Yeah, Naofumi might be an alleged rapist, but he’s no lolicon! He has the decency to wait for his slave daughter to grow up before bedding her! But jokes aside — or are they jokes? — let’s address the elephant in the room: for some reason, Raphtalia is now practically all grown up and she demands to be taken seriously! No more happy meals for her! Get her that Big Mac! But yeah, I guess raccoon girls do mature faster than expected. Does this mean that she’ll also die earlier? Does this work like dog years? Or is this just the anime wanting to have its cake and eat it too? Bah, I don’t wanna do a time skip. Let’s just age her in an instant! Not only is the girl taller, however, her personality has matured a touch. Despite being a demi-human and thus of a lower status, Raphtalia is apparently beautiful, so men from all over can’t help but dote on her. The girl is at least aware of her charms, and she’ll use them to drive a hard bargain when shopping for equipment and supplies. I guess that frees up one more responsibility from Naofumi. As a duo, they’ve gotten much, much stronger from when we last saw them. In fact, the girl is actually at a higher level than her master (not that this really matters).
What’s important, however, is that Raphtalia remains deathly loyal to Naofumi. Maybe even recklessly loyal. When our hero has a run-in with the other three heroes, spear jackass (I’ll remember his name when I have to) starts dredging up salacious rumors, the girl affirms undying dedication to her master. See, this would be more meaningful if Naofumi had removed the slave crest from Raphtalia. It’s not that I don’t believe the raccoon girl. Of course she loves him! He’s the isekai hero! Eventually, most of these girls will love him, and she’ll get to be the queen bee of the harem! She loves him so much already that she’s willing to throw down against a bunch of royal knights because they might have deliberately endangered her master. That could’ve turned out badly if everyone didn’t have bigger fishes to fry… like y’know, the Wave. Nevertheless, my point is simple: Raphtalia choosing to stand by her man is blunted by the simple fact that she’s a slave. Even if she wanted to betray Naofumi, she couldn’t. I’m sure our hero must have felt relieved that at least one person chose to stick by his side, but again, this is marred by the fact that she’s magically required to obey him.
If Naofumi had freed the girl from slave status at some point, then I must have missed it. So for now, I’m operating under the assumption that he hasn’t done so. And y’know what? But first, a little context. This is quite peculiar to me. In a ridiculous-looking church, there is an equally ridiculous-looking hourglass. This massive device lets everyone know when the next Wave is arriving. When the time comes, our heroes and their party members are just magically transported to the scene of the battle. But while the other three are busy doing what they’re expected to do, Naofumi can’t help but notice that Lute Village has not yet evacuated. Well, cynical he might be, but he’s no heartless monster! He’ll thus do the right thing and save these people. He’ll gripe about it, but in the end, he risks his life to save all these people, and they are eternally grateful to him. He even wins over some soldiers in the process. The flipside, of course, is that the other three heroes will now assume that Naofumi was too cowardly to even show up to help them fight the boss. But I mean, they already think he’s scum, so he wouldn’t make much headway in trying to impress them. So let’s get to main issue at hand: if saving Lute Village is the right thing to do, then why do we turn a blind eye to all the slaves?
It’s the same question that seems to plague a lot of recent isekai series. No one argues that slavery is okay. Rather, they won’t even touch the subject. Nevertheless, everyone simply accepts the idea of slavery existing. I don’t get that. I don’t get this blase, casual attitude towards a heinous practice, especially when the core of every one of these goddamn shows is that the hero comes from a world in which slavery is condemned. Gotta save them villagers, though! And I agree! Saving people is generally considered a good move! Good job, Shield Hero! You did good. But then why doesn’t this super bad thing over here also outrage you? And now that Raphtalia has proven herself to be loyal, why hasn’t she been freed from bondage? It’s not just about this show either. It’s the same all across a lot of recent isekai series. These protagonists go around doing good deeds, but whenever they see slaveowners and slaves, it’s not, “Ugh, I gotta stop this.” Instead, it’s like, “Yo, lemme buy some more to add to my collection!” The best part is how the audience overlooks this, because hey, these protagonists aren’t treating their slaves badly! Actually, this is my favorite excuse: “Yeah, controversial subject X is problematic, but the show has good character development so I’m okay with it.”
So yeah, that’s the long and short of it. Kudos to the guy for saving that village. It was the right thing to do… but why haven’t you at least freed your slave? It’s clear that she isn’t going to go anywhere. Look, I know you can’t end slavery in a day, but you can at least not turn a blind eye to it.