The Rising of the Shield Hero – 07 – The Victory Gardener

When Naofumi’s trader friend sends him to a village in dire need of a huge order of herbicide, he, Raphtalia and Filo soon find out why: What started as a “miracle seed”, ironically provided by the Spear Hero Motoyasu to end a famine, grew into a scourge of a vine that not only overruns the village but infects its children like a parasite and breeds plant monsters that mere adventurers can’t defeat.

Naofumi goes above and beyond his duty by not just delivering the herbicide, but healing the kids with his potion lore, and with Raph and Filo providing the offense while he provides defense and support, defeats the central plant monster, leading to the destruction of the network. It honestly isn’t that difficult a quest, now that Naofumi and his two wards are so powerful.

Having cleaned out the village elders’ entire supply of cash, he agrees to take the rest of his payment in trade; specifically, the fruits he himself developed by altering the seeds so they won’t cause anymore trouble, just bear profitable fruit. With that, Naofumi returns to the trader with the merchandise, and he in turn offers another delivery job, this time to a hot springs village.

Here, the rivalry between Raphtalia and Filo for Naofumi’s attention kicks into the next gear, with Raph learning the romantic qualities of the bath she’s in only to learn Filo is already sharing her bath with Naofumi, or when she brings milk to share with Naofumi only to find him combing Filo’s hair. Raphtalia considers Filo an interloper: she was there first, and Naofumi is hers.

She tries once again to win Naofumi over once and for all by going off on her own to find a crystal called latium (an ingredient in love potions) that can be obtained from the nest of a certain native bird, only to find Filo is on a similar quest to make Naofumi her “mate”…and collect some eggs for eating. But when Filo almost falls off a cliff, Raph catches her, and when the giant silverback they landed on chases them, Filo transforms and has Raph jump on so she can jump to safety.

The trip to the birdsnest is short and unproductive, again due to the silverback, but Raph and Filo decide not to let the boar boss them around anymore. They work together to slay it, trade it in to some villagers for cash, and use it to purchase an expensive metalcrafting hammer for Naofumi, as a token of their mutual gratitude. Insofar as Naofumi can be touched by anything, he seems touched by the gesture.

Raph and Filo can be pretty irritating when competing, but thankfully far more fun to watch when collaborating. As for Naofumi, he’ll probably never see either of them as anything other than kids…and if you think kissing will get you pregnant, you kinda are a kid.

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Flying Witch – 08

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Makoto Chinatsu and Kei just be chillin’ like vanilla villains playing violins in a villa. Put less poetically, they spend the entire episode hanging out in the cafe, meeting its owner (mistaking her for her nearly identical daughter at first), are formally introduced to Hina the ghost, and also meet some of the cafe’s regulars.

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Yet no matter how insectoid (the thistle-eating ladybugs), vulpine (the cherry-loving fox), or intimidating (the Veil of Darkness and Bringer of the Night, everyone they meet is nice, welcoming, and friendly, even if Chinatsu is being a bit nosy or intrusive.

The overall feeling is that this definitely a cafe where I’d like to spend some time, sip some tea, and munch on some pastries. Anzu’s mom’s comment about Kei not having to worry about being “normal” (because he hangs out with witches) was pretty funny, too.

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While the others are at the cafe, Akane is hard at work on a potion, but for what we don’t learn until after the credits roll, Marvel-style. She teleports with Kenny all the way to otherworldly, picturesque Ha Long Bay in Vietnam, where she accidentally turns the entire landscape monochrome.

It’s temporary, though, so rather than panic, Akane teleports back to Aomori, grabs a half-asleep Makoto, and has her snap a photo of her and Kenny…which Akane later remembers as a strange dream. But that’s life as a witch: sometimes things get a little surreal and dream-like, and ya just gotta roll with it.

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Sankarea – 03

The potion she drinks doesn’t kill her, so Rea remains a prisoner in her home, and overhears her father instructing his butler to castrate Furuya; she sneaks out again to warn him. He’s chasing the newly resurrected Baabu around town. The zombie cat leads him to the place where the hydrangeas were picked, where Furuya also finds Rea on the cliff she climbed before. Her father tracks her down and there’s a confrontation culminating in Rea falling and being fatally impaled on a sharp rock. Then the potion kicks in, she rises, and embraces Furuya…

The cryptic parting shot of the first episode – Rea walking, nay, lurching towards Furuya, entrails hanging out and blood dripping – that was merely a portent to what transpired in this episode. It’s an episode of Rea feeling trapped and unable to keep going on. Her mother and father are both horrible people, but her father is far worse because he tries to justify his monstrous behavior as his paternal duty, which is bullshit. Despite his abuse, fear of Furuya getting hurt motivates her to defy him once again, damning consequences. She’s a brave, strong young woman.

Only…by episode’s end, she’s no longer a living woman. Despite the rather obvious ramifications of her having a tussle with her dad up on a narrow cliff, her gorey death was still a visceral shock (though the network censors blurred the strong viscera). and a spellbinding, heartbreaking few moments. Furuya is shocked too when he discovers she must have taken the same potion that brought his Baabu back, because there she is, walking and talking, albeit with terrible posture and haunting red eyes. She’s back…but can she possibly be the same Rea?


Rating: 9 (Superior)


Car Cameos:
Cars that pass in the night while Furuya takes Rea home on his bike include a Mazda A-Z Wagon and a Toyota Crown Majesta.