Original Story: Fujino Omori
Illustrations By: Suzuhito Yasuda
Translation: Winifred Bird
What They Say:
The prophecy of despair continues…
When an unprecedented calamity on the twenty-seventh floor leaves Bell and Lyu stranded, Bell’s party needs to keep fighting without him. With their route to the surface lost and Hestia Familia’s captain missing in action, Lilly must take command to ensure they all make it home alive.
Ten floors below, Bell and Lyu are injured and alone, forced to struggle against the harshest challenge the Dungeon has to offer, which puts their very lives on the line. Bell has never been this deep down before nor completely unprepared, meaning Lyu’s knowledge and strength are essential to their survival. However, the forlorn elf finds herself standing on the border between life and death, bound by her past, remembering once again exactly how her devotion to justice died so many years ago…
Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Deep beneath Guild Headquarters within the Chamber of Prayers the eldest of gods Ouranos stirred from his survey of the Dungeon, knowing there had been a major disturbance, the likes of which he has not sensed since what happened five years ago. The Juggernaut, apostle of murder, has not been felt since when it last appeared before Astrea Familia and slaughtered the group, and now it has once again appeared within the Water Capital, but instead of staying in one place – it is descending deeper. This change in its behavior also triggered the premature spawning of the area’s Monster Rex, and yet this occurrence was not what made the immovable one voice his next command. The slight stress felt within the voice of his god disturbed even Fels, who was accompanying the Xenos to help clear the man made labyrinth Knossos and listened via oculus as his master ordered reinforcements to be sent to the area to aid their lone ally. Although he did not mention the white haired boy by name, both knew there was only one human who would cause so much unspoken panic within the god, and though they both knew help may not arrive in time, Ouranos hoped they may still be others who may also intervene in this crisis.
At the Benevolent Mistress a sharp crack was heard as Syr gasped in pain, her slender fingers dripping blood as she watched the favorite cup of Lyu drop to the floor and shatter to pieces. The other waitresses watched this usually happy girl run out the back door in tears, all gossiping among themselves as to the true reason of her distress, with Ahnya, Runoa and Chloe concluding it must be the elf’s fault due to her disappearance. It was then when a twin tailed goddess’ voice echoed within the quiet hall asking if they were close to the sylvan girl and if they are as strong as her, only to answer their numerous questions by unfurling a letter she received from Lilly, describing Lyu’s involvement within disturbance of the Under Resort and how she requested help. As this conversation continued, at Hearthstone Manor a certain half dwarf Master Smith was helping herself to the forge of her former family member, creating a weapon of her own design without asking permission, only to have Welf’s hammer fracture as she was forging the blade. Thinking this might be her fault or questioning if her friend was taking care of his trusted tools, it was only then when the caretakers of the mansion interrupted her. Miach and his follower Nahza calmly walked into the workshop, and it was only then as Cyclops was about to make small talk did she notice a grim expressions on their faces, signaling this god may have something much more troubling to discuss than a small accident, especially when he asked Tsubaki is she could do him a favor.
An earth-shaking roar echoed within the Water Capital as members of the alliance stared in terrified awe, the source of this deafening quake was before them and yet they could not consider such a monster could exist within this area – the twin-headed dragon called Amphisbaena. While this floor boss normally spawned on the twenty-fourth level, due to the destruction of the three floors composing this watery location the Monster Rex was able to descend through the Great Falls and appear before Lilly and her companions out of its normal spawning cycle. Even as the beautiful Amazon screamed aloud its name, no one knew what to do in the presence of this monumental beast, instead panicking before the creature decided for them and its left head inhaled. A luminous blue glow began gathering behind a maw of fangs, causing all but to scatter except for one: Cassandra, the doomed prophetess who no one would believe was huddled in a lump of self imposed melancholy. Even as Daphne hurled herself toward her friend, this sobbing pile of humanity would not move, too obsessed in trying to unravel her own fantastical dreams to understand what was happening around her, even as the girl stared death in the face. Sheltering her companion and awaiting their fiery doom, it never came as a massive mountain of muscles and his equally large shield intercepted the murderous blast – Ouka had guarded them at the last minute. However as this man from the Far East was impressed by his own ingenuity, what he immediately noticed was the integrity of his metal wall slowly disappearing … the intensity of this heat was causing the bulwark to melt as if it were nothing more than candle wax.
