「ラフタリア」 (Rafutaria)

Tonally, this episode went everywhere and back again, from the highest highs to the lowest lows. Last week left us with Raphtalia pointing her sword at the noble who sold her and her people into slavery. Pretty standard as far as cliffhangers go, but there’s always a chance that the heroes are going to surprise us. Though it seemed unlikely that Raphtalia would actually execute the noble in cold blood, vile and loathsome though he is, Naofumi has such a wide arsenal of magic and spells now that an ironic punishment didn’t seem like such a stretch.

Apparently it was, though. Whenever a hero says something along the lines of, “Killing you would make me no different from you,” I feel like pulling them aside and explaining how very wrong that is. Executing a man who is responsible for the torture and death of dozens does not put you on his level. Some would even argue that letting a monster like him live when given the opportunity to make absolutely certain he never hurts anyone ever again is a crime in itself.

When Naofumi asked Raphtalia if killing the noble would give her any closure, it was a well-phrased question. It allowed her to come to the conclusion on her own that taking the noble’s life wouldn’t truly make her any happier, nor change the past. Killing him out of revenge would honestly hurt Raphtalia the most, since that’s just not the type of person she is. She has a kind, generous nature, as seen when she rallied her fellow villagers to rebuild their village after the Wave, shortly before the noble’s men marched in and ruined everything. Sometimes, taking your enemy’s power from them with forgiveness can be the best possible revenge, as corny as that sounds.

Of course, that doesn’t change the fact that letting him go with no strings attached would be insane. For the interesting moral dilemma of whether or not to punish the noble with death or let him go knowing that there was no guarantee he wouldn’t go back to his greedy, selfish, sadistic ways, Tate no Yuusha took the relatively easy way out by having him attack Raphtalia one last time, before inevitably tripping and falling out of a window. This handily exonerated her of any complicity in his death, though she still blamed herself for it later on during an unearned crisis of faith that would have worked much more smoothly if she really had killed him in self-defense.

Putting that aside for now, the scene where Raphtalia discovered one of the boys from her hometown still locked in one of the nobleman’s cells was genuinely touching. Visually, seeing Raphtalia stand as an adult in front of someone from her village who hasn’t evolved the way she has makes it strikingly clear how much she’s grown. Also regarding that scene, though I’m sure I’ve praised the music composer, Kevin Penkin, for this series before, he really knocked it out of the park this time. The soft female vocals and what I’m assuming was Celtic influence heightened the reunion to devastating impact, leading up to the dramatic reveal of her best friend’s fate. Props to Seto Asami’s performance for the positively chilling scream she pulled off when Raphtalia’s found her bones lying on the floor in the cell they’d shared.

In the future, this confrontation should help Raphtalia on her path to becoming a hero with a clear moral code, but for now, the one most immediately affected is Melty. She’s been sheltered from the cruelty of the world her entire life, and is only now beginning to understand how twisted it can be. Once she’s on the throne, you can be sure that what she witnessed in those cells will be at the forefront of her mind.

And when that day finally comes, maybe Naofumi will at last be able to say, “I am the Shield Hero,” with pride.




  1. From what I’ve heard, the scene with the fat noble went the same way it did in the manga adaptation, with Raphtalia (in a rage) running the guy through somewhere non-fatal, and the momentum sending them crashing through the window. Naofumi managed to grab Raphtalia and stop her from actually falling through the window, but the noble wasn’t so lucky. The rest of it went down the same way.

    1. I just noticed I forgot to add something. The series of events described above was supposedly what happened in the LN. I’ve only read the manga, so that’s the only frame of reference I have.

      1. As far as I remember, though, that’s not how it happened in the anime. Although she ran him through in self-defense, him falling through the window was entirely his own fault. She even tried to save him, which… not so sure I would go that far for a guy like that

  2. I will be honest, this was the first episode i skipped a lot, i get it, she was a slave of a ruined town, tortured and lost her friends, we already knew this but now it’s animated for extra effect. Literally nothing of value would have been lost if they just cut right after fatman died to them in the dungeon finding the skeleton.

