First, we had Goblin Slayer, a no man’s man in a perpetual struggle with a mind shattering past of heartache, regret, powerless struggle, and reality warping horror. Through the impetuous spirit of zealot and strife, he overcomes impossible odds, not through grandeur power and luck but developed skill, passion, and experience.
The Man, the Myth, the Legend
Now, we have Iwatani Naofumi -- the Shield Hero.
A New Hero Appears!
Our guy is introduced as an everyman; Otaku-ish, a college student and a reader of Light Novels. A man living an idyllic life, until he is pulled into a magical realm to fulfill a prophecy. A great rundown can be found right here.
Shield Hero and Goblin Slayer share my favorite characteristics; humility, compassion, ingenuity and most importantly a COLLASAL chip on their shoulders. Goblin Slayer laser focuses his childhood trauma to target the monsters preying on the little guy. His brilliant mind and heart of gold are hidden by his dented armor and stoic demeanor. He doesn't just chase goblins out of some misguided pursuit of revenge. He exterminates the evil forces directly threatening us ordinary people. He has no time to chase demon lords, there are goblins to be slain.
Shield Hero got a rough start. A stranger in a strange land, and the resident bitch of the party. Only to be accused of rape! (falsely of course)
A classical hero would prove his innocence and exposed the two-faced
whore woman for what she is, but our romantic hero fails. He accepts his fate and the judgment (without admitting guilt) only to learn that he must finish his quest or die trying. How can a man be asked to save a world that hates him? Goblin Slayer wasn't a popular guy, but he had his dignity.
Iwatani scrapes the bottom of the barrel to build his party, even buying a slave girl. We are witnessing the begins what promises to be a phoenix-like rise from dumpster fire to conquering hero.
Will the Shield Hero save the day without vindication? Could we get a hero that triumphs in silence? Even Goblin Slayer got the credit he deserved in the end. Will we get the same sweet justice for Iwatani Naofumi, the Shield Hero?
Only time will tell.