May 28, 2019

A Fish Out of Water Has Not so Much Escaped His Problems as Found New and More Challenging Ones

Rising of the Shield Hero is approaching its 21st episode and frankly deserves more than the laconic mentions this blog has given it thus far. It is a show that has generated quite a bit of "talk" because its story tends to go down the less traveled paths of its genre.


As opposed to the above path, which they all go down.

This is a isekai show, a genre that generally involves a social outcast getting yanked/summoned/reincarnated/teleported/excreted into another world which just happens to have remarkable similarities to a video game, role playing game, or light novel series that the introverted, maladroit audience insert had obsessed with to the detriment of their standing in polite society. With a few exceptions, these shows generally have the protagonist come to an insight along the lines of , "All those years of playing D&D have prepared me for this very moment!". This epiphany is usually followed by 13 to 26 episodes of geek wish fulfillment as all the important people (and especially the attractive members of the opposite sex) in the new world learn to respect, adore or fear (but NEVER ignore) this now most consequential of human beings who has been groomed by years of geekery and avoidance of obligations to be the hero the world needs and wants to have children with.



Aaaand then there is Iwatani Naofumi,  a reasonably well adjusted graduate student who has some geeky habits among his hobbies. However, he's not a hard core gamer, and most significantly for his well being hasn't played a particular multiplayer game about 4 legendary heroes.  When he notices an anomalous leather-bound parchment-paged antique-looking book among the light novels in the library, he opens it and gets bamfed into a summoning circle with 3 other Japanese men of about his age Each of them has attached to them a weapon, Spear, Sword, Bow....and OK Naofumi has not a weapon but a shield.


"Cool! we're a sentai team!"

They are surrounded by a bunch of wizards and priest types who provide exposition.


I'll bet there is.

They are told that they are the 4 legendary heroes who have been summoned from other worlds to deal with "The Wave", a demonic incursion into this high fantasy D&D type world.
Some years prior, (I think about a decade, its not entirely clear) the four legendary heroes of that age were summoned and successfully kept this monster spewing phenomenon at bay, though over half the population of the world is believed to have died. Once these things start, they come about once a month and each one is exponentially stronger than the last. The first wave, was barely defeated (with heavy losses) by the kingdom's regular forces and some adventurers a few days prior to this summoning.

Now the other three fellows are all expert players in an online video-game that is essentially identical to this world.  Nayofumi has no idea what he's doing, furthermore in a brief cram session with the other three, he learns that while shield characters are marginally harder to kill in the game, they are basically useless as they can't use weapons and can't easily level up. The shield is almost never played except by children.

Still our hero understands the basics of video game RPGs, is reasonably genre savvy, and, after all, has been summoned to a magical realm to do hero stuff, so he's handling this reasonably well.



The four are granted an audience before the king, who asks something along the lines of "Why did you waste spell points on summoning a shield guy?"


Well, that bodes ill.

It's then explained to our heroes that they must go on adventures to level up and hone their skills. They are all basically level 0 and the next wave is arriving in a month. Also, it is noted they need to train separately from one another because...



...reasons. 

They are expected to have retinues and all the local adventurers are allowed to join up with the 'Legendary Herotm' of their choice. This is especially important for the shield hero as he can't wield weapons, and the shield has no offensive capabilities until the wielder is at a much higher level.


The heartbreak of cooties.

No one picks Naofumi, because shield heroes are like the nerds of Middle Earth and well no one wants to be associated with him.



There are a few things that Nayofumi's shield will do that allow him to slowly level up, mostly involving crafting healing potions. However, he is physically unable to even touch a weapon. In order to level up he must quest and gather ingredients, and if attacked, he can only bash things with the shield. Furthermore, crafting and deflecting blows give very little in the way of "experience points". Even slaying a relatively harmless beast like a carnivorous pumpkin (don't ask) grants a vast improvement in the speed he can level up. So he's in the pumpkin bashing business.

No one will help openly help him,  few will even do business with him. The only exceptions to this are people who pose as being interested in joining his party, only to attempt to murder and rob him.

After a series of reversals that would try the sanity of anyone, Nayofumi, on his last legs and desperate, bumps into a very sketchy and incongruously dressed merchant.



And that is the point at which things get problematic.


more...

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 10:44 PM | Comments (9) | Add Comment
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May 21, 2019

DANGER! The Levels of "PROBLEMATIC" are Over 9000!

So, this Rising of the Shield Hero show; I've started watching it.



Well, I'm leaning towards "good" but that's going to depend what happens in the next few episodes.


Also: Raccoons are awesome.


So far it is a very hard show to watch, but it has really impressed me.

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at 10:43 PM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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