Dragon Quest: A Dark Forest Adventure Proves Popp’s Uselessness

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Dragon Quest: Adventure of Dai Episode 6, "CROCODINE, THE BEAST KING," now streaming on Crunchyroll and Hulu.

It seems Dragon Quest's Dai is able to draw allies to him, wherever he may go. This is great, since his current ally, Popp has become progressively more irritating and useless with every episode. Hopefully, they'll find their way out of The Dark Forest in one piece, but it's Popp's fault they got lost in the first place.

In Episode 6, after Dai and Popp finally embark from Dermline Island to the mainland in hopes of meeting with King Romos, the episode jumps ahead a few days. Dai and Popp save a young girl from two monsters chasing her in a thick forest. She asks them if they can lead her back to her village, but it turns out the two of them are just as lost as the girl. Just at that moment, a third monster emerges from behind Popp and Dai, but before the boys can reach their weapons, a projectile lodges into the monster, killing it with perfect precision.

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The monster's assailant is none other than a girl by the name of Maam specialized in using a pistol with different projectile capsules of magic. Maam tells us that this forest is called The Dark Forest, a breeding ground for monsters, and with the Dark Lord's return, it's more dangerous than ever to be traveling into. When Dai explains they need to get to King Romos' palace, Maam offers to let them spend the night at her village and she can guide them to the palace in the morning.

This is where Popp's cowardly selfishness turns very annoying very fast. Despite the fact they have no idea where they're going, Popp insists that they keep walking through the forest in the dark to get to the palace rather than spend the night in a crummy village. Popp and Maam butt heads, making the situation much more difficult. Ultimately Popp leads Dai and himself back into the Dark Forest.

The show cuts to a cave to introduces Crocodine, The Beast King and one of Hadlar's commanders. Hadlar calls Crocodine asking him to go after Dai to kill the boy. At first, the reptilian monster is insulted by such a request, wasting his strength on a mere child. It's only when Hadlar explained to Crocodine that Dai managed to wound him that Crocodine takes an interest.

Dai and Popp are still just as lost. After an unpleasant conversation where Popp lists off what he finds attractive in a woman, Crocodine makes his appearance. Popp attempts to burn Crocodine with "Frizz," but the commander is able to simply blow away the flames with just his breath. Then with a single swing of his ax, Crocodine knocks down the massive cliff behind Dai and Popp in a horrifying display of strength. Crocodine tells us that each of the six commanders' combat specialties exceeds Hadlar; in Crocodine's case, it's his overwhelming strength.

Of course, Popp turns tail and runs away, leaving Dai to fight for himself. Dai can't seem to cut through Crocodine's thick hide with just his knife. Meanwhile, Maam runs back into Popp, saving the "useless" mage from a different monster. Rightfully so, Maam tells off Popp for abandoning his friend, but something else about Maam is hinted at. Maam wears an Avan insignia just like the ones Popp and Dai received from Avan. This most likely means the girl trained under Avan as well.

As Maam and Popp return to Dai's side as he continues his fight against Crocodine, the boy is on his last legs as he takes a point-blank Heat Breath from the commander. Maam readies her capsule pistol but instead of shooting Crocodine, she aims it at Dai and fires. The boy is then enveloped in a familiar blue aura leaving us with more questions about Maam and her unique weapon before the episode ends.

Popp has certainly become Dragon Quest: The Adventure of Dai's most irritating character. When done right, cowardly characters can feel relatable and offer a stark perspective on situations compared to the protagonist, One Piece's Usopp is one perfect example.

However, Usopp is loyal to his friends and motivated to become a braver person. Popp fails both in these regards, as we saw him run and hide from both Hadlar and Crocodine, and still won't admit to wanting to help Dai defeat the Dark Lord, even after watching his master die. It's irritating, to say the least, but with Maam around, at least Dai has a more helpful companion.

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