The Rising of the Shield Hero is a Japanese franchise that started out as a web novel but has since spawned a light novel, a manga, an anime, and more besides. It is one of the better-known examples of the isekai genre that has been popular in recent times. Here are 10 things that you may or may not have known about The Rising of the Shield Hero:
1. Followed a Standard Path to Becoming an Anime
On the whole, The Rising of the Shield Hero followed a standard path to becoming an anime. In short, it started out as a web novel, which proved to be popular enough that it received a light novel version with some changes as well as some illustrations. Eventually, this led to an animated adaptation that served to further raise the profile of the light novel as well as the manga, thus boosting the franchise’s prominence to the point needed to secure further merchandise.
2. It Is an Isekai
Isekai is a term that translates to “different world.” It is used to describe a kind of Japanese portal fantasy that has become popular in Japanese media aimed at otaku in recent times. Generally speaking, there are two kinds of isekai. One, there is the kind in which a normal person is reborn in a different world. Two, there is the kind in which a normal person crosses over to a different world through either a portal or something similar. The Rising of the Shield Hero is an example of the second kind of isekai.
3. Uses a Setup That Is Standard In Being Non-Standard
To be exact, The Rising of the Shield Hero uses the setup of a fantasy kingdom summoning people from Earth to combat some kind of imminent threat. This is rather dubious from a cynical perspective, which is why there aren’t a lot of modern isekai stories that choose to play it straight. As a result, when The Rising of the Shield Hero tosses in its particular twist, it can be said that it is being standard by being non-standard.
4. Wish Fulfillment
Like a lot of pop culture, isekai serves as wish fulfillment for its audience. It is the reason that most isekai protagonists tend to be otaku with rather bland personalities, seeing as how that makes it much easier for the audience members to self-insert into said characters. With that said, there are different kinds of wish fulfillment out there, which is why it is important to note that The Rising of the Shield Hero is best-described as a revenge fantasy.
5. Goes Out of Its Way to Set Up the Revenge Fantasy
As a result, The Rising of the Shield Hero goes out of its way to set up a revenge fantasy. For example, its protagonist is scorned by the other three individuals who were summoned for having a special shield, which doesn’t work well when those three individuals were described as being familiar with MMORPGs. After all, the shield meant that the protagonist would be best-suited for playing tank while their respective weapons made them better-suited for DPS as well as other roles. Granted, tanks aren’t always respected by other players in MMORPGs, but they tend to be valued at the very least because they are critical for keeping enemies off of their more fragile team-mates.
6. Features a False Sexual Assault Accusation
On a related note, The Rising of the Shield Hero features a false accusation of sexual assault from the one person who chooses to team up with the protagonist, who is revealed to be the princess of the local kingdom. Suffice to say that the whole thing reeks from an out-of-setting perspective, particularly since such false accusations are a prominent fear in certain segments of the population but are very low in number. Furthermore, when they happen, they tend to be very obvious.
7. The Protagonist Is a Slaveowner
With that said, the uglier aspects of The Rising of the Shield Hero don’t end there. After all, its protagonist is a slaveowner. In short, his reputation is in tatters following the false accusation, with the result that no one is willing to help him. This is a problem because his shield means that he lacks offensive capabilities, which is why he chooses to buy a young girl over whom he will have complete control. The story goes out of its way to justifies what happens as well as why the protagonist continues to be a slaveowner, but like pretty much every other example of such narratives, those justifications just make the whole thing worse.
8. The Slave Is a Child
Cute girls are the main appeal for a lot of otaku-oriented media. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that a lot of the interest in The Rising of the Shield Hero is directed towards the slave girl owned by the protagonist. However, it should be mentioned that said character is even younger than what most people would expect based on the marketing for the franchise. After all, what happened is that the protagonist bought her as a child. After which, she turned into a physical adult by gaining experience by being sent into combat, which makes the whole thing more disturbing because there is much more to adulthood than just physical adulthood.
9. Video Game Mechanics
Speaking of which, The Rising of the Shield Hero has some video game mechanics built into its setting. It isn’t a literal video game setting like some of its counterparts, but it nonetheless incorporates some video game mechanics for the sake of convenience. This happens in a lot of isekai stories because that makes it much easier for the writers to explain how their settings work by using elements that are already familiar to their audience members. Furthermore, for some of their audience members, the use of video game mechanics can actually serve as part of the fantasy that appeals to them.
10. Receiving a RPG Maker MV Game
On the whole, The Rising of the Shield Hero has proven to be very popular, which is why it is being mentioned rather than forgotten like the surprising number of other web novels with a similar premise. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that it is receiving a game that will be made using RPG Maker MV, which is the latest in a long-running series of software meant to help interested individuals develop RPGs.