It’s fair to say that I don’t like anime. I’m not saying they’re bad, and there are some I’ve enjoyed, but for the most part, I have difficulty getting into them. Some of the things people seem to enjoy about them are elements that I tend to dislike. What I have seen of anime tends to be highly gynocentric, a focus on uplifting female characters to the nth degree that they are somehow super powerful or the key to some great legend, and the only characters deserving of character depth.
Very recently, we learned that Amber Heard was the actual abuser in her relationship with Johnny Depp. We know about this because Depp released audio recordings of her gaslighting him that she can’t hurt him, so it’s not abuse, and that no one would believe that she as a woman could be abusive.
I was watching TheQuartering about Amber Heard, and he mentioned Feminist outrage to an anime, “The Rise of the Shield Hero.” Feminist outrage over an anime? This I had to see. I did some research, and apparently, it dealt with the issue of false rape accusations and a male that had to help save the world despite being hated by everyone. I had to see this anime.
Be forewarned; my review will have spoilers. Before I do so, I will give my overall impressions. It’s good, very good. I give 4 out of 5 stars. If it didn’t have the annoying stuff I dislike in anime, I would have given it 5 stars, so if you really like anime, then you might well give it 5 stars.
Rise of the Shield Hero explores what men go through when falsely accused of rape. It also highlights the great benefits that men can give to society, with values of duty and honor, despite having no motivation whatsoever to help anyone.
Of course, showing a male being a victim of a false accusation of rape really angered SJW’s. So much so, Anime Feminist refused to review the show after watching the first episode.
“I watched the episode, and it was worse than I had imagined. I have never seen a series with such a deeply held, misanthropic victim mentality. I contemplated how to approach the review. I thought about pretending to review it from an incel point-of-view, but that felt a little too close to the truth. I thought about writing with vitriol and rage, but that honestly felt pointless. Our readers know why a series hinging on a false rape accusation and slavery apologism is wrong; going into hysterics over it would only bring greater attention to it and give our detractors vindictive glee.”
Then Anime Feminist gave a list of Rape prevention resources. Yes, it is so wrong to give attention to how a false accusation can actually hurt men and even make it harder for actual victims to be taken seriously. Because why would any woman ever lie about being raped? It just doesn’t happen. You can see how people reacted on twitter here (https://twitter.com/AnimeFeminist/status/1082395009205321729).
S1E1 gave the show a D+, and focused on pretty much the same thing:
“While I found a lot of the episode to be entertaining, it makes some epic-level stumbles that cost it the majority of any good will it builds. As is unfortunately common, its biggest stumbling block boils down to gender relations. Myne’s betrayal of Naofumi involves her falsely accusing him of rape and planting false evidence to support her claim. There’s a strong suggestion that Kitamura, one of the other heroes who seems to attract various women, put Myne up to the task, but it’s Myne who’s framed by the narrative as being both responsible for the lie and cunning enough to fool everyone else. There’s a lot to unpack here, and none of it is good. The first and most important thing worth mentioning is that false rape accusations of this nature aren’t really a thing (think about the social consequences for women even when their accusations are extremely credible; people don’t do this kind of thing for fun). It’s as if Myne’s actions sprung fully-formed out of a misinformed, misanthropic incel fantasy; Kitamura is even depicted as some kind of an alpha male who gains women’s attractions unearned. I feel like Myne’s betrayal could have come in any number of different forms and not been half as problematic; unfortunately this choice reads to me as having been made with particular intent.
The consequence of this is that it positions Naofumi to harden his emotions, come into his anger, and embody the type of toxic masculine traits that just make him into an unlikable protagonist. He begins to violently hassle shopkeepers and threaten people by confronting them with the low-level biting monsters he keeps hidden beneath his cape. He turns into the kind of world-reviling jerk that goes on to commit mass violence, inspired by the type of event these sorts fantasize as a common truth. It’s dangerous and vile.”
“…false rape accusations of this nature aren’t really a thing…” Wow! So false rape accusations do happen, but not of this nature. Hell, despite being in a fantasy realm, I found it incredibly realistic. And his reaction of hardening his emotions is the embodiment of Toxic Masculinity!? According to SJW, any behavior done by a male is Toxic Masculinity. However, Naofumi did use violence at first to get what he needed, but that was because he was being ripped off by merchants because they wanted to screw him over. Certainly not moral of him, but then this world did kidnap him and forced him into this role… so that’s debatable.
And yes, it does have a scene where a character is purchased as a slave. Yes, slavery and human trafficking are wrong, but this is a different world and a different time, and in this culture, it seems more of a gray area that’s tolerated. Naofumi wouldn’t have purchased a slave had he not been accused of rape, and his doing so ultimately helped him out later in his journey, on more than one occasion.
Despite the reviews by Feminist biased sources, the Fandom site (https://shield-hero.fandom.com/wiki/The_Rising_of_the_Shield_Hero_Wiki) for this anime poll reveals that 92% really enjoy the anime. Crunchyroll has announced there will be a 2nd and 3rd season.
That said, here is my spoiler review.
The story starts with our hero, Naofumi Iwatani, a university student who’s obsessed with otaku (but not a gamer). Upon going to a library, he finds a book that transports him to another world where he is deemed the Shield Hero. The other heroes (sword, spear, and bow) came into the world much like him, but they believe this is a VR MMO game, and as such, they understand how to survive in this world much better than Naofumi. They also state that Shield class from their perspective worlds (they all come different Earth dimensions) is the weakest class.
