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The Rising Of The Shield Hero Season 3 Release Date, Cast, Trailer, Possible Plotlines And More

There's a unique trend in anime and manga of regular people being magically transferred to another reality. The genre is known as isekai in Japan, meaning "different world" or "otherworld." The hit anime series "The Rising of the Shield Hero" follows this storytelling trope, but it distinguishes itself in one unique way: The central character, Naofumi Iwatani, is almost immediately despised by the fantasy world that he's supposed to save due to a false accusation of sexual assault. While that stigma eventually fades for the titular hero, a different kind of controversy settled around the second season of "The Rising of the Shield Hero."

The first season of the anime was widely regarded as a beautifully animated and addictive tale of adventure and intrigue, but Season 2 did not measure up to the high benchmark that the dark fantasy series had previously set. In fact, one fan went as far as calling it "absolute garbage" in a Reddit post that received hundreds of upvotes. "Whoever defends Season 2 by saying 'it's a bad arc so it's okay' is fooling themselves," u/Aquarius_IC added. "Bad arc or not (which the arc isn't even bad, it's pretty decent), this is an absolute outrage."

Though fans were largely disappointed with Season 2, a third season is just around the corner, and it could go a long way toward rectifying the problems with the sophomore outing. However, "The Rising of the Shield Hero" Season 3 is going to have an uphill battle ahead of it as it attempts to recapture the magic of Season 1. Here's everything you need to know about the upcoming third season.

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual assault, help is available. Visit the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website or contact RAINN's National Helpline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

When will Season 3 of The Rising of the Shield Hero be released?

Season 3 of "The Rising of the Shield Hero" is set to air during the Fall 2023 season, with the first episode premiering in Japan on October 6, 2023. According to the anime's official website, the season will run for a total of 12 episodes. That's unfortunate news for fans, as they made it clear they wanted a repeat of the longer first season. In fact, one of the biggest issues people had with Season 2 was that it only contained 13 episodes, while the debut season had almost twice that number at 25. 

In a more positive update, the third season of "The Rising of the Shield Hero" will be released on Crunchyroll. Season 3 of the show was officially announced at the Crunchyroll Expo back in 2019, and the anime streaming service is making sure that users outside of Japan can experience it without having to wait for months on end — there will be a simulcast, meaning Crunchyroll users can enjoy it on the same day as those in Japan. 

In further good news for anime fans outside of Japan, the show embarked on a premiere tour, giving people in a number of countries a chance to see the first episode as early as summer 2023. And thankfully, we've heard a lot of positive takes. "I walked away from the first episode of Season 3 thinking that it genuinely had a lot of promise," said MrAJCosplay in a review for Anime News Network. "This season has been in production for a while, and it shows because visually, it's probably the best-looking the show has ever been. The directing feels subtle and engaging, the lighting feels almost cinematic, and every character has additional shading, adding more dimension to their designs."

What is the plot of The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3?

Minor light novel spoilers ahead.

Season 3 of "The Rising of the Shield Hero" is set to adapt the Rebuilding Arc and the Fallen Heroes Arc. The former is the basis of the tenth volume of the light novel, while the latter plays out across volumes 11 and 12. This won't come as a surprise to those familiar with the light novel series, as Season 2 of the anime covered volumes 6 through 9 — or, at least, it covered parts of them. The biggest issue fans had with the second season is that it skipped over a lot of stuff from those volumes in order to cram everything into 13 episodes, so the fact that the third season will seemingly draw from fewer volumes is probably a good thing, especially as it's only 12 episodes long.

In the Rebuilding Arc, the queen of Melromarc decides that Naofumi should be rewarded for his part in saving the world from the Spirit Tortoise. He asks for some land, and he sets about building a settlement where his partner Raphtalia's hometown Lurolona Village used to stand. The trouble is, there are no people to live there — those who used to inhabit the village are long gone. Further issues arise when Naofumi discovers that Eclair (the governor in charge of this territory) has no interest in building and only wants to train.

The Fallen Heroes Arc sees Ren, Itsuki, and Motoyasu struggling to cope in the aftermath of the Spirit Tortoise catastrophe, with all three losing sight of what it means to be a hero in this world and subsequently vanishing. After having successfully located and freed some slaves that used to live in Raphtalia's hometown, Naofumi attempts to track the missing heroes down, but his task is made more difficult by the fact that he's being tracked by assassins.

Who is starring in The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3?

