OP: 「over and over」by Yuka Iguchi
“Wiene (Dragon’s Daughter)”
In a recent retrospective post, I already deliberate on the premise behind Danmachi and what goes into crafting its story and world. So if you’re interested in refreshing your memory or getting an idea of what Danmachi entails, feel free to check it out. Without further ado, let’s move onto my initial impressions about this episode.
From what I can tell, this season of Danmachi is going to revolve around Wiene – specifically the appearance of human-like monsters that will challenge this idea and belief within Orario that mortals and monsters cannot co-exist. Bell finally picks up a girl in the dungeon. Specifically, a sobbing monster girl being chased by humans during his explorations. He hides her from the human assailants and stows her away – leaving him with a lot of explaining to do when his Familia members are shocked if not alarmed by the hooded girl actually being a monster, to the point where they draw their weapons with considerable hostility. It’s a bit disappointing to see beloved characters like Welf or Lili demonstrating such a narrow-minded and inflexible approach to the situation. But it also establishes a huge tenet within Orario’s culture – the deeply ingrained taboo of associating with monsters. And that’s when Bell stands up for the girl in spite of his comrade’s objections. And the rest of the episode is spent humanising the monster girl – who Hestia names Wiene.
As far we can see, there’s no significant difference between Wiene and any other mortal child – other than her monstrous appearance and sharp claws. She’s extremely cute too, which helps. When she hurt Bell and was wildly distressed to the point of tears, I could really sympathise with her. Most of us have been there, where we caused accidental hurt to a loved one that we absolutely did not intend. So the scene highly resonated with me, leaving me impressed with the emotional depth and maturity that it expressed. For the moment, it’s extremely fortunate that Wiene was taken in by what is essentially a loving family – especially Bell and Haruhime acting as surrogate parental figures. Nonetheless, there’s an undeniably dark undertone that runs beneath the surface.
First off, Ouranos seems aware that the Hestia familia and Wiene have made contact. Secondly, he has commissioned Hermes to carry out a shady task – which seems to entail kidnapping Wiene away from the Hestia familia. It’s really hard to get a read on Hermes, because there have been times where it looks like he’s betrayed Bell – such as when he slept with Ishtar and leaked valuable information that allowed her to kidnap Bell. But they also revealed that he actually double crossed Ishtar and that it was all a part of the keikaku. Yet with Ouranos issuing a direct command and looking like Hermes’ true master, I’m not confident if there’s room for Hermes to disobey. Thirdly, Wiene’s horrific visions of losing control and murdering adventurers suggests an inherent monster nature which she will have to struggle against – and worst of all, she might never be able to overcome it. Finally, Bell and his Familia regularly go out to slay monsters – who are Wiene’s brethren. So from this point onwards, if humanised and sentient monsters like Wiene show up, how exactly do the ethical ramifications of monster slaying work out?
Out of the gate, we can already see that the animation seems more consistent compared to Season 2. Thanks to such a fantastic premiere, I hope that JC Staff will continue maintaining this level of quality throughout the cour. You can also tell that the animators put a metric ton of effort into bringing Hestia’s boob bounces to life. And that they went max throttle for the bathing scene – where I’ll unashamedly admit the abundant oppai is a huge reason for me to keep loving Danmachi. However, too much of these fun moments will detract from the serious storyline. So I would prefer to see them intermittently dispersed across the series to occasionally lighten the atmosphere and remind us that even when the mood gets heavy, Danmachi will always have that excitement and gusto at heart. If the OP theme is anything to go by, Aiz might even become an antagonist later on in this arc, opposed to the integration of mortals and monsters for her own personal reasons. I’m excited to see how this season continues developing and can truly buy into the hype that this arc will surpass every other arc that preceded it.