On the plus side, another of my blind-purchases this month was the Tower of Druaga: Aegis of Uruk, and it turned out to be a really nice little show. It was well-animated, sweet-tempered, funny, and had a moral core inside of its faintly-preposterous RPG-style fantasy setting. I especially liked how the protagonist was a "Guardian", a type of warrior trained as a shieldwall specialist, someone whose whole purpose was to protect his fellows with a specialized shield-based tactical system.
I've been noticing the absence of the 'shield' as a physical metaphor in anime - it no doubt has something to do with cultural factors, but the Tower of Druaga definitely avoids that particular issue. The usual empty shounen declarations of desires to "protect" suddenly have substance when the boaster's whole deal is to be an immovable shield. What is ironic when spoken by the typical offensive-minded "sword-spirited" Japanese hero is sheer common-sense heroic when stated by a simple-minded guy with a big heavy shield and a desire to stand like a wall.