It’s been a while since Danmachi has enjoyed the volatile attention of the anime community, so much so that I wouldn’t recommend jumping into Season 2 with only a passive recollection of the events or world set up by the previous season...frankly, to passive viewers of this show, I wouldn’t recommend jumping into Season 2 at all at its current stage. Danmachi sits at an interesting crossroads for a lot of people, it seems. On the one hand, it’s mired in so many narrative inconsistencies that the veritable onslaught of criticisms lobbed its way effectively chip at its armor. But on the other, it is
often lauded as a treasure trove for guilty pleasure enthusiasts. However, I can’t say my loyalties exactly align with either camp to a T. It’s difficult to frame a review around this series in particular, because it’s the source of an ongoing headache of conflicting feelings for me.
My biggest problem with Danmachi is the identity crisis presented by its content. Is this a stupid show that’s well aware of its faults yet wants to be taken seriously? Or is this a flawed show that wants to be viewed as dumb fun? I can’t parse with that level of minutiae. It’s infuriating. And if these first 4 episodes are any indication of what’s to come, Danmachi has mostly stayed consistent in its ability to somehow comfortably inhabit this middle ground. This is the same old Danmachi, and if that’s exactly what you want, more power to you.
This season is not looking to impress an audience that wasn’t there to begin with, this is quite literally the same old Danmachi. However, in its insistence to give the audience what they want (which is more of the same), the conflict feels safe at best and the pacing of its plot progression has screeched to an ironic halt. The pacing of these first 4 episodes is break-neck, however, because the overarching plot is so stagnated, it feels like watching an elongated B-story in place of receiving any form of significant plot or character progression. The set-up for the conflict between Hestia and Apollo’s factions could have made for an intriguing story arc, but that potential is disappointingly squandered by the second episode.
The first red flag came in the form of a D-tier clairvoyant character essentially spelling out how this arc is going to end with about as much subtlety as a hammer to the face. Even if I tempered my expectations of the heroes proudly bearing their victory scars, it doesn’t exactly mitigate the fact that even the bystander characters have become self-aware to the predictability of the conflict unfolding before them. I can budge on the predictability of Danmachi being a non-criticism, with these kinds of shows, you get what you pay for. Therein lies the issue, despite it almost being self-aware in its predictability, heavy use of tropes, and unnecessary fan-service, Danmachi tries way too hard to play it with a straight face.
I’d like to coin this phenomenon “Fairy Tail syndrome”, wherein which a show with needlessly campy assets attempts to inject seriousness into its narrative, making for a final product that feels tonally dissonant. There’s a particularly egregious moment in the second episode between Bell and Hestia in a sewer. I’ll keep it vague for the sake of people interested in this second season, to provide some context, before this scene occurs, there is a relatively “tense” action sequence, but to cut at the tension, there is an amorous comedic bit between Bell and Hestia that thoroughly undercuts the tension. Not only that, but there is a serious lack of needed tension in the forced romantic relationship between the two that any interaction between them feels like an utter waste of screentime. Any time this show tries to get serious about the romantic interaction between any of the love interests and Bell, it comes off as tasteless harem antics with indulgent and predictable fan-service situations. And it’s never funny.
I enjoy this series to an extent, and I can come to terms with its mass appeal. I have a soft spot for shows about underdog dorks slowly inching their way to momentary success, even if it requires some suspension of disbelief when those small victories feel heavily contrived. Even if it is a predictable formula to pace into, it’s hard to not raise an eyebrow when characters manage to best annoyingly pompous antagonists. Hestia is indeed “Bestia”, or at least her extremely iconic design and charming personality facilitates enough anime-tiddy Twitter-feed fodder to convince me otherwise. Her rapport with Bell almost occasionally convinces me that I’m not watching a show about a woman who’s fallen madly in love with a dungeon diving slice of Wonder Bread slathered in Miracle Whip.
