This week felt like a lot happened while I was watching it and then, when I reflected after the episode was done, I realised that other than the reveal of what was going to happen to Haruhime very little else was actually all that important to the plot. Though seeing Bell in a genuinely panicked state early in the episode and conflicted at the end made for some fairly solid character moments. What did you think Irina?
Since I don’t have the advantage of hindsight, I never really know what’s going to end up being important to the story or not. It’s true that all in all it was really just the obvious followup to last week’s episode. This said there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m really happy we found out what the killing stone is, it would have drove me crazy! I’m a little sad we found out through such a super convenient way but at least it makes the plot move along swiftly. All in all, it was a fine episode in my opinion.
There was a lot of super convenience going on this week.
I guess we should tackle this episode logically. We start with a bit of a replay of Haruhime boosting Aisha before Aisha attacks Bell. Then we get to new material as Mikoto comes to the rescue (I’m hoping this was after she took care of the monsters attacking Welf and Lily, they never really address that point). What follows is more or less a straight out smack down with both Mikoto and Bell getting knocked out pretty quickly and being taken captive by the Amazons.
While watching Bell get beaten down, I realised one of the reasons I’m really not a nice person. I kind of like seeing Bell get beaten largely because that makes his triumphs more exciting. Poor guy. Not to mention I feel bad for Welf because how many sets of armour has Bell gone through now?
It was by far some of the best animation we’ve seen all season. A great scene. I don’t know about being a “nice” person but I don’t mind Bell getting beaten down. It happens every other episode and he always wins, usually quickly. By now I’ve been a little desensitized towards it. I know he’ll be fine so I never really worry about Bell as I would another character.
He’s not just the protagonist, he’s the golden boy hero. It’s very difficult to make the stakes feel real under those circumstances.
Bell getting kidnapped by the Ishtar familia was more or less bad enough given Ishtar’s intentions, but things progress from bad to worse when it becomes clear that Phryne – toad girl – has whisked Bell away to her own little hidey-hole and her intentions are probably worse than Ishtar’s. Bell’s genuine fear in this scene was actually pretty palpable and for once they didn’t play a guy being severely intimidated by an aggressive female character for laughs (kind of hard to do so when the male character is literally chained to wall).
I was surprised anyone in the Familia would openly go against Ishtar like that. She does not seem particularly forgiving.
I’m not sure where I stand on Haruhime in this episode as she goes about helping Mikoto and Bell in clear defiance of her famila and yet she won’t consider actually running away from what is about to happen. I don’t think they’ve made it clear while one act of rebellion is okay so long as she goes along with the insane plan Ishtar’s cooked up. And it is insane. Or was there some logic to her reasoning that I missed?
I kind of assumed she needs money to save an ailing family member and her sacrifice is for that or something along those lines. She seems completely resigned to her fate. There must be a reason.
Fortunately though, Mikoto finds some conveniently left papers in a study that in detail describe the ritual that the Killing Stone is used for. Simultaneously, Take explains to both his own familia and Hestia’s what they can use the Killing Stone for. Wonderfully convenient timing all around.
It’s a good thing Take knew everything off the top of his head even if Hestia had no clue.
As much as I might be mocking it partly it is necessity. If they’d found out earlier about the ritual they wouldn’t have bothered with their plan to try to buy Haruhime which would have essentially made half of last episode and this one pointless. Also, the characters are now under immense time pressure if they intend to intervene. And all of this coming on the back of the war-game makes it harder for Bell to act because he’s become very aware of his responsibility to protect his famila and not involve them in squabbles with other, larger, families.
They could have easily made the new moon in a few days and dedicated the episode to actual research getting to the same point but it would have felt a little more earned. It also would have, in my opinion, heightened the pressure as we would have built up a cat and mouse mystery suspense for one episode to launch the countdown off of. I understand that they have resource material to respect but this felt like a bit of loss in adaptation. It’s just rushed.
Very true. And watching Welf and Lily and the others involved in a research montage sounds pretty fun to be honest.
Which brings us to the moment at the end of the episode where Aisha more or less dares Bell to try to take Haruhime with him and he hesitates. And it kills him. He came to Orario to become a hero and now he’s torn because he isn’t sure what being a hero means in this instance. Is it saving the renard in front of him or is it protecting his goddess and his familia from harm?
He should go back to his original plan of building his own harem. He seems to have a knack for accidentally seducing the ladies. It would be way less trouble too. Hmm, ok maybe just a bit less trouble…more trouble?
I’m looking forward to what happens next and while the plot in this arc is less fun than a lot of the other arcs in this story, I’m really enjoying seeing Bell growing up a bit. How are you finding season two so far Irina?
I’m not really seeing the character development in Bell so far. That’s fine as far as I’m concerned. A static character in a high fantasy setting, especially a moralistic one, isn’t a bad thing. I think I liked season 1 a bit better so far. That’s personal. I love an underdog and seeing Hestia and Bell in their crumbling little base, the two of them with nothing to their name against the world, it just spoke to me personally. It had this intimacy that I like in stories. Although Welf is one of my favourite characters, they have not used him at all so his presence isn’t really making a difference. But I am looking forward to seeing what opportunities their new situation brings.
That’s a fair point that Hestia familia was a lot more sympathetic in their old accommodation. And yeah, while Welf is a great character, when it isn’t his story arc they really do just kind of sideline him. Ir kind of reminds me of Klein in SAO really. If they keep adapting the story he’ll certainly get great moments but right now he and Lily are kind of just there.
Thanks for Reading From
Irina and Karandi
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Images from: DanMachi 2nd Season. Dir. T Hideki. J.C. Staff. 2019.