「新しい仲間」 (Atarashii Nakama)
“A New Comrade”
Ah nothing says fun like a new character and equally amusing character interactions. With Shield Hero having already gone the distance in laying out Naofumi’s suffering and the importance (read: beauty) of Raphtalia in keeping things sane, it’s time to show that when the going gets tough there’s always a silver lining to look forward to. Or, well, an adorable little angel bird thing with a bed hogging personality, but hey, same thing I swear.
While a good degree of the satisfaction of Shield Hero comes from the retribution we all know is coming for Naofumi, a lot of the fun for me right now comes from the simple act of getting to that moment. Naofumi’s little trading adventure this week is case in point: the kid doesn’t go out of his way to do more than he’s capable of (or paid to do), but his actions slowly but surely foster a friendly set of connections which will pay off in the future. It might be funny having hero branded as the Lord of Heavenly Fowl (and what a title it is), but rumours like this go a long way to creating both reputation and opportunity. Marketing and networking is half the battle of any job, if you don’t get your name out there it doesn’t matter how skilled you are, how talented you may be—you’re just a nameless face in a sea of fellow job seekers. Small acts like transporting medicine or providing transport? These tasks prove your worth and give those satisfied customers something to chat about with their friends, coworkers, and industry contacts, which can land you more opportunities than you ever thought possible. Naofumi may only be doing small and seemingly inconsequential stuff right now, but unlike his fellow heroes he’s quietly building a friendly base of contacts who will stick with him through thick and thin.
Of course what helps Naofumi succeed is his small party of helpers, and here the show is not lacking either. For all the risk of FBI agents knocking down your door, Filo is arguably an amazing fit for the current party, a girl who provides just enough competition to keep Raphtalia on her toes, but without crossing over into romantic love herself. Going for those Naofumi babies? Who needs to do that when you can get free sandwiches all day everyday. Particularly unique as well (at least for me) is how Filo doesn’t remain in her human form all that often—the girl by the looks of things prefers staying in her true bird form. Small thing, but it’s an interesting difference compared to the likes of Slime Datta Ken where beastly power ups seem to only yield increasingly humanized monsters. Certainly makes the task of getting Filo appropriate clothing all the more interesting, and really has my curiosity piqued for how Shield Hero will handle any later character introductions. With the main party already differentiated in form and function, it’s not that that bad a guess that future party members will have their own pronounced and equally unique quirks.
It may be some time yet before Naofumi truly comes into his own, but with business looking up and new and very useful help secured, I dare say the sailing for our ostracized hero will be smoother from here on out.