Netflix Fantasy Anime Twists Isekai Formula By Punishing Hero

By Nina Phillips | Published

In most Isekai anime, the hero is the golden child who can do no wrong. The Rising of the Shield Hero takes this premise and turns it on its head, showing viewers what would happen if the hero wasn’t loved but was needed all the same. This twist makes the series stand out, though it still has quite a few faults.

Heroes From A Different World

The Rising of the Shield Hero is an Isekai in which a gamer, Naofumi Iwatani (Kaito Ishikawa), from the modern world, is summoned into a parallel world. He is one of four heroes summoned and becomes the hero of the shield. He and the other three summoned men are meant to save the world from a prophesized evil.

However, though he tries to do his job and be the hero the world wants him to be, he ends up in a losing battle with those living in the kingdom as they turn against him for various reasons. Despite that, he manages to pull together a group of protectors, including a demi-human named Raphtalia (Asami Seto) and a Filolial known as Filo (Rina Hidaka).

Subverting Expectations

rising of the shield hero

Though this is an Isekai, it manages to subvert a lot of the tropes commonly associated with the genre. For example, while you might expect a summoned hero to be loved and wanted by the world asking him for help, that isn’t the case with Naofumi in The Rising of the Shield Hero. Also, the other three heroes summoned are exaggerated versions of other Isekai heroes, such as being very perverted, treating the people in the world as disposable, and caring more about appearances than the actual fighting.

Some Tropes It Can’t Get Rid Of

However, while it makes fun of certain tropes, it also embraces some of the more questionable ones, such as slavery. In its attempt to poke fun at other anime, it also makes light of some serious problems in the real world, such as false accusations and corrupt leaders.

I’m not a fan of slavery and harem tropes at all. And while technically, The Rising of the Shield Hero isn’t a harem, it’s close enough to make me not want to watch it. Despite that, I gave the first season a try. 

Protecting A World That Hates And Fears Him

Even overlooking these two problems, I didn’t enjoy the series. There were some interesting parts, like how hard the main character has to fight to make a place for himself and the way it seems like the entire world is against Naofumi despite him just trying to help. Those parts made me angry, in a good way, and I really liked them and these scenes almost made me like The Rising of the Shield Hero

However, the rest of the story was just bland. While our hero in The Rising of the Shield Hero is fighting against the world to do the right thing, I was entranced. But then the moments between this are bland and uninteresting.

Available On Streaming


If you like Isekai, slavery tropes, and almost-harems, then you’ll like The Rising of the Shield Hero. It just wasn’t for me personally, but I think for the general audience, it’s probably slightly better than average but nothing terribly special.

This may still be a little lower than the average user would give The Rising of the Shield Hero. On My Anime List, the series has a 7.95 out of 10 for its average score.

If you want to watch The Rising of the Shield Hero yourself, it’s available on quite a few platforms, including Crunchyroll, Hulu, and Netflix with a basic subscription.