Before the Spring 2022 anime season started, few series were as hyped as The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 2. Three years on from the successful first season, Naofumi’s story was set to return with a brand new arc. However, after the first three episodes, fans all over the world have been turning to each other and asking why is Shield Hero Season 2 so bad?
Social media has been filled with people questioning what’s happened to the much-loved isekai anime since the first season. As one of those disappointed fans myself, I’ve done some digging to unearth potential reasons behind the sequel’s flat start.
Before going any further, though, here’s a little bit of context behind my opinions. I watched the first season of The Rising of the Shield Hero at the start of this year and got through it in a few weeks.
While I’m not usually a huge fan of isekai anime, I saw Shield Hero as perhaps one of the most realistic depictions of the genre I can remember.
I enjoyed the fact that Shield Hero played on the very idea of four teenagers being given videogame hero-like status and the pitfalls associated with that.
Like many people, I was very hopeful for the second season, but the opening episodes dampened a lot of my enthusiasm.
Is The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 2 ACTUALLY Bad?
Of course, it depends on who you ask. Scores after three episodes on MyAnimeList suggest The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 2 is doing okay but is worse than the first season, while reactions from anime-only fans of the series have been largely negative.
Here are some reasons why the second season might have disappointed so far:
Shield Hero Season 2’s Delay
The first reason why the second season of The Rising of the Shield Hero might have disappointed fans is the delay between the first and second seasons.
Hype has sunk many a decent anime series before. A three-year gap between seasons, combined with the fact that season 2 was initially announced for last year, meant that Shield Hero Season 2 was one of the most anticipated anime of the year.
With all the excitement, it’s easy to forget that Shield Hero is just an isekai fantasy series. While the series has a big and passionate following, it’s not exactly an award-winning novel that’s being adapted, like a Spy x Family or Attack on Titan.
The first episode of the second season felt a bit like a reintroduction to the world and its characters. However, it did very little to create a plot or set up the season, which left the series on the back foot immediately.
Compare that to the first episode of season one, which was incredibly dramatic and set the foundations for the whole story.
As a result, it might take longer than wanted for the second season’s story to get back up to speed, especially in comparison to season one.
Shield Hero Season 2’s Story Changes
Some fans of the Shield Hero light novels have noted that some story points have been altered in the anime, presumably to ensure the story fits into Shield Hero Season 2’s smaller episode count.
In particular, some details from in-between the first and second seasons have been removed. These details have removed some of the backstories behind new characters, techniques and developments seen in the first few episodes of season 2.
Many fans have said that it feels like season 2 is being rushed. Similar to the points on the first episodes mentioned above, perhaps the series is just paying the price for cutting details that could potentially add richness to what’s happening in the series.
Shield Hero Season 2’s Animation
The animation quality in The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 2 is not at the same level as the first season. While the animation fluctuated during season one, it was generally at a higher standard than we’ve seen in the second season so far.
Also, there is no excuse for the Spirit Tortoise…
There are many potential explanations, though, for the drop in animation quality. Firstly, this season isn’t purely the responsibility of Kinema Citrus as per season one.
Season 2 of The Rising of the Shield Hero is being animated by Kinema Citrus with help from DR Movie.
While DR Movie has provided assistance on some big shows, when it comes to actually co-producing an anime, their record is small and not exactly filled with successful series.
The reason for the second season being co-produced isn’t clear, and it wouldn’t be right to speculate too much. However, you do wonder if the change in process has created issues.
There is also a change of director from the first season. The new director, Masato Jinbo, has lots of experience directing successful shoujo and magical girl shows but has little experience with big shounen anime.
In a battle arc like the Spirit Tortoise, where animation and also choreography are as important as the story in delivering a good series, an accumulation of possible influences has combined to deliver a flat visual experience.
Shield Hero Season 2’s New Characters
Another aspect that hasn’t helped The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 2 is its new characters, which have largely disappointed me so far.
Again, this ties into the point mentioned above concerning elements of the Shield Hero light novel that have been cut.
For example, Eclair, the pink-haired Knight who is new in season 2, has a big introduction in the gap between the first and second seasons. As we don’t see that, anime onlys like myself are left trying to fill in the gaps and give her character layers that simply don’t exist yet.
The two main new characters in The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 2 so far have been Rishia and Ost. Unfortunately, despite their good points and some cool scenes involving Ost, the most notable feature for both of them is their lack of smarts.
More doe-eyed and dopey women play into the idea that Shield Hero is just a harem, something that is obviously false. However, their personalities end up serving as a reminder that this is just another fantasy anime, especially when the rest of the season is also failing to deliver.
Perhaps, though, that is the most important takeaway from Shield Hero Season 2’s underwhelming start. Just as people, like myself, criticise the series, many have enjoyed the season so far.
The Rising of the Shield Hero isn’t meant to be a world-beating anime. It is a fun isekai story, originally created online for free, that plays on the tropes seen in similar series and adds a dash of maturity and politics.
While the second season might not reach the heights of season one, it should still deliver a series full of drama and action.
I’ll still be watching The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 2. I won’t hold out hope of it being a hugely memorable show, but it should still be a fun-filled action series, and that’s all I really need from my isekai anime.