect despite all the positive comments. For example, some people pointed out that somehow the situation which Naofumi stuck in is kind of forced. In addition, it felt really weird when 3 other heroes did not suspect the court’s rape accusation, given the fact that all four heroes came from the same modern world. From our perspective, we also do feel this scenario to be a little bit forced. But we don’t think it is much of a problem since the anime actually provided reasons for everything happens. And also, many other things will get explained in future episodes, like why Raphtalia can grow up so quickly. Whether those reasons feel weird or good enough, it probably depends on different audience.
3. First Impression Verdict
Based on the first 3-episodes so far, personally we think Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari is a good anime which has set its own difference compared to many other anime of isekai trope. The beginning episodes do provide a solid context and interesting story. And if it can keep up with the manga and light novel’s quality, we believe this show will turn out to gradually become better.
But what about you? What is your Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari first impression? Feel free to share with us and for now, thank you and stay tune for more news in the future!
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