Bell and Mikoto make the call to save Haruhime and hope that the others will understand this week. The decision is made knowing exactly what the potential consequences might be and the two of them are giving everything they’ve got for this rescue attempt. As usual, when things are looking hopeless, that is when DanMachi is at its best as the characters really do rise to the occasion. How did you find the episode, Irina?
Aside from a few tropes that really irritate me, I thought it was great. I find that DanManchi really shines in the high action episodes. That’s when you get that classic fantasy adventure feeling that works well in this series.
I kind of wish I knew why I liked Bell so much. Even back in season one I really just love watching him in action and seeing him overcome trials. He’s such a stereotypical ‘nice’ character with a hero complex and yet he’s utterly charming to watch. This week I really enjoyed the beginning of the episode where we see Bell down and out, realising he blinked at Aisha’s challenge and let Haruhime be taken away. He’s disgusted with himself and yet still conflicted because he doesn’t want to bring trouble on his family.
But, he finds clarity in remembering what he believes a hero to be. And he just can’t sit around and let Haruhime be killed. Together with Mikoto they come up with a daring/crazy plan to try to first save Haruhime, and if that fails, smash the killing stone so the ritual can’t happen. No problem as there’s only the entire Ishtar familia in between them and their target. It might not be as clear as a giant monster in a dungeon, but this threat is massive and yet Bell goes charging in, firebolt blazing as he distracts the Amazons and buys time for Mikoto to get to Haruhime. I found it quite rewarding to watch even while I wondered how they thought they were going to survive.
I like watching Bell. As in I like his character design a whole lot! And I would love him as a supporting character. As a main character he’s just too perfect. He solves everything, he saves everyone, he never strays from his morality. I never feel any tension or fear that things aren’t going to work out for Bell this time because the character is just too flawless.
Even in this episode, he’s the one who convinced Mikoto to save Haruhime, even though it’s her childhood friend. Like I said, I think he would be an incredible supporting character to a sightly less perfect protagonist. This isn’t just my opinion of course. I was under the impression that the glowy thing on the wall Bell found was a trace of Haruhime’s power and that his fire bolt was boosted, that’s why it was so incredibly strong? That’s also why he came up with that plan.
Not quite. That’s his argonaut power that he used back on Goliath and a few times back in season 1. It responds to his desire to be a hero. We saw him using it back in episode 4 when he blew up the tower in the war game.
We get a very few cuts to Hestia, Lily, Welf and Take’s family outside the compound. They know Bell and Mikoto must be inside but the gate is guarded and they have no proof. Hestia is also wary of starting another war and so they are left cooling their heels. It is a shame given after the incident with Apollo, Lily and Welf have seriously been sidelined in this story, but their actions make sense. That said, it was pretty satisfying when they saw the explosions going off inside and decided enough was enough and took the Amazons down.
I do wish we got a bit more action from Lily and Welf though as you say, it makes sense that they would be hanging back with Hestia at this point.
Freya is also clearly on the move but I assume we’ll see more of that next week as it wasn’t a major part of this episode. Just something bubbling away in the background as it has been since this arc began. I do like that they aren’t letting the audience forget that Freya is Ishtar’s real target and all of this other stuff is preparation or bait, but they also aren’t eating a lot of screen time with it.
You probably know a lot more about Freya than I do. She’s always been a mysterious character to me and I’ve been dying to find out more. So I look forward to that.
The majority of the episode is definitely following Bell on his rampage through the building. He’s letting off as many firebolts as he can, though I noted he was being pretty careful not to directly hit the Amazons. Amazing that even when outnumbered and trying to save a life he’s still concerned about hurting others. He is actually doing fairly well until Phryne literally drops in on the fight.
There’s a definite moment where you have to wonder if he’s even going to survive and then he’s saved from Phryne by Ishtar of all people. (well…)
I was kind of reading this as she didn’t want to share her toys rather than actually caring whether Phryne attacked Bell but how did you see it Irina?
I was reading it as asserting her authority over her familia. Phryne really doesn’t seem to have much issue with disobeying her goddess which is pretty inconsistent with the little we know of Ishtar. I was actually very surprised that Phryne hadn’t been heavily punished way earlier.
I say that but I really don’t know much about Ishtar at all beyond her reputation. They’ve managed to keep her pretty mysterious as well which is a good look for a goddess of desire and lust.
Then we have two conversations that both look at the morality of prostitution. Admittedly, neither one is particularly deep or meaningful as they are both kind of rushed encounters, but it is interesting that the story attempted it. First we get Ishtar’s view as the goddess explains it to Bell and then that is almost immediately contradicted by Haruhime’s view that she expresses to Mikoto. Honestly, in a different kind of story it would be nice to see this developed and expanded on but DanMachi isn’t really about the deep and meaningful and so we get a fairly shallow look at the idea and then it is all quickly shoved aside for more action.
Which is fine. It wasn’t really a dual view, the show clearly frames which context it expects the audience to take in.
Like I said, I think DanMachi is best in action so I didn’t mind having the conversation cut short in favour of more exciting feats of courage and skill! One thing I think I would have liked though, is to find out how Haruhime got in this situation in the first place. How she ended up with the Ishtar familia at all. I’m not sure why but I was really curious about that the whole time.
The episode comes to a close with Mikoto trying to save Haruhime on the roof and ultimately using a self-destructive magic technique to take down a whole bunch of Amazons opening a window for Bell to swoop in and break the killing stone. The situation is far from resolved with Haruhime still chained up, enough of the strongest members of the Ishtar family still between them all and escape, and both Hestia and Freya familias on the move outside.
My guess is they are going to be just fine! There’s Takemikazuchi and some members of his familia as well. And he’s a god of war so he’s got this! Amazons are all well and good but Thunder God! Just sayin.
I do wonder if there are going to be some unexpected long term fallout though. Hestia and her familia just made quite the name for themselves with the whole Apollo affair. If they manage to best the Ishtar familia so soon after, and in conditions that are much less to their advantage, they are going to become very difficult to ignore. They may end up attracting the wrong kind of attention.
Basically I had a lot of fun watching this episode. There are certainly bits that could be tidied up and while watching I got the sense of deja-vu as it felt very similar to Bell running with Hestia away from Apollo familia. Still, it is nice seeing Bell facing a different kind of threat from monsters in the dungeon and the exploration of the grey areas in this world, as in Bell attacking another familia in order to be a hero, is quite interesting. Though now I’m wondering what the series plans to end on because apparently there are three more episodes and it feels like this situation is going to be wrapped up next week (unless they drag it out and that would kind of suck).
Thanks for Reading From
Irina and Karandi
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Images from: DanMachi 2nd Season. Dir. T Hideki. J.C. Staff. 2019.