Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? On The Side: Sword Oratoria, Vol. 6

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 am frequently amused when I find that my own thinking as I read a book has mirrored the author’s. As I read this new Sword Oratoria volume, which focuses on Tione and Tiona, the twin Amazons from Loki Familia, I remember thinking that I didn’t really think much of them beyond “loves Finn” and “kind of an idiot”. And sure enough, in the afterword the author states that they had the same thought, and writing the book involved finding their character to an extent. Fortunately, it works out great: this is one of the strongest books in the Sword Oratoria series, with not only the usual excellent fights and seeing Loki be clever, but also some terrific backstory for the twins, whose live growing up was horrific and has left its mark on… both of them, though it’s not surprising that Tione thinks at first that it’s just her.

Here we meet a new goddess, Kali, as well as her followers, who the twins split off from years ago. As you may have guessed, Kali is bloodthirsty and desires endless war, so her children participate in a battle royale event from the moment they can walk, fighting each other to see who is strongest. (There is a chilling age reveal at one point that was handled fantastically.) Of course, it’s not just the new people – the series continues to also mirror what’s going on in the main one, and we’re nearing Book 7 on the timeline, so Ishtar Familia proves to be very active behind the scenes as well. This is unfortunate for Aiz, as the frog-faced battle warrior of the family, Phrynne, has a hate-on for Aiz for being… well, powerful and beautiful. And there’s another God involved as well, which surprised me, especially after reading the Lyu spinoff.

That said, Tione and Tiona are the stars here. We’ve seen Tione angry before, but here she spends almost the entire book in an incandescent, uncontrollable rage. I’ve never been a big fan of her goofy crush on Finn, but it works here because it’s actually weaponized, and also serves to remind Tione of what she’s gained since leaving the Amazons. As for Tiona, she absolutely knocked it out of the park for me, taking “smiling idiot” and showing how it can be one of the most powerful, heartwarming things ever – as well as showing that the idiot is not as true as it seemed. Tiona’s very clever here, in many respects.

This book lacks Bell Cranel for the most part, which works in its favor. As for Lefiya, well, she’s peril monkey here, sadly, but at least is shown to be more upset about her ongoing magic advancement and less about her crush on Aiz. The book is on the larger scale, so you’ll need to set aside from time for it, but if you like DanMachi, and particularly Loki Familia, you’ll love this.

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

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

Given that the DanMachi series has, of late, been getting pretty dark, and even Sword Oratoria is going to some dark places when it’s not busy showing Lefiya being jealous, the average reader would not have been surprised to see this new spinoff, focusing on Lyu Leon, to be a description of her tragic past and the horrible deaths of everyone she knew and loved. Fortunately, we don’t get that. While Lyu’s past certainly affects her throughout this book, and the second half delves into the immediate aftermath of her revenge, this is an altogether more lighthearted affair. A tale told in two parts, the first half deals with Lyu and Syr disguising themselves and entering a fabulous casino to try to rescue a young woman gambled away by her father. The second story, as I hinted, deals with how Lyu ended up working at the Benevolent Mistress, as well as giving some backstory for two of the other waitresses. It’s a breezy, fun read.

The first story was my favorite, because come on, CASINO CAPER! Lyu and Syr listen to some schmuck of a dad’s story about his gambling addiction and how he ended up losing his daughter. Because Lyu burns with a sense of righteousness despite herself, she decides to rescue the girl. Because Syr is Syr, she tags along as well. Actually, Syr gets the most awesome moments of the story. I suspect the author had heard about the fan rumors that Syr was secretly Freya in disguise, and while not quite true, Syr certainly has a strong connection to Freya, and seeing her destroy the denizens of the casino in poker is worth the price of the entire book. We also get to see Lyu’s attempt to adopt a cool billionaire disguise, and how quickly it falls by the wayside as soon as she sees something that invokes her fury.

As for the other story, because it’s dealing with the tragic backstories of not only Lyu, who is found by Syr near death after finishing up her revenge against those who slaughtered her Familia, but also two of the other waitresses, Runoa and Chloe, who turn out to have been teenage bounty hunters/assassins in their youth. Both are ready to call it quits, but there’s one last job that has to be done: killing Lyu on behalf of the mysterious group paying them. The moment that you see they’re going to try to do this at the pub late at night, you know you’re in for some fun fights, amazing property damage, and seeing Mia go off on everyone present. Mia, like Syr, is tied in to the Freya family (you get the feeling they started the pub with just the two of them), and the pub itself seems more like a “home for wayward girls” after this story.

For those wondering if this is a Bell-free book, nope, he shows up in the casino, and plays a small role in the chaos that follows. But for the most part this book does exactly what it set out to do: expand on Lyu’s character and have a really good time. I’d like to see more in the series focusing on other supporting characters some day.

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, Vol. 11

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

First off, let’s take a moment to make fun of me for my last review. Yes, I thought that the author was going to leave everything up in the air and unresolved and move on. Whoopsie. This book starts off where the last one ended, with Bell hated by most of the city, and then takes off at breakneck speed and doesn’t stop. If you read DanMachi for the epic battle scenes, you’re absolutely in luck, as these make up most of the entire last half of the book. And there’s a lot of “scenes we’d like to see” here as well, as we get Aiz fighting Lyu (Aiz wins), Aiz fighting Bell (Wiene wins), Welf and Mikoto vs. Tiona and Tione (Welf and Mikoto win, but by dirty tricks), Lili vs. Finn (Lili wins), and most importantly, Bell fighting Asterios, the minotaur creature who has haunted his memories and dreams ever since the very, very beginning of the series. Who wins? Well…

The thing the book emphasizes over and over again is that there is no easy out here. The monsters are not just magically going to convince people that some of them aren’t always killers, though Wiene makes a good shot at it. The book does not end with any agreements for them to live on the surface in peace and harmony, it ends with them back in the dungeon hiding from everyone. But, on the bright side, they’re all back in the dungeon rather than getting slowly killed off on the surface. As for the adventurers, I’m not sure whether this will deeply affect them going forward. Things are not helped by Hermes, who is a right bastard who’s trying to force Bell into a role and is absolutely shot down in a way that will make you cheer. I hope Hestia kicks him in the nads next time she sees him. Fortunately, Bell is adept enough to choose his own path and by the end of the book has greater resolve to grow stronger, and this time for more reasons than just “Aiz Wallenstein”.

This is once again a pretty serious book, though there are a few “every girl loves Bell” jokes, leading to the biggest laugh of the book, which is Aiz contemplating Bell’s true nature. (Speaking of Aiz, if Sword Oratoria ever gets to these scenes from her perspective, it’s going to be fantastic.) I mentioned Lili winning in a fight vs. Finn, but of course it’s in a fight of intellect – honestly, I have to agree with Finn, he and Lili would be an amazing match, and I would fear the Prum race if their’ kids turned out anything like they are. But she’s in love with Bell. As is Eina, who at least is able to admit it to herself now. To me, though, this book hinges on two scenes that will, I hope, take it to a new level going forward – Bell’s fight with Aiz, and Bell’s fight with Asterios. The former is all about empathy, but the latter is just straight up action and love of battle.

The book ends with Bell wanting to go back in the dungeon, and so I think we’ll be there most of the next book (yes, I said that before). Till then, you should absolutely read this. I think Books 9-11 have been the highlight of the entire series, and can’t be missed by fans.