OP2: 「FAITH」by MADKID
「盾の悪魔」 (Tate no Akuma)
“The Devil of the Shield”
There’s a devil in this tale to be sure, but it’s not Naofumi by any stretch of the imagination. I underestimated Myne’s heartlessness. Since she never seemed to show any interest in assuming the throne, I wrote her off as a red herring, but it seems even her lack of ambition is another front she wears to hide her true colors. With that said, however, anyone with eyes should be able to see she’s up to no good. Ren obviously gets the heebie-jeebies whenever she gets close, and shortly after Naofumi spelled out exactly how and why Myne was going to try to murder Melty – you’re a terrible sister, Myne, and you should feel bad – she went ahead and did exactly what he said she was going to do.
And with an evil smirk to boot!
Let’s rewind a little – I’m jumping ahead of myself.
The episode began with the direct aftermath of Naofumi choosing to protect Melty from the King’s knights. The Shield Hero’s party handily defeated the group, who didn’t put up much resistance since the footage was what they really wanted, and the Church wasted no time in using magic to doctor the recording so that Naofumi, Raphtalia, and Filo look like child-napping cretins to everyone in Melromarc. There was a transition around this point from an image of Naofumi’s wanted poster to his actual face, and the resemblance was so uncanny I couldn’t help but chuckle. At first, it wasn’t clear why the Church would want to make leaving Melromarc any more difficult for the Shield Hero. You’d think they’d want him out of their hair as soon as possible, but when it was revealed they were working together with Myne, everything made sense.
The Church tried to kill two filolials with one stone by accusing Naofumi of brainwashing Melty, which he can’t disprove, and using that as an excuse to murder Melty, clearing the throne for Myne. On that note, does anyone think I’m a purple dragon typing up reviews from my cave? Going by the logic used in this episode, since you can’t prove that I’m not a purple dragon, I might as well be one. Ren was clearly trying to give Naofumi an out in that scene, but I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes so hard I saw the little people manning the controls in my brain.
From Ren’s perspective, Naofumi is an enigmatic figure at the center of a conspiracy. He’s not completely sure whether the Shield Hero’s an ally or not, but all it takes is a little questioning, a little doubt, and the lies and fabrications Myne spouts unravel. As Raphtalia mentioned, Naofumi has absolutely nothing to gain by hurting Melty. He’s not next in line for the throne. Coincidentally, he’s also not the one calling flaming meteors down from the sky.
Kudos to Sarah Emi Bridcutt for giving such an excellent vocal performance that the sound of Myne’s voice alone is enough to set your teeth on edge. Myne could not be more suspect if she were holding a bloodied dagger while standing under a sign with the words “Traitor Here” blinking on it in neon lights, and I love it.
Quick Impression of the OP/ED Themes:
OP: 7.5/10. The animation quality hasn’t dropped at all. Even so, many of the new scenes feel repetitious. While the start does well to set a more somber mood for the second core, the latter half has more of a focus on extended action sequences. The song feels like a rehash of the first, but it may grow on me over time. Plus, I’m a sucker for scenes of characters looking sad in the rain.
ED: 7/10. The softer style matches the slow, calming melody. It does well to show how the bonds Raphtalia and Naofumi have made have grown from the start and helped them to heal, but perhaps doesn’t differ enough from the original to fully justify the change.
ED3: 「あたしが隣にいるうちに」 (Atashi ga Tonari ni Iru Uchi ni) by 藤川千愛 (Chiai Fujikawa)