「暁の子守唄」 (Akatsuki no Komori-uta)
“Lullaby at Dawn”
Well the season schedule let the racoon girl out the bag, but that’s right boys and girls, Pancakes is here to give the masses what they love and cover Shield Hero until the end. Not like I’m complaining about scribbling myself in for two seasons mind you (Zaiden is being a bae by helping cap for my
lazy overworked ass), because as anyone who’s remotely familiar with this series can say the fun here hasn’t even started yet. Redemption, salvation, happiness? Just wait until the coldest of dishes finally enters the picture.
Given how Naofumi has been treated up until now the events of this episode shouldn’t prove that surprising, but damn did it still ever make an impression. We all know that Malty is the true antagonist of the show for example, but the depth of her invidious machinations and hold over people really made itself felt here, with not only the king (and by extension the nobility) being shown as under her thumb, but Motoyasu too seemingly swayed by her every utterance. And the other heroes? Still unwilling to make a move until it shows themselves in a good light. Naofumi is simply the scapegoat for these various actors, the one poor sod who you can pin the blame for anything and everything on because hey, he’s the Shield Hero and no one is about to come to his aid. He despairs so others can claw their way up through various schemes, but as Raphtalia heartwarmingly showed, those tides are slowly turning. When you reach rock bottom you can only go up, and Naofumi has the best possible (and gosh darn cutest) help around to aid him in that endeavour.
The real mystery right now of course is what those schemes and plans are—i.e. Malty’s whole shtick against Naofumi—although answers continue to remain ever elusive. While easy to assume the girl just hates Naofumi or wants to ingratiate herself with Motoyasu, I doubt that’s all there is to her games. Take Raphtalia, why bother freeing her if the goal is getting with Motoyasu when the guy is trying to sweep Raphtalia off her feet—that would give princess unwatned competition. Why not just leave her a slave and eliminate the need for the hypocrisy surrounding the use of demi-human slaves (and seriously, what rank, ironic hypocrisy it was). Your guess right now is as good as mine. I am confident Motoyasu is not party to those plans though, he has proven himself too damn gullible and single minded to be the end goal in Malty’s scheming. The Spear Hero is just a pawn in an even larger game, and much like Naofumi I expect the guy won’t find out what it is until the brown stuff hits the rotary device.
It may take a while to finally learn the truth considering the second wave is quickly approaching, but you can bet it will prove explosive. After all if Naofumi’s curse unlock is any indication, there’s a hidden side to our heroes’ powers certain to upend everything they thought they already knew.