INTERVIEW: The Rising of the Shield Hero Season 3’s Director and Producer on The Show’s New Staff and Heroes’ Growth

©アネコユサギ/KADOKAWA/盾の勇者の製作委員会S3

Anime Trending had the exclusive opportunity to interview The Rising of the Shield Hero Director Hitoshi Haga and Producer Kousuke Arai at Anime NYC 2023. The two of them gave insight on how they staffed the show’s third season with new creatives like Franziska van Wulfen and Sana Komatsu, the process of creating the new season, and encouraged fans to continue supporting the show in the future.

Writer James Mizutani conducted the interview while Kwok-wai Hanson, Melvyn Tan, and Agnes Nguyen contributed with questions for the interview. 


Anime Trending: Thank you both very much for coming to this interview. My first question is for Director Haga. How did you join the production of The Rising Shield Hero for season three?

Hitoshi Haga: I participated in season one as a director in a few episodes, so I was already familiar with the content and the world. And when I really thought about the world of The Rising of the Shield Hero, I felt there was something I really could make a deep contribution to, so I decided to take on season three of the series.

Since this is your series directorial debut, what challenges did you face on the production, and what were some of the highlights so far while directing the series? 

Haga: So this series already has a season one and a season two. To respect the past seasons, I had to bring my own style to the series, so that’s one of the things that was challenging for me and something I’m actively working on.

Character designers Franziska van Wulfen and Sana Komatsu are other new additions to the series staff lineup. How would you describe their work and style of drawing?

Haga: I respect Masahiro Suwa a lot, the original season one and season two character designer. When we decided to choose Komatsu-san as the main character designer, the two of them met, and they worked together to really have a successful plan. There was this transition of knowledge, style, and the key elements of the characters in the design profile. 

Franziska is somebody Kinema Citrus has worked with a lot already in the past and somebody they really could rely on. As they looked at The Rising of the Shield Hero as worldwide content, I really wanted to bring her in to get a little more global perspective. Not just from a Japanese perspective, but to a more global perspective and feature her work to the world.

Kousuke Arai: I really feel like the key visual for season three is something that showcases Franziska’s work and the beauty that she brings to the series. There’s a four-panel ad that we ran in a Japanese newspaper that is featured all over Japan where four contributing artists took one [panel] each, and you can see in the different characters the nuances that are slightly different between the four contributors. That’s something that was really interesting to see as the core of the content and the beauty that the series has.

©AnekoYusagi_Seira Minami/KADOKAWA/Shield Hero S3 Project

 

Wonderful, thank you. This is for Arai-san: this season comes with a Shingo Yamashita opening animation. What was the process like working with him?

Arai: This was a proposal that came from a staff member at Kinema Citrus. He really championed the concept, including reaching out to Yamashita-san and making this possible, and he’s really glad to see this come to life.

The OP also features MADKIDS, who have been with the TV anime since season one. Could you talk about the working relationship with MADKIDS and how their music was incorporated for season three’s opening sequence? 

Arai: So seasons one and two included their work, and it’s really been well received. I saw them perform in the US as well, and I really felt that they had a global audience behind them. It’s great to have them continue to be part of the series. I think that the audience wouldn’t like it if we were to switch away from MADKIDS. 

This current season of The Rising of the Shield Hero covers the Fallen Heroes arc, which is considered by many fans to be the best arc in the series. Is there anything you’d like the fans to look forward to?

Haga: Without giving any spoilers, we’ve now seen the Spear Hero and the Sword Hero, and so I’m sure you can imagine what’s coming next. Just as you saw in the most recent episode, I want the fans to really, “Oh, what happened to the dragon?” So, there are a lot of exciting storylines that are coming to season three. Though, this is the first time I’ve heard that the Fallen Heroes Arc is considered the best. 

Oh, interesting! I talked with some of my co-workers about it, mostly because it’s our general consensus and then some of the stuff we’ve seen interacting with our Twitter page. 

Haga: Thank you! I’m going to make sure I am able to live up to that expectation. 

Arai: You see, all four cardinal heroes have really grown since episode one, and it’s been for over 40 episodes of really growing them as humans, even when they’re not on screen. A lot has happened, and they have experienced so much to become very different people from episode one. So if the fans can really look at them as maturing, changing, and developing human beings, I think the story will be much more enriched by humanity. And there is the Staff Hero! Please don’t forget about him!

The anime is now in its third season. For fans who are not familiar with The Rising Shield Hero season one and season two, how would you describe the show and the premise? 

Haga: That’s very difficult! I’m really building season three to be standalone if needed. Even if you haven’t seen season one or season two, please jump in and join us in season three without feeling like, “Oh, I have too much material to catch up.” Just join us! We won’t let you down. 

Arai: It’s been a process of optimization every season. We’re trying to make it better. If you’ve only watched up to season two, give season three a try because we won’t let you down.

Could you both please share some final comments for fans as they continue watching?

Haga: We’re right around the midpoint of the season with the number of episodes ahead of us and behind us, but the story still continues. Please continue to tune in and follow our story!

Arai: The voice of the fans, whether it’s social media or comments being made, really propel us to season four. The more fan input we hear, the easier it is for season four to become a reality. Please continue to root for us, please continue to speak about us, and please continue to watch us! 

Thank you both very much!


All three seasons of The Rising of the Shield Hero are available to watch on Crunchyroll.

A fan of shows with lots of talking. Non-anime hobbies include trains and trading card games.
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