Rising of the Shield Hero: In Defense of the Sword Hero

Okay, Episode 10 is out and if you’ve watched it then you’ll know what I’m talking about, so I won’t waste time getting to the point:

Ren did nothing wrong.

As much as it pains me to come to the defense of what is basically Kirito, I have to do this because people are getting one message from this arc in particular and that’s Naofumi having to clean up the other three heroes messes. Because the author couldn’t think of a better way to make him look good. It’s a flaw of the industry unfortunately and why I don’t read many Light Novels as of late and why many of them have turned me off.

But first let me say that the anime has done an incredible job toning down the worst parts of the source materials. Half of the things that pissed me off have been tempered quite well, and it makes for smoother enjoyment. If I wasn’t so busy I might have actually backtracked on my word about not reviewing, but I am so I won’t.

Now onto the main issue. The gist is that, as far as I can tell, Ren received a request to kill a dragon and he did the job. However, when Naofumi gets there he finds that the villagers are dying of a plague from the dragon’s corpse. So Naofumi naturally calls him out about it and he accepts that he was careless, which is because of the other three heroes he has a working brain.

The problem here is that his request as far as I know was to kill the thing and he did so. They never put in a request for him to deal with the corpse, and in fact they mentioned the town prospered because people came to start harvesting materials for it. So that means they have ample to time to deal with the corpse itself before it started rotting, but they wanted to make a profit and waited until it got so bad they literally couldn’t enter because it attracted monsters.

In other words, they should have done something instead of waiting until it got so bad that they had to rely on a hero to solve the problem. In a civilization with magic, are you seriously telling me that they didn’t consider the meat would spoil and couldn’t freeze it? Or burn it? Or at least bury it. Hell, Ren had been greedier and absorbed the entire thing he could have gotten those cores instead.

That being said, I can’t defend the Spear and Bow. I mean, the former is stupid enough that he probably didn’t know the seed was cursed so his stupidity is actively harming people. Worse, I bet Malty could have read the script and just didn’t tell him.

The latter, on the other hand, actively participated in the resistance and so the blood on his hands is all him. The fact that he doesn’t even doesn’t even have the decency to reveal himself as the Bow Hero means that when there are screw-ups this major, no one can pin it on him so he never gets called out in it. There’s a reason why Naofumi always reveals his Shield when he’s getting paid to do major work, so they know just who it was helped them and he gets the good and the bad that comes with it.

Not that Naofumi is innocent either. Just as he calls Sword and Spear out on being careless, the Slave Trader points out that his business is flourishing because everyone knows he bought slaves from him. Filo was born from a monster egg, so they’ll go to him for those, except we’ve seen what happened in this very episode when they don’t get the right monster or it gets out of their control and ends up in the sewers.

Raph, on the other hand, is for all intents and purposes a child solider. She was 10 not even a few months ago, bought out as a slave for the express purpose of fighting, and look at how that turned out. Naofumi might treat her right, more business means he’ll need more slaves, and more people will  do what it takes to get them for a profit, resulting in more children who ended up like her, which means they are literally contributing to the situation she wanted to avoid.

Now, I don’t directly blame Naofumi for this. As established, when he first got her he literally would not have survived without her help, so it was take a slave or die. I didn’t like it, but I understood why he did it and could actually back up from a purely pragmatic point, which is ironically why him letting the bandits live bothers me. He even stated they killed people before, so they’ll just attack someone else once he’s gone. If you can’t report them to the guards then toss them over the cliffside.

That being said, I also don’t agree with Raph actually letting herself being rebranded, because to me her lecture about the Spear Hero not having slaves comes off as a child making an argument without considering the consequences. She a 10 year old in a 20 year old’s body. No, I will not let that go and I hate its even a thing.

But the issue is that neither Naofumi nor Raph took the time to consider the fact the consequences of what the slave trader said, and the show itself glosses over that fact before letting Naofumi call out the other two heroes. That doesn’t sit well with me because the one thing I can’t stand is someone being on a high-horse when they covered in just as much mud as the others. Especially not when I’ve seen it done better.

If you’ve ever watched Gundam Iron-Blooded Orphans, you’ll know after Tekkadan’s victory in Season 1, the number of Human Debris cases went up drastically because they were useful. That wasn’t their fault directly, but the consequences bit them in the ass and they at least did their best to clean up Mars on top of taking in kids so that they didn’t have to go through the same thing. And by the end of the series, Kudelia still passed legislation to try and prevent that from happening again.

I don’t like it when one side alone gets a pass when the other side gets punished for the same thing because of author bias. Not when it has consequences for others that are pushed off onto someone else. Not even if they’re the protagonist.

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One thought on “Rising of the Shield Hero: In Defense of the Sword Hero

  1. Pingback: Must-read Monthly Monday (May 2019 ed.) – The Animanga Spellbook

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