Episode 02 – “Monsterphilia: Monster Festival”
Episode 2 covers a fair bit of my favorite thing about anime: world building! We get to see how gods and goddesses live their lives, and it turns out that these higher beings act awfully like humans. They gossip, scheme, and hold big parties all in typical human fair. They just apparently live for a very long time and are based on real world deities from a vast spectrum of cultures. In particular, we meet Norse mythology’s goddess of beauty Freya and Greek mythology’s god of blacksmiths Hephaestus. Normally a man, Hephaestus is depicted as a woman here, and of course that excites me. Eyepatches are always a plus, too.
We get to see a bit more of what the adventurers’ town is like. There are a lot of splendid shots of the residents’ homes built into a hill on top of one another. On the ground level, there are bunches of shops and alleyways. What I wouldn’t give for a chance to be able to explore this town, as long as there isn’t a giant rampaging mechanized gorilla who looks like he escaped from Mother 3.
In spite of her jealousy over Aiz, Hestia decides to help Bell achieve his dream of becoming a stronger adventurer, seeking out the help of Hephaestos and her smithy excellence. While this deal is being made, it seems like Freya is trying to make her own with Loki. Like Cia from Hyrule Warriors, Freya picks out Bell and immediately desires him. However, Freya wants Bell because he looks so weak. It’s as if she wants to make a pet out of him, and I think that’s the most interesting aspect of this series. Most antagonists are interested in the main character because they appear strong, not because they look helpless.
Like last episode, there was one thing that really bothered me. This time, it was how the episode ended on a cliffhanger. We all know that Bell is going to use Hephaestus’s knife to fight the gorilla because half of the episode was dedicated to building that up. There’s no suspense at all! You shouldn’t create a cliffhanger if there’s no cliff to be hung from. The episode should have ended with Bell receiving the knife and then getting poised to attack the gorilla. THAT would have created some excitement and cut out a lot of superfluous dialogue, in my opinion.
Other than that, I’m really liking where this series is going. It has a fascinating world, an interesting main character that we want to actually cheer for, and the promise of more characters as teased in the episode’s ending song.
“I’ll make your weapon. For your boy’s sake.” ~ Hephaestus