I never really intended to keep watching DanMachi but a combination of timing[1], some insights from Mage in a Barrel, and a weak season generally[2] saw me carry through to the end.

Albeit with mixed feelings, particularly about the finale.

The story, such as it was and such as there was of it, was actually quite good.

Fundamentally DanMachi had a surprising amount of character development to offer over the course of its run, and not just Bell Cranel taking a level in bad ass[3]. The key, as Mage in a Barrel points out here, is the familial relationship between Bell and Hestia.

The fact that this familial relationship is something that both Bell and Hestia are working hard to support, and that both are willing to endure a surprising amount of humiliation to protect.

There were also parallels to this as the minor characters were introduced, and were also drawn into the orbit of these two[4]. This is possibly the aspect that drew my attention the most, and is certainly the strongest element of DanMachi.

It certainly gave rise to the most satisfying moments in the show, particularly when Bell or Hestia had a win born of this relationship in some way or other[5].

Now for some of the problems.

Are you really trying to sell the light novels to me?

I think that the later episodes of DanMachi in particular show signs of being a Compressed Adaptation, enough so to throw me out of the story in places.

Specifically there is, apparently, a rule against gods entering the dungeon. This is mentioned, and then promptly forgotten. No ill effects are ever shown applying to the two gods in question.

Second it is apparently possible for a god to unlock their divine powers. This is used without warning for a fairly literal deus ex machina, and is again promptly forgotten. The opening monologue in episode 1 Bell Cranel | Adventurer is ambiguous as to whether this was possible, but it certainly wasn’t foreshadowed prior to the event.

Third, there is a key revelation about Bell Cranel at the end of the finale which is basically a Mysterious Past name drop that isn’t, and won’t be, followed up[6].

Oh, and the goddess who was acting as the behind the scenes villain? That plot arc isn’t resolved either.

I suspect that explanations for all of these[7] are in the light novels but frankly this isn’t an answer I’ve ever liked. In other words, this is what I’ve written[8] about before under the heading of Sometimes More is More.

This has to be regarded as a significant flaw in the Danmachi story telling, and it certainly left me feeling a bit let down by the finale.

Oh Dear

When it settles down to the story, DanMachi sometimes manages to avoid the worst excesses of fan service and harem tropes.

The key word there being: sometimes. Most of the time I was able to tolerate it[9], but again the operative word is “tolerate”. Fortunately the inevitable bath scenes weren’t overly long, but there were definitely moments when I complained about this aspect of DanMachi on twitter.

This isn’t helped by what passes for “armour” or adventuring gear. Some of which made Walkure Romanze look vaguely reasonable[10].

The Verdict

So long as you’re prepared to tolerate the fanservice, and many won’t be, DanMachi has a reasonable amount to offer. Surprisingly endearing characters who care for each other will carry a show a fair distance; seeing those characters triumph will often carry it the rest.

DanMachi isn’t a perfect show by any means, but it’s watchable, and is enough fun that I may come back to it for light viewing one day. I do quite like the OP so here it is again:

[1] It aired on Saturday morning whilst I was in post-Gym recovery. An ideal time to be watching trashy anime.

[2] I was only watching three shows this season.

[3] Possibly more than one. Dude worked hard for a lot of the series.

[4] It does make me wonder if it’s possible to switch familia; Lili in particular would have to be tempted after [SPOILER REDACTED].

[5] Yes, I’m being a little cryptic here. You should expect that by now.

[6] OK, OK, it might be followed up if a second season is announced.

[7] Plus, possibly, any others that weren’t jarring enough for me to notice.

[8] And by “written” I mean “ranted”.

[9] Partly due to DanMachi being trashy post-gym recovery viewing, and partly because I accepted it as a necessary evil in this case. Mostly I don’t.

[10] At least the boob plates in Walkure Romanze completely covered the boobs. No I’m not joking about this. Google Aiz Wallenstein if you want to see the travesty I’m referring to.