Episode 08 – “Argonaut: Wanting to be a Hero”
So I think is the episode that everyone has been waiting for since the beginning. Bell finally kicks some major ass, and we’re not talking about some small time silverback monkey but a straight-up evil minotaur on steroids. Recently, I procured myself a copy of Etrian Odyssey IV: Legends of the Titan, and I am hooked. Everything I love about DanMachi like the world of adventure, the perilous dungeon crawling, and the meaningful progression from rookie to hero is all there in EO4. With that game on my mind constantly, DanMachi‘s minotaur reminded me of the big, bad F.O.E.’s that prowl the game’s overworld and dungeons.
Anyone who has played those games that if you accidentally get caught by one of those things and you aren’t prepared, you can expect to die really quickly. The bloody minotaur is basically DanMachi‘s version of an F.O.E., and the fact that Bell is able to dispatch it by himself makes it all even more incredible. It took 8 episodes for him to be able to stand by himself, and I think it was worth the time it took to develop Bell’s desire to become stronger. While that trope feels very inherently shounen, it doesn’t feel undeserved here as it might in one of those other shows.
Although, I have to admit that DanMachi does tread that line with the aforementioned shounen trope very closely. We’ve seen similar scenes in other series, where we have our hopeless protagonist reduced to his knees by some force with strength previously unheard of, refusing any help from his allies. Upon further inspection, Bell’s ambition really isn’t anything different from any other shounen protagonist. So why does this episode work for me?
Maybe it’s because Bell doesn’t spend 10 minutes on the ground reminiscing about some moment in his life or giving a speech about what his friends mean to him. What we see is similar, but truncated. There are flashbacks with him and Hestia, but they’re quick and to the point. Ultimately though, I think this scene works for me because Bell isn’t trying to be a hero to protect his friends or save the world. His desire is much more honest and primal. Backed into a corner and at the end of his rope, Bell’s only real want is to be able to stand on his own two feet and defend himself, and I find that admirable.
“There are as many meanings to adventure as there are people.” ~ Ryu Lion