This review contains spoilers. You’ve been warned.
Last week’s episode brought us one of the most emotional fight scenes of the series. Bell, in his desire to protect Wiene, fought his idol in a brutal duel that tested their emotions and feelings for each other. In the end, Wiene managed to pacify a murderous Ais, only for the Xenos to receive a shocking order from Hermes: die.
And now we have arrived at the much-awaited season finale and the rematch of the series! And… there’s a lot of things to say about this episode. But before we begin, let me clarify one thing.
I’ve always been honest with my reviews. If you have read any of them, you’ll find that my ratings are based on two factors: how faithful the anime is, and how they enhance the scenes, for better or for worse. Hence, why some episodes from the same series got higher scores from me while some didn’t.
I actually have mixed opinion about this episode. On one hand, some scenes are portrayed really well. Hermes’s reaction to seeing his plans crumble before him is satisfying to see, and the way Bell desperately fought Gros really did pull a few strings in my heart. Combined that with a dramatic rendition of the Wish of a Hero theme, and a brief flashback involving Zeus, and we have another tearjerker scene.
One thing they just failed to adapt here is why Gros decided to be the sacrifice. In the novel, he used his hatred for the humans as the main reason, which was completely left out from this scene. It a pretty minor detail, though I wished they still kept that to give a little more depth into Gros’s character
And now for the main highlight of the finale: the showdown between Bell and Asterius. And I will be honest. I’m not fully satisfied with the portrayal. It is good, definitely. In fact, it is one of the best in the series. But there is something lacking in that fight.
All throughout the story, this fight was being slowly teased. From the first moment that Lyd mentioned Asterius as the strongest Xenos all the way to Asterius’s first appearance. We know it has to be Bell who get to fight this monster to the death, much like the first time in season 1. After all, Asterius is the same minotaur from before, and it is his only driving force to why he remained on the surface.
But the fight somewhat failed to capture that important element. In the novel, one of the few things that had stuck with Asterius was Bell’s firebolt, which is why he was named Asterius. And we never saw that here. We know that the minotaur remembered the fight, but not the moments which had burned themselves through his memories.
Moreover, there was little to no sense of urgency nor the emphasis on why Bell wanted to win so badly except for a few lines. The duel was well-choreographed, but the gore was toned down to a degree. Even the cheers of the crowd seemed lackluster even though it is one of the greatest fight they had ever seen since the War Game.
Perhaps the fight’s only saving graces are the voice of Asterius, and the final scene where both combatants rushed at each other. The minotaur’s voice is exactly how I’ve imagined it while reading the novels, soft but powerful, and while I can’t find any information about his voice actor, I’d have to say he did a good job portraying the minotaur.
Now some people might be disappointed that Bell lost, which is understandable. After all, who wants to see a hero lose? But that’s what makes Danmachi a good series. Almost everything is consistent, especially the power levels. A full party of level 6 Adventurers had a hard time fighting Asterius while Bell was only level 3; naturally, he could never win.
Episode 12 may be rushed and a little disappointing when it came to the fight scene, but it felt more of a season finale than what we got in season 2. Of course, nothing still beats the one in season 1, which is more of a series finale. Nevertheless, it is a good way to end an interesting arc and deserves an 8/10.
Danmachi may have ended now, but I still have one more review coming next week focusing on the entire season, so stay tuned for that. Have a Merry Christmas!