Hero’s Dilemma – Episode 23 Rising of the Shield Hero

The story of Naofumi has taken us all the way to the beach. Yes I said it the beach and as any long standing anime fan would know it means Raphtalia is getting a swim suit. That should be enough fan service for another story arc. And yes while we are excited about Raphtalia’s swim suit there is a lot going on in this episode. We meet L’Arc and Theresa and have conversations with them. We see the other heroes poorly attempt to cooperate with Naofumi or listen to him. The real dilemma that Naofumi now has is instead of overcoming false accusations against him is actually getting others to recognize his worth as a hero.

Naofumi has been cleared from his crimes and while it has been broadcast at least in the capital of Melromarc news is slow to reach the rest of the kingdom. When engaged in a introduction while L’Arc and Theresa, Naofumi introduces himself as the shield hero. L’Arc laughs and says there is no way he could be Naofumi, blinders in his eyes as he ignores the shield heroes shield. At first Naofumi is frustrated. L’Arc while ignorant to Naofumi’s true identity says the reason Naofumi can’t be the shield hero is because that Naofumi is a good guy and the shield hero is dangerous villain. This makes both Filo and Raphtalia laugh because they know that Naofumi isn’t a villain but actually a good person and see him as worthy of the shield hero title. Looking through the lens of someone who doesn’t associate Naofumi with the shield hero both L’Arc and Theresa are just having a conversation with an adventurer they have just met and are genuine with their feelings about this adventurer. This presents both the case that if Naofumi had been an average adventurer and not a shield hero he could have had an equal shake at engagement with other humans and humanoids in the kingdom, and at the same time presents the dilemma that if he isn’t recognized by strangers as the shield hero where is his credibility as a hero?

Of course this could be an overblown observation. Plenty of other people see Naofumi as the shield hero, but most of these other people have seen Naofumi since his arrival in Melromarc or are associated with governance and know Naofumi by either decree or some other means of information. It does draw the question  would other countries outside Melromarc recognize Naofumi as the shield hero and how easily could he prove it. And putting the question of establishing identity aside how do we know Naofumi could be a credible hero in the eyes of the world. He has been given the shield and been given the identity of the shield hero but does the world recognize him as a hero who could save the world from the present danger of the waves, which we still have precious little information about.

Now that Naofumi has had his name cleared its finally the start of the phase where Naofumi would need to step up and fill in the shoes of a true hero through action. And while Naofumi has overcome adversity and learned more about this world having the makings of a hero in the works, there is still questions of if the other heroes will step up. That is definitely a conversation that must be had at some point. Can the other heroes actually step up with Naofumi and save this world? At this point hero is in the name only.

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