English Dub Season Review: Rising of the Shield Hero Season Two



Long after the events of season one, and with another wave happening in a week, Naofumi Iwatani and his party have no time to waste. However, when bat familiars raid Lurolona Village and the Wave countdown comes to a halt, the Four Cardinal Heroes reconvene with the Queen, Mirelia Q Melromarc, for a quick briefing. The Queen presumes that the odd occurrences are linked to the Spirit Tortoise—a threatening creature that has awakened from its slumber, back to cause havoc once again. A plan to put the Spirit Tortoise to rest is devised—but out of the four men, only the cursed Shield Hero agrees to help…

On the technical side, Masato Jinbo replaced Takao Abo as director, and the rest of the staff members reprised their roles such as the animation team Kinema Citrus who’s joined by DR movie for animation production. Due to multiple delays (in combination with Covid 19) the anime was eventually released in both countries with The new opening theme “Bring Back”, performed by MADKID, while the ending theme “Yuzurenai”, was performed by Chiai Fujikawa.

For the English Dub Cast, there’s an elephant in the room that needs to be addressed. During the production of season 2’s dub, the original voice actor for Naofumi, Billy Kametz, passed away which resulted in Stephen Fu replacing him in the role during Billy’s last days and onward. But with what he’s given, Stephen does a decent job replicating his voice, though it’s hard not to ignore the impact and conviction Billy’s performance left behind… As for the other cast within the dub, it hasn’t changed much but at least that remains consistent to a certain extent.

Narratively the first main issue with the plot within the first 5 episodes is that it feels like it’s the calm before the storm. When the Spirit Tortoise is finally introduced, it’s almost jarring to see parts of the creature look like an oil painting attempting to blend in with CGI. And during the course of this arc, much of the battle looked kinda like something out of a video game boss battle you might see in JRPGs or along the lines of “Shadow of Colossus”.

The 2nd biggest complaint would have to come from either YouTubers or fans who have read the Light Novel in advance and have felt the need to point out that certain pieces of the story and lore that were meant to be told have either been ignored entirely or left in the cutting room floor for pacing reasons which if kept in, would’ve at least made the plot a bit more coherent if they were animated, to begin with. For example, I wondered who the hell Eclair was. I looked back at the previous season, skimmed through wikis, and didn’t find out about her. That was the first sign that this was getting extremely rushed, even though I’ve never read the light novels. The second newly added prominent character is Ost Horai, the familiar of the Spirit Tortoise, but she quickly abandons that role in favor of helping Naofumi. Ost is a guide rather than a person, leading Naofumi’s party to slay the beast. She never rises above a plot device for all the show’s efforts to make us care about her…

As it begins to further progress is where it gets interesting when the plot goes into “multiverse” territory by the 6th episode where the world of Shield Hero is further expanded upon by introducing the concept of different universes within this Isekai world which was briefly touched upon in season one’s finale. Naofumi and his crew even go as far as to meet new characters and learn to adapt to their predicament when they end up going back to Level 1 introducing one of the best new characters named Kizuna. This also leads to easily some of the better-written character arcs going to Raphtalia and Filo who both go through several dramatic changes throughout this Season with Raphtalia’s easily being my favorite of the two in terms of progression with having a couple of episodes showing how capable she is even in situations when she’s not part of Naofumi’s circle. And this is hilariously juxtaposed to the 3 Cardinal Heroes Ren, Itsuki, and Motoyasu from the previous season being useless douchebags, that barely get any screen time outside of being in at least 3-4 episodes so we barely see any change or progression for them but that’s to be expected since they’re all fucking useless in different ways.

As for the major villain of this season, Kyo “the Book Hero”, seems to be the thorn on everyone’s side being such an unrepentant one-note villain who thinks he has his shit together when in later episodes he’s in a few subtle ways, a dark reflection of Naofumi. Compared to season one’s villains that came across as over the top and unapologetically evil scumbags so you could get some satisfaction out of when they finally go down. Kyo is not only unbearably annoying but also has no depth to him. Filler villains in Black Clover have more complexity than this fucker, who’s supposed to be a major player in the Shield Hero world, as he’s the illegitimate Book Hero as well as being from a parallel world. You’d think nothing of him the entire season and forget everything about him once it’s over.

Overall, this season was a mixed bag. After so many delays in combination with the Covid 19 pandemic that halted things everywhere at the time, You could tell some level of effort was made, but not where it mattered the most, even if it didn’t completely realize its full potential. If you enjoyed the first season and are looking forward to watching this one, don’t be surprised to be disappointed. Maybe this is just a one-off occurrence with this particular arc, and I sure hope that it gets better in the future given that Season 3 was also announced at a future date along with Season 2…