Posted by amun on 2 October 2019 with categories: Anime Reviews, DanMachi

“Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon” burst onto the anime scene as something of a B-tier cult classic.  2015 saw Season 1 massively outperform expectations  – ignoring the occasionally shoddy animation – to bring excitement and mostly fan service (and the cosplayer favorite: the Hestia ribbon).  Now, four years later, the much anticipated sequel has concluded.  How did DanMachi2 do?

To answer that question, a word on my grading criteria.  For me, each show has 50 points to earn and 50 points to lose. Points are earned by going above and beyond the norm – showing me something I hadn’t seen or making me feel something unexpected.  Something that makes me applaud.

Points are lost when I feel a component of the show was below average or less than acceptable in terms of animation, storyline, etc.  Something that takes away from the show as a whole.

Let’s take a look!

The Good

The positives!

 

A few Exemplary Episodes

 

+8% Episodes 1,2, 5, and 12 really stood out to me as above average.  I thought the slice of life moments really were where the characters could shine through best.  The comedy worked in these, especially episode 5, and really made me feel the joy of season 1.  (Each episode was +2%)
Hestia +2% I am really shocked.  DanMachi made Hestia an actual character this season – did not see that coming.  Among the other flawed deities, Hestia’s overbearing, borderline obsessive behavior, actually took on a bit of an endearing nostalgia.  I really think her development was one of the few bright spots (especially looking at the later episodes) in an otherwise bleak landscape of characters.
World +5% DanMachi reaps massive benefits from having an excellent world.  Simple in it’s execution and political landscape, this fantasy world still boosts enough gimmicks and mechanics to keep the viewer interested.  Season 1 really helped build this up, but Season 2 did introduce different parts of the city, so kudos for that.

Good: +15%

The Neutral

What parts of DanMachi were neither good enough to win points, but not bad enough to be penalized?

Haruhime + 0 Haruhime is the primary character in the Ishtar arc (I know you could say Ishtar, but she really doesn’t do that much…except Hermes, amirite).  Haruhime to me did her job, nothing more nothing less (ironic since she couldn’t actually do her professional work properly). As a character, she filled her niche.  I guess her impact is lessened with later revelations and then she kind of fades into the background. It’s a pity, because I think DanMachi really could have made a bolder statement with her, but backed off halfway.  
Side characters +0 Lili, Welf, Mikoto were….okay.  I think their flaws (mostly Lili) were cancelled out by their good points (mostly Mikoto, who was a great character, just poorly animated when fighting).  The side stories were extremely short (like half an episode for anyone but Lili) but were resolved reasonably well. I thought Lili’s freedom arc was a bit rushed, but it worked out okay.  So pretty average execution of the side characters. Ais, painfully, wasn’t used well but did make up for it in the finale (somewhat).
Bell Cranel +0 I debated putting Bell in negatives.  I felt, as a whole, his character regressed a little this season.  Instead of being the fearless hero, uncertainty set in. I guess the finale turned the tide for me, as he was able to gain clarity on a fairly important point (just in time too, as he’s the single most pursued mortal currently among deities).  Still, Bell is always a likable character, and I found myself still rooting for him at season’s end, so I’ll give this a neutral grade for now.

Neutral: +0

The Bad

What did DanMachi do poorly to lose points?

Animation -10% The fight scene animation was poorly done.  Sloppy effects, rushed choreography, unfulfilling fights.  The ONLY exception is the fight with Aisha, and that doesn’t balance out the abysmal fight…in every other case.  The fight with Phryne, which should have been the most important, was rushed and gimmicked to death. Season 1 had occasional rough moments, but not to this extent.  Really a poor showing overall.
Enemies -5% The 3 major enemies were underwhelming.  Apollo was a flash in the pan, Ishtar was better done (read: better drawn), but even she was very straightforward and not terribly interesting.  Then Ares comes out of nowhere and is useless. Again, only Aisha was well done, but she didn’t get enough screentime to offset the rest. And Phyrne….was horrible (but I guess that was the point).  
Pacing and Direction -10% This is a more nebulous complaint, but I felt the direction and pacing was … just incorrect.  Adapting 3 arcs into 1 season seemed overly rushed. Just do even the Apollo arc (or Ishtar) and it would have been fine.  Draw out the fight scenes for more than a quarter of an episode like every other shonen anime ever. This just seemed a low effort adaptation, which was quite disappointing.  

Bad: -25%

Final Thoughts

DanMachi2 fell short of expectations.  However, a few good episodes and continued momentum of pretty good characters/world saved this from being a complete disaster of a show.  I think, in hindsight, season 1 overperformed; season 2 unfortunately corrected that. I don’t know if the staff was occupied with the Arrow of Orion or what was going on, but I definitely didn’t feel the passion in this project that season 1 (or even Sword Oratoria) contained.  I think there’s just enough glimmer of hope for the already announced season 3, but I’m no longer going into it with baited breath. DanMachi needs to remind me why I fell in love with the world and characters; Season 2 sputtered and fell short of that.

 

Total: 40/100 (Below Average)

 

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