I find the isekai genre to be very dull. While I don’t hate any isekai series, As I’ve said in other reviews, I don’t like any particularly either. There’s nothing wrong with the genre really, it’s just that no series has used the potential that the premise has. Most shows seem to just be pandering to its audience by showing a relatable otaku who’s useless in the real world but is transported to a world where you can be useful. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Of course, making your audience feel good about themselves is a good thing. Everyone should feel good about themselves. But if your animated tv-series is just that, making your audience feel good about themselves, then it’s not going to be that interesting. And sadly, this is what most isekai shows are. It’s all the same.
But then I started watching Shield hero.
I had no plans on watching the series. I was tired of watching isekai series that I would never find interesting. But I saw that people started to talk about the show on Twitter. People were talking about it very positively. So I was curious. Would this be the series that proved me wrong about Isekai? Would this actually be a great series?
So I decided to watch the first episode, and I was surprised. While it wasn’t perfect, I was surprised about how much it tried to stray away from the normal Isekai. First, it made it so that Naofumi was the only guy who hadn’t played a game like the world he was in. Then it is revealed that the shield hero, the one that Naofumi was assigned as, is looked down upon, and then he is wrongly accused of raping his only teammate. You can tell that they really made Naofumi as non-OP as you could. And I loved this. It was a dark series, where you could really feel for the Naofumi which was amazing. I have a thread on my twitter account (Shameless plug) where I post my opinion on every episode of the shows that I watch. And you can tell that I really liked the show. I even said that Naofumi could be my favorite isekai protagonist and that the show could be my favorite isekai show period. It was at episode 4 where it hit its height. Where we see Naofumi being completely humiliated, crying alone, with Raphtalia then coming to comfort him. It was beautiful. But it was also at that point where the great shield hero would fall from its grace.
It is in episode 5 where the show really becomes what it is. Naofumi buys a filolial, a bird-like creature, that eventually gets a human-like figure. This was a sign. Cause after this, Naofumis team basically becomes a harem. They are designed to be with Naofumi and aren’t people of their own. That coupled with all them being very young makes the show very uncomfortable to watch. That isn’t to say that I found Naofumi’s character to be awful since he was as interesting to watch as in the first few episodes. At least for now. Cause after a while, Naofumi grows to be exactly the opposite of what made him so great. Now he’s the perfect isekai protagonist that we have seen over and over again. And it certainly didn’t help how terribly the antagonists were written, to show “how much of a good guy Naofumi is”. How they aren’t human at all, but tools for the story to show how good of a person Naofumi is for not being an asshole all the time. And it feels like the opposite of what the series wanted to show with Naofumi before. He was an asshole, he was a human. That’s what was so good with the series, that Naofumi was an actual person. How he isn’t OP, that he needs help. But later Naofumi blocked a fucking meteor with his shield.
And it’s the same with every other character in his party. They are just so nice that they aren’t able to be a show a glimpse of humanity. There’s an episode where Raphtalia meets the guy who tortured herself and her friends to the point of murdering one of them. So does she kill him? does she torture him? Does she show how much hatred she has for him?
No, cause then she would be as bad. Fuck right off.
I don’t want you to be a good person, a good role model. Why would I look up to a fox-waifu? I wanted a scene like Punch-drunk love where Barry shows how much hatred he has for his sisters and those guys who wanted money from him at the beginning. He isn’t a good guy for doing that, but why does that matter?
They keep reminding us how much better Naofumi’s gang is in comparison to the rest of the people in this world. And it goes so far that they make the other heroes help Naofumi, and still make fun of them for shit. There’s an episode where the pope attacks the heroes and stuff, and it is probably the worst episode in the show. Long story short, the pope says that he needs to kill the heroes for some shitty reason “in the name of God” (Thanks, I really needed to know that doing shitty things in the name of God is still shitty). The spear guy is obviously pissed, which any reasonable guy should be. So then, Filo and that other bitch say that he is “hollow” and that their team is “annoying“. They later try to team up but Naofumi decides to be a bitch and says that he doesn’t want to do that. They say that they were wrong about Malty being raped and stuff, and Raphtalia comes and says that “you don’t have any right to say that“.
This makes me go to the conclusion that the main characters of this show (Naofumi, Raphtalia, Filo, and Melty) are the most annoying characters in any isekai that I have ever seen. I might disagree in a year or so, but right now that’s how I feel. Shield Hero has some of the most annoying characters that I have ever seen.
This coupled with the stale visuals made it very annoying to watch. Sure, it has some good character designs that I was honestly surprised were in the show. But it sacrificed the animation, which I prefer. The rest of the designs aren’t nearly as creative and detailed, the action mainly revolves around someone doing an attack and Naofumi somehow being able to block it since he’s such a cool dude, which makes for pretty terrible tension.
So yeah, I really dislike this show. You know what, I hate it. It has its moments especially in the beginning and the music is pretty good. But my god is it annoying to watch.