Original Story: Fujino Omori
Illustrations By: Kiyotaka Haimura
Character Design: Suzuhito Yasuda
Translation: Andrew Gaippe
What They Say:
Is this justice … or revenge?
The fated day is here. Orario erupts into chaos when an Irregular rampages through the town and armed monsters crawl their way above ground. Terror has come to visit the Labyrinth City – but this couldn’t have happened at a better time for Loki Familia.
In their race to find the key to the man-made labyrinth of Knossos, this might be their best lead yet. Braver steels himself for trouble. The Sword Princess broods. And amid all hell breaking loose, a fallen hero becomes a lowly fool. In a battle between people and monsters, these adventurers may all end up grappling with more than they bargained for…
Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Finn was contemplating what to do next as his goddess Loki was silently cursing she had the solution, and yet neither could do anything without declaring outright war with one of the most powerful families within Labyrinth City – Freya Familia. They knew in order to enter the man made maze called Knossos and wipe out the remnants of the Evils, they required one of the mysterious orb keys which they saw being cared by the leaders, but as of yet no one has captured this item. However that silver haired seductress who wiped out Ishtar Familia is said to have one, and still the Trickster could not prove it, even if she had her suspicions and Goddess of Love all but admitted to the theoretical suppositions. But before either could take another step into what would follow up this mental impasse, a knock came to the door and a breathless Raul entered to address his captain and goddess, not with the solution they required but something far more distressing – there was a disturbance in the western section of the city.
As this new information began to trickle down within the family, it was Bete, Aiz and the twins who had the most meaningful of discussions, if that could be said as much when the werewolf and Amazons were involved. While Tione told the group lower ranked adventurers declared it was a humanoid creature like a harpy or siren which had shown up in the city, it was doubtful this sighting had any connection with Monsterphilia. But even in the confusion its true identity could not be straightened out, with the Sword Princess still uncertain if those who saw the monster might have mistaken it for something like a kobold which snuck out of the Dungeon or one which was smuggled for other purposes, which was strictly prohibited by the Guild. Yet even with all of this supposition, there was no denying the creature had caused a panic and Finn wished the family to spread out and collect information, and if they did run across it: capture it alive if at all possible but if in their opinion the being might cause harm to normal citizens, then put it down.
Now that Loki Familia had firmly connected the Dungeon with the man made labyrinth of Knossos, Finn had ordered his family to continue extermination what violas they could find, but today Aiz wanted to find more information and so headed to the Under Resort before she continued downward. Orario was still tense since the reports of monsters appearing within the city, and to normal people these creatures were manifestations of fear and death, so it was the adventurers’ job to quell this unease before it could spread. With these memories still fresh on her mind, she made her way to Babel to descend, but her trip was cut short after see the familiar sight of a boy with white hair. Although it had been some time since they had seen each other, Bell was still shy when she approached but did not hesitate to ask if they could talk in private. After finding an isolated alley, he posed a curious question: if monsters had a reason to live and could feel the same emotions as people … what would she do? While this query was curious, prior thoughts of citizens being harmed were still fresh and the Sword Princess did not hesitate with her answer – if people cried because of a monster, she would kill it.
The Little Rookie was shocked to hear those words, his face displayed but a single emotion, one of despair. Aiz’s dedication was clear and while she stood unshaken, Bell could only stand quaking with uncertainty even as his idol was steadfast in what she believed to be the only answer to his question. Words failed to break his lips, hesitation delayed any response he could give and when he did attempt to say something, it was interrupted by the harsh sound of a distant chime clanging with noise echoing though the clear air. The noon bell had already sounded and this cacophony came from the direction of Guild headquarters, with anyone familiar of this tone knowing it was an ominous harbinger to what they all dreaded – an emergency announcement would soon follow. After some time the Pantheon’s will was known: monsters equipped with weapons and armor are on the move after having destroyed Rivira on the eighteen floor, all familias are to proceed to the Dungeon to carry out extermination orders and clear anything that stands in their way. However it was not long until those orders were countermanded to having all adventurers return home and remain on stand by … with all being forbidden to entering Babel Tower without permission from the Guild.
The hotheads of Loki Familia, namely Bete and Tiona, could not readily take the recent announcement quietly, thinking they should go to the Dungeon to explore and find these Irregulars and their connection to the remnants of the Evils. This duo actually had the audacity to put the family’s next actions to a vote, demanding their fellow members chose what they should do next, all as Gareth, Riveria and Finn shook their collective heads at the futility of youth. However even as Braver exhaustively pointed out this was not right thing to do, his strategic mind could methodically outline what the Guild was planning, or more specifically the true one behind everything – Ouranos. He knew this mysterious god of the Dungeon had foreseen events even mere mortals such as himself could not fathom, and with Ganesha Familia now acting as suppression force to contain any future outbreaks from below and Freya Familia filling in the security gaps due to their absence, he knew there was nothing they could do without going to war with some group or another. And yet as his more livid members had stated, they couldn’t just stand around and wait for a pronouncement to forward their action. His plans for the time being would be to put up a false pretense of protecting the citizenry within Daedalus Street, all so they could gather more information about Knossos without arousing any suspicion and search that unobtainable key for the man made labyrinth.
