Rising of the Shield Hero Volume 17 first impressions (spoiler free kind-of)


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    This doesn't have any specific spoilers in it, but if you read what I wrote you will probably get a pretty good idea of what happens.

    I'm about 1/3 of the way done with the volume that came out today, and to be honest, I'm kind of disappointed. The harem aspects of the series have pretty much taken over. Every single chance there was for dramatic tension, character development, or touching character moments ended up just boiling back down to Naofumi's harem. Either characters bickered about who was best girl and that broke the dramatic tension, the events ended up only being about where the girl fit in the hierarchy of Naofumi's Harem instead of being a chance to develop their character, possible touching moments that took several books to set up get derailed to bring back everything to his harem, or possible chances to better explore the world-building ended up setting up conflicts brought by new people entering the harem.

    It's kind of a shame that a series with so much going for it went down this path.


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    @db0ssman I've yet to pick it up yet, but vol 16 was the worst the series has ever been so I'm not sure I will even bother.
    I completely agree with your assessment of the series, it started quite good, and while it had, in my opinion, already lost a lot of its appeal around vol 3~4, the introduction of Sadina and Atla really cranked up the harem factor to 11.
    Also the way almost every situation is resolved using some deus ex machina slowly made it quite boring.


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    @Raitoiro The actual setup to the volume isn't that bad, but it is the execution that has left much to be desired IMO. It's kind of like whenever the author was unsure how to continue a scene or transition between scenes she just brought up Naofumi's harem. Then she had no idea how to proceed in any of the volume I read so far. That means that pretty much every scene mentions the harem, discusses it, jokes about it, and some of them even focus on the harem as the main reason for the scene.

    I think we agree about the timeline mostly. The series started flirting with the idea of a harem with the introduction of Melty/Filo, embraced it with the intro of Sadeena (which is where it became obvious to me), and then went full-bore worst kind of harem with the introduction of Atla.

    It's pretty bad if you can say they should take a note from Lazy Dungeon Master on how to be more restrained with harems.


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    @db0ssman IMO the problems with vol16 went beyond the way the harem always take center place, the biggest let down for me was how anti-climatic and disappointing it was.
    Like you said the set up was quite good, introducing a new powerful enemy, with some really powerful followers and technology, who strips Naofumi of his power, somehow knowing a lot more about the waves and is unhappy with the way the heros work.

    It could have been interesting but the way the series resolved it was just "Oops actually here is a powerup now Naofumi is more powerful, and that guy and all his followers are nothing".

    Yeah, LDM does it better but to be fair since it's a comedy it can get away with more dumb stuff. To me a good example of a similar series doing a way better job with a harem would be Mushoku Tensei.


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    @Raitoiro One possible way of looking at this is that it was just kind of a poor way of dealing with the OP protagonist problem. Usually you have to focus on something other than conflict if you have a protagonist that is way more powerful than everything else. Some common ways of dealing with that:

    Focus on Side Characters: One Punch Man
    Focus on problems that can't be solved physically: 8th son, are you kidding me
    Focus on Romance: Archdemon's Dilemma: How to love your elf bride
    Focus on slice of life/Relationships: If it's for my daughter...
    Power Escalation: Dragon Ball Z
    Fight through Proxies: Lazy Dungeon Master

    Even though a lot of Naofumi's problems were solved Deus Ex Machina near the beginning of the series, it never really felt like an OP protagonist. He struggled against the world, and to rely on others, and to stop evil conspiracies.

    I guess it is possible that the series was always intended to be an OP protagonist that focused on a Harem and so it was slowly introduced, but it was just done in the laziest least interesting way possible. Other than the relationship with Raphtalia, none of the other ones are remotely interesting.

    Sadeena, Alta, Shildina, and a slew of minor characters all just fell in love with Naofumi for no real reason. The interactions aren't so over the top they are amusing, but not so scarce that it is like an occassional nice diversion. It's kind of making what happens a bit of a trudge to read because it is just the same joke over and over and over again...



  • @db0ssman said in Rising of the Shield Hero Volume 17 first impressions (spoiler free kind-of):

    @Raitoiro One possible way of looking at this is that it was just kind of a poor way of dealing with the OP protagonist problem. Usually you have to focus on something other than conflict if you have a protagonist that is way more powerful than everything else. Some common ways of dealing with that:

    Even though a lot of Naofumi's problems were solved Deus Ex Machina near the beginning of the series, it never really felt like an OP protagonist. He struggled against the world, and to rely on others, and to stop evil conspiracies.

    Yeah in the first arc you at least get the sense of an underdog struggle against the prejudice of the world. I started to notice a blandness in the fights and antagonists starting with the tortoise arc. There were some redeeming volumes like the ones focusing on rebuilding the village so I kept reading but ultimately volume 14 was last straw for me.


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    @db0ssman IMO Maybe the author is trying to deal with an op MC, but with the state the story now is in its not enough. Almost everything in the series come out of nowhere/is done through deus ex machina.

    I doubt the series was really planned at all, even the explanation for why Naofumi was bully at the start never made much sense. Same for how Raphtalia was suddenly the rightful ruler of an uber powerful country we've never heard of before.

