The Rising of the Shield Hero returns triumphantly in the Fall 2023 anime season with Season 3. The series pushes forward after some pretty emotional departures in the previous season, notably Ost. But the rebuilding phase is not without its issues: slaves are being bought up to sell outside of the country, enemies are sighted in the north, and more to come in Season 3. Thanks to a screener generously provided by Crunchyroll, I can provide my thoughts in this review of The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3 Episode 1, “The Dark Coliseum.”
A World Whose Seedier Elements Are Adapting to Change
The Spirit Tortoise catastrophe was staved off, and the next Wave won’t happen for a while. Naofumi is rewarded for his deeds with increased status while being made aware that other types of threats loom around Melromarc. Faubrey and the neighboring nations remain a disconcerting presence, but it’s all about making sure the villagers from Lurolona aren’t enslaved in terms of Naofumi’s priorities.
In this process, we see the return of Beloukas, the Slave Trader character who upholds his craft and sees Naofumi’s noble actions only as a means to galvanize his fellow traders. This results in the Shield Hero Season 3 premiere displaying a world whose seedier elements are adapting to change. It’s smart, yet scummy, and feels convincing as a well-written universe.
A Story of Reconstruction Hindered by Dark Impulses
A lot is happening after the events of Season 2. Society needs time to heal, but the wealthy elites aware of Naofumi’s actions see this as an enhancement of the Lurolona villagers’ value. It can get to the point where people can lie about their status and have their auction value boosted immensely. Despite Naofumi and others having the best intentions, this is a story of reconstruction hindered by dark impulses. So when Naofumi demands more info on demi-humans and where they’re being kept for the trade, he is sent to Zeltoble.
This is where the episode begins and ends, with the middle serving as a bit of a disjointed narrative. The trade is lucrative, and the Shield Hero’s party needs funding and info to proceed. This leads to fighting in the coliseum, where among other characters, he’ll meet Sadeena. It’s an action-packed exchange to help sell viewers on future episodes. The animation is perfectly fine, not stellar but engaging and entertaining, with the writing being perhaps the most exciting part of the episode.
The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3 Episode 1 is a passable and entertaining entry in the increasingly popular series. It serves as an interesting motivator for the main characters as they enter a new arc, with the promise of greater things on the horizon. The animation isn’t necessarily anything to write home about, but the show itself remains good to watch courtesy of the fine folks at Kinema Citrus.
This review of The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3 Episode 1 was made using a screener provided by Crunchyroll. Shield Hero premiered on Friday, October 6, 2023, at 5:30 AM PT, and is available to stream on Crunchyroll.