Bell Cranel and his adventuring party are traveling the middle levels of the dungeons when a crossing party of adventures leads a pack of monsters to them. Stranded with heavy injuries to all members, Bell decides to lead his party forward in order to reach a safe area three levels below.
Meanwhile, Hestia is worried that Bell hasn’t arrived home yet, for this is his first time in the middle levels of the Dungeon. So Hestia moves quickly to organize a search party for Bell before its too late.
Bell isn’t a beginner adventurer anymore. With his transition to Level 2, a party of adventurers to go with him, and an expedition down to the lower levels of the Dungeon, Bell is exposed to more dangers than he ever was before. So when Hestia realizes that he might be in trouble and Bell’s only option is to continue downward, there’s a sense of dire urgency fused into the plot, which makes the story more exciting and engaging.
It is clear to us now that a lot of people are involved with Bell, and with more gods taking an interest in our protagonist, there is a lot of drama happening behind the scenes. Each god seems to have some hidden motive behind their actions, which directly affects those related to them. This helps expand the web of relationships between each god and they the way they interact with each other and their Familia.
On the other hand, the act of the gods instigating an accident (or as they would put it, a test for Bell) is starting to become dull. Numerous times, a god has interjected into the affairs purely because they wanted to. From a story standpoint, it’s a way to introduce characters into the world along with their defined personality, but the execution feels like a high school drama that ends up involving the whole school.
After the beginning crisis, the characters take a break from the action to relax. But by all means, this doesn’t not mean that story doesn’t keep us invested in its characters. Aside from Bell, a couple of side characters gets a moment in the spotlight. Lyu, one of the waitresses at the bar Bell typical goes at, gets a whole backstory to herself. We were foreshadowed in the previous volume by her wisdom and experience in combat, but here we can see that she was originally a very powerful adventurer. Meanwhile, Welf continues his internal conflict of locking away his talent of creating magic swords.
Despite these characters have their own stories behind them, they share common themes of the type of malicious intent behind some adventurers. In Lyu’s case, her situation is the result of an envious familia’s trap, combined with her own wrongdoings. Welf, while his belief is certainly a strong and idealistic one, it holds him back from fully being useful to his team. There’s even a direct representation of anger and hatred at Bell’s rising fame through the adventurer rankings.
Like in previous volumes, DanMachi’s battles does not disappoint. However with this installment, you can really feel the tension in certain scenes. The monsters aren’t just random mobs encounters, but rather actual threats. In the beginning sections, it’s all about survival and risking decisions while the last battle in the end is climatic and meaningful, not to just Bell but to those involved in the fight as well.
DanMachi contains the same style of illustrations with a couple of alluring fanservice pictures included. I should also highlight the unique design choices that fit along with the story like with the cloud inside the crystal, or the two-faced profile of Hermes.
The front cover for this issue depicts Lyu in her leaf-styled adventurer outfit with an injured Bell in the corner. In the background, there’s a stylized picture of the 18th floor of the Dungeon, the rest zone that the character stay at. However, what I do want to point out is the flowers shaded in Lyu’s shinguards. Lyu places these types of flowers on top of her comrades’ graves in the story and it’s a nice touch to add that small detail to the front cover.
With its battles containing more emotional depth than previous installments and its characters continuing to interest and intrigue the reader, Volume 5 of DanMachi is another thrilling volume to read from start to finish. As DanMachi continues to introduce more characters and elements to the world, the story grows into a even larger fantasy filled adventure.
Author: Fujino Omori
Illustrator: Suzuhito Yasuda
English Publisher: Yen Press