English Dub Review: The Rising of the Shield Hero “Cal Mira Archipelago”

I guess this is a beach episode?

Overview (Spoilers Below)

Naofumi and friends have met L’arc and his friend Teresa on the boat to Cal Mira. L’arc doesn’t believe Naofumi is who he says he is because he believes the shield hero to be a villain. Naofumi heads above decks to find the other Cardinal Heroes suffering from sea sickness and puking their guts out. Terence then asks Naofumi to make some equipment for him in exchange for a valuable gem.

When they arrive at Cal Mira, a ghastly looking man greets Naofumi and escorts him into town. He gives Naofumi some instructions: namely to dispense with as many monsters as he can without stepping on the toes of any other adventurers who have come to the island. Naofumi uses an inscribed rune to power up Filo, and soon his group heads out to defeat mobs for experience.

Soon, however, the other Cardinal Heroes arrive which negates the experience gains of the monsters in that area. Naofumi then departs to another island for more leveling. Later that night, Naofumi, Raphtalia and Filo camp out and rest from the day. L’arc and Teresa, who have become Naofumi’s “associates” soon show up, worried sick about Naofumi and friends. Everyone then goes to a nearby pub and drinks and eats their fill. Raphtalia gets into an arm-wrestling match with a leering guard, and everyone else has a great time.

The next day, Naofumi presents Teresa with her new accessory, which fills her with joy. With L’arc and Teresa rolling with them, Naofumi and the others go to farm more monsters, and they see the power that L’arc and Teresa hold. That night, they return to town, and the party splits up after a long day of leveling. The next morning, Naofumi and the others head to the beach, where everyone has a good time diving beneath the waves in a couple funny-looking penguin suits. The three of them stumble upon some ruins and set out to explore, when they find a dragon hourglass within the building.

Our Take:

This episode took a turn for the mundane, which surprised me greatly. This “Cal Mira” arc is shaping up to be much more of a vacation than anything else, though the ending does have some potential to lead to a larger story. For the most part, though, this is an episode all about watching montages of Naofumi and friends beating up monsters and getting stronger. It’s pleasant, to be sure, but not particularly interesting to watch. There isn’t any real drama, the conflict is minimal, and things veer towards the side of comedy. However, there were some cute moments that made for a semi-entertaining episode.

L’arc and Teresa get some time to shine here, which is good. The cast has stagnated somewhat and we’re overdue for some fresh blood in this series. L’arc, despite his odd name, is a fun, “cool uncle”, type of character. Though, his denseness when it comes to realizing that Naofumi is actually who he says he is is a bit troubling. This whole little subplot that the show is gearing towards could be solved with a quick conversation about how Naofumi has been framed (A ruling which is supported by the kingdom at this point) and that he’s actually a decent guy. That makes this point of tension between Naofumi and L’arc fairly weak.

I would have preferred more focus in this episode on story that mattered. As fun as it is to watch people murder monsters with their great teamwork, the essence of a show is conflict and drama, and so no episode should really be without that, I think. Yet, here we are, watching one of the more toothless episodes this show has ever had.

Enough goodwill has been built up over the course of this show’s run that I’m not particularly bothered this lackluster episode. It’s just a speed bump, I assume, on the story’s way to larger things. Yet, it should be mentioned that there are some aspects of this anime that are starting to wear. The other three Cardinal Heroes can’t seem to do anything more than bicker and cause problems, while Naofumi seems to be endlessly in the right on things. More can be done here, and this show has a responsibility to do so.

Erich Hau

Erich is a northern California based writer on the front lines of the nerd frontier. When he's not burning the midnight oil he enjoys musicals, smooth jazz, and a good cup of dark roast. Cream and sugar not included.

Erich Hau has 562 posts and counting. See all posts by Erich Hau