Random Curiosity

Punch Line – Panties Will Save the World »« Mikagura Gakuen Kumikyoku – 02

DanMachi – A Mythical Hero Rises


“The season was a success, guys. Let’s go get drunk.” And so they did.

It didn’t start out especially stunning, but the foundation was solid, and with time it began to distinguish itself from other magical-fantasy-action-harem anime. It’s more than an adventure; it’s a myth in the making. It’s a hero’s tale.

Mea Culpa, Of Sorts

First of all, a mea culpa: DanMachi isn’t chauvinistic. Or at least, not any more so than any other magical-fantasy-action-harem anime, and less than most. Bell’s grandfather sounds chauvinistic—it was my mistake in the first episode to conflate what the grandfather had said with what the show thought about women. Now, there is a certain amount of sexism in any harem anime, whether standard or “reverse” (i.e. a male or female protagonist), though this is inherent more in the author and the plot, not necessarily the characters. Let me explain.

Take High School DxD. The sexism there is in the story’s obsession with collecting ladies (for Issei) like they’re pokemon, even though Issei himself treats his friends with respect. (The girls he occasionally peeps on, on the other hand…) Compare this to Log Horizon, where, even when Shiroe had upward to three ladies interested in him, it never feels like a harem anime. That’s because those ladies’ feelings are parts of their stories, not an aspect Shiroe’s story. It’s not Shiroe collecting a harem; it’s a B-plot concerning Minori’s, Akatsuki’s, and Henrietta’s feelings, as a part of their stories. They just happen to have eyes for the same man.

DanMachi falls closer to Log Horizon, though it’s undoubtedly still a harem anime. Bell’s focus on Aiz, and his desire to help and protect people not because they’re girls, but because they’re them—okay, maybe some of both, but the end of the Lili arc sure seemed to indicate which part was more important to him—sets him apart, as does the story’s de-emphasis on harem antics, to the point that they only showed up once in a while. There’s also the fact that, aside from the waitress in the first episode, all of the female characters who develop feelings for Bell seemed to do so for good enough reasons, even if we entered after the fact with Eina and Hestia (which is totally fine). All that, combined with how Hestia is an equal second protagonist, and how Bell is her romantic interest (i.e. the relationship is usually portrayed from her point of view) more than she is Bell’s, keeps it from feeling exploitative. Plus, Bell is simply a good main character. Which brings me to my next point…

(Actually, first, an important note: While all harem anime are to some degree sexist, that doesn’t mean they’re evil, nor that you shouldn’t enjoy them. I used High School DxD as an example, which I generally enjoy (the last three episodes excepted) and have blogged two seasons of. Clearly, I haven’t forsworn harem anime! It’s fine to enjoy them; I just like to acknowledge this inherent troublesome aspect and keep it in mind, lest it unknowingly infiltrate my worldview. That part I still agree with—my mistake was in judging this show on a throwaway line, which was exacerbated by only blogging one episode. Kind of like how I thought Love Lab was a yuri show from the first episode, even though it quickly disabused me of that notion. DanMachi shares the inherent flaw of all harem anime, but less so than most of them, enough so that I often didn’t think of it as a harem anime at all. Okay, now onto the next point.)

Why DanMachi Works For Me, While Sword Art Online Didn’t

I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of DanMachi fans are Sword Art Online fans. They scratch a similar itch. They’re both “game-y”, with blade-wielding protagonists who assemble an unlikely harem. They’re simple—and to those who don’t like them, formulaic—but to those who connect with their stories, they work. But I didn’t like Sword Art Online, whereas I enjoyed DanMachi. Why?

The main reason is Bell himself. Kirito is often called a Gary Stu, and up to the point I’ve watched (I stalled after the mini-arc that took place after GGO), he is. A lot of this has to do with how he violates MMORPG norms by having some special skill no one else gets, by not dying when he’s killed, by solving all his problems himself, etc. Which, as fans may be chomping at the bit to note, are all things that can be said about Bell as well. But Bell is saved by two things: He’s in a typical fantasy world, and he’s a loveable idiot.

On the former, Divine once remarked to me that he didn’t understand the annoyance that I and several other RC writers held for SAO at the time. He said that it was just a typical fantasy story. And he’s right—taken like that, my opinion of SAO moved from “I hate this shit!” to “Eh, it’s not for me.” I find it to be a bad MMORPG anime, but as a typical fantasy anime? It’s fine. Fairy Dance was kind of crap, but the first arc was all right, taken in that light. DanMachi avoids the problem entirely taking place in a standard fantasy setting (while still pinching some “game-y” elements), so Bell getting a special skill doesn’t rub the wrong way. (Plus, it justifies his rapid advancement, which I appreciate, which is then further justified by the revelation that he’s the grandson of Zeus. Children of gods aren’t rare in mythology, after all.) To me, DanMachi rubs the same itch that Tower of Drauaga did, save with more focus on the adventure, less on the plot. And I write adventure stories, baby. You better believe I’m fine with that choice.

As for the latter point, whereas Kirito was Too Cool For School, Bell is a loveable idiot. This separates the audience from Bell enough that he stops being a pure audience insert, and becomes his own person. The same thing happens with DxD’s Issei—while many might envy his harem, most aren’t, and wouldn’t want, to be the open, shameless pervert that Issei is. Likewise, most wouldn’t want to be a naïve baka like Bell, no matter how commendable his heroics. Kirito, on the other hand, is cool and skilled and knowledgeable. He’s who we would want to be. Which wouldn’t be a problem, if he were a video game protagonist, like the Escapist’s Yahtzee Croshaw opined recently. (I’m adapting his points to my argument, by the way … he doesn’t mention SAO or anything.)

There are other reasons. The first arc of DanMachi wasn’t as good as following ones, which is a common problem for authors. Trust me on this—I already know all sorts of ways I could have improved my first novel, and I haven’t even released the second one yet. The setting is also shifty in a way that even SAO wasn’t, since I still don’t have a clue why monsters explode into crystals that can be exchanged for money and all that other jazz. But Bell saves the day, as he often does, by being himself. It’s remarkable to me, how thin the line is between a divisive story and a solid, well-received example of the genre. What a dangerous profession I’ve taken on.

The Supporting Cast

Another of DanMachi’s strength is in the supporting cast. That doesn’t include Hestia, by the way—she’s as much of a main character as Bell is. But she’s certainly a strong character as well, silly and feisty and with her own hopes and dreams she’s actively pursuing. I can’t imagine her getting suspended in a cage and assaulted by a server admin. She’d latch onto his head and bite until the sucker bled out. Or kick him in the shin, as she tried in the penultimate episode. Or at least insult him the whole time, because that’s how Hestia do.

But the whole cast was roundly strong. I especially liked the gods, who, unlike the ones in this season of DxD, felt like characters in their own right, rather than generic challenge obstacles the author slapped familiar names on. That’s common in fiction nowadays—I’ve heard ancient Greek and Norse (and in this case, Hindu and Japanese) mythologies referred to as grab-bags of ideas for lazy writers. But Hestia, Loki, Hephaistios, Freya, Takemikazuchi, Ganesha, Hermes and others, in this story, all feel like people we’ve come to know. DxD’s Loki is kind of pointless, to be honest, whereas DanMachi’s Loki is as full of personality as Marvel’s/Tom Hiddleston’s Loki from the Thor/Avengers franchises. Ditto to most of the supporting cast, especially Lili, Welf, and Aiz Wallenstein—though even initially flat characters like Bete revealed themselves to be more interesting with time. The named characters all added to the story in their own right, rather than just being NPCs there to facilitate the protagonist’s tale.

The Final Accounting

In the final accounting, I enjoyed DanMachi. Though the first arc didn’t light a fire under me, later arcs were much better, and it steadily improved until I was literally cheering (literally! As in, I was actually whooping aloud!) as Bell and all his friends confronted the rogue floor boss in the final episode. That’s how you conclude an adventure story, my friends—no. That’s how you give birth to a myth.

