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The previous episode saw our heroes facing one danger after another, and episode 16 was no different. But this time, the tables have turned, and Bell and his friends rose to the challenge of the Dungeon at last!

The Astraea Familia

Only seen in tidbits for the past three episodes, the entire Astraea Familia is finally revealed in this episode (minus Astrea herself). And just like any familias, they were quite an interesting bunch.

For one, they were all females comprised of various races and nationalities—ranging from Elves to Amazons to Pallums. For another, their pursuit of justice isn’t typical. They weren’t self-righteous, or even a Nazi-like police who thought they were the only ones doing the right thing. They had even had differing opinions about what justice meant, particularly Ryu.

Kaguya(left), Celty(center, background), and Ryu(right)

But this only made their interactions so much interesting. We have Alise who has a friendly but somewhat of a self-centered personality, the cynical and alluring Kaguya who was cynical, the strait-laced Ryu, and a host of other personalities that should supposedly clash. And yet, everyone got along well, and their banters and bickering were fun to watch.

Fun, and also heartbreaking because this would be the last time we would see them this way.

To Be An Adventurer

Bell’s guard duty gave Ryu a much needed respite, and one that they would really need in the journey to come. Of course, her injuries still remained. And as always, Bell considered her wellbeing first over himself, telling her to heal herself rather than use Noah Heal on him.

Much of this segment was spent on exposition and worldbuilding, but that didn’t mean that we wouldn’t get some character development and more insight on our two main characters. Bell, in particular, finally realized what it really meant to be an Adventurer: facing monsters, protecting your party, and utilizing every resources available—including items left by deceased Adventurers.

Indeed, there is a kind of morbid practicality with looting corpses. But as Ryu had said, survival is key at this point. And it’s not as if they are disrespecting the dead. In fact, surviving the Dungeon is a tribute to the fallen, something that Bell vowed to do before he and Ryu resumed their journey.

And it won’t be an easy journey. But Ryu’s knowledge and experiences were invaluable tools, and everything she said and taught Bell showed how far she had already gotten as an Adventurer before being blacklisted. She is pragmatic, deliberate, and confident but also cautious—essential things to survive the Dungeon.

A map of the Dungeon

In a way, she’s not just a love interest for Bell but also a mentor and a dear friend, and this journey is already expanding upon their relationship. Still, it is really interesting to ponder what Ryu could have been if she had not been banned by the Guild.

Unbreakable Will

Welf’s pride has been a constant part of his character development ever since the first season. Indeed, his first growth needed him to throw away that pride and use a magic sword to help Bell against the Black Goliath, which finally gave him the motivation to use his inherent skills. Since then, Welf’s magic swords had proven invaluable in most of the Hestia Familia’s battles.

And that stayed true for this season as well, particularly in their quest to find the Familia’s missing leader. But as we’ve seen for the past few episodes, even those magic swords aren’t enough to face the Dungeon’s terrors.

Thus, the present situation where Welf gambled everything, including his friends’ lives, to do what no one had possible done yet: forge weapons inside the Dungeon. It was a crazy plan, one that could have killed everyone in a pointless gambit. But a crazy plan that ended up being the best one.

Welf forging a magic weapon

The thing about Welf is that he still had that blacksmith pride. In fact, his plan was partially born out of that pride. After all, he does have a friendly rivalry with Bell even though they specialized in two different things. And it is because of this that he continues to grow and improve alongside his leader.

But that pride didn’t prove to be the answer as to why he was forging in the first place. And we got to see Welf’s inner thoughts as he desperately tried to forge something, anything, just to save his friends. And that realization finally gave him the motivation he needed.

The result? An unbreakable magic sword tied to its wielder’s magic: Kazuki.

It’s an incredible and powerful weapon, to the point that it needed two wielders to be fully effective. And as it saved the day, it is not a stretch to call Kazuki Welf’s greatest masterpiece yet, making him a true hero on his own.

Welf and his new weapon, Kazuki
The power of Kazuki


The series is almost at its halfway point, but it already felt like the third act. Episode 16 is an excellent balance of backstory, worldbuilding, and character development. Interestingly enough, even though it didn’t feature a substantial fight scene and Bell’s screen time is still quite reduced, focusing on the adventures of his Familia anchored the episode and kept viewers engaged throughout its runtime.

Episode score: 8.5/10

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