Episode 7 of The Rising of the Shield Hero finds our band of adventurers delivering herbicide to a village under attack by vicious plant creatures. We learn that Motoyasu, using the seed recovered from the ruins in the last episode, ended the famine plaguing the village. What began as a blessing quickly became a curse as the fruit-bearing plants transformed into monsters that rapidly multiplied and overtook the village. The plants also proved to be parasitic, latching onto the townsfolk and sapping them of their vitality. Naofumi uses his Shield ability to cure the contagion, and the villagers beg him to exterminate the plants altogether. Naofumi, given the promise of compensation, agrees and our three heroes set out to complete the task.
Naofumi, Raphtalia and Filo fight the plant monsters but quickly realize that the central creature – a mutated tree with a grotesque eye – regenerates too quickly for them to defeat it. Naofumi, using his Shield potency ability on the herbicide, is finally able to dispatch the tree-creature. After Naofumi uses one of the seeds to gain a new Shield ability, the three gather the remaining seeds to ensure that the monster does not regenerate. Using his Shield ability, Naofumi is able to modify the seeds so that they produce fruit without transforming into creatures. He negotiates with the townsfolk, and ends up leaving with several baskets full of fruit. These he trades with the merchant from last episode, who asks Naofumi and company for their assistance with a job.
The task takes Naofumi, Raphtalia, and Filo to a hot springs town. The three spend some time in the hot springs, and Raphtalia ruminates on how she feels that Filo is attempting to steal Naofumi’s affections. Raphtalia decides that she needs to give Naofumi a gift to earn his love, and so she sets off at night to acquire one. Latium is a rare crystal found in the area and is apparently potent if used in love charms, and this is the goal of Raphtalia’s mission. She is interrupted by Filo, who is in search of the eggs of a gagocco bird. Filo wishes to gift these rare eggs to Naofumi in the hopes that he’ll become her mate. The two race up the mountainside and end up falling onto the back of a boar-like creature, which in turn chases them. Raphtalia and Filo finally come upon the nest of a gagocco bird but, with their prizes in sight, the boar returns and smashes the nest – destroying the eggs and sending the latium soaring away. Filo and Raphtalia put their differences aside to defeat the boar. The two return to town and sell the remains of the rare creature in order to collectively buy Naofumi a tool to craft metals. The episode ends as Raphtalia determines to make Naofumi fall for her womanly charms one day.
My feelings are somewhat torn for this episode. The first half, dealing with the plant monsters and the repercussions of Motoyasu’s blundering ignorance, was interesting and cool. The fight with the tree-creature was entertaining and the art was awesome. But the second half… wow. I literally could not care less about the love triangle between Naofumi and Filo and Raphtalia, and thus the latter part of this episode was awful for me. I understand the desire for anime to include this sort of stuff, but I view it as unnecessary fluff at best and annoying fan service at worst. The hot springs portions fall into the fan service category, unfortunately. After the introduction of Filo, I was concerned that this was the direction that The Rising of the Shield Hero would be taking. Hopefully next week is better.
Score: 2/5 (I didn’t like it)