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Old 01-12-2019, 06:21 AM   #1
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Shield Hero

I think we need to discuss this show. I'm not going to call it "Shieldbro" anymore because I only just realized that the "bro" is actually an in-joke regarding the main charcter's misogyny. It's Shield Hero now.

This show is making rounds all across the internet for - spoiler! - a false accusation of rape in the very first episode.

This needs to be unpacked because everyone has a lot of shotgun opinions to it. The very presence of this plot twist has given people an edge to make broader statements about feminism, social justice and the incel/manosphere community. I feel whatever people think or feel about these topics can be dismissed as irrelevant, because Shield Hero is bad.

Why is it bad? From the first episode, we're told that the main guy is an otaku and a college student, and he's never had a girlfriend. He's a shy Japanese guy with an interest in women, but not a lot of history of success with them.

Out of nowhere, the guy is transported to a fantasy world with three other guys. We're soon told he's one of four legendary heroes, armed with a distinctive weapon, and that he's essential to stop "waves" of monsters from destroying the world.

Almost immediately, this guy is ostracized by the other heroes. They don't (immediately) discriminate him based on his 'weapon', a shield, but because he's slow to adapt to his surroundings (i.e., he doesn't run with it immediately) and his social status is lower than the others.

He's younger/poorer than the other college student other worlder, and the other two are smart high school kids. So he's at the bottom of the totem pole despite being second in age. These guys don't show a ton of respect for him.

Then we get to the court scene and the guy is openly called useless by pretty much everyone present, including the king. The level of distaste is completely out of proportion for what this guy has done (i.e., nothing) and disrespectful considering he's supposed to be a world saviour.

Later, there is a funding ceremony, and an ally selection ceremony. The shield hero Naofumi is given the least money, and no body sides with him to be his ally, because he doesn't have any offensive prowess. The need for a ceremony like this feels unnecessary, as does the spectacle of embarrassing the shield hero. Certainly people would have tipped him off ahead of time that he's on his own?

Then, we get one girl who sides with Naofumi. She's cute and Naofumi is instantly enchanted by her beauty and mystery, since she sided with him. She helps him out a bit and seduces him into buying some expensive equipment. Later that night, she steals the equipment and plants false evidence on him, takes his money and cries rape.

There's a court scene where the girl mocks Naofumi, and the king says his punishment is to live in shame, because they can't execute him as he's the hero of the story.

So none of this makes any sense. Turns out the girl who cried wolf is the daughter of the king and a princess. That means she's the richest person in the kingdom. Why the heck would she go to these lengths for cheap magical gear and some pocket change? Moreover, what was the point of framing him and setting him up for a rape charge? Why did she openly mock him in public? If she's the princess, why is she out of the castle, adventuring, and not staying inside protected where she can't be captured and ransomed as a hostage? Like none of this makes sense.

My only conclusion is she's a predatory person, and is doing this for laughs, and realized Naofumi was easy prey based on his lack of ego and desperation being thrust literally 1.5 days into a new world without a clue as to what's going on. This isn't a referendum on women being deceitful, hypergamous wenches, it's literally just an evil woman.

Manga spoilers:

Spoiler: show

Naofumi's response to this very public, visible betrayal is to hate all women. He then becomes a misogynist, and starts buying female slaves. However, he treats them "well" - by not beating them, raping them, and interacting with them - and his female slaves start to fall in love with him.

But he maintains he has a "father/daughter" relationship with them.

However, there's a problem with this. All his female slaves are of a half-human breed that age as they level up. Most of them are in their mid 20's so they're at their most fertile, and are destined to end up in menopause and age/die as they level up. So they're in love with Naofumi alone, but he refuses to return their affections due to either fear, or some kind of misogyny/butthurt from his first betrayal. Which is really cruel, in my opinion, to deny multiple girls one of their biological needs (the desire for sex) because of reasons. It's irresponsible, and it's also discourteous to his slaves.


Why does this bother me? Because after the false rape accusation, Shield Hero appears to be painfully generic and routine. All the tropes and stereotypes are here: the celibate hero with a dark past, tons of cute, powerful girls in an expanding, fluid harem. Lots of male power where Naofumi has the best weapon, his enemies and rivals are defeated/humiliated, and whatnot. The red pill theme that might have been hinted at with the rape accusation is dropped entirely.