Speaking of characters, Danmachi has a pretty colorful cast of them. I can’t speak much for Bell Cranel, as protagonists go he’s pushed so far into the corner of typical harem anime protagonists that he just sort of bleeds into the mix with the rest of them. There’s nothing engaging about his backstory to latch onto and his disingenuous underdog act produces many an eye-roll worthy moment when he “miraculously” comes out on top. Hestia is the mascot, rightfully so because she’s just that charming of a character. Inori Minase is THE cute anime girl voice and provides a needed dose of energy in the sluggish pace of this show’s story. Some people find her annoying but her character reminds me that this show’s concept could’ve worked had they played to the comedic aspect a little more. Think Urusei Yatsura except with a Dungeons and Dragons type setting. Her design also bothers some people for the excessive sexualizing of her character but fan-service has never bothered me TOO much especially if it’s in a show that’s fully committed to exploiting it to a satirical degree. However, Danmachi doesn’t seem fully committed to that tone so whenever there are egregious body/POV shots of her character model, it can take away from the seriousness of the tone of a scene or distract from the dialogue.
Besides the main protagonists, the secondary and tertiary characters have distinct enough personalities and designs to at least stick with you on a shallow level, so it doesn’t just feel like they’re there to populate the world. However, the story never lingers on any one character long enough for them to feel fully realized. Lily’s backstory is further explored in this season and it should be noted that she’s probably the only character in the previous season (besides Bell) that got significant attention. However, after her storyline felt mostly tied up in the previous season, it didn’t seem to me like there was much else to do with her character, so when the story eventually did shift its attention to her it just felt like extraneous BS.
With tonal dissonance, shallow characters, forced comedy, predictability, and a stagnated plot taking the forefront can Danmachi Season 2 at least bring up the rear on a technical level in its first 4 episodes? Despite pretty standard direction, Danmachi is at least consistent in its animation. There are no set-pieces that stand out to me as far as key animation, and even the change in director didn’t exactly do so much as to change the shot composition slightly, but on average the show is passable enough to distract from its pretty inert direction. I also think Danmachi sports some pretty good character designs despite the overall look of the characters being relatively simple.
Danmachi can’t seem to compromise with its tone. It’s still not quite at the point of no return however as it continues to march to the beat of its own drum, it seems perfectly content in staying in its lane. There are aspects of this show that I like and at some point, I’m sure it will be able to actually rise to the challenge of weaving together a subversive or effectual story arc, but as of this first handful of episodes, that still might be far off on the horizon. There’s a part of my subconscious that just wants to press its finger against my lips and silently whisper, “shut up, don’t think about it too much”, but that’s asking too much.
So far, I feel like this season is being rushed. And when I say that, I mean REALLY rushed. Take the first arc of the series for example: The Apollo/War-Game Arc. The starting episodes were fine and all but it eventually delved down into lazy writing, awkward plotting and everything just being rushed to the point that the whole of the War-Game only took up one episode.
Not to mention, the B.S power boost Bell received within that short amount of time, it's not even funny anymore. You expect us to believe that just within a couple of days. He was already curb-stomping over the
same guy who beat the ever living shit out of him the days prior? This is what I like to call: "A Toriyama Hand-Job". It's where just because the plot oh-so demands it. The protagonist gets so strong to the point where the word bullshit is literally written into the script itself.
If i were to compare Bell's increase in power level, it's like how Goku during the Namek Saga went from a power level of: 90,000 to fucking 3,000,000 just because he got a "Zenkai Boost". But hey, at least there's an explanation to how Goku got this strong, even though it's extremely vague.
For Bell in season 2, they don't fucking explain anything at all! They just expect us to accept the amount of shit they pull out of their ass and consider it as "A simply power boost" or "The character worked hard for it." It would have been much more believable if they showed us an actual TRAINING segment instead of a few frames of maybe him dodging one or two hits from Wallenstein. The whole thing is fucking wonky.
This series was one of my favorites when it first came out with it's first season. It was a great newbie turning pro story and I was always excited for what to come next but now it's like the producers are taking the piss.
2015 was certainly an interesting year. The SCOTUS legalized gay marriage, Subway's Jared got exposed for being a pedophile, and DanMachi was about dungeons. Now, in 2019, DanMachi is not about dungeons. DanMachi is now about fanservice and whatever the fuck happened in the first four episodes.
The first arc of this season is so unbelievably bad that it left me dumbfounded as to what I just watched. The main antagonist of the arc decides that he wants Bell for himself, so now they are in a War Game. Ignoring the comically stupid motivations of the main antagonist, this almost sounds cool, doesn't it? Except
there are three episodes of setup and one episode of War Game. Genius pacing right there! Thanks, J.C.Staff.