So, several perplexed readers are now wondering, if I enjoyed DanMachi so much, why didn’t I blog it? Had it aired in another season, I probably would have, and would have enjoyed doing so. Hell, I probably would have enjoyed blogging it more than most of the series I did blog this season, with the exception of Arslan Senki, which is the best. (Though I don’t regret what I decided to blog, even with their foibles; while hindsight is, of course, 20-20, I’ve generally had fun with what I wrote about.) But since I didn’t realize that until week four or five—I spent most of the season behind by a few episodes, as I’m wont to do—the chance was lost. Woulda, coulda, shoulda … but oh well. It was a fun show no matter what.

As far as magical-fantasy-action-harem anime go, this is one of the better ones. It even transcends the form in places, putting the “harem” part on the backburner, and focusing on the “magical-fantasy-action” part to good effect. It’s an adventure, but it’s more than that—it’s a myth that appropriately uses the names of famous mythological deities in order to raise up a character of its own, a hero who deserves their association. If you have any fondness for the genre, I recommend DanMachi. It doesn’t necessarily innovate on the genre, nor is it significantly different than the myths it echoes, but it doesn’t have to be. All artists steal, after all, and original author Oomori Fujino took many of the things she liked, recombined them with personality and care, and a good story resulted. Above all else, it was a lot of fun.

My first novel, Wage Slave Rebellion, is available now. (More info—now available in paperback!) Sign up for my email list for a FREE sequel short story. Over at stephenwgee.com, the last four posts: The secret to enjoying a long life, Story Review: Mad Max Fury Road, How to not get butthurt when others insult stories you love, and Guilty pleasures are bullshit.

June 26, 2015 at 3:53 pm
109 comments »
  • June 26, 2015 at 4:46 pmdaisy

    but when is season 2 gona come… and the anime concluded vol 5 right? enlight me and give me hope plebs

    • June 26, 2015 at 4:48 pmbrajt

      The answers are “probably never” and “yes”. The 6th volume should get released in English around the middle of 2016.

      • June 26, 2015 at 7:07 pmdaisy

        i believe… even if it takes 5 years…

      • June 27, 2015 at 8:04 amRiktol

        Still waiting for Spice and Wolf season 3….

    • June 26, 2015 at 9:14 pmJustpassingby

      It would probably be a longer wait than nGnL s2. But there is hope.

    • June 26, 2015 at 10:45 pmCroos

      Based on my sources:
      S2 – yes
      When – Unknown

    • June 27, 2015 at 5:45 pmChaosBreaker

      They could do a season 2 based on the Sword Oratoria Manga if the wanted to….

  • June 26, 2015 at 4:47 pmbrajt

    Glad with such a quick post and glad that you enjoyed it after all. I wondered what you’d have to say about it later in the story, so it’s great that you wrote this piece.

    On the other hand, I still feel sad with how it turned out to end. I mean ending a most possibly the only anime season with such a big revelation, but no place to actually play with it anymore. In the books is just “oh, ok, let’s wait for a new novel to continue the story”, but for the anime, sadly it’s surely the end.

  • June 26, 2015 at 5:19 pmmac65

    It had strong episodes and weak(er) episodes, but overall it was
    pretty watchable. I thought the finally was kinda cliche, but from
    an ongoing Manga, guess can’t really expect perfect closure in everything.

    Glad I did watch it, though.

  • June 26, 2015 at 5:20 pmDude

    A very epic show!

  • June 26, 2015 at 5:38 pmzztop

    The remaining 3 volumes have a lot of action, if the synopses are any indication.

    Show Spoiler ▼

  • June 26, 2015 at 5:42 pmgrayne

    man what a disappointing and confusing ending to an otherwise great series..

    so Bell pulls a mysterious sword out of nowhere (what was that and where did he get it from?) to do a deux ex machina one-hit KO attack on the superboss – after it is shown that his (already OP) one hit-KO Argonaut ‘ability’ attack (sparkly hands one) doesn’t work. Seriously WTF – every time his attacks/abilities don’t work he magically gets an even more OP one???

    also the most anti-climactic and disappointing reveal ever that Bell is grandson of Zeus and last hero of Zeus’s familia. I mean, having Hermes just blurt it one randomly at the end completely spoiled the surprise/dramatic reveal it should have been.

    probably bc they it was so rushed, but i found it very confusing and overall rather a let down.

    • June 26, 2015 at 5:47 pmStilts

      He got the mysterious sword from Lili, who found it among the weapons and brought it to him.

      I won’t talk about the rest of it, since it largely worked for me and didn’t for you. ‘Tis a valid reaction.

      • June 26, 2015 at 5:52 pmgrayne

        what was it? some random super-weapon/magical artifact? similarly the attack where he turned white – what was that attack? what was the tolling bell’s significance? what is ‘limit off’ or whatever they called it?

        all very arbitrary and unexplained.

      • June 27, 2015 at 1:01 amWorldwideDepp

        Yes, he received his Sword from the “Backup”. You see some seconds of a Scene where she give Bell-kun the half warped Sword and nods with her head, saying “Take it!”

      • June 27, 2015 at 2:12 amKaleRylan

        While you don’t need to like it, I’m not sure what was so confusing. The sword was a random large sword Lili found and gave him. It has no significance but she probably thought the size would help more on a giant monster than his knives. Not really a big deal. The attack has already been established, and explained in great detail, like 4 times. Not sure where you were; did you just watch the finale without watching the show before it?

        It’s Bell’s skill, called Argonaut’s Wish I believe. And as Hestia explained in detail (and they repeated as a voice-over IN THE SCENE) it basically gives him a one-off attack that is stronger than whatever he’s fighting. Pretty much a massive cheat-code and kind of silly, but it HAS been explained, and this episode established that it is possible for it to not insta-kill the enemy if that enemy can regen.

        As for the bell, I’m fairly sure it’s what’s called a ‘dramatic sound effect,’ though I could be wrong. Limit off is pretty much the only thing that’s ACTUALLY random, but I would guess based on the name that it just means his skill powered up even further. Which, as Stilts pointed out, does make him a bit of a gary stu, but the thing is the story has been revealed to be a myth arc about Zeus’s grandkid, putting him into the realm of hercules, so basically that’s par for the course.

      • June 27, 2015 at 9:26 amJerodar

        My guess would be that the Limit Off was Bell releasing his own divine powers, just like Hestia did last episode. He is the grandson of Zeus after all.

      • June 27, 2015 at 12:38 pmweasl

        I saw it as the sword that Welf dropped in episode 12 which I interpreted as being a magic weapon that he made.

      • June 27, 2015 at 4:59 pmDorian

        Limit Off is a god taking off their limiters and going full blown God hood. It was stated before that Gods had to take their limits off if they wanted to let loose their full powers.

        It was foreshadowing of Hermes dropping the actual bombshell.

      • June 27, 2015 at 8:48 pmKaleRylan

        @weasl:

        No. Welf uses his sword in the actual scene itself and then it breaks. Bell really is just using a random big sword Lili found, unless the LNs have some other explanation.

    • June 26, 2015 at 5:48 pmgrayne

      by the ‘deux ex machina one-hit KO attack’ i mean the one where the bell started ringing and he turned white.

      what was that attack? what was the bell’s significance? what is ‘limit off’ or whatever they called it? all of this had no explanation and was very confusing.

    • June 26, 2015 at 5:56 pmNipah

      It was the sword/item Lili found with the Loki familia logo. The “deux ex machina one-hit” was the Argonaut skill as indicated by the bell sound and the 3min warm-up time. Thus he didn’t get “an even more OP one” as its the same skill.

      • June 26, 2015 at 6:14 pmStilts

        I missed the Loki family logo, I just figured she found a good weapon in all the chaff. With so many weapons being passed around, there was bound to be one or two. And as Nipah said, the skill he was using was pretty clearly Argonaut, just a better version of it.

