Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? On The Side: Sword Oratoria, Vol. 4

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 Liv Sommerlot.

I’d mentioned in my last review that the battles are what Omori writes best, and it’s still true. I’ll go even further: if you aren’t enjoying the battle sequences, there’s no real reason for you to read Sword Oratoria. That’s not to say the entire book is wall-to-wall fights – in fact, we don’t start the descent to the 59th floor till the 2nd half of the book. But I have to admit, the plot is being dripped to us in tiny amounts as the author struggles to fit this into the continuity of the main series. And, much as I like Lefiya a lot more than most DanMachi fans, it has to be said: as a jealous pseudo-lesbian, she’s rather irritating. As a female expy of Bell, she works far better, and her triumph in the dungeons towards the end is one of those “pump your fist” moments.

Yes, that’s Bell on the cover, and while he’s not in the book as much as I expected (the scene with the minotaur is kept to the bare minimum), we get a lot more context here for how Aiz feels about him. Whether those feelings are love or no, it’s pretty clear that Lefiya is not being paranoid in her jealousy – Aiz is becoming obsessed with Bell and how fast he’s growing as an adventurer. And he’s not the only one – the minotaur scene may be downplayed in the spinoff, but the impact is shown on all of Loki Familia as they descend to the 59th floor, each one using Bell as inspiration for their own growth. As I said above, when Lefiya is not chewing walls while staring at Aiz and Bell, she’s also excellent – Aiz’s hardcore “I don’t actually know how to teach” training may not help her much, but her friendship with Filvis (the Dionysus adventurer from the previous volume) proves to be far more impactful.

And then there are those fight scenes. This is Aiz’s spinoff, but in reality it’s proven to be more about Loki Familia in general, and the leaders of the family all get a chance to show off their amazing stuff here, with Gareth literally flinging a dragon like you would an Olympic hammer, Riveria’s magic providing seemingly over an hour of support allowing the rest of the family to rescue Lefiya (who has plummeted down six levels – don’t worry, it leads to better things), and Finn being the competent, sensible leader this team of hotheads needs – until the situations grows dire, when he takes off his limiters and proves to be more hotheaded than all the rest.

DanMachi is never going to be the sort of series that rewards deep analysis, and that goes doubly for its spinoff. This is fast food. But it’s very tasty fast food which leaves you satisfied and wanting to go back, which is all a franchise can really ask of its ongoing volumes. Highly recommended to DanMachi fans who can get over Lefiya’s behavior around Aiz.

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