Between last episode and this one, I saw some commentary in some online forums lamenting that Bell was once again be the hero and solo the Juggernaut. Even if I didn’t already know what was going to happen (from reading the novels), I still think I would have soundly refuted that complaint. For better or worse, DanMachi has always been very conventional – even fairly predictable – in its story flow, thematic use, and character development approach, and the end of its fourth season is no different. All of those factors pointed towards Ryu having a major – if not leading – role in the final confrontation against the Juggernaut, and that’s exactly how things played out.
Though Bell is the overall hero and protagonist of the franchise, Ryu has actually been the primary viewpoint character of the Bell/Ryu side of the season ever since her flashbacks began back in episode 14. It’s been her head we’ve been in during that time, not Bell’s, and it’s been her feelings and her trip down memory lane which have guided and framed the story. Much like Bell back in episode 8 of the first season, she has a seemingly-implacable foe that she must face down to be able to advance, and she must in her mind atone for her perceived failure five years ago. Perhaps most importantly in a thematic sense, her justice – her desire to put smiles on the faces of others – would not be complete without facing down such a terror as the Juggernaut and living on as her familia sisters wished.
And that’s the most important take-away from this conclusion to the story: that Alise was right back on that fateful day when the Juggernaut nearly obliterated Astrea Familia. Even if she didn’t necessarily believe it herself, Ryu’s justice was the purest of all of Astrea Familia. Alise recognized it, and so did their patron, Astrea, who understood better than Ryu did that stopping Ryu from seeking vengeance would have destroyed that purity more assuredly than carrying it out did. Ryu’s justice became bloody and ugly – hardly the elegance she sought before – but it did wipe out a lingering scourge on Orario, and the city was better for it. For the last five years, Ryu has been mostly hiding from that truth that she didn’t abandon her justice at all, and now things have come back full circle. The Juggernaut is her nemesis to defeat, and this time Bell is the one only playing a supporting role.
Major fights have always been creative, vibrant affairs in DanMachi, and this one does not disappoint on that front. It employs some of the season’s sharpest fight animation (which is saying something) in depicting how Ryu and Bell almost instinctively play off each other to defeat Juggernaut. In the process, Ryu manifests a new aspect to Luminous Wind, her signature spell. It’s always been portrayed as dozens of balls of wind energy, and she’s always before fired them all at once, but here she shows that she doesn’t have to. She holds ten back – one for each of her dead sisters! – in reserve in anticipation of Juggernaut’s dodge, and then calls the names of all her familia sisters as she uses them both for attack and for propulsion. (That she imagines them visually manifesting as her familia sisters is a neat touch that the anime adaptation adds, and if that is really just her conceit, who cares?) The name she calls as she releases the final, killing blow – Luvia, which is also the episode title – is also significant here, as that name means “a girl who is deeply loved.” Perhaps that is meant to signify her acceptance of her familia’s feelings and wishes for her?
As expected, the rescue party arrives right after the fight – for no heroes who accomplish such a feat can narratively be allowed to be eaten by normal Dungeon denizens after that – and a wrap-up which takes up the second half of the episode. The scene with Ryu accidentally flashing Bell maybe wasn’t strictly necessary, but this is DanMachi, and the only real fan service otherwise this season could not really be taken as sexy under the circumstances, so something like that was bound to happen. (And it’s an exact recreation of the original novel scene.) Seeing Ryu look so elegant in such a simple dress in the finishing scene was a real treat, and that smile she gives Bell before freaking out over her feelings sums up beautifully how much more she is at ease now; she even gets an assist from her adventuring persona being now officially regarded as dead, but dying as a hero rather than a blacklisted criminal.
Despite providing an excellent fight and a solid narrative wrap to the season, I couldn’t help but find the episode falling a little short of the episodes leading up to it. The music, while good, just did not quite have the crisp edge that it has throughout this season, and perhaps that contributed to the sense of energy and drama not being as high. Still, episode 22 provides a good wrap to the season and an ideal stopping point. Now the wait begins to see if the next arc – which shifts the focus to Syr and the mysteries behind her – will be animated.
5 thoughts on “Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? IV episode 22 (season finale)”
This season was way better than the previous. My only disappointment was no reveal on how much they leveled up (which they both obviously had to have done).
Not sure I’d agree with the “way better” comment, since I felt there was some pretty strong content in s3, too.
As for the leveling up thing, that’s dealt with in the next novel. (DanMachi has typically done things this way.) Bell was just at the beginning of L4 going into this season, so it shouldn’t be a big surprise that he doesn’t level up because of this, although someone else in his familia does. As for Ryu. . . well, remember that her patron deity is not in Orario. But if she ever does go to visit Astrea, I imagine that something will happen.
If Juggernaut isn’t worth a level all on his own, not to mention all the other deep level monsters he killed during this season, I’m calling shenanigans. Juggernaut was clearly far above any other monster, even in the deep levels — there’s no way that feat isn’t worth a ton of experience.
Similar situation to the end of season 1. Bell was a freshly-minted L2 (with a bit of training with Ais) when his team ended up making it down to Under Resort, and he didn’t level up right away after his key role in defeating Black Goliath. Besides, Ryu was at least an equal participant in Juggernaut’s case, so she would more rightly get the lion’s share of the excelia from that. Also consider the implication that higher levels are harder to increase that’s built into the world system.
Bell IS shown in the next novel to have gained a lot from his experiences – way more than any normal adventurer ever could – but even for him it’s not enough to level up.
C’mon man! How am I supposed to get my fix if the numbers don’t go brrr? What kinda nightmare fuel does a guy have to face down with only a sharp toothpick to get a level out of this system?