Another week, another couple episodes, and I think for the first time, Dororo was actually definitively “worse”, at least from my perspective. Thankfully, I get to review Shield Hero this week, and boy, was this by far and away the best episode yet. I mean, as much of a fanboy of this show as I am, even I was surprised by just how darn good this episode was.
I really could go on about it all day, all the things it did right and how much I just love this series to bits… but instead, I’ll push the conversation into our common questions, for the sake of brevity, at least.
Myself, the great scholar
Plyasm, the guy who lives in a thatch hut in the swamp
What are your general thoughts for this episode?
Another really great episode. It’s just one after another with this show, seriously… And culminating in one of the most emotionally charged and powerful moments of the early series… I gotta say, they did an incredible job bringing that whole sequence to life.
Pacing is much better for this episode than compared to last. But to be honest, even though the episode ended on a good song, I still feel like the soundtrack is underused. There might be too much background silence. Overall though, very good episode.
I really do think this was the best episode yet, and definitely one of my favorite moments in the series. #raphtaliabestgirl
Did the episode fit your expectations, and in which ways did it differ from it?(If it does)
I’ve been looking forward to this moment since the show was announced, honestly. It’s really the turning point in the show, where the shield hero truly begins to “rise”. By jove, it did not disappoint at all. The pacing was superb, and the emotional tension that builds through the whole episode was handled so well… I really just wanna fangirl over this show so much, now.
Yup. This was definitely a step-up from the awkward slow pacing shots from last episode, and I like the use of 3DCGI this time.(You didn’t notice it either, did ya? Perfectly “hidden” and used as 3DCGI should be.) As a wise man once said, the best 3DCGI is ones that you can’t see as 3DCGI.
Kinema Citrus really knows how to hide their use of 3DCGI, huh? They also know how to do action, as that duel was just fantastic to watch from start to finish.
How does this episode compare to the source material?
Having read both the Light Novel and the Manga, this scene seems more similar to that of the LN, in a good way. The manga cut out quite a bit of the emotional tension of the scenes both before and after the duel, so it was nice to see them slow down and really explore Naofumi’s consciousness in-depth.
I roughly remember the dueling from the manga. I feel like this was definitely more dragged out than what the manga did, however, which is actually a good thing in this case. In the manga, this particular section must have been rushed through pretty quickly since I barely remember this at all, but then again, it might just be my shitty memory. However, all the character drama and development that came out of the “dragged time” is more than worth it. Very well done adaptation.
We both ended up touching on the same stuff again, huh? Well, the extra character development for Naofumi was absolutely welcome… (I’m a sucker for well-developed characters)
Which scene do you think other people would react to differently?
I gotta say, I love the juxtapositions that this show throws into the mix. Motoyasu tends to act like one would expect of a typical “hero” character, one that would maybe be the protag in any other show. However, here, we get to see things from another angle… and he seems more desperate, stupid, and sleazy from this perspective. Just a bit of food for thought…
Hmmm. Definitely the spear hero’s actions, as well as the bow and sword hero’s actions. You all(people who haven’t seen shield hero before) might think of the two other heroes that came out and scolded the spear hero as assholes who just jump ship as soon as it’s sinking, and you might also see the spear hero as an absolute ass. However, without spoiling anything, I can only say that the other three heroes are not what you think, and they all have their own reasons. Especially the spear hero. Poor guy.
Motoyasu is an idiot. Thankfully, I know what’s coming…
Which character did you like the most this episode? Have they done anything in particular/changed?
Raphtalia. ALWAYS Raphtalia. I just love her so much… I mean, she’s one of my all-time favorite characters, EVER. She’s no damsel in distress, waiting around to be saved, nor is she someone who is easily tricked by rumors and hearsay. She’s strong, willful, and always looks for the truth in things, even if it’s unpleasant. Her ability to face hardship head-on, and always do the right thing, even when it’s the hardest possible route, is something I truly admire.
