「女神と眷族 (アイノウタ)」 (Megami to kenzoku (Ai nouta))
“Goddess and Child (Song of Love)”
In terms of the tone and pacing, with regards to where I thought the finale would end up, I didn’t expect to receive such an emotional gut punch. I thought the story would head towards a harrowing tale of how our trio of Bell, Hestia and Ais survived their fall, seeking to escape while Ares closed in on them. Instead, they wake up in a peaceful village, allowing us to gain precious insights into the life and regrets of an old man. Karm’s story of love and loss genuinely made me tear up. You can tell he’s a really good man. He deeply cared for Brigid, cherished his love towards her, and carried the weight of her death for many decades. To see him in so much suffering, begging for forgiveness on his deathbed with what little energy he had left hurt my heart. These were the anguished cries of a broken man. The fear of losing someone you love with all your heart is a possibility that perennially eats away at the soul. To actually see that fear realised is one of the worst things that could happen. And even then, he chose to adopt a young girl and raised her lovingly as his own. He did not allow for his tragic experiences to destroy him, or turn him into a jaded and miserable person. He continued to do what he thought was right, making him a fundamentally human and strong person from my perspective. It’s extraordinary when a character shows up for a brief time, yet leaves behind such a profound emotional impact, that viewers would care and cry for them. This kind of characterisation and story-telling was extremely reminiscent of 3-gatsu no Lion to me, and that’s some of the highest praise I can impart upon Danmachi II. Yes, there were no epic fights to contend with the Minotaur one. But for me, by virtue of Karm’s contribution to the story, S2’s finale means a lot more.
And what impressed me was how it tied into and resolved an underlying story arc. Bell had to meet someone like Karm so that he could face his fears head on, namely the one preventing him from directly engaging with Hestia’s feelings towards him. Fears that she would be heartbroken for an eternity of godhood, after his death. His conversation with Karm enabled him to accept the transience of all things. Eventually, all things must pass on. Even the gods and goddesses. But that doesn’t mean you can’t try to make the most out of a limited period of time and cherish the feelings behind it. This was the final push Bell needed to accept Hestia’s feelings towards him, and he promises to protect her in Karm’s memory.
As someone who has been rooting for Hestia this entire time, this somewhat unexpected outcome made me crow with utter delight. Sorry Wallen-whatsit fans and any person who had been backing another girl. There’s only one true goddess for Bell, Liaise Freese or not. In my defence, Hestia demonstrated exactly why she is Bestia, by showing exemplary compassion towards Karm, allowing him to envisage his beloved Brigid one last time before he shuffled off the mortal coil. I want to be loved warmly and unconditionally like that. To me, it’s infinitely better than the indifference Ais exhibits. But I digress, because it’s time to move onto my concluding thoughts about S2 as a whole.
It must be said, overall, S2 failed to live up to the reputation that S1 established. The pacing was rushed, the animation value somehow went down despite the fact we’re a couple of years into the future, and important content was cut out. There was nothing close to the level of the minotaur fight – which deservedly goes down in this decade as one of the best anime fights. And you would hope that a continuation would at least build upon, if not hold a candle to its predecessor. That said, I’m still happy we got more Danmachi. It’s significantly better than nothing. The heroic tale of Bell and his meteoric rise in Oratoria as the ‘Little Rookie’ is a thoroughly compelling one. Training extremely hard, he goes from strength to strength. And whenever Bell gets knocked down, he rises up stronger than before and relentlessly pushes himself to overcome the challenges coming his way. The supporting cast are great. What’s not to love about Wilf, Mikoto, Lili or Haruhime? And of course, Hestia.
And other elements within the world of Oratoria are extremely delightful too. Adventure and camaraderie can be found around every corner, and when you add in the whimsical fancies of gods and goddesses, it’s hard to predict what exciting thing you’re going to get. To continue down the rabbithole, an S3 has already been announced. There are further plot points to chase – the demise of the Zeus and Hera familia, the Black Dragon and its relation to Ais, as well as this mysterious girl who appeared right at the end. So when the time comes, I hope you will join me on a new journey once again, if I’m still around to cover it. It would be my pleasure to continue seeing through the journey of the Argonaut, and how he rises up to become the greatest hero of his time. Anyways, that’s about everything I wanted to discuss. As always, thanks for reading my posts to the end. I wish you all well, and I would be fascinated to know your thoughts down below!