But as the elites searched through the residential maze of endless streets, dead end alleys and collapsing buildings within Orario, only then did they hear the most inhuman of screams, with all surging in the appropriate direction with Finn arriving first. Without hesitation did he ready Fortia Spear, his prized golden weapon and lined up a shot to protect people against what appeared to be a dragon rampaging within the area, and without error pinned its left hand to a nearby wall. It was only then with his piercing eyes did Braver notice it was a half-human, half-dragon monstrosity, thrashing wildly as hidden citizens cheered for the arrival of adventurers to protect them, all as Bete, Tiona, Tione, Riveria, Gareth and Aiz approached the battle scene. It was a vouivre, one of the rarest draconian species and seemingly matching descriptions of the creature which had attacked above ground five days ago, but as they studied its details, it was then did they notice someone else had beat them to this encounter with his signature white hair. But as the rest questioned why Argonaut was here, the elder Amazonian twin noticed something much more troublesome, the crimson gem which is normally embedded upon its forehead, notably called a Vouivre Tear’s and worth a small fortune if it could be removed intact, was missing from this specimen and this explained its unadulterated rage for if the jewel was missing it would do anything to get it back. As he paused to examine this situation, the Little Rookie stared back uneasily at the prum, almost as if in warning.
It was then did the Sword Princess remember their odd conversation, one of him asking if she could ignore monsters that displayed human emotions and dreams, and this memory gave her pause to re-evaluate this current situation. But as the strongest family were primed to challenge this rampaging beast, the lone boy who held so much promise within the eyes of both mortals and gods did the unthinkable – he stood as a barrier between Loki Familia and the vouivre with his back to the beast, challenging his fellow adventurers to take another step forward. As his idol and her friends stood in stunned amazement as to why he would make such an unabashed effort to protect this threat, this hero stood firm with Hestia Knife drawn and would not back down. His verbal response was just as shocking: boldly stating this creature was his and only releasing his hold of the situation once the dragon pulled Fortia Spear free and fled, rapidly giving chase so as not let anyone claim his prize. Bell Cranel had turned into a greedy explorer who only sought the money which this monster would bring him … and in turn now sacrificed what little respect his past deeds had garnered him all for the valis which this hunt would gain.
While the adventures within this volume are enjoyable, the overall context of the story is lost if you have not read the Xenos story arc from the main series, and as such there is much missing within the narrative since writer Omori-sensei assumes the reader has a full understanding of the background for this stupendous battle of attrition. As such he has created a tale which appears to skip around within Daedalus Street to numerous events that seemingly have nothing to do with each other aside from a connections between: the sentient monsters called the Xenos, the meddling of Ouranos and the remnants of the Evils. And yet as the uninitiated stumble through the colorful highlights of this three book escapade, those who remember the questionable efforts of Bell must also try to fill in those blanks as to what leads up to the conflicts when Loki Familia becomes involved. Sadly since these gaps revolve around their obsession with obtaining a key to Knossos, if one does not comprehend how the battles interact, you feel as if the circumstances which lead to those important events are lacking in substance; in other words, it is as if you are skipping head in the narrative to where the detective announces who is the murderer, and yet you have no idea as to how he arrived to this stirring conclusion.
This unbalanced method of unfolding the story was successfully used before by Omori-sensei in the prior volume since he retold the events that lead to current moments that interlink the two books, however in this instance he has skipped the transitional descriptions and leapt forward to the important interactions between Bell, Aiz, the Xenos and the rest of Loki Familia. And while this works in rare instances, since this narrative requires an understanding of specific characters, their relation to these sentient monsters and how everything is associated with Knossos and Daedalus Street, there is always a feeling something is missing within the tale as a whole unless you comprehend the entire story arc, and even if you do take the time to chain them together, it might not give you a complete picture. It is for this reason the volume lacks the spontaneity of other Omori-sensei works, with the reader staggering around the pages almost as if they are literally in the dark until we reach the inevitable and fog clearing conclusion. This is an undeniable shame since the main purpose of the story was to create an understanding of how Loki Familia and Finn witness Cranel interacts with the Xenos, thus forging a new path for Braver all as he sheds his naïveté in favor of the spirited decisions of the Little Rookie. And what is even more alarming, unless you were paying attention, one cannot feel the full pain of Aiz as she feels the distance between herself and Bell expand with each battle as his own strength grows and emotional distress threatens to overwhelm this stern Sword Princess.
Content Grade: A-
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: A+
Text/Translation Grade: A-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: November 05, 2019