Naofumi is no one to mess with anymore.
Overview (Spoilers Below)
The final boss of the second wave has arrived to face the four heroes atop the ghost ship Naofumi has just conquered. The woman, named Glass, steps forward to fight, and openly mocks the other three heroes as Naofumi’s “servants.” Easily provoked, the three other heroes each launch a powerful Meteor attack at Glass, but to no avail. Glass counterattacks their assault and leaves them unconscious on the ground. It’s up to Naofumi, Raphtalia and Filo to defeat this new threat.
Glass, eager to see what Naofumi can do, just toys with him at first, deflecting attack after attack from all three of them. Nothing seems to work, and Naofumi decides to break out the iron maiden once more to defeat this new foe. Yet, even that move is to no avail. Seeing this battle as unwinnable, Naofumi and the others run away from the ship, stalling for time until the Wave ends and Glass is forced to leave their world.
After the Wave is over, Naofumi is summoned to meet with the king, who demands Naofumi reveal how he’s become so strong. Naofumi tells the king to piss off and leaves the throne room while explaining that with his current power level he could kill the King and all of his guards without issue. Soon after, Melty arrives to ask the king to reconcile with Naofumi, which he’s hesitant to do.
Later, Naofumi, Raphtalia get equipped with some new equipment before heading out onto the next step of their adventure. While on the road, they meet Melty, who asks for their help once again. As she’s pleading with Naofumi, one of her guards rushes up from behind and tries to kill Melty with his sword. Naofumi stops the guard just in time, having developed a strong sense of when he’s about to be betrayed.
My, how the tables turn. It feels like just yesterday, Naofumi was the hapless shield rookie robbed blind and cast aside by a cruel and unforgiving world. Now, the shield hero has certainly earned his title, making himself into a force to be reckoned with, by monsters both human or otherwise. It’s hard to properly explain how satisfying it is to see Naofumi come so far from so little; it’s something that needs to be experienced to really understand. It’s a testament to the strength of this story that I find myself completely taken with Naofumi’s growth over the course of this breakout series.
This episode continues the trend of excellent episodes we’ve been delivered so far by Shield Hero, hitting all the notes one comes to enjoy from this series while having the added element of more characters and intrigue to keep the story moving. This story is changing quite rapidly from what it initially was. Starting in such despair, it seemed Naofumi was doomed to suffer forever, but his tale is turned into a more traditional hero’s journey now that we’ve advanced some ways through the plot. This makes Naofumi’s development all the more enjoyable to witness, as his bitterness and cynicism begins to fade as he develops his party and becomes a stronger hero.
This is well-demonstrated in both the battle with Glass and the confrontation with the king, where he remained the last man standing after the other heroes were knocked out and openly defies the king in his own throne room. The battle between Glass and Naofumi is well-animated and creative, demonstrating Glass’s impeccable strength while not diminishing Naofumi’s own considerable power. Entertaining and tense, one gets hooked on this battle from start to finish.
The rest of the episode is filled with less exciting, but still quality scenes of character growth between the ever-expanding cast. Intrigue abounds as Melty’s near-assassination leaves us on a cliffhanger for the next episode, which contrasts well with the feeling of happiness Naofumi and his crew get after obtaining their new items. Good voice acting and strong dialogue make sure that even the slower scenes are worth watching. This episode gives us a lot to love while still getting us interested in the next step to come. It’s a moment of peace in Naofumi’s story, but if this show has taught us anything, it’s that peace doesn’t last for long.