    1. The flashback was drawn out and didn’t really provide information that the audience wasn’t already aware of. No arguments here on that. It did give us a better idea of what Raphtalia was like before she was imprisoned, though, and developed Keel and her friend a little more than before, which should be important if Keel is joining the main cast

  3. Raphtalia wasn’t actually forgiving the evil lord. She even stated that she wasn’t doing so. That said, I don’t think she had any conviction about anything this episode really. How exactly was Idol supposed to atone for his sins? Naofumi, given his own behaviour since the first episode, doesn’t have any leg to stand on when questioning Raphtalia’s decisions (and Naofumi was pretty much just a spectator this episode otherwise).

    This was kind of a total fail for me. Raphtalia failed, Naofumi failed, the whole show failed. Idol was really the only character who was true to himself. He could beg for his life and grovel and lie convincingly but when it came to actually putting up with a demi-human lording over him, he’d rather face death (or at least kill her). He was cartoonishly evil and that’s how he died (in two movements… falling through the window and then getting stomped).

    As I mentioned last episode, I thought it was obvious that Raphtalia was pretty much gonna go with doing nothing. But at least she could have struggled with it. Instead, Naofumi stops her in her tracks. What happened to her white hot rage? Of trembling while on the edge of an explosion? What happened to the pain of a whole species? Did Naofumi use his special command to switch her emotions off? She didn’t go through any moral crisis, and she was saved by Idol’s clumsiness and a big foot from anything challenging. So we get the evil guy killed but the pure heroine remains pure. Alas, this viewer feels sullied.

    The episode relied on some lamely manipulative torture and abuse flashbacks to make us feel something for characters we neither know nor care about. They find a skeleton of her ostensible best friend. Was her body really left there to decompose completely? How long did that take and did the noble give up torturing while the body was rotting? Or was that part of the thrill for him?

    For all intents and purposes, nothing that happened in this episode has any real connection to what we’ve seen over fifteen episodes. There have been some occasional hints but this show has a problem with that as well.

    Every time we see the king or queen, we get some moment that trails off into silence. This time, in a flashback no less, we hear that the queen would go herself but…. Last episode it was the king moping about the Shield Hero making him suffer again. Before that, Melty almost had him willing to reveal something but I guess it was too early for that to happen so Myne interrupted at the key moment.

    This is one of those episodes that didn’t earn a score of 1 as far as I’m concerned.

    1. I am in agreement with you. This is the first episode I didn’t enjoy and it was character mismanagement to have Raph stumble and fall while fighting this guy of all ppl. It would definitely have been better if she killed him for justice and made him know that’s why she was killing him and then regret it later. The arse pull at the end with him surviving to conveniently unluck dino-demo was also a fail for me. I actually rolled my eyes at that moment. The best bit of this episode was the soundtrack. Would love to find out how to get more songs like that solo singer. Fingers crossed next episode gets back on track.

      1. I think I read (on MAL) that the song is Swedish. As per some comments there, the singer’s name is Maria Andersson. There are a couple of rough translations there as well.

        I think the story would have been better if she’d followed through but either way, the worst choice was what they actually did, which was to make her irrelevant while still killing him off. Deal with it, one way or another.

    2. I agree.
      Disneyfication is even creeping into (some) Japanese media, including this Anime.

      It really takes a lot away from the depth and power of the characters
      when their actions have to be presented in a sanitized detached way.
      It’s perfectly okay for good people to do difficult things when necessary,
      like taking this trash out. But what does the author do? The culprit
      dies by accident, but then comes back to release the Coup de grâce for
      the episode cliffhanger.

      Despite anything Idol did to the demi-humans and Raphtalia, his treatment of
      Melty should have earned the sword. She’s second in line and any threat
      against her is no different than a threat against the Queen or King.