The main voice actors are all returning for the third season of "The Rising of the Shield Hero." Kaito Ishikawa is back in the titular role, fresh from playing characters in the latest seasons of "Demon Slayer" (he voices Karaku in the hit shonen series) and "My Hero Academia" (he's held the role of Tenya Iida since 2016, arguably his best-known character). He's also known for voicing Shinta Takagi in "Your Name," one of the best anime movies of all time. In the English dub, Naofumi is voiced by Stephen Fu, who took over from Billy Kametz for Season 2 after Kametz sadly died of colon cancer aged just 35. Kametz was renowned for his work on the series, having won Best Voice Actor Performance at the Crunchyroll Anime Awards for Season 1.

Asami Seto returns to the role of Raphtalia, the main heroine and deuteragonist of the series. Seto has plied her trade on some big projects in recent years, including "Bleach: Thousand-Year Blood War," "The First Slam Dunk," and "Jujutsu Kaisen," in which she voices formidable Tokyo Jujutsu High student Nobara Kugisaki. In the English dub, Raphtalia is voiced by Erica Mendez, whose credits include Ryuko Matoi in "Kill la Kill," Gon Freecss in "Hunter x Hunter," and Kamisato Ayaka in the popular role-playing game "Genshin Impact."

Supporting characters who are likely to feature heavily in the latter stages of Season 3 include the Sword Hero Ren, the Spear Hero Motoyasu, and the Bow Hero Itsuki. Ren is voiced by Yoshitsugu Matsuoka and Alan Lee; Motoyasu is voiced by Makoto Takahashi and Xander Mobus; and Itsuki is voiced by Yoshitaka Yamaya and Erik Kimerer. At Anime Expo 2023, we learned that some new actors were joining the cast for Season 3. Ami Koshimizu (Kallen Stadtfeld in "Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion") is playing Nadia; Kōhei Amasaki (Neito Monoma in "My Hero Academia") is playing Fohl; Konomi Kohara (Chika Fujiwara in "Kaguya-sama: Love Is War") is playing Atla; and Maria Naganawa (Kanna in "Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid") is playing S'yne.

Who is directing The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3?

"The Rising of the Shield Hero" has had a new director for each season thus far, and that trend is set to continue. The first season was directed by Takao Abo, who had helmed odd episodes of shows like "Black Lagoon" and "Macross Frontier" but wasn't known for taking charge of full seasons. His tenure on "The Rising of the Shield Hero" was received enthusiastically, but he was still replaced for the second season, with Masato Jinbo taking the reins.

In an interview included on the Blu-ray release of Season 2, Jinbo said that his main goal for the season was to cast doubt over whether Naofumi actually wanted to return to his world or not. However, fans of the light novels have pointed out that this doesn't cross Naofumi's mind in the source material. "Naofumi never once seriously considers staying," Reddit user u/pathfinderlight said. "His only motivation for rebuilding [Lurolona Village] is to give Raphtalia a place to live after he's gone."

Other Reddit users questioned how much of the light novels Jinbo actually read. "The director should have read the LNs beyond what these seasons cover to include setups for future seasons," said u/TemeroHimitaki, while u/drm186 claimed that Jinbo "read the LN but didn't really understand it." Elsewhere, u/Ustar1000 said that they hope the director of Season 3 "will read the source material beyond season 2 and salvage as much as possible." But who does this responsibility fall to?

Season 3 of "The Rising of the Shield Hero" is being directed by Hitoshi Haga, who is no stranger to the property — he worked on a number of Season 1 episodes, creating the storyboards for five of them. Haga has been a key animator on everything from "Pokémon" to the Satoshi Kon classic "Perfect Blue," but in terms of directing, he's best known for his work on the critically acclaimed survival fantasy "Made in Abyss."

Is The Rising of the Shield Hero based on a manga?

"The Rising of the Shield Hero" exists in manga form, but it began its life as a web novel. It was created by author Aneko Yusagi, which is more than likely a pen name — they debuted the story on the Japanese self-publishing website Shōsetsuka ni Narō (meaning "Let's Become a Novelist"), where most people operate under a moniker rather than using their own name. "This is due to a culture of anonymity on the Japanese web, as well as the fact that many authors prefer to keep their writing separate from their real life," explains Frog-kun. "The majority of light novel and web novel authors are not full-time writers."

