This was what we thought we were getting…
|Hey there! No I didn’t give up on DanMachi: Sword Oratorio. Here’s a post if you don’t believe me!|
Days of Our Dungeons
And you gotta have a creepy bug thing
So I thought maybe do a DanMachi post every week. And then I watched it every week, and it’s like a soap opera, in that it doesn’t actually get anywhere. I think that a lot of that tracks directly back to what we discussed in the FI post and comments, that the narrative voice for this spinoff series is not Ais Wallenstein, at least not primarily. Instead, it’s whoever the author thought was important in the story at the time. And while I’ve gotten past the idea that the series was sold as “Ais’s point of view” and understand that might or might not be anyone we’re interested in.
“We need to fill some time… send Loki and Bete out there!”
Take Loki, for instance. There’s a thread of this show that’s mostly Loki looking for who is responsible for bringing the flower-monsters to the surface and setting them on her family members. So she’s making the rounds of different gods and goddesses to find out if they know anything. But to me, this whole effort seems pointless. Here’s the pattern: Loki goes to talk to another god or goddess. Asks an oblique question. Other god or goddess just straight up lies about the answer. Rinse and repeat. Or are we going to believe Freya now? “Oh, I set up something to screw with everyone, but I didn’t set THAT up.” Are we going to believe Dionysus? “Oh, I was just investigating it!” Sure thing, Pete Townshend.
You can totally trust a guy who sits on a throne on a 10-foot high platform in the dark
And then let’s go talk to Uranus, and of course he’s not going to say he’s doing anything bad. This whole investigation she’s doing just feels pointless to me, like it’s just a chance to get Loki more lines, or work Bete back into the show in a situation where he isn’t super annoying (a very little of Bete goes a very long way).
Sum total in this picture: 2 interesting storylines between the 4 of them
Thankfully, Loki is the worst of the storylines, if you ask me. Unfortunately, Lefiya isn’t that much better. The thing about Lefiya’s main character turns for me is that they’re so close to being about Ais… but they’re not. They’re about Lefiya. And she’s just not being interesting yet. She’s getting better, and she’s to the point where she’s actually an asset in battle, but as far as bringing an important narrative point of view? She’s just not there. She could be anyone. Honestly, I find Tione and Tiona more compelling, and they’re barely two notes. So I don’t mind that it seems like the show is pulling away from Lefiya a bit, although giving that time to Loki isn’t helping.
At least Lefiya is getting more reliable
By the Power of Elimination
Thank you for the clichéd secret past reveal
That leaves us with Ais. And honestly, I can see why they would want to play up the series as being from Ais’ point of view, because she’s the most interesting character, far and away. She’s certainly the most heroic character in the series, and she’s the one who’s working through her own issues. I don’t know if a secret past is the way to make her more interesting, since the character she is was working fine, without some tacked on ‘orphan’ story. I don’t really know what the point of adding that is, because I don’t think it’s necessary to make her more sympathetic to the audience, and I don’t really know that it adds any depth. And even if it does add depth, what’s the cost to the story to do so, because it really doesn’t feel organic. It feels like a cheap attempt at “instant mystery, ” which really didn’t feel like it was needed. Ais trying to work through her personality was working fine, trying to become stronger was working fine, trying to learn to fit in with the Loki Familia was working really well.
A boss who doesn’t move and only has one arm… but it holds a big sword
I really like the possibilities of the girl who is a prodigy trying to accept the familiarity and friendship of her comrades. And I actually really like the possibilities of the other characters in relation to that kind of goal. The problem is that when it’s bothered with that kind of story, it’s been the most unsubtle, black and white character types possible. And there’s room for more subtlety, really. Tione could be more than big boobs and Finn worship. They took a step there with her driving a hard bargain with the merchant, but it’s easier to fall back on the boobs. Lefiya could be more than a MacGuffin, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon either.
When you have very small facial expressions, the small expressions tell a big story
And I think that if there was more to those other characters, then the instance of Ais eschewing the help of everyone else for the Win or Die challenge of taking on the floor boss herself would have had more resonance. It was a pretty good fight, and I liked that it wasn’t all “I’m going to out-grit you!” (although there was a lot of that). Ais extended herself, which is what you’d expect her to do to move up that level. And the look of satisfaction when she did was a very good way to cap the scene.
I do think that the show’s moving forward, but it does it at almost a snail’s pace. I worry that they’ll have to wrap everything up in a hurry as they go toward the second half of the cour, but would like it if they’d pick a character to be more central, and would like if that character is Ais. I don’t really know how much they need to focus on her relationship with Bell, which they’ve just started to hint at now, because they made a big deal of that in the first series, without much actually happening there. I’d like to see Ais be facing her own problems, not have them subsumed by a non-romance with Bell. An interest? Sure, that works. But I don’t want them to change Ais too much from the character she has been. I just want to see more of that character.