To me, this means that the author deliberately threw in this twist as a hook to get people to watch his dumb, generic anime. And that crass intent is, itself, pretty debase and worthy of criticism. The story itself is bad. I would think that, if you want to get people to read your garbage, don't make it garbage. Write something decent and let its natural merit attract an audience.

But even more upsetting is the stupid hook has attracted legit incels, red pills to reading it. Apparently, most of the readers before the anime debut, who dubbed the show "Shieldbro" and claimed it was the best isekai, made up the fanbase. That means that while male power fantasy is derived from video game origin, there is a parallel appeal to incels and red pills who feel emasculated/deposed by women.

What does this mean, exactly? Consider how Pepe the Frog became a hate symbol, despite being nothing more than a depressed cartoon frog. He became a hate symbol by association, there's literally nothing offensive about Pepe in isolation.

Shield Hero has more offensive material to its nature, by virtue of being an isekai world with video game qualities. Video games are a male dominated interest, as is anime/manga. And now the readership base, and now anime viewing base, are swarming with male power scum because the author was crude enough to bait with a twist like that.

Is Shield Hero worth watching? No, I don't think so. But you should know about it.

You're going to be hearing about it non-stop alllll year.
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Old 01-14-2019, 12:38 PM   #2
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You made a small mistake. Naofumi is given the most money because he has only one party member.

I also talked about episode one in the bbb suggestion thread. I didn't really look into spoilers but it doesn't matter because I'm very unlikely to continue it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki View Post
Tried The Rising of the Shield Hero and I was not shocked by the fact that it's a very typical isekai, rather I'm shocked at how stupid the premise is.

Spoiler: show
The show is set up as very typical isekai. Main character is a guy who lives with his brother at home, is 20, and lives off his decent allowance from his parents. He seems to mostly play games at home. He decides to go to the library to read a book and he's magically sent to a fantasy land under attack by monsters. He appears with three others and each are given a legendary weapon: Sword, Spear/Staff, Bow, and obviously our protagonist has the Shield. While our hero is kind of in awe of the scenario, the others seem cocksure and demand rewards if they must help save the kingdom. So they're sent to the king.

This is all typical and while a bit unoriginal, wasn't really the worst stuff ever. It starts to take a downturn right after this with the huge exposition dump.

The king first asks for everyone's name, but before the shield hero can say his name, they already kind of ignores him and tries to start his speech until our hero interrupts him. Right off the bat, they're kind of downplaying him. He explains that next month a wave of monsters will attack the world and they need the power of the heroes to stop them. He also explains that in their current state, they might be too weak, so they all need to go out and get stronger.

The shield hero realizes his is the only one with a defensive weapon and they believe they should form a party and work together to get stronger. Except stupid rules prevents the 4 heroes from working together. Apparently if the legendary weapons get too close together, they won't grow quickly enough and kind of counteract each other. This is dumb. At this point, I found this whole scenario to be pretty contrived. Why would you have a 4 legendary hero system if they can't seem to work together to save the world? Just summon one then!

Whatever. The king then explains he will gather some adventurers to be their party members. They rest for the night and realize all four heroes are from different multiverse versions of Japan. In addition, all the other heroes pretty much state that Shield heroes suck in all their games. How hilarious! *stab self*

Next morning, there's like 12 adventurers of varying skills lined up in front of the 4 heroes. Then the king tells the adventurers to choose which hero they wish to follow. And not so hilariously, no one decides to follow the Shield Hero.

Apparently people believe he was uncultured and rude based on his interaction with the king the day prior (remember when the king completely ignored him). Eventually one sexy female decides she will follow the Shield Hero. To offset the imbalance, he offers the Shield Hero extra money each month to pay for provisions and equipment for their leveling experience and to regroup in about a month to fight off the next wave of monsters.

The girl then pretty much pretends to be his friend, then fakes a rape and steals all his money. Now everyone hates our hero and so he sets off on his own. He then decides to buy a slave since they're cursed to never betray their master to help him fight.

The last, 5 minutes after the rape accusation was kind of okayish. He has to basically bully merchants to make sure he gets his fair share and doesn't end up destitute since he's alone and pretty much can't fight with the shield.

