Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? On The Side: Sword Oratoria, Vol. 9

By Fujino Omori and Kiyotaka Haimura. 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 Dale DeLucia.

I’ve talked before about how I regret that the publisher talked the author into using the title this series has, as opposed to the original title Familia Myth. Granted, I see the publisher’s point, Familia Myth is not the most eye-catching title in the world. But DanMachi’s title puts the emphasis on Bell and his harem, even in these side stories dedicated to Loki’s crew. Whereas Familia Myth emphasizes the family aspect of the series, and I honestly think that that’s handled better than the harem. This 9th volume of Sword Oratoria interlaces with the 8th volume of the main series, showing us some scenes we’d seen from Bell’s POV in a new light when we get Aiz’s inner monologue. Interspersed with this are flashbacks to the time when Aiz first joined Loki Familia, and… let’s just say that “she was a little terror” doesn’t even begin to describe little Aiz and her desire for strength above all else, including her own safety.

Given that the cover art heavily implied it, I was expecting this volume to be heavy on Aiz’s backstory and emotional journey, and I wasn’t wrong. We’re still not quite sure what happened to her parents or precisely who they were, but we definitely get her first year with Loki’s familia sketched in here. Aiz is driven by a desire to kill monsters and get stronger, and does not care about anything else. She’s a bratty kid, and a lot more emotional than you’d expect from the stoic Aiz we know and love. In fact, this also applies to the current Aiz, who is in the dragon-scale worshiping village that she, Bell and Hestia ended up in the 8th DanMachi. In my review of that book I said I wanted to find out someday why Aiz was so FURIOUS at this village worshiping the scale, and here we find out exactly why… and maybe also why she has such trouble with Bell’s “not all monsters are evil” fight, which I’m fairly certain will be the subject of the next Sword Oratoria book.

I was expecting Aiz to get development, but I was also delighted with what this book did for Riveria. The “team mom” of the Familia, she’s been that way for so long that it’s easy to forget she wasn’t always that way, and nothing brings out her more emotional and angry sides quite like a 7-year-old with a death wish who won’t listen to a word she says. Little Aiz does not understand what everyone else does, which is that the look in her eyes is not only worrying but terrifying, and Riveria does not want her to go into the dungeon and get massacred by a really strong monster (which almost happens right at the end). As we’ve cone to expect with DanMachi in general, the plot beats are very cliched – we literally get a “you’re not my mom!” scene here – but that doewsn’t make it less heartwarming.

Also this plus one or two hilarious scenes of “why we never give Aiz alcohol” make this one of the strongest books in the entire series. Highly recommended.

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