Episode 13 – The Rising of The Shield Hero Season 2

So last week I made the unfortunate mistake of concluding that we had reached the season finale with that final confrontation with Kyo. That was a blunder on my part but in all honesty I still think that should be labeled as the series finale for two reasons. The first is the fact that everything about how that episode was presented screamed “until next time” right down to getting glimpses into what next season is going to be about. The second reason is that, despite its flaws, that episode felt like it was trying to end the series on a more memorable high note then what we have here. This episode didn’t feel like the end of a season, it felt like an assortment of extra scenes that the creative team didn’t know what to do with.

This episode does take place after Naofumi and the gang get back from the other world and they’re making a quiet trip to where the Spirit Turtle died so as to pay respects to Ost. During that trip, we keep cutting to the characters reminiscing about some moments from the past season. A lot of it is just to expand on moments that we already saw or were implied in previous episodes. They’re cute but overall, they don’t really add much to anything at best and in some cases, make me question things more than I wanted to at worst. The first and final flashbacks revolving around Raphtalia were cute. Those are moments that I definitely could’ve seen being worked into the episodes proper only to be cut for time and then retroactively added back here at the end. There are even some scenes that get replayed from previous episodes which…yea kinda comes off as lazy in a series that has already looked rough but hey, at least I laugh at the joke about Naofumi being a lolicon. That was great.

Then there’s the middle section with Kizuna where she’s reflecting on her three years of isolation and I’m not the biggest fan of how that was handled. The show already treated the fact that she was trapped for three years like an afterthought so I wasn’t expecting them to elaborate on her time there at all because it didn’t seem important. And because it didn’t seem important, I didn’t think much about it. But now that the show is giving that focus, I feel like we once again reached another missed opportunity. Kizuna is probably one of the better characters of the season with her optimism being a good contrast to all the other characters’ cynicism. You could even make an argument that her isolation is what ironically leads her to try to look at things on the bright side since she’s arguably suffered a harsher low than everyone else. That’s just my generous interpretation of the character though because I don’t think the show really establishes exactly what she went through or what informs her worldview.

It starts out ok with her getting frustrated that she can’t escape and we see moments where she’s obviously losing her sense of self. Not only does she take a page out of Tom Hank’s book and put a face on a ball that’s randomly there for some reason but the show even surprisingly shows her contemplating suicide which legitimately caught me off guard even if it made sense given the circumstances. However, the whole flashback doesn’t do a good job of establishing the amount of time that actually passed there. It feels less like three years past and more like three days because there is no difference to her appearance in any way and because the flashback is so quick. Granted the show has always sort of had a problem in properly conveying the passage of time but I would have gladly taken a more fleshed out flashback here over anything else we get in this episode.

Or heck, what about an animated flashback about Kyo and Yomogi’s relationship instead of just having her explain it to me. I still want to go out on a limb and say that the show tries to establish some kind of thematic connection between him andNaofumi but now that I sit and think about it, Kyo did have a lot of support from people in this new world. He had a childhood friend that seemingly went along with everything that he did and he did seem to develop some kind of following. I want to know what it was like for Kyo to actually grow up in this world and get a proper understanding as to whether or not he was always rotten to his core no matter what environment he was in or if he maybe just failed to realize that he had everything he needed but he just didn’t appreciate it. That’s an important distinction that goes a long way in making that thematic connection but who cares.

If you showed me this episode a month from now and told me it was a bundled OVA or something, I would have believed you. If you have to have an episode like this, it would’ve made more sense for it to be used as the first episode of season three or something where you could use the Ost journey as a decent way of recapping season 2. This episode didn’t ‘t make me mad or annoyed like some of the worst parts of the season have but it does serve as another example of what feels like really questionable show production decisions. Here’s hoping they listen to the feedback from fans and do a better job of giving us a reason to care when season three comes along.

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The Rising of The Shield Hero Season 2 is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.

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