I’ve come to the conclusion that I definitely prefer DanMachi when Bell has a clear goal or problem to face. Last week felt off in pacing and a little directionless whereas this week, with Bell’s focus on Haruhime even before he made the decision to try to liberate her, had a feeling like it was moving toward something. How did you feel about it, Irina?
I agree that a sense of purpose and a defined goal is a pretty important element in adventure narratives. It’s tough for us to get excited if we have no clue where we’re going and why but just to play devil’s advocate, last week’s goal was pretty clear. Bell wanted to find out what Mikoto was up to and help her and that turned into Bell wanting to escape the Ishtar family. It’s straightforward. Mind you, I didn’t dislike last week’s episode.
This week started with Bell getting a dressing down from Hestia and set the rigorous punishment of slowly sweeping leaves which the rest of the familia decided to help out with anyway. That may not sound like an exciting start but to me it reinforced my feelings as to why Bell and Hestia are never going to be together romantically. Their relationship is too set as goddess and follower, or less formally as parent and child. While Hestia might act whimsical at other times when it comes to the family Hestia is very much a doting parent indulging her child and taking delight in their growth. Plus the whole leaf sweeping scene at least got the whole Mikoto is looking for Haruhime out into the open so at least they didn’t drag that out as if it was some kind of mystery.
After a few other bits and pieces we get a sequence of Mikoto trying to get Haruhime to talk to her and then a reminiscence about Haruhime back in the east. Which is interrupted by Hermes who claims to be checking in on Bell.
The flashback was actually quite touching. I hadn’t realized how much I liked Takemikazuchi. I really don’t get why Mikoto didn’t go back to him after the war game. He seems like such a great and kind god. Not really how I would imagine a war god but it makes him more interesting.
Alright, the way I understood it from the books, is that when a god transfers a family member they can’t transfer back for at least a year. They made a bit deal in the books about it in the books when Mikoto did her farewell to her old family. Of course, the anime hasn’t really got into that and while it is a nice detail it doesn’t really change all that much whether it is there or not, though it does make Mikoto hanging around make a bit more sense.
I’m going to be honest, Hermes was the highlight for me this week. From his frantic appearance at the bar trying to get Mia to help him get a message to Freya to his openly disregarding his role as a messenger and telling Bell and Mikoto what he delivered to Ishtar, Hermes stole every scene he was in. It is very fun seeing him losing his aloof coolness.
Hermes is the highlight of every week!
You mentioned not making Haruhime a mystery. I agree that would have been silly or even annoying since her identity is completely obvious from the start. This said, I think the story could very much use a bit of mystery. Things have been moving along from point A to point B without much complication so throwing some confusion in there could be fun.
The entire episode, I was dying for them to do some research on the killing stone. Like forcefully talking to my TV!
I know. I mean, you know it is going to become important after Hermes name drops it like that and you can tell they are going to end up looking into it, but there doesn’t seem to be any haste in regards to finding out about it.
However, Ishtar isn’t sleeping on the events of last week either. She’s decided to kidnap the Little Rookie under the assumption it will provoke Freya into some kind of hostile action. We learn at the guild that this isn’t the first time Ishtar has waited for other families to act against her before retaliating with fairly drastic consequences. Not sure how she feels kidnapping a member of another familia is going to sit with the guild or maybe she’s just super confident they won’t do anything. Either way, her plan feels a little shaky and more like she’s just going to make things up as she goes.
To me Ishtar is one of the weaker plot points. I just can’t seem to care about her. The character design is nice and all. In concept, bringing Ishtar and all that implies into the fold of ancient Greek gods is also a good move. In practice though she’s just another whimsical god that wants Bell. We’ve seen it already and in my opinion, we’ve seen it better.
It’s not that I’m saying the character or arc is bad but it feels a little worn. There are like a dozen other Gods and Familias I rather learn about that could be used for the same plot. At least so far. I could be eating my words in a few episodes.
I do like Aisha’s relationship with Haruhime though. It hasn’t had a lot of screen time but through a few simple gestures we kind of get a feeling of closeness between the two. That said, it still feels really imbalanced because whether she’s nice about it or not Aisha is clearly making sure Haruhime doesn’t get away. Still, the scenes with these two are generally fairly sweet to watch.
I have to be honest. I think we know Aisha from past seasons. The name sounds vaguely familiar. But I do not remember her at all.
The episode ends with another trip to the dungeon, which is something of a novelty in the current arcs given most of the action is taking place in the city. The Amazons from Ishtar familia are waiting for Bell and Bell and Mikoto, accompanied by Welf and Lily are ready to make some money in the hopes of being able to buy Haruhime back honestly from Ishtar familia.
While I think everyone can figure out that the Haruhime situation won’t be resolved that simply, I think it was a lovely effort. Bell wants to be a hero and save the girl, whether she’s a prostitute or whether she’s asked for it or not, but he isn’t willing to cross a line that will endanger his family (yet). It is nice seeing him working toward a solution and doing what he can to help Mikoto and Haruhime. Still, this whole arc is fairly important for Bell as he really does have to move beyond the idealistic kid who came to the city with dreams of being a hero and after the war game with Apollo we’ve already seen Bell take a step forward. This encounter with Haruhime and needing to think through his actions and the effect they will have on others is the next catalyst for him and it is really great watching his character slowly evolve.
I don’t know why they refuse to research the Killing Stone. Hermes made a huge deal about it.
Protagonist stupidity for plot convenience?
That’s about the only reason I could come up with.
One positive bit of info I got out of it is that the debt may not be a big deal after all. Hestia owed 200 million (I looked it up) which is a lot but at the same time, Bell and Mikoto were thrilled to find out that it would only cost 3 million to get Haruhime free. I figure it may take a little while but if 3 million is definitely doable, in the long run 200 seems doable as well. I guess I’m an accountant at heart… It does not make me happy to learn this about myself.
I definitely think this episode was more enjoyable than last week. It certainly felt like it finished quickly and I was kind of surprised when the end credits played because it hadn’t felt like twenty minutes. Hopefully we’re now through setting the pieces on the board and we’re ready for some more fun action from DanMachi.
I actually didn’t dislike last week so the comparison isn’t the same for me. They both were pleasant as far as I’m concerned. The only issue I had this week was with just how much exposition there was. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s adapted from a light novel and not a manga but I got a bit tired of having characters just explain things at me. I’m looking forward to what promises to be a more action oriented episode next week.
Thanks for Reading From
Irina and Karandi
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Images from: DanMachi 2nd Season. Dir. T Hideki. J.C. Staff. 2019.