Anime  

DanMachi 4 – 08/09 [Mirabilis (Chaos)/Lambton (Ill Omen)]

I’ve been pretty positive on this season of DanMachi, but these two episodes weren’t my favorites.  Basically, I don’t like the horror flashbacks (or flash forwards?) at the start of each episode.  Let’s take a look!

Episode 8 sees the hunt continue, and a bunch of dead bodies being found.  This starts my list of gripes – I don’t see the point of the mermaid Marie here.  I guess this arc will be water focused on the Great Falls, but her inclusion in this episode feels forced.  I do really love the tie-in back to last season and the bringing of lower floor monsters up as weapons – that’s been a fantastic plot point….which gets a little lessened by the evil grandstanding.  I don’t really like the Evilus fox guy as a victim or a villain; he feels very much a sub-boss.

This brings us along to episode 9, which is basically a lot of Ryu, Evilus minion Jura, and Bell talking.  The snake fights are alright, I guess – nothing really special in terms of abilities or animation.  We basically just saw this with the Green Moss Monster, and that was more interesting since the Moss boss was thinking a few steps ahead. 

The animation shortcuts in DanMachi have always been pretty interesting to me.  I’ve talked before about running scenes, where two simple character movement animations are occurring against set background, instead of the more common singular animation.  This happened again for a brief shot – and we have something I haven’t seen DanMachi do before: an action midcard!  Neat!

Now while this episode felt lacking in terms of pace and direction, the ideas introduced here are great.  Like the previous episode, bringing up monsters from lower floors as pets is a GREAT mechanic.  I really want to see that fleshed out more than just two giant serpents.  Secondly, we come up against the core concept of the dungeon itself as a system.  We’ve seen this hinted at before, where Bell was “hurting” the dungeon, just so it would respond correctly.  This brings us to one of Evilus’ plans – causing the Dungeon to trigger the “Despair” mechanic, which seems like the berserk mechanic in a normal MMORPG boss fight.  Seems like it’s an emergency response to protect the Dungeon’s system integrity.  That’s a really cool concept!  Now, why on earth is Evilus trying to make that occur?  And why did they kill a ton of their own people just to lure Ryu down there for it?!  I guess revenge or something, but how this whole setup was handled feels rushed and messy.  I also really didn’t like Ryu’s switch from angry fighting to “run away Bell” – just wasn’t the best scene for what should be a pretty pivotal moment.

As we come into the home stretch, I feel DanMachi is taking a bit of a breath before the plunge.  We actually saw a similar thing happen in season 2, where Bell fought Aisha (great scene), followed by fighting toad lady (terrible scene) – basically a large disparity in quality between fights.  Hopefully this is the reverse, with the better fights to come.  I think the concepts are extremely interesting, and I hope DanMachi gets back on track with the writing and animation to support it.  It’s been a pretty good season, but now it’s time to bring it home!  

P.S.  Still no Ais….tragic.  At least there’s been plenty of Ryu to hold us over!