The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 2 Episode 8 gave fans the most heartwrenching moment of the entire season so far with Raphtalia giving an emotional goodbye. This episode showed that Kim Min-Sun didn’t simply make her series debut as an episode director—she made a grand entrance by giving Raphtalia the proper spotlight.
The Little Things Matter
Throughout the episode, viewers are given precious little moments of Raphtalia being a younger version of herself reminiscent of when we first met her in Season 1. Whether it’s her being jealous of Naofumi talking to another girl, embarrassed of how much she needs to eat, wanting Naofumi to compliment her outfit, or the strong desire to fight for Naofumi, everything that made Raphtalia the character we all grew to adore was in the spotlight in this episode. But it wasn’t simply nostalgia that made the climax of episode 8 that much more impactful, it was how all of these moments were executed.
The episode had a set pace to it where it warmed you up at the beginning, made you cautious halfway through, then left you heartbroken at the end. It’s the way Min-Sun made the viewer grow attached to Raphtalia over the course of those 23 minutes that defined the episode. The cute, interactive moments Raphtalia had with everyone that left us laughing and smiling only to have it all come crashing down in the final moments not only made it feel like Naofumi lost someone precious to him, but the viewers as well.
We know Raphtalia isn’t dead and that she’ll be back at some point. But losing her is similar to Naofumi losing a piece of himself. Raphtalia is the entire reason he became who he is now just as she’s a major reason why so many people are fans of the series. From the first moment he took her out to eat in the first season up until now, Raphtalia was a consistent bright spot in the series in terms of both writing and enjoyment. And she made sure that she remained Naofumi’s sword until the very end no matter what.
Naofumi’s rage that was pronounced to be gone in episode 6 of this season now has all the means in the world to come back. And with Raphtalia gone, who is there to bring him back down when his hatred and sorrow let loose again?
The Build-up to Raphtalia’s Goodbye
After watching episode 8, it came to mind that everything we’ve seen in Season 2 up until this point was for this moment. With Filo and Raphtalia gone, the little seeds that were planted earlier in this season didn’t seem like such a big deal at the time. Take for example the shot below from episode 4. During this moment, Rishia was telling Ost that she envied the sisterhood that Filo and Raphtalia developed between each other. As viewers, we look at this scene to remind us just how close the two have become. But what it actually accomplished was developing our love for their characters even more. Now that both are gone, we also feel that emptiness that Naofumi is also feeling.
Despite Rishia and Kizuna by his side, Naofumi might feel like everything has gone back to square one. With his level down, his closest allies gone, and now carrying a rage-filled heart again thanks to Kyo’s actions, how Naofumi will proceed to go about such circumstances is what we’re all waiting to see. It’s a point in the story that finally gives Season 2 the extra spark of life it needed.
I think the best part of the climax of the episode is that Raphtalia didn’t say goodbye to Rishia or Kizuna, she only said goodbye to the one person who was there for her from the beginning—Naofumi. That little something, yet so grand at the same time, made the ending of episode 8 much more impactful. And the terrific voice acting by Asami Seto (Raphtalia) and Kaito Ishikawa (Naofumi) was the sweet cherry on top of it all.
After this week’s episode, and the new key visual that was released, it’s clear we are going to see Naofumi reunite with Raphtalia and Filo at some point. But the question of how he is going to reunite with them is what will make these next five episodes that much more interesting, especially with the anticipation of Naofumi’s rage coming back.
The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 2 is still holding strong in our top-10 weekly poll. The series has now placed in the top-10 five out of the seven weeks for the Spring 2022 season. After yet another fantastic episode, make sure to vote for the series to keep The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 2 in the top-10!
Episode 9 of The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 2 will air on Wednesday, June 1, on Crunchyroll.
©2021 Aneko Yusagi / KADOKAWA / Shield Hero S2 Production Committee