The latest episode of The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3 aired on Friday causing a lot of controversy. While most of the episode was uneventful, the ending took away from all the wonderful artwork and composition that I saw beforehand. While I usually dig into the positives of every episode, which I will still do here, it’s time we have a discussion about what happened in this episode that took away from everything else I loved about it.
The Motoyasu Controversy
Let’s get right into it—the Spear Hero (Motoyasu) needs to be stripped of his hero title and tossed somewhere far away from wherever Filo goes. Shield Hero is one of the last series I expected to go down the pedo-route but here we are. The moment between Motoyasu and Filo at the end was completely unnecessary. It added nothing to the plot and trying to mask it with some humor was like putting a bright-yellow sticky note with a smiley face on top of a pile of horse crap.
No amount of humor can take away from the disgusting fact that Motoyasu, a grown man, becomes infatuated with Filo, a child. Again… Filo is a child! It’d be one thing if Motoyasu saw Filo at the end of the episode and used her singing as inspiration to protect her and help out Naofumi to prepare for the Phoenix, but to outright act like she should belong to him as a partner and bowing to Naofumi begging for him to “marry” his “daughter” just adds to the creepiness that already went way too far in the first place.
I don’t blame the anime staff for this, because source material is source material. But as an anime-only, if this was how it went in the light novels, I have only one question—why? All the routes Motoyasu could’ve taken and he chooses the pedo one? I don’t want to hear anything about the trauma he’s gone through or how “B****” broke him, or whatever it may be. There’s no excuse for this and it’s even more disappointing to see as someone who praised the series’ great cast of characters, too.
Even more, who is this for? What audience do characters like him appeal to other than those who are just like him? I can’t even imagine there are shippers out there who are like “Yeah, Motoyasu and Filo make a good couple.” I get creeped out and sickened from even the thought of it. Shield Hero took a dive for me with the ending of this episode. While I do have hope things will turn around, I also said the same about Rudeus in the recent season of Mushoku Tensei only to be let down over and over and over…
The positive hope I have over this in comparison to Mushoku Tensei is that Naofumi and Raphtalia are very protective of Filo and she isn’t the main character like Rudeus is. So I either need those two to get real serious about Motoyasu’s actions and attitude or just not see him the rest of the way, at the very least a very long time. It’s time we stop giving characters like him a pass in the realm of storytelling. If you introduce someone like him, do away with him. Give us that ultimate satisfaction.
Look, the controversy aside, I don’t want to let it overshadow the work done by the staff. This episode’s artwork and animation were wonderful. As weird and random as Filo’s “idol moment” was, which also made zero sense in the part of the story taking place by the way, it was wonderfully done. But I will say what I loved most about Shield Hero in this episode that I don’t usually give credit for is the framing around the beginning of the episode. It fell off towards the end with classic Shield Hero close-ups, but it was cool to see surrounding environments set the tones as an intro to certain scenes.
Episode director and storyboard artist Shunsuke Takarai did an overall solid job for his series debut. I don’t think there was anything necessarily special in regard to production for the episode, but it’s undeniable that it has taken a leap forward from the previous season. A lot of character close-ups looked crisp in this episode, too. Unfortunately, yet again, we have shots where Raphtalia doesn’t have her tail (look at the bottom left photo above really closely). I have no idea how the production staff keeps overlooking this simple, yet important, detail. But going forward I hope it’s fixed.
Our poor eyes also had to witness the rebirth of the CGI tortoise in this episode and making it even worse was that it was surrounded around Motoyasu and his party’s fight, if you want to call it that. I wouldn’t say the production dipped the more the episode went on because the angles used in Ren and Naofumi’s argument at the tavern were great and the voice acting was excellent. When you’re able to feel tensions rising the longer an argument goes on, the writing is doing its job. Then throwing in the twist of B**** showing up and making Ren her new pawn was a twist I definitely didn’t expect.
The Overlooked Moments
And this is also what I hate about the ending of the episode, it took away everything that happened before it. The Murder Pierrot (clown) showed up in Noafumi’s village looking like a desperate child in need of food only for him to turn her away with a cold heart in typical Naofumi fashion. So not only do we have the lingering concern of her knowing where the village is and who is there, but it’s also a matter of whether she has bad intentions or good ones.
Also, what was the point of bringing back Elena other than Motoyasu looking for her? Is she going to have a bigger role going forward or was she just a side character for the episodes’ and story’s, sake? Not saying the moment with her was unnecessary or anything, it’s just another thing Shield Hero has layered on top of so many things to keep an eye out for that I described in my previous article. With the clock constantly ticking until Naofumi and the company have to face the Phoenix, it seems like more problems keep arising that are difficult to deal with.
Another overlooked topic for debate I haven’t seen much discourse about is B****’s lies about being assaulted, especially by Naofumi. She’s at the point where she’s lied about it so much that she actually believes what she’s saying. Not only is it a middle finger to women who have gone through that and aren’t believed, but it’s also a spark to those who have been wrongfully accused of such as well. So that aspect of Naofumi’s character is definitely a rare one in the giant cesspool of so many fantasy-isekai main characters.
But her moment was also a dangerous one to a handful of fans that sit there and use her as a poster child of why “women can’t be trusted”. On top of what happened at the end, there were a lot of very concerning moments in this Shield Hero episode that take away from ones I thoroughly enjoyed. She doesn’t even strike me as a villain at this point, she’s more of a lingering headache that just won’t go away.
The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3 – Episode 4 Wrap-Up
It’s time to take a deep breath, just walk away from this episode, and move on. Shield Hero was back up on the rise for me after a lackluster Season 2. Everything up until this point for this season was on the right track to really present some high-quality moments. But if this schtick with Motoyasu and Filo continues past this episode, it’s going to be difficult to enjoy the series much less the rest of the season.
Even if series creator Aneko Yusagi intended for Motoyasu to be a hated character, there were just so many different ways that he could’ve been written. Raphtalia knocking him out at the end of the episode didn’t do anything for me. He should’ve received worse…a lot worse. It sucks to see a series that I thought had the best season premiere fall real quick.
Episode 4 rating: 5/10
If you think episode 4 of The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3 deserves to be in the top 10 in our next weekly poll then be sure to vote for it! Episode 5 will air on Friday, November 3. Crunchyroll is streaming the anime with English subtitles.
Images via Crunchyroll
©2021 Aneko Yusagi / KADOKAWA / Shield Hero S3 Production Committee