Whether goddesses or adventurers, Guild workers or waitresses, DanMachi has never lacked for sexy female characters amongst its recurring cast. While fan service has never been a focus of the series, DanMachi has also not lacked for opportunities to let its diverse cast of beauties show off; in fact, it has periodically manufactured original content just for that purpose. Because of a combination of her disposition, the way she carries herself, the way she dresses, and the way she hides half her face behind an unflattering long, straight hairdo, Cassandra would be far from the first female character one would expect to get feature fan service treatment. The one previous time she did show off any skin at all (in the season 3 OVA episode), we didn’t see much, either. That’s part of what makes her early fan service scene in this episode such a jaw-dropper. Damn, girl; that’s one fine figure you’ve been hiding under that dress, and the animation team certainly put in the extra effort to make sure viewers could appreciate it. (But then, she was recruited by Apollo, who was practically obsessed with beautiful things, so perhaps this shouldn’t have been too surprising.)
The timing of it – in the wake of a very dark and serious vision – is also interesting. The production team certainly isn’t above making that scene mostly or purely gratuitous, but perhaps that was also meant to suggest how much she is at the mercy of her visions. Much like her mythological namesake, Cassandra seems doomed not to be believed, yet her visions have proven to be on the the mark either figuratively or literally. That makes her yet another interesting side character in the franchise’s retinue, and this is the episode where she gets to shine the most. I had been concerned that the production team might strip her extensive inner ruminations – much like they did for the Moss Huge – but it looks like they were deemed essential enough to receive attention. She even gets in the episode’s one funny moment, at the innocent Haruhime’s expense.
While Cassandra’s part is an integral set-up for this phase of the story arc, the actual plot focus is on the presumption that Gale Wind (aka Ryu) murdered one of Riviria’s adventurers. Viewers can surmise from Asfi’s brief comments that the dead fellow is connected to her past vengeful exploits, but seeing Bell and others quickly piece together that something was fishy about Turk’s claims was still satisfying; Bell is finally starting to develop some intuition as he levels up. Still, if someone finished off the adventurer that Ryu had been interrogating – presumably both to silence him and to set Ryu up – then who or what is Ryu pursuing down on the 27th floor, and what is Bell about to get himself dragged into?
One other thing also deserves comment: the musical score. I have extolled the virtues of the soundtrack on many occasions, but once again, it is in fine form here. It plays no small role in creating the dramatic ambiance needed for the big events to come. The adaptation of novel 13 is now underway, so the fun is just beginning again.