The Rising of the Shield Hero S3 Ep 9 Review
Last week, things weren’t looking good for Naofumi and his allies. Their baby dragon, Gaelion, got possessed by the spirits of two angry adults. Filo’s being used as an unwilling battery as they drain her levels like a parasite. The whole group’s barely hanging on against this pseudo-dungeon boss. And like the boss to any dungeon in an MMORPG, everyone has to work together to slay the dragon.
This might be among the best fights of the entire season.
First Step to Beating the Boss: Find the Weakspot
With the Dragon Emperor bearing down on them with its flames, Naofumi’s barely able to keep everyone alive. It’s only thanks to a well-placed attack by Atla that they managed to escape with their lives. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that by the next day, the dragon will have drained all of Filo’s XP. To make matters worse, Atla, the only one who can hurt it, can’t do so without risking her own life. As everyone regroups and re-strategizes, though, we get a better look at her past through flashbacks.
Gaelion Was a Great Dad
As Wyndia explained, Gaelion is her adoptive father; her biological father died from injuries while (likely) fleeing slavers or persecution. He only lived long enough to tell Gaelion her name.
What follows is one of the most genuinely heartwarming moments of the season. There are a plethora of examples of real-life babies raised by animals, and while Gaelion’s considered sentient, he still counts. Seeing him try in vain to soothe a crying baby Wyndia with raw fish (and treasure) is something plenty of dad’s can relate to. And seeing Wyndia imitate Gaelion’s roar tugs at the heartstrings. It goes a long way to show how important they were to each other, and only makes what happened all the more tragic.
There is a point to this flashback, though. Wyndia remembers that she accidentally discovered her Dad’s weak-spot: an upside-down scale on his chest.
So now, they have to hit that.
Might Not be an MMORPG, But It can Still Play Like One
Shield Hero has made no attempts to hide its MMORPG influences from day one; that’s a known fact. At the same time, it’s also made it clear that, while some aspects of it function like an MMORPG, real life is still real life, as the heroes have all had to learn. In the case of fights like the one against the reborn Dragon Emperor, though, the show knows how to play its roots to its advantage.
Anyone who’s played MMO’s like World of Warcraft, Star Wars: the Old Republic, and more know what the final boss of a dungeon’s like. It’s a fight that tests them to their limits and requires perfect teamwork and not pulling a Leeroy Jenkins. Thankfully, not only did Naofumi’s group come to play, but so did the animation.
The fight that follows, while not quite as tense as the previous episode, makes up for things with letting everyone get at least one good hit in. However, despite everything, it’s not until Atla and Fohl show up that the tide truly turns. It shows that the studio put much of its budget into Atla’s final attack, because it is breathtaking to watch.
In the end, Naofumi and others manage to free Gaelion jr. and Filo from the Dragon Emperor, and Sadeena rips its core out. Boss fight won!
They’ve Got a Dragon Now!
So, despite having to say goodbye to her father for a second time, Wyndia manages to make peace with what happened, and starts to forgive Ren. The show makes it no secret that had Ren known the truth, he wouldn’t have fought Gaelion. Thus, it’s satisfying when afterwards, Naofumi tells the villagers, “you all duped Ren into killing that dragon for its treasure and steal his daughter. You brought this on yourself and got what you deserved.” Knowing what he can do to people who make him mad, they got off easy. It’s also satisfying to see Wyndia take the first steps to healing by thanking Ren for saving her.
Except the OG Gaelion isn’t gone for good. Part of his soul’s now rooming in Gaelion Jr.’s body, which he asks Naofumi to keep quiet about. Sadly for Filo, Jr isn’t giving the XP back, and who can blame him? He can turn into a dragon big enough for the heroes to ride!
Thus, the Sword Hero manages to make amends for one of his biggest mistakes, but the season’s not done yet. Itsuki’s still MIA, and the title for next week’s episode makes it clear the search for him’s about to start.
This could be the hardest attempt yet.