「消せない記憶」 (Kesenai Kioku)
You know what they say – some Myne just want to watch the world burn.
After the Shield Hero’s party escaped her clutches, Myne lost no time in ordering the entire forest set ablaze to smoke them out, and then blaming Naofumi for the act. Meanwhile, the king mutters to himself about how the Devil of the Shield is going to take his family from him again. I’m sure there are those who feel sorry for the king, and they do so with good reason. No one should ever have to experience the trauma of losing their loved ones, and yet, one gets the impression that if the king stubbed his toe, he would somehow find a way to blame Naofumi for it.
We as an audience know that the king is holding a grudge against an innocent man. We also know that there isn’t a single person in the king’s court that doesn’t want to manipulate him to their own ends. There’s more to the story of the former Shield Hero, who seems to command much respect outside of Melromarc’s borders, and King Aultcray Melromarc XXXII. Mentally, the king is weak enough to be puppeted around without resistance, and that’s why I believe he is deserving of pity. Not because of the trauma he allows to define him, but because of what allowing his past to dictate his actions has done to his rule, his kingdom, and his family.
A major theme of Tate no Yuusha is accepting your past without letting it take control of you. Naofumi’s Shield of Rage was the perfect example of this. If Naofumi let his rage take over, then he received power, yes, but at the price of hurting those he loved. Once he accepted it, he was arguably even more powerful since then he could turn that anger into the strength to protect those he cares about. To protect his future.
Now, it’s Raphtalia’s turn to face her past head-on. While escaping Melromarc, an endeavor made all the more difficult by heightened border security, the party happened to run into the Lord of the Domain, who also happened to be a friend to Melty and a potential ally for the Shield. Unfortunately, while at his manor, a noble arrived with several of his soldiers to arrest the lord for treason and take custody of Melty. Due to a twist of fate, this noble was the same man who imprisoned Raphtalia and sold her into slavery after Melromarc soldiers invaded her village, bringing us to when Naofumi found her dying alone in a cage at the beginning of the series.
Whether or not she can overcome what was done to her, and with a weapon in hand just like Naofumi taught her, or chooses to take revenge on the man who mistreated her and others like her, is something Raphtalia needs to decide for herself.