The flare of destruction had done its job, and yet it was not over yet at glowing remnants still floated upon the plunge pool that the monster dominated – the fire was not being extinguished even within water. Aisha shouted aloud this flame could be doused by normal means, and even if recovery magic were cast upon a wound, the damage would still accumulate as its breath continued to consume anything it touched. Although she had fought this beast before during prior excursions with Ishtar Familia, those victories were with high-level battle parties of Berbera, but with the adventurers that Bors left behind to guard Gale Wind from escaping now running away, there was no way this small group could defeat such a formidable beast. The prum supporter knew retreat was their only their only venue, to which the Amazon agreed with a sarcastic reply, but this monster was not finished with its overwhelming attack. As if it was waiting for something, the Amphisbaena stared at the ceiling composed of the Colossal Labyrinth Tree and its surrounding crystals, allowing its mother the Dungeon to answer with an ominous shake as its child once again roared. Small shards began sprinkle down like the beginning of a pleasant snowfall, but as the tremors continued to increase, Aisha witnessed what she did not want to see … the trunk had lost its support with the loss of the lower floors, and now the massive root system was beginning to collapse.
With all eyes now glued above, Hestia Familia and friends could only peer in disbelief – the sky was falling around them and they could not escape in time, causing all to shelter as the enormous dome effectively sealed the battlefield, leaving them trapped with only one choice: they must fight this formidable foe. Welf, Aisha, Makoto, Ouka, Chigusa, Daphne, Haruhime and Cassandra were imprisoned with the horrifying Amphisbaena, and there was no one to lead within this great conflict. Their hero Bell Cranel was lost somewhere within the Dungeon with Lyu, so with no one to instruct them, how could they even hope to succeed against such an impossible beast? Even the Amazon commented to she wished the Little Rookie was here, but Aisha knew there was only one other would could possibly give rational directions even if she herself was not ready for such a great responsibility … their prum commander – Lilly.
Ever since we were first introduced to Lyu and witnessed her suffering of losing Astrea Familia from their graves in the Under Resort, readers have known there was something more visceral hidden behind that pain of this sullen elf. But as she interacted with others and more specifically Bell and Syr, the raw emotion which remained submerged was gradually being subdued by the tenderness which she was exposed to on a daily basis, but also the want to help others just as she did five long years ago, allowing Gale Wind to once again fight for people who wished for justice. However to think her past would rear its ugly head in the form of Jura from Rudra Familia was unimaginable, with writer Omori-sensei so brilliantly stirring up torrential memories within the last volume that we cannot but accept her mental break, thinking the sorrow she had tried to put behind has now materialized before her in such an abominable form.
To even consider her misery and hardships could take on as vicious a form as the Juggernaut, but then we are not allowed to learn the truth behind her trauma until now was deliciously painful, permitting the audience to imagine what could have taken place while waiting for the next novel made the revelation all the more ruthlessly heart-rending, thus crafting a moment when Lyu accepts forgiveness which is ethereally memorable and settling her scorn against the beast sincerely satisfying in the most primal of forms. However, Omori-sensei could not create a situation which would be solved within such a short amount of time, in his wisdom he allowed this volume to become an accumulation of all that has come before, condescending the friends Hestia Familia had made before this moment into a phenomenal unfolding of what loyal fans have wanted: visiting the past and allowing previous allies to help in this time of utter frustration and gripping hopelessness to resolve what they could not on their own.
In this manner we are able to have a story which is comfortably rewarding: witnessing characters which we have adored from their introductions, watched their sometimes agonizing development and accept them proudly as friends we would want for ourselves, all until they have a genuine moment which allows them to become what they were always meant to be … something more than what they thought was possible for themselves. These poignant events allows them to be expanded through Omori-sensei into people which will support Bell in much more effective ways, as both heartfelt companions and important members of the party, knowing they can be trusted to support each other when he is not there, just as in this tragic instance. You cannot but feel a sincere warmth as they realize themselves what has happened, and I will admit this book made me cry, smile, giggle to myself in appreciation as to the what has occurred to some of my favorite actors in light novels, all in the hope they will be allowed to expand their roles in the very near future.
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? has once again exceeded our expectations of what should presented within a light novel – presenting a story which allows us to believe anything is possible if you accept yourself for who you truly are and acknowledge the strength you see in others. The tale of Lyu’s past was extremely painful but to watch her understand her misgivings and acknowledge the truth of sacrifice made it all the more poignant, and while I would have liked to see Cassandra’s drama settled in a more resolute fashion with a definitive conclusion, all in all the trial and tribulations of these adventurers made one appreciate their struggles with sincere understanding. Plus with the outstanding cover by Yasuda-sensei which so wondrously condenses all of the events within one finite yet powerful space, one cannot but wait with bated breath to see what happens next to our valiant friends.
Content Grade: A+
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: A+
Text/Translation Grade: A-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: December 31st, 2019