The world is like a JRPG, except the game mechanics are part of everyday life in this world. People can talk about leveling up and gaining experience, much like we would talk about the importance of omega-3 in our diet. The four heroes were summoned to this world to stop waves of monsters that appear once every few months, getting worse with each wave.
Upon meeting the King, the four heroes are each given a party, but those members volunteer who they get to be with, and no one wants to be with Naofumi, because again, Shield class sucks. Then one woman, Myne, volunteers to go with him, and you can see where this is going. She insists on him buying her everything she wants (money the King gave him), and he reasons (since he can’t use a sword, his shield won’t let him) that if she’s more powerful, then he’ll level up faster.
That night, they’re in a pub, and she keeps trying to get him to drink alcohol. He refuses and then goes to bed. He wakes up with all of his money and possession gone. The guards show up and arrest him. He is brought before the King, where the accusation is revealed that he got drunk that night and raped Myne. Upon asking for proof, the guards hold up a negligee stating it was found in Naofumi’s room, which he does deny.
This is a matriarchal society (the true ruler is the Queen, but the King rules while she is away) and raping a woman is punishable by death, but since he’s one of the four heroes, he won’t be killed but told that everyone knows what he did and won’t help him. The three other heroes also believe him to do it, with the princess warming up to the Spear Hero. Spear Hero is the classic Alpha Male, the kind of man that throws other men under the bus to appease women (which Paul described in his book as actual Toxic Masculinity).
Naofumi can’t fight, he’s defense only. So he must resort to buying a slave with what little money he has left, and he buys a very young demi-human. Owning of demi-humans is legal, but owning a human is illegal. Her name is Raphtalia, a sickly girl he uses to help him fight. She has a slave crest on her chest that causes her great pain if she disobeys anything he demands of her (this becomes important later).
They do a bit of fighting and level up. He’s closed off emotionally, or so it seems as Naofumi treats her very well, even giving her all the food she desires and even gives her a ball that she sees other children playing with. He pushes her to do more than she’s capable of, and even put his life on the line for her when she couldn’t handle herself, which did inspire her to protect him instead.
Naofumi unlocks great power in his shield, and Raphtalia ages overnight to a teenage girl (and eventually a young adult). The first wave comes, and they help protect a village. At the celebration for stopping the wave, Spear Hero declares that Naofumi is evil because he has a slave and challenges him to a duel to free her (despite Raphtalia stating she wants to remain with him). Naofumi refuses, but the King demands he must take part.
Long story short, he loses the duel, much to the Myne’s cheating. Had she not, Naofumi would have won. The King declares Spear Hero the winner, and it’s revealed the Myne is his daughter. Naofumi pieces it all together. From the very beginning, it had been a setup. The rape accusation was used to get the entire kingdom to turn against Naofumi, and the King was in on it. In fact the duel was a way to take away the shield hero’s ability to level up so he couldn’t fight off the waves.
Raphtalia is set free. She then punches Spear Hero and rushes to Naofumi, stating that even as a slave, she chose to be his sword. All of this anger unlocks a curse shield ability. Later in the series, this power corrupts him, but his party (all females) breaks him out of, which I feel is a reflection of his character. His actions in helping them become stronger individuals become instrumental in helping him find his humanity.
Skipping ahead, there is a part where Spear Hero accuses Naofumi of brainwashing his party, because why else would they be with such a monster. I thought this was a great reflection of our world. Feminists are great at denying Female MRA’s and Non-Feminists their agency, accusing them of having internalized misogyny or doing it just for male attention. Why else would someone make the decision they do, dismissing women from having a valid reason.
Much later in the story, the Queen shows up and puts the King and Princess on trial and uses the slave seal on her daughter so that every time she lies, she gets hurt. This is a lovely touch, as the idea of a woman being required to face the consequences of her lies is controversial today. Feminists argue that if we prosecute women of false allegations, then actual victims of rape won’t come forward. The Queen also broadcasts this throughout the kingdom, clearing Naofumi’s name. The Princess lies and is hurt every time she does. The Queen determines they lied about Naofumi and other actions as a means to grab at power, and their treasonist actions put the citizens in jeopardy. And so, she sentences them to death.
Upon being in the guillotine, Naofumi stops it and says that death is too good for them. He wants them to suffer as he had, to be publicly shamed by all citizens. He also says that the King’s new name should be Trash, and the Princess’s name should be Bitch, and her adventure name is Slut. So from then on, when anyone talks to her or about her, they call her Bitch. It’s so funny. That is so wonderful.
This anime is fantastic. It’s done so beautifully at showing how a false accusation destroys a man’s life and how sadistic and cruel women can be. It also shows that men can contribute so much as well, even though he tries to turn his heart off, he still cares.
Whether you like anime or not, I recommend watching this. My hope is that this is another sign that the work we do in the Men’s Movement is making a difference, showing the struggles of men and how seriously fucked up our world is. And as a cherry on top, that it angers Feminists and SJW’s who can’t stand something disrupts their narrative.
There is a lot I left out, and beyond what it does for Men’s Issues, it is a great story.
Raphtalia: You could have lived in the capital.
Naofumi: Yeah, but it would only be a matter of time before I ran into Trash and Bitch.