“City of Lust”
When Mikoto tries to quietly depart at night, the rest of the Hestia gang knows she has to be up to something, and trail her all the way to the Red Light District. I’ve been to two Red Light Districts myself, though never as a customer. Soho in London, and the one in Amsterdam. Perhaps the ones in Japan are different. But at night, I always get an unsafe feeling due to the dark alley ways and the murder stories you hear about, so it felt like a place I wanted to get away from. Past all the surface level glitz and seduction, there’s lots of hidden darkness, and I think that while Danmachi added some elements of fun as well as comical exaggeration, the scenes within the episode hit the nail on the head as to how perturbing and seedy the red light district can be. Although they were merely visiting, we saw that Mikoto and her friend almost ended up in an extremely stick situation. Prostitutes themselves don’t have it easy. Some are forced into it without any kind of choice, like Haruhime, and the way it can warp an individual’s self-esteem is heartbreaking. But that’s simply run of the mill. The sex industry is notorious for exploiting young women. Not to say this description is wholly representative or that the job itself sucks and we should all profess our pities. Some people go in of their free volition, and are within their rights to enjoy the experience. But difficulties arise from societies perceiving and judging them, as well as the kind of danger their job entails — with prostitutes historically being some of the most frequent targets of physical violence, psychological abuse and serial killers. Even more so when it’s illegal, which forces things out of sight, where it becomes difficult for law enforcement to intervene when something goes wrong.
There’s also the flip side. First off, prostitution is legal in Orario. Secondly, Ishtar is a force to be reckoned with and there are other powerful Gods milling around to prevent the worst from transpiring. Then I’ll say it. Sex is power. In history, there have been a few occasions where sex strikes have occurred, to great effect. So it stands to reason that by offering a commercialised product/service that is comprehensive and a money sink for the adventurers of Orario, the Ishtar familia gain a significant amount of political power in Orario. The additional layer to it, is the information that Ishtar and her familia members gather through sex. I can’t deny that I chuckled pretty hard at Hermes, weeping and de-emasculated by the sudden romp that Ishtar unleashed upon him. But she extracts the information she wanted — namely that Bell Cranel is a source of vulnerability to the otherwise impervious Freya. Unfortunately for him, even though he’s just finished up fending off Apollo and escaping from ravenous women, yet another god has decided that they want to acquire him for their own purposes. What now for our protagonist? I do not think his meeting with Haruhime was any coincidence, and he will eventually save her while taking down the Ishtar Familia. But we’ll have to wait and see how that might pan out. Anyway, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading my post and see you next week!