        As for Limit Off, I assumed it was like a Limit Break or something. Exceeding his limits. Seemed relatively self-explanatory to me.

      • June 26, 2015 at 6:30 pmgrayne

        how would anime-only viewers know it was Argonaut? the only two times he has used it before, one of his hands turned sparkly, and then fired a ‘shot’. he didn’t turn white, there was no bell sound, and no ’3-min limit’ has been mentioned in any episode as far as i can remember. based on this i thought it was the weapon’s power or something else entirely.

        re ‘limit off’ – of course the name is self-explanatory, but there was no prior indication that such a thing was even possible. for example – if naruto/ichigo suddenly shouted ‘limit off’ in an episode wouldn’t it seem strange?

        don’t get me wrong, i like the series overall, but just wish they’d spent a bit of time elucidating/clarifying certain elements.

      • June 26, 2015 at 6:33 pmHanabira.Kage

        @Stilts: Actually, it’s still just Argonaut. The thing is he actually charged it the full 3 minutes this time. It does insane damage if fully charged, but is still fairly decent otherwise (as with all charged attacks, the damage scales with charge time). It also consumes a lot of energy, so using it too much too quickly will result in Mind Zero (total incapacitation due to mana overuse).

      • June 26, 2015 at 6:53 pmStilts

        @grayne

        *shrugs* I’m an anime only viewer, I just assumed it was Argonaut based on context, and it turned out I was right.

        It’s not like you’re wrong that a little more explanation would have been nice, but one important thing authors have to do is keep the action flowing. If we let things get too bogged down in description or exposition, then the story can make perfect sense … and be perfectly boring. You can lose some people along the way when they don’t make the leap to something you insinuated or assumed they would know, which isn’t ideal, but it happens.

        tl;dr – You’re not wrong, but I still think it was done pretty well. And luckily you can come here to get the holes filled in :D

        @Hanabira.Kage

        That’s what I was assuming. I didn’t mean that it was a new ability, just that it was a more complete version of Argonaut? Though since you mention cast time, they did reference how that impacts the strength of the spell multiple times, so it makes sense.

      • June 26, 2015 at 8:19 pmdaikama

        @Stilts: Somewhere in the LN, it talks about how the more powerful the spell, the longer it takes to cast. Not sure (can’t remember) how much the anime got into that, but it’s discussed with Bell’s “firebolt”. In “standard” form, it’s not nearly as powerful as a lot of long-chant spells, but it’s FAST – super fast/chant-less which is highly unusual and makes it very effective in certain situations (e.g. when you don’t have a large party with warrior types to protect the mages while they chant). It does power up as Bell gains levels (became much stronger when he leveled up), and REALLY gets stronger when you add Argonaut to it.

        Meh, kind of digressing here. Point = as you surmised, Argonaut, though a skill, it seems to works like spell. More time you have to power up, stronger it becomes. The anime “shows” this by taking longer, and having Bells entire body glow white rather than just his hand.

        ——————

        Rather than make a separate post, I’ll add this here.

        “The setting is also shifty in a way that even SAO wasn’t, since I still don’t have a clue why monsters explode into crystals that can be exchanged for money and all that other jazz.”

        It’s not “shifty”, it’s just world-building cut by the anime (see my comment below). First, the monsters do not “explode” into crystals – other way around. The monsters are born (literally) from the dungeon, and the crystals act as the “life force” for the monsters. That’s why the easiest way to kill a monster – one-shot it, is to destroy it’s crystal. That’s also why Bell finally defeats “Dark Goliath” in this episode by destroying its crystal (well breaking it at least) . Ryu/Ryuu(?) also mentioned during the fight that she couldn’t get to its crystal. With the crystal destroyed, the monster’s body become ash/dust. If you kill a monster the “traditional way” (chop its head off or whatever), the body does not disintegrate, until you remove the crystal (cut it out). One thing that Lili does as a supporter is to go dig out crystals from dead monsters. That allows Bell to keep fighting or keep guard. Before Lili, he had to stop and cut out the crystals himself which could be potentially dangerous since you have to be on guard at all times.

        Crystals are worth money because they are used as “magic batteries”/”fuel cells”. This is explained early in the LN. Hestia and Bell have a magic crystal lamp (required since they live in a basement). During the Silverback fight (white ape thing), that’s a magic crystal lamp which Bell smashes into its eye. He also pours in magic energy to make the lamp flash which temporarily blinds the thing, helping them to escape. In the Babel Tower, there’s an elevator which is powered by magic crystals. In short – it’s like a substitute for electricity in a lot of ways. Also like a battery, my understanding is that the crystals die out after time = need more. Finally, only place you can get magic crystals (AFAIK) is the dungeon/killing monsters. Thus the adventurer based economy is born.

      • June 27, 2015 at 1:58 amStilts

        @daikama

        Ahhh, okay. That all makes sense (the crystals as electricity & etc). Granted, it’s clearly reverse engineering a way to have RPG-style combat with the same lack of concern for killing, but it does kind of work, so it’s fine. They just didn’t explain it, which left me perplexed.

    • July 2, 2015 at 10:23 amValkastroj

      The large sword that Lili gave to Bell was the wrapped weapon which Hephaestus had delivered to Welf by the search party. After it was dropped, someone must have found it and placed it on the weapons rack. The sword that Welf used was his own knockoff version as he said it couldn’t compare to the real thing which is why it broke.

      • July 2, 2015 at 11:31 amAex

        No it wasn’t. Welf jumped down to get the weapon he dropped, which broke after he used it because it was a magic weapon, and that’s how they work in this world. He’s always said his problem with magic weapons was that they broke after being used, leaving the user behind, which was why he didn’t make them for people, and also why when he’s falling/searching he’s asking the weapon’s permission to break it. And as Ryu and Asfi note, his is better than any other Crozzo weapon before it.

        The sword Lili gives Bell is just a great one that the Loki Familia left behind. She sees from the insignia that it was theirs, hence probably the best blade on the rack. You can tell some detail got left out there. The sword breaks afterwards because Bell’s charged Limit-Off Argonaut was too much for it to handle, and probably would’ve broken any weapon he used aside from the Hestia Knife.

      • July 2, 2015 at 2:33 pmValkastroj

        I don’t often comment here so I’m not sure if I’m using this right as my last comment didn’t go where I intended it to. @ AEX, you’re right, I re-watched it and can now see what you’re saying, the scenes go by so quickly that it was somewhat confusing. After the emphasis placed on the wrapped weapon, seeing Lili pick one up seemed to suggest that it was the same one. I did like this finale but it certainly was moving at lightning speeds.
        Is it possible to explain why Ryu and Arphie called each other Lion and Andromeda without spoiling anything? That seemed to come out of nowhere as well.

      • July 2, 2015 at 3:40 pmAex

        Those are their last names, which are only mentioned when they’re first introduced so it’s no surprise that people (myself included) were wondering where they came from. Ryuu Lyon and Asfi Al Andromeda.

        If the comment went to the wrong place, next time make sure you check that you’re responding to the right person. It can get a little confusing once conversations go two or three layers deep.

  • June 26, 2015 at 5:49 pmtoti

    It was a simple, but pretty nice fantasy anime, for me was simmilar to SAO, but with better pace and in overall more enjoyable

  • June 26, 2015 at 5:54 pmzztop

    Given Danmachi’s popularity, shouldn’t Season 2 be a possibility after some time? We only need to wait for author Fujino Omori to write more volumes.

    • June 26, 2015 at 6:17 pmStilts

      I wouldn’t hold your breath. As brajt noted above, this anime covered all the existing source material, and there isn’t a great track record of anime getting a second season multiple years after the previous one. It happens sometimes, sure, but it’s the exception, not the rule.

      The point of the DanMachi anime was undoubtedly to drum up sales for the LNs, which I’m sure it did. If sales stay strong, the publishers might not ever see the need to greenlight another anime.

      Them’s the ropes when a medium is largely considered a promotional vehicle for money made elsewhere, I’m afraid.