Yusagi first began sharing "The Rising of the Shield Hero" on Shōsetsuka ni Narō in 2012 and it quickly gained a following. In 2013 it was adapted into a light novel series with illustrations by Seira Minami. By the end of that year, it had been translated into English and published overseas. A manga adaptation soon followed, and the anime series wasn't too far behind. Today, it's a well-known property both in Japan and abroad, though there's still very little known about Yusagi — their age and gender remain a mystery, despite rampant speculation among fans on social media.

Despite the secrecy, Yusagi does give the odd interview. They went into detail regarding what they love about "The Rising of the Shield Hero" during a 2022 chat with Otaku USA Magazine. "I really have fun when I finally reveal scenes that I've been stealthily foreshadowing," they said. "It's fun to see how stealthily I can foreshadow things without anyone realizing what's going to happen." Yusagi also revealed that they were "moved" the first time they saw their characters brought to life in the anime adaptation.

Is there a trailer for The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3?

The first official trailer for "The Rising of the Shield Hero" Season 3 dropped in April 2023, and it confirmed that the third season will be a mixture of the Rebuilding Arc and the Fallen Heroes Arc. It opens with Naofumi being informed that his fellow heroes have gone missing, and then he's shown talking to the slave trader Beloukas, who tells him that he should head to Zeltoble. A country of mercenary clans, the vast majority of Zeltoble's inhabitants are slaves. Its main landmark is its colosseum, which features heavily in the trailer. Naofumi's hunt for the missing heroes has led him here, so he announces his intention to hide his identity and enter the gladiatorial tournaments held in the colosseum.

The trailer ends with the sentence "our regrets make us stronger," which tallies with the theme of the season — one of the key visuals for the upcoming third season is adorned with the words "heroes and their regrets." In the comments section of the trailer, fans seized on the theme of regret to poke fun at the fact that the second season was such a disappointment. "Yes regret what you did in season 2, learn from it and make this season even better [than] the first season," wrote @kuramakitsune16.

A second trailer released by Kadokawa covered some of the same ground but it also gave fans a first look at some new characters. The Orca therianthrope Sadeena (Ami Koshimizu) is shown in battle, and the demi-human siblings Fohl Fayon and Atla Fayon (Kohei Amasaki and Konomi Kohara) can also be glimpsed. The trailer also mentions the Phoenix, one of the Four Guardian Beasts and the next big threat in the story following the Spirit Tortoise. The most recent trailer is the grittiest of the lot, with more blood and the battles in the colosseum looking extremely intense.

Which studio is making The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3?

Like the previous two seasons, "The Rising of the Shield Hero" Season 3 is being made by the studio Kinema Citrus, which was formed by former employees of the well-known studios Production I.G. and Bones. Kinema Citrus had some help from Korean studio DR Movie for the second season, which numerous fans felt was part of the issue with the sophomore outing (DR Movie is seen by some as a low-cost fix when production schedules are tight and the main studio needs extra pairs of hands on the job). As such, news that Kinema Citrus was flying solo for the third season — just like they did for the first one — was met positively.

According to Kinema Citrus CEO Muneki Ogasawara, the studio was formed with the goal of creating a better working environment for the talented animators that bring anime to the screen. "To put it very bluntly, the financial and workplace conditions in the Japanese anime industry aren't the best," Ogasawara told Ani-Gamers at the Otakon festival in 2016. "For example, we work long hours and overtime. It's easy to complain about these things, but I thought I'd take it on myself to try to make something better. I think a lot of younger entrepreneurs have similar ideas."

At the time, Kinema Citrus was working on a crowdfunded anime called "Under the Dog," an old school sci-fi about teens with special abilities who are enlisted to fight terrorists after an attack on the Tokyo Olympics. Since then, the studio has put out the likes of the sports anime "Scorching Ping Pong Girls," the drama series "Revue Starlight," the slice-of-life comedy "Rinshi!! Ekodachan," and its most famous title "Made in Abyss," which won Anime of the Year at the Crunchyroll Anime Awards. Fans are thrilled by what they've seen of Season 3 so far in trailers, hailing the work of the studio. "Gotta say Kinema Citrus is cooking right now especially with the animation that looks even better then the entire 2nd season and even the 2nd half of the 1st season," Redditor u/Ustar1000 said.

Who is writing The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3?

The third season of "The Rising of the Shield Hero" is being written by Keigo Koyanagi, who has worked on the previous two seasons. Koyanagi penned four episodes of Season 1 and was credited as a script assistant on six episodes. He stepped up his contribution for the second season, providing the scripts for all 13 episodes. He's in charge of scriptwriting and series composition for the upcoming third season, a dual role that he previously held on the 2016 mecha anime "Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars" and 2018's "Sirius the Jaeger," a supernatural thriller about vampire hunters. Koyanagi is also known for his work on "Blast of Tempest," "Killing Bites," "The Lost Village," "Classroom Crisis," and "Angel Beats!"

