This review contains major SPOILERS. You’ve been warned.
A beautiful and epic episode from start to finish! This is arguably the best episode so far with everything from epic fight scenes to heart-wrenching moments rolled into one. But before we breakdown this episode, let us refresh ourselves of the previous one.
Last week saw Bell in a dire situation as he faced Dix for the fate of Wiene. And while he emerged victorious thanks to the help of Lyd, Dix cast an illusion on Wiene and set her loose on the surface, forcing Bell to face the strongest Familia in Orario: the Loki Familia.
Episode 8 begins with the death of Dix from the Black Minotaur, and it is incredibly satisfying to hear the sound of his body being torn to shreds and seeing the blood splattering on the wall. We all know how vile his character is, so his gruesome death is well-deserved.
But the consequences of his actions still remain. Bell has to protect Wiene against Loki Familia—an act that is impossible no matter how you look at it. After all, they are not mere monsters that act on based instincts; they are high-ranked Adventurers, all of whom are now Level 6 like Ais. This is, indeed, a hopeless scenario for our Little Rookie.
Fortunately, the Xenos is there to help along with Fels. And we are treated with a very one-sided fight between the Xenos and the strongest faction in Orario. Even Fels, a strong mage in their own right, could only laugh nervously as their own adamantite golem was destroyed in a single strike. Hiding with his Familia, we couldn’t blame Welf for wanting to help despite the futility of resistance. However, Lili made a valid point as well: helping the Xenos would doom the entire Hestia Familia itself.
There is a slight change in the fight itself. In the novel, the Xenos—especially Lyd—put up more of a resistance than what was shown in this episode. Even the adamantite golem managed to attack. But instead, they were all defeated almost instantly in the anime. And I liked it! It showed just how powerful the Loki Familia is that the Xenos was simply a walk in the park. After all, these Adventurers fought and killed giants for breakfast.
But that didn’t mean the Xenos doesn’t have a secret weapon of their own, and we are finally introduced to their strongest member: Asterius the Black Minotaur. And from the get-go, we know that this is no ordinary Minotaur. His Howl alone knocked out Lili and Haruhime unconscious, and it only took one blow to send Bete and the Amazon twins flying into a wall.
Much like the previous fight, this is pretty fast-paced and one-sided in favor of the Xenos this time. We never saw Bete and the Twins working together against Asterius, an epic scene that was one of the highlights in the novel. Tiona’s Berserk mode was not portrayed properly either, if at all, and all we saw was her fighting Asterius with bare hands.
But even so, the fight was good. And the level of destruction that the Labrys, Asterius’ thunder axe, made was done better in this adaptation compared to the novel. We can tell just how powerful this axe is by the ruins it created around him and how it paralyzed Bete and the Twins, forcing Finn to finally unleash the Familia’s own ultimate weapon, the Sword Princess Ais Wallenstein. And while her battle was also far too quick than what was shown in the novel, it was portrayed a little better than the previous ones. Cutting off Asterius’ arm was a testament on just how strong Ais is, and her movements were both fluid and fast against the cumbersome and bulky Minotaur.
One interesting to note here is the fact that Asterius already fought the strongest members of Ganesha Familia as well as Ryu, Aisha, and Asfi before facing the full might of Loki Familia, and he still managed to hold them off. ALONE. It goes to show the level of strength and skills he possessed, evident when he managed to injure the great Sword Princess despite having only one arm. But of course, he has limits as well, and if not for Fels’ smoke bombs, a freshly arrived Gareth and Finn, brain and brawn combined, would have ended in his death.
We then switched to Bell in pursuit of Wiene, and it is clear at first that it would not end on a happy note. Adventurers flocked to their position like vultures, closing off escape routes until it led Wiene to a trap where Gran dealt the final blow on her before being crushed to death by a vengeful Gros.
And thus, we arrived at the most heartbreaking but epic scene in Danmachi so far. Once again, Matsouka Yoshitsugu showed his incredible voice acting skills as Bell when Wiene finally dissolves to ashes after confessing her love to him. The emotions here are very real, and funny enough, it did remind of Eugeo’s death scene in Sword Art Online Alicization, proving why Yoshitsugu is a perfect fit for the role of Bell.
Everything seemed hopeless, especially to us audiences, until we hear a voice chanting the beginning lines of a spell. And thus we are treated to the best moment in this episode as Fels cast one of the greatest magic in the world of Danmachi: Dia Orpheus, a spell to cheat death itself.
The imagery of the scene itself, the pillar of light, the montage of the various characters staring in wonderment, and the emotional insert song, everything just blended perfectly to create the most beautiful scene in the series. Mikaku Komatsu, famous for voicing Rose in Tales of Zestiria and Yume in Grimgar of Ash and Fantasy, performed the chant so well that it sent chills down my spine, especially at the end when Fels sigh in relief as their magic succeeded for the first time, making you wonder just how many people Fels failed to revive in all 800 years.
This is probably one of my most comprehensive and detailed reviews so far, and for good reason. Episode 8 may be fast-paced, but it gave us an epic fight scene between Adventurer and Monster, and one of the best scene in the series in terms of emotional impact. Definitely a 9/10.