The Rising of the Shield Hero brought its second season to a close this summer, and all eyes are on the future ahead of season three. After all, the isekai has amassed an army of fans in its time. As Kinema Citrus carries on with Naofumi behind the scenes, fans are giving season two a second look, and ComicBook got the inside scoop on how the show's latest episodes came together.
Recently, part of the cast and crew for The Rising of the Shield Hero appeared at Crunchyroll Expo to talk all things anime. It was there ComicBook spoke to producer Kousuke Arai, composer Kevin Penkin, and MADKID (the voice of Naofumi). The team talked about the biggest challenges they faced during season two and the ways in which The Rising of the Shield Hero has changed since season one.
Question: The Rising of the Shield Hero became a major hit when it debuted here in the United States. Fans have obviously been very excited for season two, so what would you say the anime team is feeling in light of the show's success?
Kosuke Arai: Because of the success not only in Japan but worldwide, we're encouraged knowing that we have a worldwide audience. So far, we have only aired half of the light novels' story, we still have half of it left. But I am very excited myself personally.
Question: In season two, The Rising of the Shield Hero has obviously introduced some new challenges for its heroes. What are some of the challenges that you and your team have faced while producing season two?
Arai: There was the Spirit Tortoise to consider as well as Kizuna and their friendships. We approached these two episodes with excitement as one was more about spirituality and the other about friendship and how the team fights together. We wanted to make sure that each episode had a different kind of excitement for fans. Each episode was created to impact audiences differently in this second season. Also, there was advertising. We've done a lot of advertising. Like for the key visual. If you take it and compare it to the one for the first season, you can tell that slowly but surely vivid changes were made to the anime's colors and characters.
Question: So, the music of The Rising of the Shield Hero is so good. It varies widely, so I to ask how Kevin if they have to get in a certain mindset to work on the music for the anime.
Kevin Penkin: There's this technique called music painting that I use. Traditionally, music reflects a lyric with something that rises and technically becomes parallel. The lyrics are sort of explaining that change. I try to take that concept and try to create an entire world basically where sound design sort of represents a physical part of the world... For instance, there was this idea the anime's setting borrowed from Mediterranean influences to make its background. So in its music, I tried not to give a specific cultural reference [to the Mediterranean] but just give the broad feel of an unknown undiscovered culture.
Question: With season two, were there any standout scenes you wanted to imbue with emotions through music? Or are there any particular tracks that gave you difficulties as they were trying to create music for them?
Penkin: Normally, there is something that the average person might call a club banger, and I really wanted to oversee one of those tracks for season two. That came in the form of "Gemini", the show's OST. Its vocal arrangement is quite difficult, but, but the execution of that song was really important. Its vocals almost wrap around the orchestra as a challenge. And also, I wrote the lyrics. That is not normally my strong suit, so that was challenging.
Question: And finally, MADKID – I want to know what you believe is Naofumi's standout moment in season two so far?
MADKID: The highlight is definitely when Naofumi is standing up with the leaders of each country. It symbolized how he is becoming accepted by everyone, and it felt really good to see.