      Oh well, I stayed this far — let’s see what happens next…

    3. Well, I didn’t mean to say that Raphtalia was forgiving him, only that sometimes doing that is better in the long run. She shouldn’t have to live with that man’s blood on her hands. He’s not worth the regret of taking a human life.

      Like I said in the review, I appreciated that Naofumi didn’t actively tried to stop her or interfere or preach. She came to the decision to spare him on her own. Yes, there was some narrative cheating going on, and there wasn’t any concrete ideas for how the lord would atone. Without that, it seems like she was just saying words with no real weight to them, but there wasn’t a whole lot of time for her to do so, either.

      It’s definitely weird that they didn’t do anything with the body, though. My guess is we’re just supposed to assume that the noble and the guards care so little for the health and comfort of their prisoners that they left the body to rot. Sounds fishy. Probably they could have just left the flag in the cell, shoved into a corner or something, and had a greater impact

      1. I dunno. I think it would have been worth it — and I don’t say that lightly. Rabier didn’t wait even sixty seconds before trying to kill Raphtalia, and he did that while she had her sword out and was standing over him. It was blind luck that he didn’t kill her. Say for the sake of argument, that Rabier had managed to constrain his rage long enough for the scene to end. What then? Is he going to live a repentant life thereafter? That’s unlikely. More likely, he’d feel compelled to try and wash away the memory of his Waterloo by finding another demihuman village to subjugate, enslave, torture, and then sell off its most stubborn victims. But even if he wasn’t so energetic, he still has his cells and his torture chambers. Is he going to actually give those up, let them go to waste? Can’t see it. Is he going to free the slaves still in there? Not if he can help it, and even if she forced him to, how long before he rounded up all the demis and started anew? A week? Mind you, there seems to be only a couple of surviving demis at this point so maybe it’s not a big issue. Whatever anyone thinks, he unsealed T. Rex within the hour so there would have been value in her going ahead with it. Rabier wasn’t going to stop himself. He didn’t believe in restraint — well restraint of others… yes, of himself… not so much. He didn’t stop wreaking havoc until he was stopped permanently.

        And I still think it was crummy for Naofumi to tell Raphtalia to grow up earlier. While he didn’t explicitly order her to stay her hand, given her attitude and position, he effectively did. Then he has the gall to show concern — well almost — when she stopped before her former cell.

        For what it’s worth, his asking her, “What’s wrong?” has to be the most tone deaf, insensitive comment I can recall hearing in a while and something that belongs in a slideshow with lines like, “People die if they are killed.”

        I think your finding the flag idea might have worked if they’d somehow invested more into her past and the village over the course of the series. But with it all coming out only in this episode, I’m not sure that there is any connection that the viewers can latch on to.

  4. While i get that you want to pull them aside whenever a character pulls of the “I would be no better then you if i did that” line, it can also be seen in a different manner.
    Remember, demi-humans are seen as lower then humans. So her not wanting to be like him is essentially saying that she doesn’t want to be a human. So in his mind, she either places herself above humans or doesn’t think of him as a human depending on how you look at it (also depending on the source as i’ve seen translations of both cases ). Couple that with the knowledge that he would have been jailed if melty would ever get back to either the king or queen to tell on him and he would have been beating himself up mentally for a long time in jail.

    Wouldn’t that be a more satisfying end anyways? Instead of him being killed quickly, he is fuming in jail for how a demi-human treated him. And if he would be getting his food and all from a demi-human, it would make it all the sweeter 😛

    1. Offhand, I’ve never heard of a medieval lord being imprisoned for such a thing (not that it’s something I’ve specifically looked for). Typically, if a noble was imprisoned it was for either political (e.g. Jane Grey*, Elizabeth 1*, Mary 1 of Scotland) or financial reasons (e.g. Richard 1*). Legalisms didn’t really apply to them and generally neither the crown nor their peers would support imprisonment because it could be them tomorrow being locked up for relatively trivial reasons. More likely, they’d be asked to tone things down a bit, and in some places, not even that. Of course, this is a fantasy medieval land so anything goes here.

