My thoughts on the twelfth episode of Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka.
This episode was all over the place between the outright fanservice segments at the beginning and the duel at the end however there were some neat takeaways and it looks like the quaking at the end of the episode will set up the finale next episode. At this point it would seem that I was right in that the final conflict would take place on the 18th floor however at the same time the quaking could have something to do with Hestia’s powers rather than any direct tampering by Freya – the prior case possibly causing things to escalate elsewhere next episode though I feel the show has to play the ‘Freya’ card at this point after ruminating on her for so long as an antagonist.
I was surprised that we got insight into Ryu’s backstory this episode and while it was short in delivery it was also done well and I am of course overjoyed at the additional characterization. It was nice that we avoided any typical cliches when exploring her past and having her do something as dark as wiping out an entire Famila in vengeance I think contrasts great with her reserved character of the present. We gain the information that she single-handedly dispatched the people who ambushed her previous Familia however also that it was out of vengeance and that she is now blacklisted from the guild. These complications that both reinforce her strength while questioning the morals of her past were appealing to me and worked well as a backstory – the only thing I would have liked beyond this was perhaps a more timely delivery as it felt a little crammed in between the latter events of the episode and the initial bathing scenes. I should just be happy Ryu got an investigation at all as I thought she would remain a mysterious yet awesome background character for some time to come.
I don’t know what the implications are of Hestia ‘releasing her divine power’ however the way it was done raised my eyebrow a bit. The first few shots, the first on the feet, focus on establishing her powerful aura or presence and she proceeds to walk through the fighting, talking down to those around her and exerting her new demeanor. This was all done just fine and I am curious to discover the context of this event however the next second she is running, hair down, towards Bell and acts the same as she ever did without ever doing anything of note with her divine power.
While there is something to be said for everyone stopping their fighting in either fear or reverence of her just by her releasing her power, it is also a rather displeasing thing to have no direct action tied to the event and therein the scene feels a bit awkward to me; perhaps we will learn more about it next episode and the crudeness of the presentation will make sense retrospectively. Here’s to hoping the finale adds a bit of context to everything, including Freya’s actions over the past 12 episodes as her toying with Bell only carries her so far as an antagonist in my eyes – having some more sinister motive beyond her interest in him that is still relevant would be interesting though it may come off as abrupt and inventive if only introduced at the last second.