Anime viewers will probably have noticed by now that a lot of isekai light novel/manga series have been greenlit for anime versions. Over the last few years, we got quite a bit of isekai series like Re;Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu, Knight’s and Magic, Tensei Shitara Slime datta ken and Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni to name a few series. Needless to say, the anime industry is now being flooded by isekai themed series and, while fans of the genre might be happier than Subaru when he sees his lovely Emilia, others don’t feel that same love. Whether you love isekai or hate it, you can’t dismiss the fact that the genre is very cliché more often than not. However, one of the newest isekai series Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari might be the saving grace the genre needs. So we ask this question today folks, Can Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari (The Rising of the Shield Hero) Save the Isekai Genre?
Different and Dark
Fans of Re;Zero kara Hajimeru Isekai Seikatsu will no doubt remember how dark that series could be. Often, Subaru and his comrades would die terrible deaths leading to him repeating specific time periods—checkpoints—over and over again to save them from their ill fate. What made this element so great was that it removed the usual overpowered element that isekai main characters tend to have. Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari does a similar concept with its main character—Naofumi Iwatani—being persecuted by those who hate his shield class and wish him only ill tidings. Equally, Naofumi is practically offenseless due to his shield being defense heavy and only having a few ways to allow him to attack. It’s isekai stories like this one that bring us joy for the genre. While there is some whimsical elements and moments that make Naofumi’s life seem interesting, his trials and tribulations ground him in a specific reality. Life won’t be easy for the shield hero and his adventure won’t be full of happy quests and fun days.
Not Overpowered At All
We mentioned it briefly before but isekai heroes are overpowered usually 99% of the time. In the case of Isekai wa Smartphone to Tomo ni, our hero Touya comes into a fantasy world armed with a smartphone that can-do millions of things. In Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari, Naofumi’s shield—while powerful later—isn’t that beastly in comparison to the other heroes who were teleported with him from different dimensions. A shield only gives Naofumi defensive based attacks and if you remove the Chaos Form it has—mild spoiler there but needed for this comment—then you have a man who can’t hurt anyone without the aid of a party of warriors. Just look at the initial few episodes of Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari where Naofumi had to use balloon monsters to hurt others because he couldn’t damage anything without dozens of strikes from his fist or shield. Being underpowered means Naofumi isn’t like others of isekai stories; he can easily face danger and always has a risk to his life when not with his party.
Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari also saves the isekai genre with its amazing narrative and setting. Most isekai stories rely heavily on JRPG—Japanese Role-Playing Games—themes in order to deliver an isekai story to its viewer. You have characters who level up, sleep at inns, find new equipment and get a harem of girls. Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari does rely on these tropes, but it adds a caveat, consequences. In one episode, the sword hero fights a giant dragon and defeats it with ease to accumulate tons of experience and money from the townsfolk. The consequence with his kill though is that the dragon’s corpse was left to rot on top of the mountain and as we know, rotting meat comes with illness if others are exposed to it in some form or another. Another moment like this was when the bow hero stopped a rebellion in a town by overthrowing the leader, but in the process, caused the town to lose their wealth and be leaderless. That’s why Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari is such a smart series, rather than just be another JRPG in anime form, Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari aims to show a reality to actions we don’t think of when we play JRPGs.
Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari isn’t completely original if you look at its various elements, but how it executes those elements is what makes us think it can save the genre from being an overly redone genre. Unlike most isekai series, Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari takes the tropes and clichés and runs them in unique ways to create a truly entertaining and well-done series. If more isekai series like Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari release in either light novel or anime form, then we’re sure the genre will never truly get old…at least not be repeated thirty dozen times by various shows. What do you folks think? Do you agree or disagree with our thought process? Comment below to let us know and for articles like this one, be sure to keep stuck to our hive here at Honey’s Anime!