So the big issue I have is how extremely dumb all of this feels. Firstly, why can't the legendary weapons work together? This seems really stupid for a system to save the world from powerful monsters. How will the four learn to work together and stop the evil if they have to work independently?

Could you imagine playing an MMO where you can't play with other players because you'd all gimp one another? I guess if you've every played Elder Scrolls Online at launch, you might know how this is. And it's stupid and awful. If this is the case, why even have 4 legendary heroes when a single hero could literally FARM ALL THE EXP for himself and be stronger than the 4.

Secondly, why would the people of this world, who are asking the heroes for their aid based on the legends of the four outright ignore one of them? This is like reducing your chances of winning by 25% just because you can't be nice to one extra guy. And if he is the weakest of the four heroes, why wouldn't you instead try to put more effort into helping him so he doesn't lag behind.

The whole scenario feels like it's set up for the protagonist's failure and comes off really unrealistically. Now we have an angry person who hates this country in charge of saving it from monsters.

Also, the whole rape scenario is really dumb. Again, why would you gimp your success rate by hurting the reputation of the hero? Like, wouldn't you make more money helping the hero with adventures than stealing this one time payment?

And the whole adventurers choosing their hero to follow is insanely idiotic. They don't even have any introductions or any screening process to choose who they want to follow. They just base it on 'Charisma' of the heroes. Like, why wasn't it decided like people picking their teams in gym class? Each hero chooses based on the pool of people and then they all end up with the same number? And even if the four heroes didn't know each other well, they shouldn't abandon their fellow hero if they have to work to save the fucking world! YOU CAN FUCKING DIE OUT THERE IF YOU FAIL! WHY WOULDN'T YOU ALL WANT TO HELP EACH OTHER OUT?


I don't think I'll continue watching. It's all too contrived.
As a setting, nothing makes sense. It's all built on a lot of nonsense just to push a bad scenario on the hero so he can suffer and we can watch him struggle.

A better dark fantasy isekai is Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash which has very believable characters and a bad situation thrust on the main characters in a realistic, natural way. Mainly, they're bad at being murder hobos and so they have to struggle to make enough money to survive and push themselves harder because of it.
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Old 01-16-2019, 01:34 PM   #3
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Episode 2

I'm still following this, for now. Perhaps not much longer. The tonal shift is pretty jarring.

Naofumi buys his slave and she's terrified of him, justifiably. Then he takes her to a cafe and she instantly becomes comfortable around him. What?

Spoiler: show
I did laugh at the deadpan "my companion might scream at night, though" gag.
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Old 01-18-2019, 07:06 AM   #4
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So I learned that Shield Hero is co-produced by CrunchyRoll, and it was picked up for an anime specifically for Western audiences.

An excerpt from an interview with the producer and composer:

Quote:
Originally Posted by CrunchyRoll
JT: This project mostly came out of trying to get more fans from overseas. Crunchyroll producer, Sae Ho Song, was the one to tip us off about Shield Hero, so that’s what prompted us to make it; he told us it was popular overseas. That’s also another reason why Kevin is part of this project, so we can get more overseas fans.

KP: For me, this is my first Crunchyroll title, and it’s also the first big title I’ve been doing since Made in Abyss finished airing. Originally, there was a bit of pressure, cause trying to find a way to do another project and not in the same way, but try and find a new and unique voice for Shield Hero. At the start, it was a bit of a challenge, but as the project started to pick up steam, we started writing more music, I found that it was actually quite natural to switch gears from one style, from one approach to another, because it was a completely different anime to what I’ve been used to writing before. And especially when it came to writing for battle music, trying to think of interesting ways to create tension in a battle track, for example, that would not be a typical approach was quite fun! So yeah, it’s been an interesting experience getting into Shield Hero, and it’s been really fun, and very very challenging, but very very enjoyable as well!
I'm firmly convinced that this is a gimmick anime that was sold exclusively on the rape accusation bait. All of this seems calculated to take advantage of the forgone SJW outrage to attract eyeballs.
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Old 01-23-2019, 11:21 AM   #5
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Alright, dropping this. Triggering gimmick aside, this is actually pretty poorly written. I read chapters of the manga and, while it's not as cringeworthy as the anime, the badly written parts become much more apparent and pretty incoherent.