      * of England. Some of the above are post-medieval, and royal rather than noble, but they can still serve as well-known examples.

      1. Thomas Cranmer was an archbishop who got burned in 1554, even though he was a pretty big deal from what i remember as he is responsible for establishing the first doctrinal and liturgical structures of the church of england. He even enjoyed some protection from King edward the 8th until after his death. Mary however didn’t like him so she had him imprisoned on claims of heresy in 1554 i think. Around that number at least as it has been a while since i actually studied english history for school. The heresy he was accused of was authorisation of the mass in canterbury, which was an anglican church instead of the catholic one.

        Actual lords or queens however? I know Catherine Howard used to be a queen thanks to marrying king edward before she got thrown in jail for adultery and treason before getting killed of, similar to anne boleyn.
        George Plantagenet is a bit older from war of the roses ( treason against his brother edward the fourth but also killed ) and i think constance of france as well since she was forced to marry raymond out of political reasons originally but was later imprisoned for abandoning her husband ( i think that falls under heresy in those times as spousal abandonment was an insult to god and marriage back then ).

        Also, wasn’t jane grey originally imprisoned by mary because the support for mary grew where-as Jane her support just left her once her father in law got killed of for treason?
        I do remember that she was seen as a threat eventually and got executed for high treason.

        TL;DR most of the imprisonments from those people used to be done under the treason reasoning.

      2. Good examples. I would characterize each of them as political, threatening either the power of the throne or the church. And with Henry VIII (Howard, Boleyn), we saw that the politics were so serious that he was willing (and his kingdom went right along with him) to execute numerous wives and ultimately separate England from the church.

      3. Except that it wasn’t political driven with henry the 8th at the start if i am remembering correctly. Maybe later when there was the rights of succession involved, but for the most part it was more simple. He just wanted a male heir so that his family line could be continued, daughters had no claims on the throne and took the name of their husbands upon marriage. So if he didn’t have a son, the next in line would not be of his blood. Eventually the kid from Jane got promoted to first in line for the throne, which causes a lot of political stuff since edward the 6th was around 9 years old at that time.

        Reason i am not entirely sure about the correctly remembering is because there are some sources claiming that he did those things in order to protect his bloodline while ignoring politics where-as others claim that he used politics in order to protect his bloodline.

        Although i think we can both agree that henry was a rather egotistical and wasteful man considering how many marriages he had.

      4. FWIW, I consider all of that political. Succession is politics. Countless wars have been fought over it, countless people were murdered over it. Henry was willing to brook excommunication over it (and ultimately was). It’s arguably the most important thing to a monarch after keeping invaders out and suppressing the treasonous within (i.e. having a kingdom to pass down). I’ll agree with your points about him but I will add that circumstances (e.g. the church) contributed mightily to the mess.

        Anyway, my main point is that it isn’t really realistic that Rabier would have been punished meaningfully for his sins (or those of his followers, who seem similarly vile). He’s acted this way for a long while and seems to be within the culture of the time and place. It was he who arrested Reichnutt, not the other way around.

    1. Correct me I’m wrong, but it almost as if someone in the shadow manipulating all the events the church and the kingdoms to achieve a person vendetta against the world. Maybe someone from another world from before or someone in the past in the wrong fantasy world?

  5. To be honest I was quite put off by the cop out of Raphtalia letting the lord live. Feudal Lords had essentially blanket immunity in their own holdings save for Crown Laws. Unless Melty wanted to charge him with something down the road, it would have been easier to just off him.

    Now I would not have minded so much the old rigmarole of “you should not have to dirty your hands” just before Naofumi slit his throat with the edge of his shield. That is just a surrogate father wanting to keep his daughter’s innocence a tad longer.