      • June 26, 2015 at 6:45 pmzztop

        What about 1-cour anime which still has plenty of source material at hand? For example, the Hataraku Maou-sama anime only adapted the 1st 2 volumes; 12 more remain.

        I see what you mean about the advertising angle though. When I watched the Vanadis anime on Japanese TV, all the advertising space was devoted solely to promoting the LNs and merchandise.

      • June 26, 2015 at 6:55 pmStilts

        In Hataraku! Maou-sama’s case, it’s the same thing. Why greenlight another season if they’re not liable to get another bump in LN sales? Unless they’re making a boatload off the anime itself—unlikely, in most cases—they don’t bother. Which is sad, because every season I don’t hear about No Game No Life Season 2, I hate the world in general a little more.

      • June 26, 2015 at 7:23 pmzztop

        I’m guessing Noragami Season 2 and the DXD series is an entirely different case then?

      • June 26, 2015 at 8:25 pmdaikama

        FYI – there are now 8 published volumes of the LN which the anime covered 5. So it really wouldn’t be that long of a wait for a second season (maybe 1 or so). Big question is BD/DVD sales (i.e. if there’s enough money flowing), though even then that’s no guarantee.

      • June 27, 2015 at 1:04 amWorldwideDepp

        ahhhh, that’s explain the “Blue ribbon Hype” thing…

      • June 27, 2015 at 12:50 pmdamrod

        DxD is most likely an exception to the standard with how it already managed to get two reasonable seasons and one crappy one yes.

  • June 26, 2015 at 6:46 pmGuy

    DanMachi works in compare SOA because they did not repeat the same mistakes. I think SOA was not expected to be such a hit. The character was to high spec too soon. The story was more and more the issue especially with Season 2-3 while it focused on the love story before.

    DanMachi is less serious, but not really a harem anime. As mentioned, char background stories and so on. It uses the same elements as SEO but they keep the char grounded or rather grow.

    In conclusion, its the hit series of that season. Arslan Senki (for me) rather has been a disappointment (kinda boring). Sorry.

    • June 26, 2015 at 6:56 pmStilts

      Ah, well, agree to disagree (on Arslan).

    • June 26, 2015 at 7:02 pmWtragedy

      This guy is right. SOA started out as a web novel by the author (ex. ch 16.5), which then because of it’s popularity, became a light novel. Even in the light novel, the first arc was finished in one volume and the author had to go back and add in short stories which introduced characters such as lisbeth, sachi, and silica.

    • June 26, 2015 at 8:56 pmIgniteous

      Arslan is taking it’s time to world build/character build but I’m liking the little nippits that they show. But I do agree about Danmachi, excellent show in my opinion. The ‘Fin’ seemed to put a season 2 to wraps but one can hope. Heck, a lot of people didn’t like the anime Magic High, comparing it to the novels, but I loved it and still hold out unlikely hope.

      • June 27, 2015 at 6:01 amNipah

        I don’t think the “Fin” closes the road to a second season considering that usually each season of an anime closes with a small printed “Owari” at the end which has exactly the same meaning and you still get another season later.

    • June 27, 2015 at 2:23 amKaleRylan

      I’ve read a fair amount of the SAO novels and I’ve got a couple of problems with it:
      - Putting it in chronological order wrecks it. The first novel is not bad and Kirito is not particularly gary stu-ish in it until the end (there aren’t even that many fights). It’s the second novel with the short stories that is basically a list of him doing broken, amazing things. But when read in the LNs, you already like him from the first one where you see his fears and loneliness so when the second one makes him awesome (it’s not his POV in volume 2) you’re on board. When you put it in order, he’s just awesome from chapter 1 and it’s dumb.

      - The second thing is something the author fully admits is a weakness in the forewords/afterword, but admitting it doesn’t stop it from being dumb. And that is that whenever the writer runs out of ideas, he just makes a new girl. And it’s stupid. SAO is not a harem story, Asuna is the main girl from page 1 almost and the story never once questions this, the rest are there because the writer is lazy and doesn’t know how to use existing characters, which again he admits himself. This exacerbates every other problem because it leads to shallow characters that are all but forgotten after their arc and it makes Kirito even MORE of a gary stu because he keeps randomly meeting girls who fall all over him.

      TL;DR: The writer’s weaknesses basically compound the more he writes, so basically every volume is worse than the last.

      • June 27, 2015 at 2:55 amStilts

        Which is quite likely the most damning thing I’ve ever heard about SAO, or at least about Kawahara Reki. Every writer has their weaknesses, but we try to improve them, not admit them and … keep making them. That’s the dumbest mistake of all, because you KNOW you’re making it.

        A man who falls for the same trap stops being deserving of pity. Which is a shame, because that problem? It’s not that hard to get past. End the story. Or tell one so radically different that it subverts the formula. Or bar yourself from creating any other major characters, or any other female characters, until you can do so without adding to Kirito’s harem. There are fixes aplenty for that particular “trap”.

      • June 27, 2015 at 7:11 amWanderer

        @Stilts: You know the interesting thing? He did that, at least in the “tell one so radically different that it subverts the formula” sense. That’s the one right after you stopped watching: “Mother’s Rosario.” It is pretty much unanimously considered to be the best SAO story ever written, perhaps because Kirito isn’t its main character. Asuna is, and while she is still comfortably badass, she doesn’t cheat like Kirito. Kirito is reduced to a side character who helps out at a few important points, but who is out of sight for all of the truly significant scenes. This story stirs a level of emotion from readers and viewers incomparable to any other SAO story, and I would honestly say that even if you abandoned all the rest of that series (which I actually did: I faded out on the anime near the end of Phantom Bullet, and didn’t come back until Mother’s Rosario started), you should still watch that story.

        Then, of course, the author ended up going back to his old ways, and the next several novels cover one story in which a new girl is again created to fall in love with Kirito, although it could, again, be argued to be a profoundly different story from the past. But I wouldn’t even suggest touching on Alicization. Mother’s Rosario itself is the good point: it is a beacon of really pretty powerful and emotional writing floating amongst the sea of harem and Mary Sue nonesense.

      • June 27, 2015 at 12:30 pmStilts

        Well, I do intend to go back and watch that at some point, it’s just that the number of anime I want to watch are vastly outpacing the time I have to watch em ;_; It’s on the list, but when I’m only one episode into the second cour of UBW … well, maybe I’ll get there eventually :X

      • June 27, 2015 at 12:40 pmMockman

        For myself, I find most of the harem characters in SAO uninteresting. Asuna has her charms but I guess that I find Suguha more likeable. Shino however, was interesting and attractive (even though both her problem and her admirer were heavy-handed and clunkily handled). While lots of dumbness occurred around Kirito during that arc (e.g. the various bike scenes), I could see a genuine relationship forming between the two (which then basically went into the ditch once the arc was over, despite her ALO avatar, the best of both seasons).

        I’d have had a lot more respect for the story if he’d really forgotten about Asuna (rather than conveniently have her hidden away in order to make Shino stand out) and tried for some romance with Shino. This might also have had the effect of making Asuna a more interesting character as she would have had to respond.

        FWIW, the Rosary arc was fairly decent if a bit overwrought. The Norse arc was bad (a mighty struggle to achieve a legendary sword that is immediately dumped in the closet, and the only other male in the show finally gets to imagine he’s making some progress with a female, only to discover that she’s a big, hairy guy in a dress, with an attitude. But he’s not Kirito so he gets what he gets.

        Anyway, based only on the anime, while the comments about drumming up new harem characters ring true for SAO, I think its storytelling has enough other issues to make that just one more arrow in a full quiver.

        As for Danmachi, the whole finale was incoherent and desperate and turned a dull but easy to watch show into something less than that.

      • June 27, 2015 at 8:54 pmKaleRylan

        @mockman: I really don’t think them just focusing on the girl you like more would fix the problems that come from having a bunch of random females that the story never focuses on.