Koyanagi was recruited to work on "The Rising of the Shield Hero" when he was busy writing a couple of episodes of "Made in Abyss," another Kinema Citrus anime. Speaking to Crunchyroll, the screenwriter revealed that the studio's CEO Muneki Ogasawara was the one who introduced him to the property. "Ogasawara-san randomly handed me a bag full of the 'Shield Hero' light novels and asked me to read through them," he said. "I had no idea what that was all about at first, so I focused on 'Made in Abyss' instead. But as we kept going back and forth with 'Did you read it?' and 'Not yet,' I somehow found myself taking part in the 'Shield Hero' pre-production meetings at some point." Koyanagi added that he was "very grateful" to be considered for the job and that he "jumped on the chance" to work on the show.

Who performs the opening song for The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3?

The opening song of "The Rising of the Shield Hero" Season 3 is called "Sin" and it's performed by a group that fans of the franchise will no doubt be familiar with. The five-piece act MADKID have already done opening tracks for the show, with "Rise" and "Faith" from Season 1 proving to be extremely popular among viewers. Unsurprisingly, they were brought back to perform the opening for Season 2, contributing the catchy song "Bring Back." News of their continued involvement went down well with fans. "It would feel wrong without them doing the opening," said u/drm186 on Reddit.

Consisting of two rappers and three singers, MADKID made their major label debut in 2018 and have released three full-length albums since then. They're closely associated with "The Rising of the Shield Hero," and "their songs are some of the best things about the franchise," MrAJCosplay said after watching the first episode of Season 3 at Anime Expo 2023 (via Anime News Network). The group appeared in a pre-recorded video at the event and "one of the members mentioned that he wrote the lyrics for this opening to reflect the idea of Naofumi rising to the challenge."

Who performs the ending song for The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3?

The ending song of "The Rising of the Shield Hero" Season 3 is performed by Chiai Fujikawa, and it's called "Suki ni Natte wa Ikenai Riyū" (The Reason I Cannot Love You). Like MADKID, Fujikawa is not a newcomer to the franchise, having contributed songs to the two previous seasons. Her songs "Kimi no Namae" (Your Name) and "Atashi ga Tonari ni Iru Uchi ni" (While I'm Still by Your Side) were used for endings in Season 1, and her ending song "Yuzurenai" (Unyielding) was one of the best things about Season 2. Fans have reacted well to her latest song, which was previewed in a Season 3 PV released on Kadokawa's YouTube channel. "This looks way better than Season 2 and that theme song was beautiful," YouTuber @eniggmaaincognito7215 said after seeing the PV.

It's also been confirmed that music composer Kevin Penkin will be returning for Season 3. The Australian is well-known for bringing something different to the anime shows he's worked on in the past, but this was one of his biggest challenges to date. "With 'Shield Hero,' I focused a lot on a few different areas where I could get some inspiration from," Penkin told Anime Trending. "First off, the core emotions Naofumi is going to be feeling throughout the series, such as rage, loneliness, desperation and dark negative feelings, and trying to, in their rawest form, translate that into music."

Where to watch the previous seasons of The Rising of the Shield Hero

The first season of "The Rising of the Shield Hero" is available to stream on Hulu, where plans start at $7.99 a month. If you want to watch Season 1 and Season 2 ahead of the upcoming third season, then your best bet is Crunchyroll, which has subs and dubs in a number of different languages. If you're not a member, you can still watch the first three episodes in English for free, but you'll need a subscription if you want to watch the dubbed version beyond that point. However, if you don't mind watching the original Japanese version with subtitles, you can view the whole thing without a membership — though you will have to contend with persistent ads.

If you want an ad-free experience, you have a few different options. The cheapest premium plan is $7.99 a month, which gives you access to new shows shortly after they've aired in Japan as well as the company's catalog of digital manga. The next step up is the Mega Fan tier, which costs $9.99 a month. This allows you to stream on up to four devices at once and also comes with offline viewing, among other perks. The Ultimate Fan package will set you back $14.99 a month, but you can stream on up to six devices and you'll get $25 off $100 purchases in the Crunchyroll store every three months, as well as an annual swag bag. If you're unsure about which package is for you, there's a 14-day free trial.