The Rising of the Shield Hero S3 Ep 12
Raphtalia is one of the best waifus in the history of the Isekai genre. She’s beautiful, kind, and strong, and she was the big reason that Naofumi never entirely gave into the despair from his early days as the Shield Hero. While Naofumi either ignores or remains oblivious that she’s in love with him (for now), he will still go to war against anyone who would hurt her. That is precisely what happens in the final episode of this season of Shield Hero. When an entire country targets Raphtalia for reasons straight out of Game of Thrones, Naofumi marches to war.
A Ridiculous Misunderstanding
Having spent the entire season tracking down the three Cardinal Heroes and setting them straight, things seem to finally be going right for Naofumi. The Heroes are cooperating, Lulorona Village is flourishing despite some setbacks, and everyone’s getting stronger. Gaelion’s even started teaching Naofumi, Raphtalia, and Sadeena how to use Dragon Veins. Things finally seem to be doing well for the Shield Hero.
Then, due to a ridiculous misunderstanding, the Heroes get caught in another conflict.
It all started when Naofumi asked Erhard to make Raphtalia a Miko Outfit based on the one she wore in Glass’ world. While the anime doesn’t explain why he did this, the Light Novel’s do: because he thought she looked cute. It was for cosplay, plain and simple. However, when Sadeena comes back and sees Raphtalia wearing it, she freaks out and begs her to take it off.
Then, all hell breaks loose as the village comes under attack from demihuman ninjas.
Q’Ten Lo and their Stupidity
The ninjas prove tough enough to fight on even ground with the Cardinal and Vassal Heroes, cancelling their powers. It takes everyone’s help to take them down, but then they blow themselves up before they can talk. And the whole time, they were going about “Heavenly Emperor” and not letting Raphtalia claim it. Thankfully, no one dies, but one kid’s left in bad shape.
Afterwards, Sadeena took everyone aside and explained everything. To the east of Melromarc is the country of Q’Ten Lo, which is a stand-in for Feudal Japan, complete with an Emperor and isolationist policies. In the past, the royal family went through a whole Game of Thrones/House of the Dragon scenario, fighting and killing to decide the next Heavenly Emperor. By the time the dust settled, only two people were left, and one of them was Raphtalia’s father. He and her Mom didn’t want to get involved in that nonsense, so they bailed and moved to Melromarc before she was born. Sadeena, whose family had guarded the royal family for generations, went with them. In other words, Raphtalia is a Princess, and those assassin’s tried to kill her to prevent her from claiming the throne.
It turns out, the Q’Ten Lo government had had assassin’s watching Raphtalia and her parents all her life, ready to kill her at a moment’s notice. And when they saw her wearing that miko outfit, they misunderstood it for her gunning for the throne and overreacted by picking a fight with her and the Cardinal Heroes. Like idiots. Like a bunch of idiots.
A Pissed off Naofumi Goes to War
So, let’s look at the evidence:
A bunch of Assassin’s overreacted to Raphtalia’s innocent cosplaying (because Naofumi thought she looked cute.)
They attacked Raphtalia, her village, and the people in it.
They tried to kill three of the Cardinal Heroes, the one’s supposed to save their world from the Waves, which would screw over everyone.
By doing so, they risked an international incident with Melromarc.
The thing that Naofumi cares the most about, though? These people knew about everything that Raphtalia went through. Losing her parents to the Waves. How she and her friends got enslaved with many of them dying. They knew about everything she went through before she met Naofumi and since, and didn’t do a thing to help her.
Naofumi’s response: he’s going to war.
While revenge is a part of Naofumi’s decision (and in this case, an understandable response), there’s logic behind it. This country was willing to kill the people meant to save their world for reasons that, in the grand scheme of things, are incredibly petty and stupid. In addition, the Phoenix, the next of the beasts after the Spirit Tortoise, will revive in two months. They can’t afford to be distracted like this. So, Naofumi tells everyone present that they’re headed to Q’ten Lo to put their leaders in their place. However, to get there, they must first travel to the one nation Q’ten Lo interacts with: Siltvelt. AKA, the land that worships the Shield Hero like a God. Thus, the season ends with Naofumi flying ahead on Gaelion to give the others a spot to teleport.
Things are about to get Game of Thrones in here.
The Next Season Should be Fun
Full disclosure: I’m a fan of stories that have political intrigue in the vein of Game of Thrones. Since the show ended, though, I’ve also come to love these stories for another reason: to laugh at how trivial, petty, and stupid the scheming is.
No, really. After seeing how badly Westeros was ravaged from people fighting over a throne that, in the end, no one claimed, made me realize how pointless the whole thing was. Especially given how the entire thing took place while an army of ice zombies gathered in the far north. Replace the White Walkers with the Waves of Catastrophe and the Phoenix, and the Shield Hero deals with the same thing. They’re ready to destroy the world, and idiots in power are playing politics. And unlike Jon Snow, Naofumi has far less tolerance for their nonsense.
So, whenever the next season comes around, we’ll see Naofumi going to the country that worships him and then overthrowing a country dumb enough to make an enemy out of him. Not a bad way to end the season.
As for the season, it doesn’t quite reach the height of excitement that the first season did. Nor did it have quite as interesting a premise as the second season (even if several factors ruined it). However, this season feels like it was meant to be a breather before a potentially big storm. The storm in question being what will go down in Q’ten Lo.
I’m looking forward to it, regardless.
Also, I’m with Naofumi on this. Anyone who tries to hurt Raphtalia will suffer. Like these two.