        Also, this story has been full of Bell’s willpower randomly letting him defeat opponents that are too strong for him. The finale just dials it up; nothing really changes. I’m not sure what’s so ‘different’ about the finale.

      • June 27, 2015 at 10:57 pmMockman

        @KaleRylan

        Re: SAO

        So focus on some of the random females who’ve been added to the show. You just repeated the solution.

        Although it could be any of them, my recommendation would be Shino. We’re invested in her. We know about her both in and out of the game, and I’d say that she’s charming enough and interesting enough to pull it off.

        If they made her a legitimate romantic interest then a lot would follow. Kirito would have to become a more complex character, as would Asuna, Shino and maybe even Suguha as there would a lot to deal with. The story could get interesting with people looking forward to what could happen rather than looking forward to what they already know will happen.

        Could any of the other characters pull it off? I’m skeptical. But the solution to not focusing on any female characters is to actually focus on them (or to a lesser extent, stop introducing them willy nilly).

        Now obviously, it’s too late to do any of that, even if there were any desire to on the part of the show’s creators, so this is just a fun thought exercise.

        As an aside… what happened with Lisbeth after her story was told? She wins the low bar trophy of being an exclusive armourer. Woo hoo! She gets sidelined and only gets to appear on-screen in the bleachers with the rest of the ALO gang while they’re spectating. Not sure if there’s anything to be done with her or any of the others. Maybe throw some of them as a frickin’ bone to Klein. Of course, to do this well would require time so even if there was any willingness to have a male character other than Kirito who isn’t a complete loser (or who has no aspirations, such as Agil), when exactly would you do it?

        Re: Danmachi

        I said it was incoherent and desperate. If you’re suggesting that nothing changed from the previous episodes, I guess I won’t argue with you; I’m not defending the show.

        But more specifically, my complaints would be that the whole battle came out of nowhere, the opponent came out of nowhere, Bell’s powers came out of nowhere, etc….

        The story hasn’t been made better by Bell’s random capabilities. It’s been made worse. So saying that nothing has changed isn’t really a glowing endorsement. During the course of the show, several threads have been initiated… Ais as a female lead, Freya as an antagonist of sorts, Welf as an armourer with issues, Syr as an interested female who brought Bell into the broader adventurer community. There are probably more but those are top of mind for me. All of them were just dumped for the show’s ending. There’s incoherence.

        Your weapons aren’t doing the job? Well let’s take a look inside the magic bag… oh, look, a tactical nuke. How convenient. There’s incoherence.

        I didn’t care about the final battle, after all, they were on vacation when things got underway. There was no build-up, no tension. They weren’t trying to accomplish anything. Suddenly everything they were doing on vacation gets dropped and forgotten. What was the point of any of it? More incoherence and desperation.

        The special power of the final boss with its special ability to be overcome is desperate and weak. Having a late inning bringer of secrets like Hermes is desperate. Hours being spent going on about levels and none of it matters… incoherent.

        On top of this, the battle took the entire final episode. It wasn’t interesting enough for that, and it forced all manner of other problems upon the show, including those I mentioned above, as well as more wackiness like the big reveal about Bell. Serial ass-pull. I don’t think that the show was very good at any point but it was an easy watch, I think that everything post-vacation was disconnected as a story with what had happened in the previous episodes.

      • June 28, 2015 at 9:30 pmKaleRylan

        SAO: My point is that just saying they should have focused on the girl you like is not a writing solution, it’s a popularity contest. Yes, the answer is he should have focused on his characters better. Either pick one (and Asuna is the logical choice since she’s the lead, but i’m not really trying to say who’s better) or make it a genuine harem story and focus on all of them (which is fine if you like harem stories).

        DanMachi: The reason I didn’t phrase my comment as a glowing endorsement is that I didn’t really mean it as such. I enjoy Danmachi, but not because I think it handles action in an exceedingly coherent manner. It has run on random power-ups and Bell’s willpower from episode 1, and this was more of the same.

        What I do disagree with is some of your specific complaints, not because they’re inherently wrong, but because they’re par for the course. You complain about a bunch of stuff not getting finished. Well duh, it’s an adaptation of an unfinished source (like 90% of anime unfortunately) so yes no plots are specifically finished.

        The sword is not a tactical nuke, I have no idea why so many people keep wondering about the sword. It’s just a randomly large sword which makes it easier to hit a huge enemy. The skill itself has been established AND explained (poorly) several times before this. It’s Gary Stu-ish as all hell, but only came out of nowhere if you didn’t watch the last 4 episodes of the show.

        Your other complaints I can’t say much about cause they’re mostly “I didn’t like it” which is fair. But in general the weaknesses of the finale are the same weaknesses the show ALWAYS had, and the lack of resolution is the same as in pretty much every (adapted) anime ever. Despite being an anime fan, I sort of despise the fact that they’ve set up their business model like this. What’s wrong with shifting the whole anime market to adapting COMPLETED sources? It frustrates me.

      • June 29, 2015 at 9:59 amMockman

        I think we’re talking about somewhat different things.

  • June 26, 2015 at 7:55 pmdaikama

    I came into this not knowing anything about the series. The first episode was good enough to pique my interest and ended up reading LN volumes 1-4 + bits of vol. 05 (there’s a machine TL for all of vol. 05, but it’s hilariously bad). As the anime covered the first 5 volumes so I do have a pretty good idea in terms of comparisons, and on the whole it did a pretty good job. My primary complaint is the usual one of rushing through source material and cutting too much. Perhaps not as noticeable if you haven’t read the LN, but then again, I know someone who’s an “anime-only” viewer and when I have to routinely answer questions to fill in gaps, it’s not a good sign.

    Bell (of course) and Hestia fared well as the two leads, and I think Lili got sufficient attention. Welf kind of lost out though. Just enough perhaps, but they “covered” vol. 04 in like one episode @_@. Not that much goes on in vol. 04, but still. On the downside, world-building/how things work, the gods and even (IMO) Aizu/Aiz got shortchanged a bit too much. If Aiz seems flat as a character, especially early on, well, they cut some subtle, yet meaningful things which gave her some needed depth at that point in the story (there’s not much, but every bit helps). Freya also got cut a bit too much. To me in the anime she’s pretty much just a horny shota-con, but there’s more to it than that. Though the gods are prohibited (in theory) from using their divine powers, she has an “innate” ability (so it “doesn’t count” – Loki calls it a “cheat”) to see souls, and Bell’s soul (being MC-kun) is unique, and anything “unique” is like a highly addictive drug to bored, entertainment starved gods. Boredom is why they left “heaven” (LOL – doesn’t say much for the afterlife). Bell’s soul is described as not just “bright” (Aiz’s is “too bright”), but “transparent” which fits with the whole “purity/white knight/hero” theme for Bell. Perhaps some may consider this a minor detail, but for me, along with all the other world-building, it gave some appreciated depth to Freya (who does not seem to be a minor character going forward).

    Also maybe not “critical” to the “main” story, but there’s a lot of fun stuff with the gods as well. The “level-up naming meeting” was actually pretty funny, and the anime skipped that. Fun to read and something that to me enriches the story as a whole. It also gives readers a good idea of just how frivolous, petty and spoiled child-like some gods can be – which does have consequences beyond SoL comedy moments. Honestly, the gods, IMO, make this a much more fun series – not just comedy bits, but there seems to be quite a bit of plotting going on behind the scenes with a few (one god/plot line the anime omits entirely thus far). The rush in general took it’s toll on the presentation at times. For example, Hermes just “pops up” without any real introduction (there was a several page (not long) prologue in LN vol 05 which gives some info on him and his relation to a couple other gods). The anime’s “introduction” for him may have been “good enough” I suppose, but just doesn’t measure up IMO.