Sucks. I need something new for this season, not that I had hopes for this anyway.
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Old 01-24-2019, 12:17 PM   #6
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I've known that the general viewing population isn't really all to smart, but the fact that this show is rated highly and seemingly beloved by viewers baffles me. It makes me wonder how many anime influencers are getting paid by Crunchyroll to push it.
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Old 02-16-2019, 03:58 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loki View Post
I've known that the general viewing population isn't really all to smart, but the fact that this show is rated highly and seemingly beloved by viewers baffles me. It makes me wonder how many anime influencers are getting paid by Crunchyroll to push it.
I checked on MAL and it's one of the most highly rated shows this season.

Slime Tensei (Fall 18 ): 8.411 (scored by 76,365 users)
Bunny Girl Sempai (Fall 18 ): 8.531 (scored by 155,147 users)
Shield Hero (Winter 19 ): 8.491 (scored by 50,919 users)

Bunny Girl Sempai beats it (.1 is significant) but that's a completed anime, and it's uncontroversial. It's almost a full tenth of a point ahead of Slime Tensei which to me is the considerably better anime.

Given how horribly routine and mediocre this anime is outside of the Gamergate hook, BPK and I concluded that the appeal is in the misogyny. People want to turn this into a /pol/ hot topic.
I constantly need to ground myself in the reality that the world is pretty insane right now; we elected Donald Trump president in the same lifetime that white male power is being challenged. It's eminently possible that high school-aged incels who already feel emasculated see this as an empowerment anime.
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Old 02-18-2019, 09:48 AM   #8
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I don't really agree. There's plenty of normal non-misogynistic people who enjoy the series.

I think it's more of the fact that this series uses kind of an underdog tale. The Shield Hero is about the biggest loser getting the worst weapon and given the worst scenario for his isekai adventure. Everyone roots for the underdog. People enjoy watching a hero persevere through struggles. They want him to get justice for his undeserved wrongs and prove he's right. Unfortunately this coupled with poor writing and people are ignoring those aspects.

Also, I find it funny that everyone called out Goblin Slayer on the goblin rape in episode one as a turn off, yet it then became the most watched show. Still, people called for it to be banned from the Crunchyroll Anime Awards because... rape is bad?

This is kind of the opposite with the false rape accusation and everyone is seemingly singing the show's praise. Will people ban it from the Anime Awards because of false rape?
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Old 02-23-2019, 12:40 AM   #9
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I got into a fight with a friend today about Shield Hero. I said it was a stupid idea to basically ignore one of the four heroes of legend just because he has a poor equipment and his counterargument was that I was overthinking it and the setting's own people were too dumb to understand how important he is.

I'm kind of baffled by this excuse. Apparently the setting's own people are dumb because this is the middle ages level of education and somehow that means they can ignore prophecy and legend?

I'm pretty sure if you're a dumbass in the middle ages, you take myth and legend as fact and you don't defy such an important prophecies involving saving your world from disaster.

He then said I was sick of the genre, which is half true in that I don't think the genre is very diverse. When I tried to say other series in the genre are better because they break the mold, he said it was just nostalgia, which I disagree with. I honestly think the series I like (Overlord S1, Grimgar, ReZero) change up the genre enough to make them interesting compared to so many in the genre.

He's a friend, so I didn't argue it with him too hard. We both gushed about Kaguya: Love is War, so he's not hopeless.
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Old 02-23-2019, 01:23 AM   #10
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"middle ages" and "pop culture middle ages" are different animals. I got to hear a lot about this when my sister was in her Medieval Studies stage.

The ancestry of Shield Hero goes something like this:



The idea of women as a sexual currency definitely originated from RPG hentai. You don't see it outside of RPG hentai until Mushoku Tensei. Though I'm sure the idea of the middle ages as a barbaric time where beautiful women were constantly preyed on has existed since Conan the Barbarian.
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:43 PM   #11
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Learned something interesting Loki.

It turns out that this series, much like Goblin Slayer, pulls designs from other anime series for its characters.

The blacksmith that befriends Naofumi is Jet Black. The Queen of the country whose name I forgot looks like Cornelia li Britannia.
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