Those three setup episodes are already mind-numbingly unentertaining, but the real criminal here is episode four. In the War Game, Hestia's familia has 5 combatants, while Apollo has like 100+. But hey, who cares! Everyone in Hestia's familia can take on dozens of Apollo's fighters singlehandedly. This might make sense for Ryu, who is a much higher level adventurer than everyone else. What doesn't make sense is Welf and Mikoto being able to beat dozens of adventurers of the same level as them with literally one attack. "Oh, but Mikoto has an OP spell! Oh, but Welf has an OP magic sword!" Genius writing right there, right? Is this DanMachi or Arifureta?
That's not even the worst part of what is certainly one of the worst anime episodes ever created. The worst part comes in when Bell fights Apollo's commander man. That guy beat Bell to a pulp with his bare hands a couple of episodes ago, but now, Bell can beat him easily. Why? He trained pretty much offscreen for a couple of episodes! That makes him comically OP! So comically OP, in fact, that he literally beat the guy with a kick and a punch. This juvenile writing is so atrocious that it is unbelievable that this is a sequel to DanMachi, considering its first season was actually quite good.
After whatever the fuck happened in those four atrocious episodes, we get two fanservice eps in a row. I honestly thought I was watching KonoSuba at this point, but no, I'm pretty sure the people responsible for this pile of shit expect me to take this season seriously. Episode 5 is slice of life with a bath scene. Episode 6 is Bell hanging out with a bunch of prostitutes. Fun! I don't have a problem with fanservice in itself; but when there is no substance whatsoever behind the fanservice, that's annoying. I remember when Bell was fighting a minotaur in season one. Can we bring that back? That was pretty cool.
From protagonists becoming comically OP despite doing nothing to deserve it, to the absurd amount of big tiddies, this season feels like some 12-year-old's power trip. If you want big tiddies, go watch HDxD or something. There are plenty of way better fanservice shows. If you want good fight scenes, you won't find them here, because the animators seem to have a stroke every other fight scene. As such, there is literally nothing redeeming here, unless you like shitty fight scenes and mediocre fanservice. J.C.Staff already ruined DAL and Index, and here's the latest victim of their never-ending spree of destroying beloved franchises.
This show is average and such a parody of the first season and the genre that I do not recommend watching this show.
Even though it has been a few years I before watching this second season I remembered all of the good that the first season did. It was nothing entirely original and the familia premise was nice but what made the first season so enjoyable because it was a well executed underdog story of Bell Cranel getting stronger with a few passable ecchi scenes.
However, season two does not capture that same enjoyment simply because it's execution and direction was not on par
with the first season.
The story continues on from the first season about Bell trying to get stronger and find more girls in dungeons and without spoiling, he does get into trouble. However, it is not the sort of trouble that gets the watchers tense or explores a theme of the show it is simply a poorly executed conflict that had barely any interesting qualities. From the minotaur scene and early dungeon scenes from the first season, this season does not capture the same heart. It feels like a slice of life fantasy like Konnosuba rather than an action adventure series.
One of the best qualities of DanMachi was that it always had nice art and animation. While it isn't anything top tier, it is still enjoyable to look at.
The opening and endings are good again nothing special but they do their jobs the same as the OSTs.
The characters in this anime are so average. One of the bigger themes of this anime is Bell gaining more experience and strength. He moves from his humble beginnings as the Little Rookie into a more accomplished adventurer however there is literally nothing interesting about him. He is plain and average and he along with the rest of the anime are completely filled with tropes. No other character in this anime feels even remotely interesting. Lili-kun is probably the only one with the interesting story but they executed in such a boring manner that all of her intrigue quickly dissipated.
This season is completely average and missable It does not capture the same charm as the first season did and feels more like a parody of itself and the genre similarly to Konosuba except DanMachi attempts to take itself seriously.
Again, I do not recommend watching this show. It is average with very little redeeming qualities. If you want to watch something in a similar type of world then I suggest watching Konosuba. It's a comedy that knows it's a comedy and it executes it impeccably.