    However, that’s not to say that Danmachi didn’t do things right – it did. It reminds me of this season’s adaptation of Yahari in that for what remained of the LN, I thought the anime did a pretty good to good job adapting the material (though not quite as good as Yahari IMO). It stuck to story without making whimsical changes which proved to be detrimental rather than remotely beneficial (*glares at HS DxD S3*). As noted above, I thought it did a good job with Bell, Hestia and Lili, and while some characters were shortchanged IMO, often what was left was arguably “good enough” if less than ideal.

    There were some good actions scenes as well. The final battle was… typical shounen (redemption for several characters, MC-kun saves the day, etc.), but still pretty good for what it was (though far too many stills & speedlines!). In particular, I liked the battle with Bell vs. the Minotaur. That was well done IMO. There was the usual large amount of exposition, but it still kept things moving enough to feel like a fight rather than a debate. There was some tension even though I knew what was going to happen. I also thought the part where the one party used Bell’s party as bait for the monsters chasing it (“pass parade” I believe is the term). Again, I knew what was going to happen, but the presentation was good enough to suspend disbelief (and/or prior knowledge), and make it feel like it was the desperate situation the story suggested. That to me is what a good adaptation does – “brings the story to life” via visual and auditory elements.

    Lastly, while no question there are game elements ingrained in the story, honestly Danmachi didn’t feel that“gamey” to me compared to say Log Horizon (with all its pop up menu windows) or SAO – though to be fair, those stories do take place inside a game. At any rate, I never thought the game elements were so intrusive as to take away materially from the story or presentation.

    TL:DR = Pretty good adaptation marred primarily due to rushing through source material, but still a fun watch and a pretty good/above average adaptation. I’m definitely up for a second season. AFAIK, there are 8 volumes published so the wait for a second season may not be that long if it gets one.

    • June 26, 2015 at 9:40 pmcryum

      I mostly agree with you there, although I feel that the comical explosion of the Minotaur was a bit much.

      I really feel that their major faults detracted from the story, though. Enough to drop it at the Minotaur fight.

      Cutting so much stuff from the setting, in particular the sheer importance of the magic crystal and how despawning works, just gutted the adaptation. It largely removed the importance of supporters, and lost a great deal of depth.

      They also wasted so much material by rushing so much. The second to the last episode could easily be ended with Bell’s line saying that he refuses to be saved by Ais yet again, with the last episode being an expanded Minotaur fight with appropriate epilogue. That was just how much they skipped and rushed over.

      The themes would be hammered down just as well if not better, with regards to the myth of a hero. The first season would be “an aspiring hero”, while the second season could start with the Level up and a bit of recap on how Bell got to that point.

      • June 26, 2015 at 10:16 pmdaikama

        Agree completely about ending on volume 03. That was my thought as well – take 4 episodes to cover three LN volumes, and end with the Bell vs. Minotaur fight + brief epilogue. That still might be a bit fast, but given the way they handled what was kept, I think it would work out fine. Factoring in one episode (>_>) for vol. 04, they essentially did 4 volumes in 12 episodes. Adding one more episode per volume pacing (33% more) would go a long way towards being properly inclusive IMO. Then as you suggest, Season 2 starts with a brief flashback to remind people what happened, followed by Bell leveling up to level 2.

        As for the Minotaur explosion, well, that was per LN (not that the LN is sacrosanct). Personally, I didn’t have an issue with that. After all, Bell is repeatedly pumping explosive fire magic directly inside the Minotaur’s body though I can see your point in terms of the anime’s presentation. Regardless, I still think that fight was better than the final battle. Certainly more animated. >_>

  • June 26, 2015 at 8:00 pmDave

    Bell’s grandfather sounds chauvinistic

    Given the closing revelation of exactly who Bell’s grandfather was, I’d say you’d have basis for a solid argument in favour of that statement. It really explained a lot.

  • June 26, 2015 at 8:26 pmMormegil

    I still remember the first day this aired. The internet went wild over Hestia. That lasted for a while, but then the initial obsession with Hestia(and the boob ribbon) kind of died down.

    The series was okay, overall. Needed more Loki and her antics. I liked her a lot. DFC forever!

    • June 26, 2015 at 8:58 pmIgniteous

      Don’t underestimate Hestia. The obsession is still there…

    • June 27, 2015 at 1:55 amHalfDemonInuyasha

      It was hard to tell if it was so much Hestia as much as her string, lol.

  • June 26, 2015 at 8:39 pmos

    time to marathon this!

  • June 26, 2015 at 10:15 pmewok40k

    I’d say Hestia is the FIRST protagonist, fighting the powers of the harem tropes themselves to get her hands on Bell-kun exclusively for herself…

  • June 26, 2015 at 10:35 pmBROOKLYN otaku

    the animation is quality…and the cgi is not that terrible….that alone will keep me watching, cringe worthy aspects be damned…right? who cares, its ANIME!!!!!

  • June 27, 2015 at 12:15 amSerRompalot

    Somewhat offtopic, Stilts, but do you have an editor, or do you go through all your writing yourself? I write fanfiction, but going through every sentence and phrase and word with a fine-toothed comb kills my motivation.

    • June 27, 2015 at 2:13 amStilts

      Both. Very little of writing is the actual creation process. Most of it is rewriting and editing. I may write something once, then rewrite it three times, then edit it one more time. Only then do I hand it off to my editors.

      In regards to my editors, I have three layers. First is my content editor and alpha readers. (My main content editor also helps me earlier in the process, with the rewrites.) Once the content is all there and there’s some polish, i have a line editor that helps me make everything sound better. Finally, I have a proofreader who deals with grammar, syntax, readability, and looks for continuity errors. She’s also my last eyes on the manuscript before I publish it.

      Hope that helps. Feel free to send me an email if you want to know more. You can find my contact info at my author website, stephenwgee.com, or you can always contact me through any RC channels.

  • June 27, 2015 at 12:18 amEldaron

    So in the end, he was a wish fulfillment character too, what a surprise. I can’t see him as anything other than Gary Stu, i mean they literally said i’m the anime, if hi can’t defeat an overpowered enemy he can turn into god mode (hero strike), and do it anyway.
    It had too much fanservice for my liking, but i guess it was an OK series.

    • June 27, 2015 at 2:32 amKaleRylan

      I wikied this after episode 1 and basically if I understand it correctly the anime did not explain it well. The anime basically says that Argonaut’s Wish is just the ability to beat anything stronger. Which is a silly explanation and basically a cheat code. What it ACTUALLY is if I understand it correctly is just a charge-action (like focus if anyone plays monks in final fantasy) he can take some time and charge up, then whatever he does after is really strong.

      According to someone above the limit is 3 minutes of charge time, which makes the attack REALLY strong, but he can only do it a couple times because it does take MP, so he’d collapse if he did it much. Also, he needs to be able to stand defenseless for 3 minutes which is basically only possible with an army protecting him like he had here. So while it’s a VERY powerful skill (and definitely slides into gary stu/shounen territory) it’s not nearly as convenient as the anime’s ‘you can overcome any obstacle’ explanation makes it sound.

    • June 27, 2015 at 9:46 pmTraps Masters

      Also, don’t forget, they did say he was the grandson of Zeus, so he’s not just a nobody.

  • June 27, 2015 at 1:31 amGinobi47

    I gotta admit, DanMachi did exceedingly well despite my misgivings about it. Maybe it was because Bell’s VA reminded me so much of Kirito that I had this slight bias of hating DanMachi from the get go.

    Never the less, it won me over in a way that SAO never did. The supporting cast was probably the deciding factor for me. Miss Kuudere elf waitress girl is my personal favorite ^.^

  • June 27, 2015 at 1:46 amWorldwideDepp

    Well, why i stuck with DanMachi and not with SAO?

