Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? On The Side: Sword Oratoria, Vol. 3

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.

The anime adaptation of this series has just ended as I type this, and from what I’ve gathered from various forums and Twitter feeds, was not a success among fans. In fact, that’s putting it mildly. Hate may not be too strong a word. This is a shame as I’m really enjoying the light novel, which continues to show off what Omori does best – writing combat scenes – while also giving development to Aiz and the rest of Loki’s crew. Yes, it also has Lefiya fretting about being useless, but that’s the sort of character she is. You knew she was going to end up doing something awesome by the end, which she did. There’s also a much stronger ongoing plot to this than to the main series, with the main antagonist of the previous book finally getting a name – Levis – and the creepy foetus thing they retrieved in the last book possibly setting itself up as the Big Bad.

The main DanMachi books have tended to show Aiz as an emotionally repressed, hard to read young woman. As such, it’s both a relief and a surprise to see how much of a complete loose cannon she is in these side stories. I feel that my old reviews where I noted Bell loved her but she didn’t quite feel the same are coming back to haunt me. She may not love Bell, but she’s clearly obsessed with him, falling into a purple funk when he keeps running away from her (even achieving Level 6 doesn’t snap her out of it all the way), and going off to the dungeon on her own because, well, that’s how she clears her head. Sadly, she meets up with Hermes Familia, who got hired/bribed/blackmailed into going to the 24th Floor to see what’s wrong with the dungeon there. The answer is that an evil conspiracy has taken it over, and they’ve got lots more of the giant plant monstrosities from last time, along with a group of religious terrorists to help out/be cannon fodder.

As I indicated above, the main reason to read these books is for the author’s fight scenes, which are a treat – and brutal. No named characters die in this one, but it’s a close thing, and there’s an awful lot of horrible wounds taken and crushing despair. (Actually, I’d have liked to see the deaths that do get mentioned – at the end, we’re told some of Hermes Familia were killed, but it’s not the ones we know, and it seems to be there as the author realizes that there needed to be SOME casualties.) Aiz is actually kept out of the main fight till the very end, which works well, and shows off Bete (still an asshole most of the time, honestly) and Lefiya (the Shinji Ikari of DanMachi) to great effect. There’s also a nice subplot of an elf in Dionysus’ Familia, Filvis, and her (undeserved) reputation as a jinx.

So I’m not quite sure what the anime got wrong, but the novel itself is a strong addition to the DanMachi series, and recommended for all fans of same.

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