Whenever Myne is up to no good, Motoyasu is right there with her. That makes it easy to dislike the Spear hero, but is he really a bad person? The light novels add a lot more insight into his personality, so I feel qualified to dedicate an article to this topic.
So, is Motoyasu a bad person? No, Motoyasu is not a bad person. He is trying to fulfill the role of the hero properly. His naivety and his soft spot for women make him an easy target for those willing to use him for their own needs though.
Let’s discuss this topic in more detail below. We will limit the spoilers to the material up to episode 4 of the Anime and the equivalent in the Manga (volume 2 – chapter 8) and Light Novel (volume 1) for now.
Motoyasu’s soft spot for women makes him an easy target
This makes him easy to manipulate and is the reason Myne picked him (along with his lack of intelligence). I sometimes hear people say Myne picked Motoyasu because he is the strongest hero, but this is not the case. Ren is actually the strongest hero. Ren, however, does not share Motoyasu’s soft spot and is harder to manipulate. In fact, he states that he is more of a loner. In the Light Novel, he even mentions that those who can’t pull their weight will be left behind.
On one hand, Motoyasu’s weakness for beautiful women makes him do whatever they want. That is not to say this comes without cost to those women though, as personal space is not exactly a concept known to them. He constantly stares at the breasts and butts of his party and does not exactly keep his hands to himself.
Extra Motoyasu Light Novel Story
In Volume 1 of the Light Novel, we receive an extra story focusing on Motoyasu. More specifically, it details the time Motoyasu went to retrieve the alchemist’s seed to “solve” the famine problem of Riyute Village. This extra story gives us quite some insight into the personality of Motoyasu.
Motoyasu notices the composition of his party changes quite often, with some exceptions. This too turns out to be part of Myne’s manipulation. It actually gets pretty dark: those who don’t fit her agenda are simply pestered away or sold off. This was the fate of the girl called Rino in this extra story. Motoyasu is not suspicious about this, still seeing the world as an online game where it’s normal.
We also find out that Myne is already level 39 at this point and actually levels up during this story. It’s not exactly due to hard work, as we also find out her group is basically a bunch of exp leechers. All they do unless it is a life or death situation is to “cheer on” Motoyasu as he defeats monsters and earns experience points for them. This too is normal for Motoyasu, noting that “surely girls don’t like to wallow in the mud and level up”.
The Spear Hero tries his best, even cooking for his girls, and tries his best. However, he also lacks any sense of self-reflection:
“He had been transported to another dimension, but all he thought about was what was in his pants.” – Motoyasu reflecting on Naofumi
The Spear Hero thinks deeply of his friends
The Records of the Four Holy Weapons, the book Naofumi was reading before being summoned, mentions that the Spear Hero is the one who thinks deeply of his friends. For Motoyasu, this seems to translate to an unconditional loyalty towards his friends and party.
It is actually pretty sad. In the second half of the Light Novel Story, Motoyasu gets separated from the rest of his party. Unbeknownst to them, Motoyasu is within hearing range when they insult his cooking, complain about his behavior and declare they are only using him for his status and money.
Even this is interpreted by Motoyasu in a way that completely trusts his “friends”. He had remembered that the dungeon had a 30% chance to spawn a Voice Ganger. Said monster imitates the voices of your party members and makes them say the most awful things. Obviously, the Voice Ganger had not actually spawned, Myne was simply speaking her mind, thinking Motoyasu was not there. Light Novel Volume 2 spoiler (highlight this text and scroll to see): the Voice Ganger does actually spawn when Naofumi and his party visit this dungeon later.
The Light Novel adds a lot of extra info like this which is not in the Anime or Manga. I would recommend every fan of The Rising of the Shield Hero to pick one up. You can grab a digital or physical copy over at Amazon (affiliate link).
Can Motoyasu be forgiven?
Motoyasu is partly a victim. This does make him somewhat redeemable, but not completely. His lack of reason and naivety are serious flaws which makes him often make the wrong decisions. Loyalty towards your friends is a positive trait, but not if it reaches the point where it makes you blind. In conclusion, while he is not a bad person, he surely is heavily flawed.
The Light Novel summarizes his traits pretty well:
If he continues on without understanding the difference between kindness and naivety, what sort of fate will he meet? At the time, he was not the true hero. He was little more than a clown. He only heard what he wanted and ignored what upset him.