    In a Nutshell:

    Here in DanMachi even with his Cheater Skill booster, he earned all his Hard Work

    in SAO, he was a cheater from the beginning. He had many crucial Wisdom of the Game and later he even cheated his Way up to High-level. I know in Asia cheating is not wrong until you get caught (because everyone do it, right?). But here in my Culture earnest Work is good work, cheater are low scums

    • June 27, 2015 at 2:26 amHalfDemonInuyasha

      This is why it got me thinking about the “underdog protagonist” label that anime/manga/etc. try to slap onto a bunch of MCs. A response I put elsewhere about this when someone thought about the Goliath’s defeat at Bell’s hands being anti-climactic…(also note that, again, I am an anime-only viewer, so I don’t know any of the deeper, finer details of the LN, so pardon any ignorance)…maybe it’s my cynicism again, I dunno…

      Spoiler for length.

      Show Spoiler ▼

      I know it’s also meant to make the story more interesting, but it still can feel like cheating in many a case. Naruto made me feel a similar way, especially by the end, where he is pretty much THE most “special” person of all (Lee is far more fitting of the underdog protagonist label) as opposed to the underdog he was meant to be in the beginning. On the other hand, I don’t really feel this way when I look at Goku in DBZ. Even Gohan, with his “hidden power”, doesn’t give me quite the same vibe. I guess, as usual, it comes to how the character and such qualities are executed throughout the story.

    • June 28, 2015 at 9:31 amAnAsianAuidence

      Not really, it depends on location and level of development. Less developed location has more loose rule. Whatever the anime tells you may not reflect any real culture in Asia.

  • June 27, 2015 at 1:48 amLiliruca

    The show was more fun than I anticipated. What dropped my initial anticipation level was Hestia’s character, whom I still don’t quite like (I just don’t enjoy this type of genki), but I’ve warmed up to her more or less. With the addition of Lili, though, the group dynamic improved a great deal, not to mention a pretty good backstory for her character. The “Bell-kun, Bell-kun” fawning by various girls, while occasionally tedious, wasn’t unusual for the genre, and it’s not like Bell encouraged it or perved on it. So, I’m not sure why one would even bring up the whole chauvinism angle for this show in particular, unless it’s to look trendy and collect points from the SJW-types. I don’t think there was any indication from the beginning of Bell looking down on women, on the contrary, he was looking way, way up to Aiz.

    OT, I have to say that it’s apparently impossible for @Stilts to write a review without taking time to brag about his great writing skills and novels in the process… Get with the program, dude, we can see your ad at the bottom of each post even without you bringing it up in the reviews as well.

    • June 27, 2015 at 2:09 amStilts

      I assure you, I don’t do anything to collect “SJW” points. Something just rubbed me the wrong way in the first episode, and since I didn’t blog 2-12, I had to wait until now to mention that I was wrong.

      As for linking to my book, I do that for the same reason I link to the other anime series I reference in every single post. While most people who come here probably know what High School DxD or SAO are, some may not, so I make it easy for them to find out more information. Same thing with my book. And if you already know about ‘em? Don’t click on the link. I’d rather mildly annoy the occasional person who goes “Geez, we know already” than bewilder the less frequent reader who doesn’t have a clue what book I’m talking about, or what these other series are.

      • June 27, 2015 at 3:33 amLiliruca

        I’m not talking about a one-time linking to the book, it’s about the constant “in case you didn’t know, I’m this great writer” type passages. I don’t have any problem with you hawking your wares in this blog in some way (like the ad at the bottom, or why not even a separate article every once in a while), but when I’m reading an anime review, I want to read about the work and not get some covert/overt pitch thrown in half-way through. At least not as often as you’ve been doing it. It just looks so unprofessional for me from a reviewing standpoint. Talking about and linking to other anime or novels is obviously different, because typically they’d have some relevance to the show at hand and one assumes there’s no self-serving interest in referencing any of those.

      • June 27, 2015 at 12:31 pmStilts

        Hmm. I didn’t realize I was doing anything like that, but I’ll try to keep an eye out for it in the future. Thanks for the heads up.

  • June 27, 2015 at 2:44 ambakakubi

    I REALLY want a season two, but I feel that DanMachi’s adaptation is similar to that of NGNL’s one in which its main goal was to boost the sales of the LNs. Sadly, I don’t see a second season coming anytime soon, if at all.

    Other than that, great post! I was genuinely curious on whether our residential ecchi author liked DanMachi or not. We even got to find out he didn’t blog about it this season.

    Thanks for the fun read, Stilts!

  • June 27, 2015 at 3:16 amErimaki

    Not everything made perfect sense, but that doesn’t matter since this series was fun. And that’s really what matters to me in the end. (Well, some sense is nice of course and Danmachi had that.)

    In fact, it was fun enough for me to start reading the official LN translations on Kindle. With that reading experience, I agree with posters above that some critical world-building was left out. The crystal bit wouldn’t have taken that long, for example (and Bell is naive enough at the beginning that Eina having to explain it to him wouldn’t have even seemed stupid IMO).
    Another thing I found interesting from the first novel actually adresses other gamey parts: it’s implied the gods created the whole stats/skills system basically to have fun when they descended, so it being gamey kind of makes sense (dungeon seems to have been there from the start though). Kind of related, basically any otaku/anime terms seem to come from the gods; Bell has no idea what “loli big boobs” means in relation to Hestia xD

  • June 27, 2015 at 6:47 amAozora

    The title of this show is really misleading. It is so much more than just a harem anime. I really enjoyed the quality of the characters and the storytelling. So glad, I stuck with it.

    • June 27, 2015 at 12:34 pmStilts

      Aye. Had another Sakurasou situation, where the title is misleading (or in Sakurasou’s case, kind of horrifying), but the story isn’t really anything like that. The English subtitle “Familia Myth” makes more sense, though it doesn’t really engender excitement either.

      • June 27, 2015 at 3:12 pmzztop

        A blogger who read the entire Sakurasou novel series in Japanese says the anime ended at a good point story-wise. The plot quality declined for the remaining volumes and ending, in his opinion.

      • June 27, 2015 at 6:13 pmStilts

        That’s good to know, in a not-so-good way. I wish it had stayed strong, finished strong, and we got another anime to finish it off, thought since another anime isn’t likely no matter what, it’s nice to know we stopped at a good point. I’ll just assume all my ships sailed successfully and enjoy my memories as they are.

  • June 27, 2015 at 7:54 amHunter-Wolf

    Hold on a sec Stilts!!!, you mean you stopped watching SAO right before Mother’s Rosario arc?, right at that mini-arc with the Norse inspired MMO quest!!?, if that’s the case you are missing out BIG TIME, forget any opinions you have of SAO and go watch it NOW, it’s really one fantastic story arc if not the best SAO has to offer, in fact it could be seen IMO as one of the best stand-alone anime arcs/stories i have seen recently (as in even if you didn’t know about SAO you can still enjoy it), i too was going to stop watching after the mini-arc that came after GGO because i felt it was kinda trolling the viewer but i’m glad i didn’t.

    • June 27, 2015 at 12:36 pmStilts

      Like I told Wanderer above, I actually do intend to catch it, it’s just that I have soooo many other shows I want to watch, some I’m still really excited for which are ahead of it. Some day I’ll get to it, hopefully :X

      • June 27, 2015 at 3:30 pmHunter-Wolf

        I hope you do watch it, it’s pretty short but so well written, its quality is universally agreed upon from the majority of the people who watched it, you won’t regret watching it for sure (it’s so good IMO it should take priority over any new anime with “unguaranteed” quality).

  • June 27, 2015 at 1:21 pmKrys

    RRRRRRRRROMMAANCE

  • June 27, 2015 at 5:03 pmOasis

    that’s cool you wrote a story XD

  • June 27, 2015 at 5:35 pmWorldwideDepp

    Some Friend asked me, to show him my Private AMV i was making of my the TOP 3 Animes this Season. i upload it into the INet. You want a look, too? Be Warned it is Work in Progress

    Here, enjoy: http://vid221.photobucket.com/albums/dd59/Seska_Spam/Forum/Sequenz%2001_zpsfglbxbng.mp4

    • June 27, 2015 at 5:41 pmWorldwideDepp

      oh forgotten:

      1. Video: Fate/Stay Night Music: Ultravox – Hymn
      2. Video: Sidonia 2nd Season Music: Sidonia OP 1st Season
      3. Video: DanMachi Music: Fatboyslim – Right her right now

  • June 27, 2015 at 8:50 pmos

    I am at episode 8. No, this is not a harem. I don’t want to spoil the fun, so I don’t want to explain too much. This is either a romance or a tragedy. All left for Bell to decide.

