Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? On The Side: Sword Oratoria, Vol. 1

By Fujino Omori and Suzuhito Yasuda. Released in Japan as “Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatte Iru Darou ka? Gaiden – Sword Oratoria” by Softbank Creative. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Andrew Gaippe.

First of all, boy is that title unwieldy. It’s certainly an accurate translation of the Japanese, though ‘Side Story’ might be more accurate. It’s a way to let the reader know this is not part of the main series dealing with adventurer Bell Cranel and his goddess Hestia. Instead, this series will focus on Bell’s idol and inspiration, Aiz Wallenstein, and the adventures of her Familia under Loki. Aiz has been something of a cipher throughout the series, so it’s great to see her get more focus, even if she gets a bit less development than I expected.


Most of that is simply due to the function of her personality – Aiz is not stoic, as she’s seemed in some of the main series novels, but she is very emotionally repressed. We get a bit of her backstory here, though it’s seen in a dream, so is very vague, and she admits to herself that one reason she takes such an interest in Bell (this novel takes place at the same time as the events in Book 1 of the main series) is that he reminds her of the way she was as a little girl. We also get some good examples of how she fights alongside her team in a much lower level than Bell has ever been to, and to no one’s surprise, she is miles above everyone else – even her own badass partners.

The other girl on the cover is Lefiya, a Level 3 elf who fills the role of the newbie in this book. Admittedly, being Level 3, she’s miles above where Bell and his companions are in the main series. However, when you’re a Level 3 surrounded by Level 5s, you tend to feel useless, especially when you only do magic and are easily distracted. As you’d expect, she gets a few failures at the start of the book, and a big success right at the end – she has a bit of a rulebreaking power, and isn’t afraid to use it to save her friends. She’s also possibly gay, though as ever in Japanese media, the line between lesbian and just akogare is deliberately obfuscated – honestly, I suspect it’s the latter.

As I noted earlier, the book takes place at the same time as the first in the main series, and gives us some extra insights – Bete, the drunken lout who insulted Bell in the first volume, showed that he was VERY drunk when he did this, and feels horrible about it. He is a jerk, but not THAT much of a jerk. And Loki and Freya have some very interesting conversations which read better now that we’ve seen future volumes, and show off just how capricious these gods are. And just as Freya is sort of kind of the main antagonist in the series to date, the side story gets Dionysus, who I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing more machinations from in the future, as he sets a dangerous monster on the Loki team and almost kills everyone there.

This is not quite as good as the main series, as you can sort of hear the author working a bit too hard to connect the dots to fit this book in seamlessly with the main series. But it’s still a lot of fun, and Danmachi fans will absolutely enjoy it. I’m hoping we continue to learn more about Aiz and Loki Familia as we go along.

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