Ah Hermes you son of bitch. He wanted to throw out all of the efforts that made throughout this entire season all because he was salty over the fact that his ‘Hero’s reputation had been tarnished by protecting the Xenos. So he basically he went up to them and said, “Hi can you like die, to restore Bell’s honor? Not all of you have to die, I just need some sacrifices, three or four would be good.” To that I said: “@#*! THAT.” Hestia was all of us when she kicked Hermes in the face after he had the audacity to show up at their door after it was all said and done.
Honestly this bit scared me a bit because all I could think of was, ‘Oh my god, don’t mess this up, don’t mess this up’, because Hermes’ request defeats the entire point of this arc, striving for co-existence. To see them jeopardize that even further would have infuriated me. Luckily the deal didn’t pan out as Hermes had hoped. The only reason why Fels agreed to Hermes’ terms was not only he needed to find a way to appease Hermes to get the others to safety, but also because he had faith in Bell to defy Hermes’ expectations and didn’t’ play into his hands. In turn by doing so, his unwavering conviction to believe in the Xenos persuaded Gros to call off playing the ruthless antagonist.
This was a big deal because this whole act was orchestrated by Hermes in attempt to set things back into “order” of Human VS Monsters by setting the stage starring a Hero (Bell) to lead the way. And the reason why Hermes is not on the co-existence team is because this kind harmonious reality is too boring for him. A heretical hero and doesn’t cut it for him. He wants to go back to the classic black and white, evil VS good. There is no room for grey or in between. He just wants drama. That was why Gros’ decision to call off the attack on Bell ended up being so important. In that moment, he proved that he isn’t a senseless monster who is out for blood.
Unfortunately, apart from Eina being right behind Bell when it happened, I don’t think this will be something anyone who was present at the scene will remember happening since it was immediately overshadowed by Asterius’ arrival.
However it was precisely because he showed up to picked a fight with Bell was why Gros and the others were able to escape from a certain death. Hermes was furious when Gros and Bell didn’t kill each other and was about to have Asfi to sabotage them by making them run amok. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say he single handily saved everyone. Had he not showed up when he did, I dread what kind of wrath Hermes would have inflicted onto them. The only reason why Hermes did not lash out at them was because Asterius was able to fulfill the purpose through his own will. He put on an even better show than Gros and the others could have done, and by doing so, he was able to distract and satisfy Hermes in a different way. That said, the joke is on Hermes though. For the guy who went through all this trouble to set the stage, it was completely hijacked by Asterius and Freya. (We don’t always thank Freya, but in this instance, we have to, so thanks for helping Loki’s Familia in check.)
What makes it even more laughable is the fact that Hermes has no idea that Asterius has an incredibly unique bond with Bell. It was confirmed today that he is the reincarnation of the very same Minotaur who Bell had that epic fight back in Season 1. Reborn as an Xenos, he has memories of their fateful battle. They are fond memories to him, as he describes it being an exchange of wills as the most worth of adversaries. That was why formally challenged Bell to a rematch, one which Bell accepted.
And this fight was no joke, because holy smokes, Asterius absolutely DESTROYED Bell. I find it amazing how he is still alive and in one piece after all of that. Hell, I’m surprised he was able to stand after being plowed into so many buildings. But the best part about this fight, was the fact Bell actually lost. And he didn’t just lose, he lost to Asterius who only had ONE ARM. Think about that for a second. That right there, just tells you the power-gap between them at the moment. Bell still has a longggg way to go.
Additionally, Asterius was very smart about this whole thing. He actually dragged Bell all the way back into the dungeon just so that nobody would be there to witness how the fight ended. Whether this was intentional or not, it doesn’t change the fact by doing so, this protected Bell’s reputation from being tarnished even further. What would people think if they had seen Asterius walk away from Bell? Would they have let him be? What would become of Bell’s image after that? So he spared us the trouble of finding out.
Now I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love how Asterius has become more than just a symbol of Bell’s growth. He is now…err, can I say friendly rival? (He let him live so they could fight again, sooooo…it should be fine right?) He is no longer just this senseless monster to us, but one who shares an incredibly unique bond with Bell. This is really cool because now we will be able to actually measure how much stronger Bell gets over time. The other thing is, Asterius will be significantly stronger as well because Fels actually healed his arm, so the arm he had lost during his fight against Ais is back too! It is definitely something to look forward to in the future, albeit I bet once we get to that point, the outcome of the match will probably be a bittersweet one.
