Don’t you just hate cliffhangers? I swear, there is nothing worse than a pivotal moment happening with an important character, and then, bam! We are left panicking over what happened. And those kinds of dead-or-alive stakes are plentiful in The Rising Of the Shield Hero. Specifically in the case of Ost Horai.
If you’re an Isekai fan, you’ve already heard about The Rising Of The Shield Hero and its quick rise to popularity. The dark fantasy gained a strong fanbase thanks to its grittier and more realistic take on the genre. Season 2 is already ongoing and with it, we shall be traveling back to the world of Cardinal Heroes, Spirits, and all.
Ost was one of those characters in the story that was genuinely kind and sweet to our battered protagonist, Naofumi Iwatani. Her self-sacrificing nature and simple demeanor made her a fan favorite. So, it’s safe to say that her ‘death’ scene in Volume 7 of the Light Novel had left fans shocked and heartbroken.
But some are left wondering: In a world so focused on magic, could she actually come back? With a character like Ost, anything is possible! So, let’s get into it!
Rising of The Shield Hero: Synopsis
Naofumi, an average Joe transported into a parallel world to become a Cardinal Hero, is our titular Shield Hero. After suffering defamation and betrayal at the hands of those he was supposed to protect from Waves, strange demonic beings, he is left reeling. And so, he goes out to start from the ground up again.
He does find people he grows close to, like Raphtalia, a tanuki/ human hybrid, and Filo, a bird-like monster that hatches from an egg. They go around helping those in need of their assistance, be they humans, nobles, or supernatural spirits.
Ost Horai is the human incarnation and soul of the Spirit Tortoise, part of the Legendary Four Guardian Beasts. She, along with the other beasts including the Kirin, the Phoenix, and the Dragon King, make up the last line of defense of the world against the Waves. The Waves Of Calamity are a mysterious, demonic phenomenon hell-bent on consuming the world, with the famed Cardinal Heroes battling against them. But should they fail, the Guardian Beasts are a last resort. They would save the world but end up sacrificing roughly 2/3rd of all living creatures on the planet.
The Story Of Ost Horai
We first encounter Ost Horai briefly in Volume 6 of the light novel, where she contacts Naofumi in a desperate plea to ‘kill’ her before she goes on a devastating rampage and hurts people. Confused by the cryptic message, Naofumi ignores her and goes on to defeat a corrupt manifestation of the Spirit Tortoise.
And then Volume 7 happens, where the Spirit Tortoise is defeated, and its soul remnants are being rounded up by our heroes. But one, named Ost, persists. She warns Naofumi that the Spirit Tortoise isn’t fully defeated and that outside powers are controlling it. That it will come back in a second, more powerful reawakening to wreak havoc.
With a defense party organized by Queen Mirella, Naofumi goes to face this twisted version head-on. However, it proved too overwhelming a task and they were about to give up hope. But then came Fitoria, the Carriage Hero, who tackled the main body whereas Naofumi traveled inside the Spirit Tortoise with Ost. At the core, he finds the other three missing Legendary Heroes and Kyo, alongside the Spirit Tortoise’s energy.
Of course, they are met with resistance and almost defeated until Ost reveals herself as the Spirit Tortoise’s familiar, unlocking a powerful shield for Naofumi. Naofumi uses this shield to destroy the Spirit Tortoise mere moments before it could devastate Castle Town. However, with the core decimated, Ost begins to fade away as well, essentially sacrificing herself for the greater good.
Is Ost Horai Legitimately Dead?
Yes. And No. Fans were devastated by Ost Horai’s tearful goodbye at her deathbed, where her dying wish was wanting to live as a normal human alongside Naofumi. But that wasn’t the last we saw of her.
In Volume 16, we saw her again thanks to Naofumi getting wounded by Takt Alsouhen Faubrey during an ambush. In his near-death state, he was able to commune with the spirit of the shield and that’s where he finds Ost once again.
While he was bleeding out, Ost and Atla appeared to speak on the shield’s behalf and warn him about the ‘World Eater’. Ost also hints at a possibility of reviving her back, but that she’s perfectly content in the shield as his support too. From that point on, Naofumi could talk to Ost and Atla through a gem on his shield.
Now, did that mean she was dead? Most likely, yes. Ost Horai, the tangible physical person, is gone. But Ost Horai lives on, as a spirit guide to Naofumi. And maybe, just maybe, we might see her come back in the future to help save the world!