Alright, bold claim here but: Malty/That bitch that tricked Naofumi. It really takes a lot to make me genuinely hate a person but Malty did it. Twice, even. I hated her when I was reading the manga, and I hate her all over again now in the anime. And why would I put her as my favourite of this episode despite me hating her that much? Simple. It takes a good villain to get you to hate them personally and not just see them as a convenient villain for the hero to defeat. The best villains are the ones that rally the people behind the protagonist and support them, and Malty definitely did that. Well done author, for making me hate the same character twice across two different mediums. God damn, is she an absolute bitch, especially with what she did this episode.
Malty is one of my most despised characters of all time, dude. She’s a manipulative scumbag, and highly supported by her sleazy father. I can’t wait to see justice served…
What’s the high point of the episode for you and why?
That’s a really tough choice, considering how emotionally charged and fantastically presented this episode was. On one hand, we have the scene of Naofumi’s anger, giving us a look at his worldview, showing us how his anger and grief have prejudiced what he sees and hears in order to protect himself. On the other hand, we have Raphtalia, her goodness and warmth helping to bring him out of that fallen and painful state, healing his heart. Basically, the entire latter half of the episode was just amazing.
Surprisingly enough, I won’t put the scene with Naofumi and Raphtalia as my high point, mostly because I saw it coming, but rather, I think the high point was Naofumi “losing” to the spear hero and his ensuing despair. They did that part really well, and I could really feel his rage, and me myself was also raging a little inside with him, as if to resonate with his feelings. Very well done scene.
Shield Hero is all about the darkness, and overcoming it, both physically and emotionally. They’re doing such a great job showing both the highs and the lows of our titular character… but the “rise” has only just started.
What can be improved in this episode and why? (a.k.a low point)
I do wish they’d use that incredible soundtrack more often… I mean, whenever it shows up, it’s always just so dang good, but they seem a little reluctant to use it. I wonder why?
PLEASE. Use the music more. God dammit, Kevin Penkin made an amazing soundtrack, so just use it more already!!!!! I don’t wanna hear any more of the stupid crowd noises being used as background music….
What situation/decision/action is the most relatable to you in this episode and why?
You know… I’ll have to go with Naofumi’s grief, actually. I’ve gone through some betrayals in my life before, by people I trusted as friends… and it hurts. It hurts a lot. In the past, my main defense mechanism has really been to curl into a ball, try to shut out everyone and everything in order to keep myself from getting even more hurt. So yeah… I can relate to Naofumi.
I don’t really have anything to talk about for this one this time. Can’t think of anything.
Pick a situation from this episode. If you were put in this situation, how would you have handled it?
It’s hard to know what to do when you’ve been betrayed, especially when everyone around you seems to be insistent on treating you like garbage. Put in Naofumi’s situation, where nobody will listen to you, and about to lose everything… I don’t know. Would I resort to violence, or just break down, at that point?
Losing to the spear hero like that. I would have just went to Malty and beat her to a pulp (if I could), because holy fucking shit am I mad about that. There would have been no stopping me, Raphtalia or not.
Most beautiful scene?(screenshot)
There were a lot of fantastic moments in this episode, let’s be honest… But this has got to be the one I enjoyed the very most. FINALLY seeing Motoyasu get his stupid prideful butt rejected was just so cathartic!
I think we’re pretty much in agreement here… this was one heck of an episode. The emotional tension that just builds and builds, the legitimate anger and hate we feel towards the antagonist of the series, and the absolute blessing to humanity that is Raphtalia… oh, it’s just so good. I cannot wait to see what else Kinema Citrus has it store for us, because man, they’ve been doing a stellar job so far.
By the way, all you lovely people, please make sure to go check out our review of Episode 4 of Dororo over on Plyasm’s blog! Also, remember to leave your thoughts on these latest episodes down in the comments. I’d love to hear how everyone is enjoying the series, and what your thoughts are on the execution so far. Thank you all so much for reading, and I’ll see you all in the next post!!
P.S. have a look at my growing Raphtalia gallery. Enjoy!!!