The Rising of the Shield Hero #01 — Check Your Status

January 2nd, 2019


Boy, do I sure MMO my MMOs.

One hour pre-air special. Broadcast begins on Wednesday, the 9th.


Once again, I fear I overestimated this. In the pre-air writeup, I mainly concentrated on the paranoid misogynistic tendencies that would define future events. One would think that it would play up to what we have to call its strengths, or at the very least, what sets it apart from a billion other MMO-as-fantasy things. Most of the excessively long episode, however, was spent safely nestled in the SAO/.hack blanket, fearful of doing a damn thing that might set it apart from anything. Hey, you're a hero. Here's an MMO status screen about it. Hey, here's a magic weapon. Here's an MMO status screen about it. Hey, here's a monster. Here's an MMO status screen about it. Here's some loot from the monster. Here's the status screen about that. Someone explain the appeal of the status screen to me. Is it just the familiar? That it reminds people of their gacha games and MMOs and SAOs? Why do I keep having to sit through someone else sitting through tutorials that just re-explain basic (sometimes magic) physical actions?

That means that rather than being idiotic for its social commentary, it was more insulting just for being boring. The protagonist is a sad sack whose first response to being given super powers and noble status is to throw a tantrum that other people are getting more than him. It does create a nice parallel when he's accused of rape though, since those two scenes of him stomping his foot petulantly and complaining that things aren't fair are the only times in the entire forty-five minutes where he does anything but sit patiently through a tutorial. I get that it's supposed to be pretty similar to the origin story of a supervillain, but he's both petty and a bore; outrage over imagined entitlement personified as his only acts of anything approaching agency. He might at least be a little sympathetic if he showed any heroism at any point, or at least interesting if he, well, did a damn thing or had the barest trace of ambition or even excitement about the situation. Even reluctance would have been a facet to his character, albeit I doubt one that would have improved it. The undeserved punishment is why we're supposed to feel for him, but if you were to rewrite his 'fall' to instead be "We gave you a chance to be a hero, and you showed yourself to be lacking in every way," you'd only need to rewrite about half of one scene.

There's not a lot to say otherwise, especially on the production front, because there wasn't much of anything there either. No real fights. No set piece scenes. Some speedlines and maybe weird lighting, I guess. Just a boring dude steadfastly refusing to exert any control over his situation while whining about how unfair everybody is. That, and the goddamned endless barrage of tutorials and status screens, which is probably the far bigger sin as far as unredeemable writing goes.

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