After accidentally angering Scott (keyword being “accidentally”), I started having flashbacks to soured friendships from 5 years ago…
Outside of the bird-racing, concept of the Four Cardinal Heroes and whatnot, Shield Hero is a somewhat ordinary isekai, which means its roots in “going on a big adventure as a rite to adulthood” should be there as well.
So what does this have to do with the introductory line?
Well, remember how I said I saw myself in Naofumi in regards to anger? If you follow that particular line of thought through what’s happened in Shield Hero so far (i.e. you pay attention to how Naofumi starts out hopeful and naive, switches to angry and then proceeds to mellow out), it could basically be said Shield Hero isn’t just a “rude awakening” for him. It’s an emotional coming-of-age, and the fact he’s older than the average isekai protagonist at 20 drives home the fact some people don’t ever get beyond being naive. Or angry.
Yeah…to put the previous paragraph in one sentence, it’s a Bildungsroman, but fuelled by anger.
However, it’s never too late to learn what makes you “inexperienced” and “immature” in order to right yourself on the quest to self-improvement. Raphtalia in particular teaches him how to keep his anger in check and become a better person, even in the darkest of his anger abyss as you see in episode 4 after Myne interferes. As of episode 5 Filo has also taught him the trials of raising another living creature and subsequently being able to reciprocate their love and/or attention, which, as My Roommate is a Cat will attest, is a possible route towards mutual emotional growth as well. Only time and future content will tell exactly what Filo’s human (?) form will mean in this regard.
(…hey, this sounds kind of like an OWLS post. Maybe I should’ve saved it for then instead.)
As to what happened to me 5 years ago, the sorta short version is that my love of quotes (and general lack of communication with the friends I was with) got me in trouble with some friends. They thought my recording of their dialogue as quotes was a breach of privacy and my anger got the best of me while I was apologising, so they never took me seriously. It’s basically one of my big examples I can cite when it comes to relating to Naofumi, but it’s always tough to recall because the story ends in two severed friendships and me crying “I’m sorry!” over and over again…and I don’t think I’ll ever recover because time doesn’t heal that sort of thing. People do.
Sidebar: This was written almost 2 weeks out from the airing of episode 5, which was as far as I’d gotten with the anime as of that point. This is why I didn’t really elaborate on how Raphtalia and Filo helped Naofumi emotionally – because there might’ve been developments in the web novel and manga, as well as further on in the anime, that defeated any words I provided.
Talking about emotions is hard, but framing them in the context of anime makes them easier to talk about. So, for those of you still watching The Rising of the Shield Hero, what do you think about Naofumi’s emotional development?