With everything done and settled, Bell appears to be no longer ostracized by the town. We also got to see by overcoming this trial, Bell and Ais have become closer in a way. It was really sweet to see her go to find him at their usual training spot, and Bell asking her if she would be willing to teach him again. I absolutely love the relationship these two have, and I enjoyed seeing the two overcome their differences when their period of clash of beliefs. I think what I appreciated the most about that part was how both of them really didn’t want to hurt each other, so their conflict feelings didn’t feel so one-sided as it sometimes does. I adore their friendship and I was curious to see whether their relationship will become more than platonic. Well I’m in no hurry because Ais’ and Bell’s friendship is very sweet, so this is one of those instances where I wouldn’t mind if they just stayed friends.
Hands down, this was the best season we have seen from DanMachi yet. It goes without saying, last season drew a lot of mixed feelings, and it genuinely made me concerned about how this one was going to be handled. So it was really great to see them pull through in such a strong way. It’s exactly what we needed to restore some faith in the adaption again. The pace was great, it was fluid, it didn’t feel like it was stalling, the story continuously flowed. I suppose a big part of that success was because this season focused entirely on the Xenos Arc. While it has two parts, and there’s no break in between, or at the end to disrupt the flow. So for once, it kept you at the edge of your seat from start to finish. I suppose it would be fair to say it did slow down a bit during the Xenos Escape Mission, but it never felt too stagnant or boring. Another plus to this season would probably be the fact we were introduced to extremely likable characters (the Xenos). Like when I think back to Season 2, right off the bat we were introduced to a lot of messed up characters. It wasn’t pretty, and it was pretty grueling. That isn’t to say this season wasn’t, in fact it was quite bloody and absolutely brutal to watch at times, but it really did feel like everything came together better.
On the flipside of things, I wished we had been able to get to know them more. With the exception of Wiene and to some degree, Fels, we didn’t actually get to see Bell interact with the Xenos like Lyd, Rei and Gros to the point we can say they are more than just allies/acquaintances. I would have loved to see them be more fleshed out, but hopefully that is something that will be expanded on down the line. It would also be fair the rest of Hestia’s Familia (including the Goddess herself) also found themselves kind of lingering on the sidelines. That isn’t to say they didn’t have role, they certainly did, and while they were for most part, not the in season’s spotlight, they were still strong enough to make their presence known so that their contributions is not something we can ignore (though I think we can all agree Mikoto felt more like an extra this time round. But considering she has a more prominent role last season, it’s not too big of a deal). However thanks to the primary subject of the season, on expanding on what we know about the dungeons, introducing us to the Xenos, they were all still able to undergo a degree of character development.
While the other characters’ presence and to some extent, development left more to be desired, at the very least Bell went through a lot this season. Unlike the others, he was constantly being forced to make incredibly difficult decisions on the spot and reaping the consequences of his actions. This season challenged his beliefs and forced him to reflect on whether he had the courage to walk on the path of thorns if it means pursing a future that could open the doors to co-existence with a species (the Xenos) he once thought was just mindless creatures. We witnessed how his heart of gold is like a double-edged sword, but is one he wears with pride. He will not yield from the path he wishes to pursue, even if it means the world will turn their back on him. But that’s exactly why he understands he needs to become stronger, because the path he wishes to take is a difficult one.
This season also did a great job of deepening the lore and introducing us to more secrets behind the dungeon, including background on the man who was responsible for building it, and how it driven him into madness of ambitiously creating a man-made labyrinth Krossos, and cursed his descendants into being forced to finish the project. In turn we found a bread crumb trail leading to learning a bit more about Evilus. I am also thankful that I didn’t feel like was missing out on things from the novels. Sometimes there are moments when you notice things have been cut out, or stuff happens that was explained in the novel but not the adaption, but this season I never felt like I encountered any of those problems. Of course I am sure there are more treats waiting to be discovered once I get around to reading the novels again, so that’s something I will be looking forward to doing!
In the mean time, there was no announcement another season just yet, but I certainly hope we will be able to have more in the future!
Final Verdict: 8/10