Summary

  • The Rising of the Shield Hero season 3 starts off strong, making up for the flaws of season
  • The story and presentation are a significant improvement, surpassing the standards of season 1.
  • Season 3 brings back important characters and focuses on character development, bringing a refreshing change of pace. The return of these characters sets up promising potential for the anime’s best story in years.
  • The direction of season 3 is impressive, with incredible visuals and high-quality animation. The music also adds to the overall mood of each scene, making the episode a great start and promising a triumphant return for the anime.


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Warning: Contains spoilers for The Rising of the Shield Hero season 3, episode #1.The Rising of the Shield Hero season 3 is finally out, and it’s already proving to be a return to form for the series after the lackluster season 2. Following the defeat of the Spirit Tortoise in season 2, a new Guardian Beast, the Phoenix, is set to awaken in three months, but Melromarc has been left defenseless due to the mysterious disappearance of the Three Cardinal Heroes. To make matters worse, Naofumi can’t reclaim any more of his village’s original inhabitants turned slaves because they were all sold to the merchant country Zeltoble, so he and his friends are forced to go on a long trip while ultimately uncovering one secret after another.

Not only is The Rising of the Shield Hero season 3 off to a strong start, it’s already making up for the massive shortcomings of season 2. The story is a massive step up in terms of both execution and overall content, and the presentation, both in terms of music and animation, is finally back to the standards of season 1, if not outright surpassing them. As both a standalone episode and a reflection of what needed to be done to fix the anime, Shield Hero season 3, episode #1, without a doubt, succeeds on all fronts.

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The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3 Is A Return To Form For The Anime

The Three Cardinal Heroes

The first thing that makes The Rising of the Shield Hero season 3, episode #1 stand out is how much of a return to form it is. Season 2’s conflicts surrounding the Spirit Tortoise and Kyo were both problems that changed the story into an unfitting villain-of-the-week formula, and the fact that every character, both old and new, was so underdeveloped only made things worse. Season 3, however, seems to not only be taking its time to develop its story and characters, but is also bringing back the political and societal conflicts that defined season 1, making it already come across as a welcome change of pace.

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Moreover, The Rising of the Shield Hero season 3 appears to be bringing back important characters such as the Three Cardinal Heroes, Malty, and even Aultcray. Despite how involved they were in season 1, they were all either largely irrelevant to season 2 or simply not present, but episode #1 suggests that all of them will be important again with Malty becoming an antagonist once more and the Three Cardinal Heroes and Aultcray finally receiving character development and backstory. Bringing those characters back sets up a lot of promise for season 3, and if it takes its time, it can make for the anime’s best story in years.

Season 3’s Direction Is The Best The Rising of the Shield Hero Has Looked In Years

Naofumi in episode 1

Another factor that helps to sell The Rising of the Shield Hero’s season 3 premiere is its direction. While season 2 had sloppy art and animation for the entirety of its run, season 3 opened with incredible visuals, and the rest of the episode maintains that level of fluidity and overall high quality. Hitoshi Haga replaced Masato Jinbo as director and DR Movie is no longer assisting Kinema Citrus with animation, and it’s clear that both of those changes made for a great shakeup in production that’s put the animation back on season 1’s level, if not above it.

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What’s equally impressive about season 3’s presentation is the music. Kevin Penkin’s score is as excellent as ever, but with Alfredo Sirica and Natalie Jeffrey added to the soundtrack, it’s livelier than ever and does an even better job of highlighting the mood of each scene. Overall, the direction of The Rising of the Shield Hero season 3, episode #1 is filled to the brim with aesthetics, and with the improvements in the story taken into account, not only was the episode a great start to the season, but it promises a triumphant return to form for the anime, as a whole.

The Rising of the Shield Hero releases new episodes on Fridays on Crunchyroll.

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