In a year full of fantastic anime, THE RISING OF THE SHIELD HERO stands out among the other great anime of 2019 so far. It is one of this year’s best anime, but its premiere episode delivered negative implications towards the Me Too Movement. This sparked controversy between supporters of the movement and fans of the series.

THE RISING OF THE SHIELD HERO’s premise both intrigued and excited me. I have always loved stories that follow characters thrown into an unfamiliar fantasy world. In this case, the viewer follows Naofumi into a strange world dependent on the strength of four prophesized heroes. While the show contains an interesting world, in-depth characters, and a mysterious plot, the initial plot-twist delivers a negative statement towards the Me Too Movement.

THE RISING OF THE SHIELD HERO’s Statement of the Me Too Movement

THE RISING OF THE SHIELD HERO
Image Courtesy of Kinema Citrus

Although the first season is still in progress, many anime fans are loving THE RISING OF THE SHIELD HERO.  Despite its strong character and world building, the premiere episode offers a plot-twist that implies women’s accusations of sexual assault are false. The protagonist is wrongly accused of rape at the end of the first episode. In the accusation, the Princess of the Kingdom, Myne, frames Naofumi for sexually assaulting her. While this definitely captures the viewer’s attention, it argues the dishonesty of women’s sexual assault accusations. This implication contributes to the problem of the Me Too Movement.

The problem is not the movement itself, but the fact that society belittles women’s sexual assault confessions. Although THE RISING OF THE SHIELD HERO’s first episode does not blatantly fight The Me Too Movement, it discourages women from speaking out about injustice. While this suggestion is bad enough on its own, it is not the only negative overtone. In addition to suggesting the falsehood of sexual assault accusations, THE RISING OF THE SHIELD HERO implies that women accuse men of rape of their own benefit.

The episode places Myne, a female character, in the primary role of antagonist. While a female villain is not always bad, this case is different. Myne’s false accusation argues that women accuse men of sexual assault to both benefit from it and punish the man. THE RISING OF THE SHIELD HERO’s negative implications demonstrates opposition towards the Me Too Movement in entertainment. However, society belittles the movement throughout the world.

The Tragedy of Nusrat Jahan Rafi

Nusrat Jahan Rafi
Image Courtesy of the New York Post

The Me Too Movement has grown as much as it has because we, as a society, have not welcomed women to voice the injustices done against them. We have discouraged women from speaking out about assault and harassment. Society encourages women to stay silent and accept the wrongdoings done against them. We even promote their guilt through alluding that sexual assault is their fault. Sometimes society’s disparagement of women’s confessions is worse than others. In the case of Nusrat Jahan Rafi, society physically punished her for speaking out about the sexual assault. In Bangladesh, a young woman, Nusrat, came forward after she was sexually assaulted by her school’s headmaster. She accused him of inappropriately touching her in his office multiple times. She went to the police, as she should have.

When this case became public, people were outraged. However, they were not upset with Nusrat’s headmaster, but with her accusation. Numerous protests threatened Nusrat to retract her accusations, but she refused. Shortly after, she was tricked into following a peer onto a rooftop at her school. There, she was threatened by multiple students surrounding her. They ordered her to renege on her accusations, but she refused. The group then held Nusrat down as they poured kerosene all over her and proceeded to light her on fire. Unfortunately, she was unable to survive her injuries. While this is an example of society’s disparagement of women’s sexual assault accusations, it is an extreme case. Fortunately, this is not common when women proclaim that they were assaulted.

However, the attackers still burned Nusrat alive for voicing an injustice done against her. She should have been supported through her accusation, but instead, she was killed for having a voice.

The Me Too Movement and Brett Kavanaugh V. Christine Blasey Ford

the Me Too Movement
Image Courtesy of People.com

To my knowledge, there has not been a case of a woman being burned alive for accusing a man of sexual assault in the United States (I hope). However, we are not innocent when it comes to belittling a woman’s proclamation of sexual assault and the Me Too Movement.

Recently, Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations of sexual assault consumed the United States. In the summer of 2018, Christine Blasey Ford accused Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, of sexual assault. The allegations came decades after the alleged assault, as the media and spectators across the country belittled Dr. Ford. People accused her of using this allegation to diminish the Republican party’s power in the US and to attack Brett Kavanaugh. This case quickly caught the attention of US citizens everywhere.

Supporters of Dr. Ford and Brett Kavanaugh have divided the country. However, the trial determined that the evidence did not support Dr. Ford’s accusations. Regardless of the outcome of the hearing, instead of supporting Christine Blasey Ford in voicing sexual assault, society attacked her. While we did not physically attack her, we scrutinized her for coming forward.

Whether you believe Dr. Ford’s allegations or not, her punishment for coming forward with a case of sexual assault consumed the country. This harsh and public criticism discourages females everywhere from voicing injustices done against them. Much like in the case of Dr. Ford and Nusrat Jahan Rafi, THE RISING OF THE SHIELD HERO’s premiere episode further dissuades women from voicing sexual assault.

THE RISING OF THE SHIELD HERO’s Poor Timing

the Me Too Movement
Image Courtesy of Kinema Citrus

Although THE RISING OF THE SHIELD HERO’s anime came out shortly after the Me Too Movement’s climax, it was originally released in 2012 as a light novel series. Even though the series came out before the movement began, its implications of women’s false accusations contributed to the rise of the movement. While I know it is not directly responsible, it is part of a larger issue in society.

Not only does the initial plot twist imply that women falsely accuse men of sexual assault, but it also implies the immorality of women. Myne does not just accuse Naofumi of sexual assault because she feels like it. She does it both for her own benefit and Naofumi’s misfortune. It opposes the Me Too Movement in suggesting that other women may be doing the same. Although THE RISING OF THE SHIELD HERO’s first episode delivers such strong implications, it may be a factor in the timing of its release. If the anime came out before the Me Too Movement started, this initial plot-twist could have avoided such harsh criticism.

However, the anime premiered this year and delivered negative statements about the Me Too Movement and women’s right to voice injustices. While I have been criticizing THE RISING OF THE SHIELD HERO’s premiere, I have to admit that I am enjoying the series. I love the dynamic between the characters and the path that the plot is following. However, I believe the plot could have enraptured the viewer without belittling the Me Too Movement.

One Comment

  1. The Blue Bard

    May 1, 2019 at 1:23 pm

    You do realize that there is a long, rich history of women – especially in the United States – leveling false accusations against men of a lower societal standing.
    In the Post-Civil-War-South, all the way into the 20th century, it was not uncommon for women of means to accuse someone of lower standing, whether due to embarrassment of a consensual relationship (Eleanor Strubing, who falsely accused a man in her employ of rape, which led to suspicion being cast on the entire black community), for no apparent reason other than being vindictive (Carolyn Bryant, who falsely accused Emmett Till, a child, of making a pass at her, after-which her relatives murdered him), or to remove blame from someone else (Rosewood).
    The takeaway from what I’ve just said, for the simple-minded, is that the situation presented in The Rise of the Shield Hero is in keeping with a long held tradition.
    The Shield Hero, from the very beginning, is presented as the OTHER; the king ignores him, the other champions belittle him, and he is singled out for his lack of knowledge of their world. Now, as I’ve previously stated, society has no issue sacrificing and trampling over the other.
    There is only a controversy to idiots who don’t understand context.

    Reply

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