We recently discussed the appeal and the rising popularity of isekai anime, and The Rising of the Shield Hero is a gem of the genre. It follows the story of Naofumi and other heroes who are transported into the narrative world with one simple objective: repel the Waves plaguing the land. However, things aren’t always so straightforward, and to defeat the Waves, our heroes must understand exactly what the Waves of Calamity are.
Waves of Calamity are seemingly random but recurring phenomena that devastate the nearby lands and open monster-spewing portals.
From the viewers’ perspective, the Waves in The Rising of the Shield Hero, much like Titans in Attack on Titan, serve as central narrative elements that drive the story, introduce tension, challenge the protagonist, and act as metaphors for deeper themes. But from the in-universe perspective, the Waves of Calamity are seemingly random but recurring phenomena that devastate the nearby lands and open monster-spewing portals.
According to an ancient tome within the Ancient Labyrinth Library, the Waves of Calamity are a result of God-like entities shooting pool—so to speak. In normal circumstances, the universe of The Rising of the Shield Hero contains different dimensions, or worlds, floating around in vast space.
Once the worlds collide and the Wave begins, various portals, known as hourglasses, open up and unleash hordes of monsters upon the world…
Due to their free-floating movement, these worlds rarely impact each other. However, on a rare occasion when they do collide, the border between the worlds “bleeds” and causes dimensional cracks in the sky.
The Waves of Calamity are the result of this natural phenomenon occurring at a higher frequency due to the manipulation of aforementioned ancient entities, who basically treat worlds as balls on a billiard table, manipulating them into hitting each other randomly and often.
Once the worlds collide and the Wave begins, various portals, known as hourglasses, open up and unleash hordes of monsters upon the world of The Rising of the Shield Hero.
The Wave lasts until one of two things occurs: either that world is destroyed, or the heroes manage to defeat the main monsters.
It’s worth noting that these monsters are far more powerful than the average monsters that exist in the world. This includes a wide array of different monstrosities the fandom probably encountered in different media, such as zombie dragons (because regular dragons aren’t nearly as cool), soul eaters, therianthropes, and many others. On top of that, each Wave in The Rising of the Shield Hero is led by a main monster—similar to main bosses in video games.
To combat these threats, four heroes are summoned from different parallel worlds: the Shield, Sword, Bow, and Spear Hero. Each hero is granted a legendary weapon, which has unique abilities and can evolve and adapt according to the challenges they face.
The Wave lasts until one of two things occurs: either that world is destroyed, or the heroes manage to defeat the main monsters. Once the main monsters are defeated, the monster-spewing portals will close, and the sky will return to normal, signaling the end of the Wave in The Rising of the Shield Hero.
If the Heroes fail to repel a Wave in time, the fusion between worlds will complete, and the world that failed at repelling the Wave basically gets reduced to a lifeless, barren waste, while the “opposing” world gains power.
It’s possible for Heroes to completely repel the Wave so neither world is destroyed. It’s later revealed that the frequency of the waves in The Rising of the Shield Hero is being manipulated by a mysterious entity known as World Eater.
We won’t disclose any further details about the World Eater, but we promise that it’s an exciting concept, and fans of the isekai genre are likely to approve of The Rising of the Shield Hero. The first two seasons of The Rising of the Shield Hero, along with the currently streaming Season 3, are available on Crunchyroll.