Oh hey, I understood that reference!
— So we learn that the queen sent Melty to check the king. Ultimately, she wants to mend the royal family’s relationship with Naofumi. Sounds like a tall task if you ask me. Maybe the woman should give her daughter a hand by making one of those fancy royal decrees. She can do that, right? Well, I guess she is stuck in another country.
— As expected, our hero won’t hear Melty out at all. He won’t even let her say what she’s come to say. I gotta agree with raccoon girl for once; I personally don’t see the harm in that. On the one hand, I do agree that he shouldn’t just trust her right off the bat. Even if he hadn’t been betrayed, it would be naive to trust people willy-nilly. But on the other hand, hearing them out won’t hurt you. You don’t have to agree to anything. Just see what they have to say.
— When Filo demands to know why her “father” is treating her new friend so badly, the guy doesn’t say anything. He won’t even offer up a weak explanation. He just tells the fat chicken to stay away from Melty from now on. I don’t understand it. I really don’t. I just don’t think it’s that that hard to just say, “Her family screwed me over, so I don’t trust them.” It’s a single sentence. Naofumi acts like he’s too traumatized to even speak of the past. Like it mentally pains him to even have to think about it, and as a result, he won’t offer up even the simplest of explanation. And sadly, some of the show’s most ardent defenders would actually leap to that defense.
— Anyways, the dude who was chasing after Naofumi at the end of last week’s episode finally shows up. He’s even brought some friends. What do they want? Oh, it’s simple: they just want to pledge their loyalties to the Shield Hero. After all, they’re from Lute Village, so they owe him a debt of gratitude.
— Being his usual tsundere self, Naofumi tells the group that they can only join him if they buy some dinky accessory for 150 silvers. Meh, whatever. You know how it’ll go: when these wide-eyed chumps dig up the money, Naofumi is just going to tell them to keep it.
— To nobody’s surprise, Naofumi is also a thoughtless jerk. He casually tells Raphtalia that once the Waves are all taken care of, he’ll go home to his world. For now, let’s put aside the fact that our precious raccoon girl wants to bone her new dad. She technically has the mindset of a child. Furthermore, if we can believe him, Naofumi also sees her as a child. So he basically just told his daughter — a kid who lost her actually parents –, “Yo, I’mma go out to the corner store to pick up some smokes.”
— But let’s move on. Every so often, the story reminds you that we’re stuck in a video game. This time, it turns out that Naofumi and his girls have hit an arbitrary gameplay-related wall. They need to undergo a class upgrade, but you can only do that at one of those fancy dragon hourglasses. Unfortunately, we’re in Melromarc, so the evil church people are trying to rip the Shield Hero off.
— He eventually decides to get an upgrade for just Raphtalia for now. After all, she’s his first and most trusted companion. But just as he grudgingly forks over the money, it turns out the king has just made a royal decree to deliberately screw Naofumi over (I’m sure Malty had a hand in this). Well, I guess we’re back to being stupid. Hurr hurr, we need you to save our kingdom from the Waves, but we also won’t let you get strong enough to do so.
— But speaking of royal decrees, the queen maybe should’ve given Melty one of those to work with…
— So what does Naofumi do? He goes running to his favorite slave trader.
— The thought process here is that since the slave trader has high level slaves, he must surely know how to do a class upgrade. Well, he can’t directly help Naofumi out, but he does tell him that you can go to any dragon hourglass to get the job done. We proceed to hear about all these places with silly names like Shieldfreeden.
— In the end, Naofumi decides that he doesn’t have enough time to travel to another country before the next Wave hits. But he does get these talons for Filo as a consolation prize. They proceed to test it out in the sewers.
— I ask this every time I play a JRPG.
— Later that night, Raphtalia tries to ask Naofumi if she could go with him when he returns to his own world. Boy, that would be like a reverse isekai! Is that even legal?! This is all moot anyways, because I doubt Naofumi is going anywhere. It’s rare for these isekai protagonists to actually go home.
— But before Naofumi can properly discuss the matter with raccoon girl, the fat chicken wakes up and starts bickering with her “sister.” Ugh.
— In the second half of the episode, the trio scopes out the nearby regions. The capital is in good shape, but the rest of the kingdom is pretty much a giant dump. And like before, the other heroes are party to blame. More specifically, it turns out Bow Dork assisted in another country’s revolution. This resulted in refugees flooding into the kingdom en masse, and they’re all destitute. Clearly, the other heroes aren’t being thorough with their work. They don’t stick around to see the consequences of their actions. See quest, complete quest, leave. Rinse and repeat.
— But we have to ask ourselves if Naofumi would’ve done much better in their shoes. We can’t really answer that with any certainty. Because he’s an outcast, he doesn’t do the usual thing of hitting up a guild to accept quests. Instead, he gets the opportunity to travel around the area as a merchant. This allows him to see the world around them in a different light. Had he not been screwed over at the start of the story, would Naofumi’s story be all that different from the others? It also sounds like the other heroes don’t realize that people are suffering in their wake. Maybe if you let them know what’s going on, they’ll fix the problem. Maybe.
— In any case, he eventually bumps into his old “buddies” at the tavern. Bow Dork is complaining about how he isn’t getting the rewards for completing all those quests. He and Sword Jerk instantly jump to the conclusion that someone must be impersonating them and stealing the reward. And of course, he accuses Naofumi of this crime. Oh man.
— So our hero proceeds to tell them off. Blah blah blah, you guys don’t think of the consequences, yadda yadda yadda. Sword Jerk actually feels bad. In fact, Sword Jerk believes what Naofumi has to say. On the other hand, Bow Dork remains obstinate. Hmmmm. I’m sure they’ll both be trouble for Shield Hero later down the line, but Bow Dork will probably be the tougher nut to crack. They’re all kinda haughty and stuck-up, but Sword Jerk is a little more open-minded than the other two. At least for now. Neither of them have received much characterization for now, though.
— Anyways, those dorks who wanted to join Naofumi finally manage to dig up the 150 silver. And as expected, our hero tells them to spend the money on upgrading their gear. Yawn.
— That’s it for the episode. Just know that the next Wave is coming up… yo, who’s this?
— This episode kind of lacked focus, but I still like it better than the previous ones. After all, the story actually made some progress. More importantly, when the story focuses on world-building, it’s almost decent. Almost. But obviously, it’s hard to get past the fact that a grown man is running around with a pair of children who wants to bone him.