    I think the reason, it didn't felt so bland at the start is because

    • it wasn't the 10th time the situation was resolved by a deus ex machina
    • the DexM themselves weren't as outlandish, like "Naofumi's rage unlock a powerful shield which he as a hard time controlling and curse him, but he still doesn't win"
      is better than
      "Wow look Risha can actually go super sayen and the enemy weapon reject him and Naofumi shield can now shoot laser... And that's it they beat who was arguably the most powerful person in a whole other world "
    • the series was more focus on Naofumi view on a saving a world which reject him and how taking care of Raphtalia was changing him, than some fight with the Nth bad guy trying to destroy/conquer the world.

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    @Raitoiro said in Rising of the Shield Hero Volume 17 first impressions (spoiler free kind-of):

    I doubt the series was really planned at all, even the explanation for why Naofumi was bully at the start never made much sense. Same for how Raphtalia was suddenly the rightful ruler of an uber powerful country we've never heard of before.

    I kind of get this feeling a lot with light novels in general. Like If it's for my daughter

    It's kind of an issue with series that are meant to be indefinitely long weekly/daily serializations. The author likely had a vague sense of where she wanted to go with the story and it meant kind of bumbling through some parts. I think she just kind of never really found a satisfying stride. Or rather she lost her stride, and never recovered.


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    @db0ssman said in Rising of the Shield Hero Volume 17 first impressions (spoiler free kind-of):

    It's kind of an issue with series that are meant to be indefinitely long weekly/daily serializations.

    I think Death March has done well so far, but the OP becomes a demigod (though an untrained one) in the first chapter, and it becomes a slice of life tourism and crafting series almost from the beginning. The underlying story arc is being revealed very very slowly, but the MC is intentionally ignoring it as much as possible to focus on cooking, crafting and seeing the sights :)

    The first main arc in Smartphone was (to me) better than the second one but it's managed to reach volume 20 without falling apart. By main arcs I mean (big spoilers! don't read unless you're up to date):


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    @HarmlessDave

    I'm not saying it isn't possible. I'm just saying this particular author didn't do a very good job. I mean Lazy dungeon master has done a good job so far and it is on 12, Ascendance of a bookwork just finished 8 and is still doing a good job. AoB should last up to like 35/36 so it likely will stay strong for at least a little bit.

    Yet If it's for my daughter... kind of pivoted hard on its premise on book 3 which made it kind of awkward. Goblin slayer had no idea what to do with its premise on books 3 and 4, which are probably the worst LN I've ever read. Shield hero started losing its stride around 6/7 and slowly but steadily became worse. Sexiled kind of didn't know what to do with its premise and threw out everything it could think of in book 1, so book 2 already felt like rehashing the same thing. A lot of these book's problems could be explained by just floundering around with the story.


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    @db0ssman yes, that's something I dislike about most Hollywood TV shows. It's very rare to have a series like Babylon 5 where the writer had 5 seasons planned out in advance before the show started.

    Often it seems like the LN author starts with one story arc in mind, carriers it out, then the publisher wants them to keep writing more. To me, Little Apocalypse had this problem around volume 8 or 10 where it felt like the author just looked for any remaining genres that hadn't been covered yet.

    Realist Hero is another one of the exceptions where the author seems to have planned out at least the first 8 or so, and possibly more.


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    @HarmlessDave Yeah I kind of worry about that with Combat Baker a little bit. I feel like the end of book 5 (I think it is that one) was pretty much the perfect ending to that series. However, it is still going, which means it's very likely going to either have to pivot away from the will they/won't they aspect of the baker/waitress and risk the next arc not really working well or try to keep that that dynamic the focus and it will probably make the series seem pretty tedious.

    It always ends up pretty risky to push things passed the natural end point.


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    @db0ssman A lot of LN do seems plan, but what's kind of strange is that lot of those which don't, usually are WN adaption.
    And while it not a surprise that something written by an amateur on their free time, as WN usually are, isn't planned out that well. It's strange that once serialized alot of those author who now have a good idea of the story they will tell don't tinker more with the story to make it more coherent.

    So do "So I'm a spider so what!? " is a perfect example of that, although the WN was already well planned out. And Shield hero LN is a good example of the opposite, a LN where the changes were meaningless.


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    @Raitoiro

    I have finished reading vol 17. I wasn't impressed. I agree that all the fights pretty much boil down into deus ex machina and vol 17 carries on with this. It also seems that everybody is too busy standing around or talking during the fights in order to accomplish anything; thus letting people escape or not destroying an item that needs to be destroyed. I think the fights are have gotten really bad since the Glass/L-Arc fight after the whale fight on the ocean in vol 5. I am only reading the series now just to finish it. I have lost all hope that it will end as well as it began.


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    @thefirstpunicwar Yeah the fights now are are just characters screaming increasingly longuer and cringyer as the series go on.

    I was also thinking of at least finishing the series ,since it's one of the first LN I read, but I took a look at what's been released in Japanese and most new volume look like fillers. So I think I will stop at vol 16 for now.


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