This episode instilled so much anger in me. I like that it answers one of the bigger questions from season two regarding where the hell the other three heroes were during the tortoise’s rampage. It turns out they tried to rush into battle with their parties to get the glory. There’s also a lot here about how they felt upstaged by Naofumi and just wanted to prove themselves as the alpha males. Suffice it to say, that did not go so well and, at least in the Sword and Spear Heroes’ case, led to devastating results. It was a good opportunity for the three other heroes to be humbled. They are starting to act more and more desperately as the fame and power they felt entitled to before are starting to crumble. They’ve hit rock bottom, and the question becomes whether or not they can rise from that dark place or stay in it. That is a legitimately good character point.
However, for the sake of drama, they have to do everything wrong with that narrative opportunity. Not only have there been no signs of growth whatsoever in this episode, but these characters are arguably way worse than before. They used to be just pompous assholes, and you could suspend your disbelief that they weren’t on Naofumi’s side because the town and kingdom gassed them up so much. I understand that there are still some people who don’t like the Shield Hero, but there isn’t anything substantial that justifies the persecution. If Naofumi doesn’t like you, then you’re probably a terrible person that he has screwed over.
Sword Hero was probably one of the more level-headed people among the three other heroes, but I genuinely hate what they’re doing with his character. Granted, this is more character than we ever had before because he also talked the least of the other three, but if this is the character that we’re getting from him, then I liked it better when he was playing up the loan hero bit. It’s possible the only reason he’s acting like this is because he’s so desperate not to admit that he screwed up. He’s disassociating and blaming others as a trauma response. Still, even your average person should be able to ascertain that Bitch is probably the last person to align with. She’s feeding him all of these lies to justify his safe space, but there is nothing she can provide to back it up. At least when she accused Naofumi of sexual assault, she had the backing of her father, who was the actual king, to tip the scales in her favor. Here, she is an outcast who doesn’t have anything to offer unless the implication is that she seduced him during a moment of weakness and is now just building up on that. What end is this supposed to accomplish? Does she want fame, or does she just like manipulating powerful people? What will happen when the Phoenix does come, and there are no heroes to fight off the attacks? I don’t understand what the long-term goal for either of these characters is supposed to be given this setup, and all I’m left with is anger at the stupidity of everyone’s actions. When Naofumi called him out on his bull, I wanted to clap my hands and cheer.
And that’s not even getting into the Spear Hero, who is a complete joke at this point. He made such a fool of himself that his party wants nothing to do with him. He’s lost his status, is not as strong as Naofumi anymore, and has arguably done the least amount of good compared to all of the other heroes. It’s nice that this world’s two-faced attitude is starting to bite him in the ass when he doesn’t have the strength to back up his posturing. I also found his desperation a little bit more believable. I like how he’s wandering from town to town, looking for his old party members and not understanding that it wasn’t anyone’s fault but his own. But that is ruined by making the Spear Hero a pedophile. When the episode cuts to Filo doing the equivalent of an idol dance number in the middle of a tavern, I thought that the Spear Hero was hallucinating because the scene felt so dramatically out of place compared to everything else in this episode alone. But having him grow so infatuated with Filo to the point where he asks Naofumi to give him Filo’s hand in marriage was uncomfortable and gave me some bizarre Twilight vibes. Even by Filo’s race standards, she’s still considered a child. What on earth is this episode, and where are we going?
Disclosure: Kadokawa World Entertainment (KWE), a wholly owned subsidiary of Kadokawa Corporation, is the majority owner of Anime News Network, LLC. One or more of the companies mentioned in this article are part of the Kadokawa Group of Companies.