Welcome back to another series review! And this time, Danmachi season 3 is in the spotlight!
Unlike the awfully paced and adapted season 2, this one is definitely much better not just in those two aspects, but also in animation and music. You can tell it during the most heavy moments, whether that is a fight scene or a dramatic one. For example, the Bell vs Ais is a perfect balance of an excellently choreographed battle and superb music, and the insert song played during Wiene’s revival further enhanced this pivotal scene.
Many characters have been introduced here, most of which comes from the Xenos, a group of highly intelligent monsters who simply wanted to live peacefully. Foremost of this is the Vouivre girl, Wiene, who becomes the sole driving force behind Bell’s actions in this arc and the main reason of the events happening here. We also have Rei, a friendly and beautiful Siren; Lyd, a battle-hardened lizardman who has a strong sense of camaraderie; Gros, a stone gargoyle who is hostile against humans; and Asterius, an enigmatic Minotaur who has a connection with Bell.
Wiene is an interesting character. She initially starts as a damsel-in-distress, but ultimately develops into a strong individual despite her child-like personality. Much of it can be attributed to her various experiences during this arc, but a big part of that stems from her desire to live alongside Bell. Encountering the Little Rookie has shaped her actions, prominently displayed when she saved two children on different occasions even though the humans fear her.
Unlike most of Bell’s love interests, it is not really certain if Wiene’s feelings for him are simply platonic or not. For me, she is just the cute little sister Bell never had, especially with her childish behavior. There was never a romantic moment between them except for one specific scene(and even then, it’s pretty ambigous), and during most of their interactions, Wiene is crying or being curious about her surroundings. And I really don’t want that to change—not just because Bell already had too many girls pining for him—but also because it would cheapen her character as a whole. Of course, given that Danmachi has an aspect of harem, that is still plausible.
The other Xenos are also interesting. Rei is like the big mama of the group while Lyd and Gros are the big brothers with opposing personalities. But perhaps the most interesting one is Asterius, and though he only appeared for three episodes, his presence nearly overshadows most of the characters.
Aside from the Xenos, other characters has also taken the spotlight. Foremost of these is Fels who is a major supporting character for this arc. They are mysterious, but the sense of mystery served only to enhanced their characterization further. And for me, this is the kind of character who deserves a story of their own.
With so many characters being given focused, it is only natural that the older ones would receive much less. Hestia has become more of a supporting member of the cast, including most of her familia, in fact. Meanwhile, Freya barely made an appearance except for minor scenes and one key scene.
On the other hand, Ryu and Aisha has a more active role, but only because of their fighting skills. Of course, Hermes has remained as a prominent participant in the events, and you can say that the final arc is his fault.
Of the antagonists, there is only one character that we can call a villain: Dix Perdix of Ikelos familia. He is crazy, brutal, and cunning. But unlike most psychopathic villains who only exist to be evil, Dix has an unusual motivation: a curse that ultimately drove him mad. It is so strong that he has to divert it by doing even more horrifying things to the Xenos, and despite his behavior, you can’t help but pity him for being shackled to a fate he never wanted.
To a lesser degree, Ikelos is more of an observer than a real antagonist. He barely did anything in this arc even though he is a god, unlike Apollo who sets the War Game in motion. But that’s what made Ikelos interesting. Unlike Hermes and most of the gods and goddesses who has clear goals, Ikelos is simply in for the fun. He embodies the deities’ initial reason for descending into the Lower World—to seek entertainment and excitement. This makes him simply a bystander and passive observer rather than an actual threat.
What is so special about this arc is the brief antagonistic role of the Loki Familia. They are not villains per se, but more like a giant obstacle to Bell’s goals. And for the first time, we see him opposing his idol, Ais Wallenstein. It is probably the biggest character development Bell has so far—from a desire to get stronger in order to stand beside his crush to a desire to get stronger in order to save everyone who would be harmed. And even when the two has reconciled, that drive has remained.
As far as pacing goes, this season is a much better adaptation than the previous one. You can feel the gravity and impact of most scenes, and they didn’t feel like simply go from point A to point B. Key moments like Wiene’s revival are excellently portrayed, and so are the fight scenes. However, the arc also suffers from a rushed ending, and I kinda wished they have extended it by one more episode to fully flesh out the final act. But despite that, it is a more complete ending than the anti-climactic finale of season 2, though it still pales in comparison to the end of the first season.
As always, there are quite a few scenes from the novel that didn’t make it in the anime, some of which heavily involves Syr. Most of the worldbuilding and exposition were also glossed over or entirely removed, diluting one of the aspects that made the series so good. Moreover, several big fights that didn’t involve Bell were totally rushed.
When it comes to animation, season 3 has almost remained consistent throughout its 12-episode run, especially during the fight scenes. The movements are solid, and they didn’t feel stiff and uninspired. Of course, there are also quite a lot of choppy frames. But nowhere near as bad as what we saw in season 2.
To sum it up, Danmachi’s third season is somewhat of a hit-and-miss, but it leans more toward a good adaptation. Unlike season 2, the pacing and animation are good, most of the fights were excellently animated, and the studio obviously made an effort to present the story as it was in the novels. It may not be perfect, but it is an enjoyable watch and deserves a good 8/10.