  • June 27, 2015 at 9:22 pmJuan

    On the note about Sword Art : I’m honestly surprised how so many people equate SAO as being a “video game story” when it is so clearly a Fantasy Romance. The whole VR bit was simply used as a plot device to take the audience who are used to a modern setting into a world which mimics the Fairy Tale one. Taken in that sense I don’t really think SAO or Kirito are too bad. On that note thought, I do feel that SAO (referring to first Arc) was very good. ALO/Fairy Dance was an ok Sequel, if anything it just completed the story. GGO though and everything after it for me felt like they were just milking the franchise or the Author didn’t want to take the risk of creating a new character and decided to latch on to the popularity of a current one. Inert any other character into the role Kirito occupies in GGO or after and those can stand as their own stories.

    Danmachi is as you have said similarly a Fantasy series and a good one at that. I find that it successfully creates the whole excitement and adventure feel that is critical to any fantasy series. The world mechanics are somewhat strange when you think about it coming surprisingly similar to an MMORPG but you can sweep it under the rug for the moment and just hope that they give it some significance later on. For now though it fulfills the criteriea of an enjoyable series and much the same as series like Mondaji and No Game No Life, it keeps you yearning for more in a bright and un annoying way (Oregairu I’m talking about you and your ending)

    • June 28, 2015 at 1:46 amStilts

      On SAO, that was largely my point—taken as a MMORPG anime, which is what it seems to be at first blush, it’s bad. As a generic fantasy story, it’s merely okay. It’s the fact that so many people go into it thinking its the former—including me, and rightly so, since it does use the trappings of an MMORPG all the time—that leads it to be so polarizing. And the fact that several aspects of the storytelling are uninspired at best. But that’s another point entirely.

      • June 28, 2015 at 2:37 amJuan

        @ Stilts :

        A question, were you at the time an Anime Only Viewer? Personally I read the LN of SAO long before it came out as an Anime and I always felt that while they did a good job animating SAO I felt that the way they presented the episodes (going purely chronologically) really messed up the actual plot of the show. So taken from that view, that may be how the confusion and polarization came about aside from the fact that as an LN reader you would have been able to read the whole SAO arc in one go.

        Going by the Original plot. It would basically have been Episode 1 then straight to Episode 10 and forward from there. (Ep 2-9 were all Side Stories). If you try watching it that way you might feel differently about the “focus” of the plot as it becomes obvious that the whole Game thing was just a backdrop for the “modern fairy tale adventure” that it was.

        Agreed though that it is somewhat uninspired as it rehashed a lot of plot points and devices but it also had a nostalgic feel to it. It was something familiar but presented in a more modern context.

      • June 28, 2015 at 2:39 amJuan

        EDIT :

        Actually the only side story with any real relevance to the plot was the one about Yui which only becomes relevant for the ALO arc.

      • June 28, 2015 at 2:52 amStilts

        I’m always an anime only viewer. I don’t have enough time to keep up with all the anime I want to watch (and keep current enough to speak intelligently as a blogger), so I don’t have time to read LNs or manga :(

        Well, I do, but I usually opt for native english-language fiction instead. It’s better for polishing my writing chops.

      • June 28, 2015 at 7:50 amJuan

        I see it makes sense then. I’m sure as a writer you understand the “timing” of presenting events matters and can affect how a story is percieved. Chronological order is not always the best and a good use of Flash Backs and flash forward or even medias res can allow an author to give focus to certain things and shape the perception of the readers.

        White Album 2 is a very good example of using those techniques in recent shows

      • June 28, 2015 at 9:42 pmKaleRylan

        This is my take as well. Chronological order kills the first story. Makes it meandering and spends way too much time showing how awesome Kirito is and how many girls fall for him. The first LN is really quite focused, only has like 4 or 5 major characters (with Asuna as the only girl IIRC) and gets the job done. It’s not Shakespeare but it’s enjoyable and Kirito is competent but not completely godlike (He loses several times in fact).

        That aside though, once you get the series as a whole, you can’t really use that excuse anymore. It really is just a weird God fantasy/harem story after book one and there’s not much way around it. I basically stopped halfway through GGO and have limited desire to go back. And I only watched the first arc of the anime and a bit of the second.

    • June 28, 2015 at 3:08 amWorldwideDepp

      It was an MMO Video Game Story for me. It build with Offline Peoples, show us how they use this Headgear to dive into the Game. There was here and there hints, that they are trapped in a Fantasy MMO

      So i could not tap into the “only a Fantasy World”. The only Person in DanMachi that gave me “she is a Fake” Vibe was this Wallenstein. She acted to cold and emotions for an Girl, or was to less Girly. As if some Male is guide her. But we do not saw any Hints, that this is a MMO Game. Sure they took that Base from Games and created a World. But there where no real evidence, that this is an RL MMO Games at work

      Btw, when i must Imagine the God Zeus, then i always have a Picture of Anthony Quinn in my mind. Blame me the “Hercules” Tv Series for that. And of course there is “Xena”

      • June 28, 2015 at 3:09 amWorldwideDepp

        emotions = emotionless

  • June 28, 2015 at 12:41 amcelebrinen

    Enjoyable but not as much as Bahamut was.
    I really miss the fully fleshed out fantasy worlds that aren’t ripped off a JRPG and protagonists that aren’t kids. What I’m saying is I want more Seirei no Moribito.

  • June 28, 2015 at 12:55 amEugene

    ‘Naive loveable and pure idiot who ends up with a harem and saving the world’ is still a pretty damn common harem/LN/VN protagonist trope, and one that usually provides for a pretty damn bland protagonist like…well, Bellri. Kirito and Tatsuya is the flip side of the coin of course.

    Both types pretty much suck 90% of the time.

    • June 28, 2015 at 12:49 pmDarthtabby

      I actually much prefer Kirito to Bell. Both of them are overpowered, but while Bell is Earnest Maximus Kirito has a trickster side that can be rather amusing. Plus despite SAO’s often horrendous writing issues, he actually did have some character growth over the course of the series.

      Actually in general I find the characters in Danmachi pretty bland. Bell is earnest, Hestia is clingy, the supporter is the kind of bad character we’re supposed to sympathize with because of her over the top sob/backstory, and Aiz is flat out flat.

  • June 28, 2015 at 5:47 amlegwkio

    He went full-Kirito in the last episode though. The ending didn’t quite jive with what the anime was for the first 12 episodes.

    • June 28, 2015 at 10:58 pmKaleRylan

      I agree.

      I think that’s a fairly common weakness of anime though. Because they never adapt completed source material the production staff is always left trying to produce an epic conclusion out of thin air, especially since they don’t know when or if they’ll ever get to do another season.

      So I feel like lots of anime we get these random ‘big’ endings that don’t really explain or resolve anything but rather just… end. This one I actually felt was ok as those go because I felt like the plot wasn’t the point in this series. It’s just sort of slice of life fantasy, and the idea that they will simply continue having adventures is fine for me (assuming we never get an actual ending where any of the plot teases are resolved).

    • June 29, 2015 at 1:43 amAnAsianAuidence

      sorry, spoiler involved.Show Spoiler ▼

  • June 28, 2015 at 8:37 pmTrippwire

    No worries about not blogging DanMachi Stilts. However, if anything, you should have given us weekly full lengths of Hestia.( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  • June 29, 2015 at 4:54 amAndré

    “I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of DanMachi fans are Sword Art Online fans.”

    Well, it’s like the first arc of SAO, even the fights are similar… The problem with SAO is that, after the first arc, it becomes pure BS. LOL.