Original Story: Fujino Omori
Character Design: Suzuhito Yasuda
Translation/Adaptation: Andrew Gaippe
What They Say:
During the frenzied festival, Bell and Hestia find themselves trapped in a tight spot thanks to a shadowy someone working behind the scenes. When the hijinks turn dangerous, will Bell manage to summon the strength to protect those her cares about? And who’s doing all of his scheming anyway?!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Monsterphilia has begun, but all of the fun is not confined within the coliseum when a certain mischievous goddess decides to release some creatures to test a certain newbie. Bell and Hestia are trying to find Syr from The Benevolent Mistress when they are confronted by a Silverback – a monster from the deep floors of the Dungeon; not even a high ranked adventurer can handle this beast solo, let alone someone who only has two weeks experience exploring. At his level, Bell is left with only one option: RUN. He cannot hope to defeat this monstrosity, and when he has to protect his saviour, it is all he can do to save her. With fear gripping his very soul as the roar echoes through the streets of Orario, this frightened rabbit has no choice but to flee with his goddess in tow, hoping that this horror will not be able to catch them. They must hope beyond hope that someone else will be able to protect them from the terror now in pursuit.
But, as they wander the alley ways and side streets of the city, Bell is reminded of the moment he heard that his grandfather was killed by a monster. He did not witness the event, but that time traumatised him from that point on, scarring his heart that he would never wish to loose anyone close to him ever again. He came to this city to forget that childhood and find a girl in which he could share his life, someone with which he could create a new family – and he found that new familia with the goddess Hestia. A new fire had been rekindled within Bell when he found her, and it shall never be extinguished. Even if he could not defeat it, he could lead the creature away so that she find a place to hide. However, against her protests, her hero has blocked the way and fled as the monster was in close pursuit. But as Bell tried to land blow upon blow, his best effort was in vain as his only weapon crumbled under the beast’s hide. All is lost as he prepares for what could be his last breath.
However, when he sees a chance to escape, Bell takes it to gain any other chance to protect his goddess, who against his better judgment, has come to risk her life to save his. Once they try anew to loose the Silverback and a moment to rest is won, Hestia presents her champion with the prize she created with Hephaistos – a new knife. This blade has been forged by the blacksmith goddess and is unique, never to be created again and none shall ever see the like: This weapon is alive and shall match its owner’s abilities – if he becomes the best, it will be the best, but if he falters in his growth, so shall this weapon. It is as close to a god-like tool as any mere mortal may possess, as long as he desires to grow, it will not fail him. With this, Bell must defeat their purser if they are to hope for any chance to survive; he is their only hope and their opportunity to live.
While the first volume of Dungeon introduced the characters, this issue helped to drive their aspirations to the forefront. It occurs during the end of episode two and continues onto the beginning of four, but defines the essential point which drives Bell – his yearning to regain the family he lost when a monster killed his grandfather. Although this element is shown in the anime, somehow to see it in print makes it all the more gripping to the reader; it felt like it was glanced over in the former, in favour of more action in way of the chase scenes. But, this element is the motivation behind Bell and in a smaller part also for Hestia – they both want to belong and protect their familia.
Even if this sequence was seen in the broadcast, it is Kunieda-sensei’s skillful artwork which makes the issue as a whole more thrilling since it feels as if you are actually being chased by that Silverback – and it makes it all the more terrifying as the face is exposed during the hunt, unlike in the anime. The stark black and white characters make them stand out more drastically before the barren alleys, the touching screentoned flashbacks of Bell silently trembling in fear or of Hestia screaming without any sound echoing on the panel, it all combines into a magnificent motion picture; these monotone pages represent the chase and the terror so succinctly that the final blow to the beast is all the more satisfying, as if you are feeling the plunge of the knife yourself. This would have not been the same if the manga was in full colour, the effect would have been lost and so would the emotions.
Lastly, the detraction which I had for the previous copy of Dungeon, the overuse/over translation of every special effect, this time works in favour for the material in this issue. Like any frenetic horror chase scene, a Hitchcockian filmmaker uses shadows, empty landscapes and lone characters to dramatise the situation, and in this case, the repetition of the footsteps, the thumping of a trembling heart and scrapping of chains builds up the tension more than any bare page without those elements could do – it drives the action home. But, even a good thing can be too much.
Although we may have already seen the simulcast of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, to be able to read one of the defining sequences of the series in this format, only exemplifies it even more. Feeling the frustration of not being able protect the person you regard the most important and be pacified by just running elevates the story into something which anyone can relate to, their worst fear. It is this reflection of our nightmares which makes this a great story … and the exquisite portrait of Kenki Aiz Wallenstein doesn’t hurt either!
Content Grade: A+
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: A+
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: August 18th, 2015