    If this show had more balls, it should have been Melty using her wind magic to shishkebob him. She is Royalty and it is her duty to punish nobles who stray. Granted Naofumi would be blamed for the death but then again he would have been blamed for something somehow anyway.

    Anyway this bites them in the ass when a Skeletal T-Rex comes out to play. Sadly this one is not powered by polka music.

  6. Kevin Pemkin is doing music? No wonder it is such good soundtrack. He is the one responsible for the soundtrack of Made in Abyss!
    As much as I like to see my Raphtalia as noble and forgiving, I am fully agreeing that some men just need to die. Not for punishment or revenge, but to protect other people from them.
    Though seeing him crushed underfoot of the T-rex lookalike he unsealed was satisfying in its own way, in the end it was his own evil and thirst for carnage that killed him.

  7. I’ll 2nd what others already said above. While the fate of Raph’s friend sure got to me, I don’t appreciate it when a show is trying to manipulate my feelings by using over the top clichés. And they really overdid it with the cartoonish evil of that guy. But you could argue that it fits with how Naofumi has been treated in earlier episodes.
    We might have to accept that subtlety is not this shows’ strength.

    1. Exactly.

      “Killing him out of revenge would honestly hurt Raphtalia the most, since that’s just not the type of person she is. ”

      Bullshit. That is exactly the type of person she is, and in the source material, she wrecks his shit and doesn’t bat an eyelash. This episode really made for a huge inconsistency and was honestly pretty disappointing as it made me feel like I was watching a dumbed down kid’s show trying to educate kids on how to forgive and forget. Like the hammer driving the “lesson of the story” was driven by thick, cheesy dialogue. The idea that killing this guy makes her on his level is just ridiculous. This episode really drives home every anime cliche in shounen ever created.

      1. We’re not talking about the source material, though. We’re talking about the anime. And here, she’s shown to blame herself for not saving the noble from falling out a window, equating it to killing him herself in the cell of her dead best friend. It’s absolutely ridiculous, but it’s what happened, and that’s the characterization I have to go on.

      2. I wonder if the scene would have been more effective, if for example the lord was put in a situation where he hurted himself and Raphtalia just watched as he died by it’s own hand. Kinda like pulling his dagger, Raphtalia evading it, and the Lord tripping with his whip or something like that. Then hurting himself with it.

        It just feels that would have been more fitting, given the pain he’s given others. Also it would have been an interesting dilemma (would Raphtalia would have help him in that case? Or would she have let him die?)

  8. I agree with other commenters, the other changes with Idol and Raphtalia was a cop out, but I felt they were rushing it to focus on the Rifana scenes. Even though I read the Shield Hero web novel and manga, the directional changes combined with Kevin Pekin’s soundtrack for this episode really upped the feels several fold. I found myself choking up during the Rifana scenes where the other two media forms weren’t quite as impactful. Well, you win some and you lose some with adaptations. I didn’t find this episode as polarizing as some of the other commenters found it.

  9. This episode is a bite interesting, this about Raphtalia scene. Still I’m interest in what if, like will they show the spin off will show Raphtalia in action the Redo Spear Hero thing. We all know who that boy animal dude is and we all know he’ll be in the spin off pretty soon. But serious will Raphtalia appear in the Redo Spear hero spin off in action, pretty please tell me?


  10. Truly sad, I hurts my heart to see those children suffer especially for Raphyalia.
    They cannot change the past but what if the spear hero support the shield hero from first place like in the spin off and rescue Raphylia in a light hero way things much could have been different.

    What do guys think?

  11. When that song began I just thought it sounded familiar, a nice song and that was it. Then I started to hear the lyrics and kinda freaked out. Did not expect to hear a Swedish song in Tate no Yuusha, took me by surprise (since i’m Swedish)

  12. The end is interesting, I wonder is it possible if someone from earth or other guys before plot this “wave” to destroy that “wrong” world from very beginning the cult and the the monster. What do U think?

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