The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3 didn’t just premiere on Friday—it came back in a beautifully animated flurry of adventure, action, drama, and humor that we grew to know and love about the series. The premiere left me feeling like this is the Shield Hero we have all grown to miss. Even as someone who could do without isekai anime for a while, I couldn’t be happier to see the season premiere done right in every possible way.
An Impactful Start
I don’t think anything could’ve been better for this season than starting it off right in the heat of a battle with some great animation. Not only that but it’s followed up with what has proven to be what I think is one of the best openings of the season so far, possibly the best. Shingo Yamashita (Chainsaw Man, Jujutsu Kaisen, Ranking of Kings) directed, storyboarded, and edited the opening so it’s no wonder it was a sight to behold.
I’ve said time and time again that I absolutely love when a novel, manga, movie, show, whatever it may be, starts off with a scenario set in a future time and the rest of the story is about how that certain situation arose in the first place. Sometimes, the story can flop. But this episode did it flawlessly, leaving me entertained from start to finish and leaving tidbits here and there to also be excited for later down the line.
While it did slow down after the adrenaline-pump start thanks to the scene of Naofumi talking to the Queen, it was a wonderful moment to really bring about almost all of the problems they’ll be facing going forward. It’s a proper way to set the stage for everything to come rather than randomly throwing in conflicts as the series goes along and leaving viewers questioning “When did that happen?”
Some of the storyboarding with that second scene was also intriguing. The figures of all the heroes, Naofumi playing with what’s supposed to be his figure, the rack focus of the bottom half of the staff hero, and both Naofumi and the Queen being shown in the light at certain points. Director Hitoshi Haga did a good job with the storyboard for the most part of the episode despite a handful of low-quality art with the characters at times.
Reunions and Introductions
Shield Hero Season 3 is at an advantage in one aspect and that’s character introductions and reunions. For series airing for the first time this season, they need to make an impact right away with their characters. Otherwise, it could turn a lot of viewers away from watching the rest of its respective season. Luckily for Shield Hero, that isn’t the case. In fact, it even has more of an advantage in introducing new characters as well.
What I mean by this is that even if any new characters that are introduced end up being uninteresting, you still have the core group of characters that fans still love to fall back on to make the story interesting. That being said, Shield Hero‘s introduction of new characters was also executed very well. In this episode, we were introduced to the cunning Nadia.
Someone who obviously knows way more about the underground world than Naofumi already poses an interesting friend-or-foe type of scenario. So while a stockpile of conflicts was set in this episode, we also get introduced to interesting characters, including the Staff Hero—not even to mention the shadowy figure shown at the very end of the episode. Judging from the opening, even more are on the way!
But it’s not just the new character advantage Shield Hero Season 3 utilized to perfection, it did so with the reunion of Erhard. Even the mood with Rishia, Raphtalia, Filo, and Naofumi mirrored how I felt when they walked into his shop. The banter between Naofumi and Erhard was a nice light-hearted moment that almost felt like a warm welcome back. It ended up being a nice cooldown from all the seriousness the main group was enduring in this episode up until that point.
Shield Hero Humor and Adventure
One thing I can always count on with Shield Hero is the humor. Even in the midst of battle, Naofumi calls himself, Filo, and Raphtalia the “dark horses” of the fight, meaning they’re the underdogs according to the bettors, just for Filo to respond, “Are we horseys?” is classic Shield Hero humor that I love.
Even when the Queen called Malty her real name, coughed, and reiterated what her current name is now, I couldn’t help but bust out laughing despite the serious conversation she and Naofumi were supposed to be having. It’s just something about the timing of the humor in this episode that I really enjoyed and didn’t need much thinking after that puzzle of a start.
Even though the adventure part of the episode was short-lived in order to get the story along to Zoltolbe, we still received a nice little traveling montage as they began their journey. Although, I will admit, the CGI Filo threw me off. It didn’t necessarily look bad but given that she was drawn in 2D for still images, but 3D in animation was odd. But that’s just nitpicking. Either way, the montage was a nice touch with the visuals and, of course, a stellar soundtrack composed by Kevin Penkin.
Setting the Stage
Now that I’ve discussed why the premiere was great, here’s a quick list of over a dozen conflicts the series is tackling within just the season premiere. If you can name any other premiere from this season with more conflicts in place, I’d love to hear it. So let’s run down the list, shall we?
1. The three other heroes are currently missing.
2. The Phoenix Guardian will awaken in three months.
3. The curse from Ryo is still hindering the status of Naofumi, Raphtalia, and Filo.
4. Nations are currently surrounding Melromarc, including Faubrey.
5. The disdain for demi-humans and Naofumi are both prevalent in Melromarc despite Melty’s best efforts.
6. The Queen wants those with such disdain towards them out of power, but their loyalty to her late husband makes the situation difficult.
7. She also recovered the Spirit Tortoise’s body.
8. The Staff Hero is in Melromarc and doesn’t like Naofumi.
9. The other Seven Star Heroes are missing.
10. Malty, aka “b****”, is hidden near the northern border of Melromarc planning god-knows-what.
11. Naofumi is currently trying to buy back everyone from Lurolona who is now being sold as slaves.
12. They’re being sold for a hefty price.
13. Only one demi-human from Lurolona is in the town of Zeltolbe.
14. The only way to get said demi-human is to partake in underground fights with no rules attached.
15. Now slaves are being sold with the Lurolona name to them because the town’s name has become a brand thanks to it being the Shield Hero’s town.
Shield Hero Season 3 Premiere Wrap-Up
This was a damn good premiere. While there were some art inconsistencies, they were tossed to the side. The script was great. The animation was solid when it needed to be. The opening is one of the best of the year. The soundtrack slaps as always. The comedic timing was on point. There were so many more positives than negatives, and even then the negatives were extremely minor. I can’t wait for the next episode!
Shield Hero Season 3 premiere rating: 10/10
Episode 2 of Shield Hero Season 3 will air on Friday, October 13, 2023. If enjoyed the season premiere, then be sure to vote for it in our weekly poll!
Images via Crunchyroll
©2021 Aneko Yusagi / KADOKAWA / Shield Hero S3 Production Committee