Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Familia Chronicle: Episode Freya

By Fujino Omori and NIRITSU. Released in Japan as “Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatte Iru Darou ka?: Familia Chronicle: Episode Freya” by GA Bunko. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Dale DeLucia.

For the most part, along the course of the main DanMachi series, the Freya family has tended to function as Not-Quite-Villains. Particularly Freya, who has her sights set on Bell and making him hers. They’re not out and out evil… trust me, we know who the evil Familias are in this series. Indeed, we get another one in this spinoff. But they’re meant to be aloof and unlikable, the ones at the top looking down on everyone else, and the ones who fight each other constantly just for their goddess’s favor. As such, Episode Freya, which has her leave Orario and go out into the desert looking for her “Odr”, which seems to be used in the same way that we might use “soulmate”, only the implication is that this would not be an equal relationship. While out there, she finds a slave who’s really a royal, and gets inveigled in a massive war. Which, if nothing else, keeps her from being bored.

As promised, we see a better side of Freya here. She’s not exactly a nice person… indeed, the author takes pains to show that she really is exactly who you think she is. But it becomes very apparent in this book why she commands the strongest fighters in Orario, and it’s not that she’s “charmed” them with her goddess powers at all. Indeed, we see her essentially seducing the young prince, Ali (who is really a princess pretending to be a man, because male succession only, etc.) over the course of the book, and at the end Ali is genuinely torn about whether to stay and rule her country or just head off with Freya. Freya, though, makes that decision – Ali was attractive to her precisely because of the liminal space of “I am trying to gain back my kingdom and my people” – an Ali who followed Freya would not be attractive to her. (She does get a night in bed with the goddess, though – though it’s all offscreen, this book has far more sex than the other books.)

The book starts off light – Freya freeing over a hundred slaves because their despair makes the town less sparking is very her, and the scenes with her being the boke to Ali’s tsukkomi were hilarious. Sadly, there’s also a lot of tragedy here as well – the body count is high, both good guys and bad, and the carnage of war is very much on display. There are also two other stories in the book – the first one gives us glimpses of Ottar’s past, and how he got to be the Level 7 powerhouse he is, as well as showing us Mia and Ahnya from the pub back when they were in the Freya familia. There’s also short backstories for the rest of the family, but the biggest one may be the last… and I suspect it spoils Vol. 15, which is out next month in English but came out first in Japan. Let’s just say the fans’ first theories may have been right after all.

Very well done, and you have a much better sense of who Freya is now, though I expect when we’re back in the main series she’ll go back to being an antagonist of sorts. Let’s hope we don’t have to wait another two and a half years for the next Episode.

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