The first episode was well-spent preparing for Hestia Familia’s first on-the-books Guild-assigned expedition, so with episode 2 the whole gang actually gets down to business. The result is a well-balanced episode which showcases much of what has made DanMachi so entertaining so far.
Although the quintet of Bell, Lily, Welf, Mikoto, and Haruhime are entertaining enough on their own, the additional cast members add some welcome extra dynamic to the group interactions. They already show in early, more minor encounters that they can work together well in a fight, but the additional personalities also offer neat extra little quirks, like how timidly Cassandra hugs the walls while going down a cliffside trail or how Aisha can poke Lily just right to prompt her greed to override her caution while Daphne provides Lily the reassurance that she’s doing her commander job well or gives Cassandra a playful head-butt. It also makes the camp scene more lively and provides room for observations on various characters, especially Bell.
The episode strains a little more to keep everyone involved in the action scenes, with Daphne, Cassandra, Chigusa, and Haruhime all having little to show off at this point. Still, the Great Falls offers a diverse variety of threats from every angle, giving most of the other characters at least some opportunity to show off. My favorite move prior to the feature encounter was probably Mikoto’s somersaulting kick, but even that pales in comparison to the far more substantial threat presented by the moss monster. Though Enhanced Species have popped up on a few occasions in Sword Oratoria, this is Bell and crew’s first encounter with one that wasn’t a Xenos, and it presents a suitably terrifying foe. It’s clearly intelligent, has some nifty moves, and an area-spray attack with projectiles that can grow plants out of wounds on successful hits. Kudos to the adaptation team for making the monster every bit as much of a threat in visuals as it was in writing.
The quality work on the background art also cannot be overlooked. The different venues of the Dungeon can provide a wide variety of looks, but the team has outdone itself here. The only minor complaint is that the character animation sometimes stands out a little too much against the CG used for the water, but the visuals are impressive enough otherwise to allow that to be overlooked.
On the whole, this episode is a perfect encapsulation of what it means to be on an adventure in a fantasy RPG. I have little concern that the adaptation of the rest of novel 12 won’t also be at least as strong.