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Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side: Sword Oratoria Vol. #10 Manga Review

6 min read
The final stand falls disappointingly short in way of dramatic gravitas for a pivotal moment.

No matter how desperate the situation … even the indecisive can become heroes.

Creative Staff:
Illustrations By: Takashi Yagi
Original Story: Fujino Omori
Character Design: Haimura Kiyotaka & Yasuda Suzuhito
Translation: Andrew Gaippe

What They Say:
Loki Familia’s journey to the Dungeon’s depths is well under way, but the real trial is just beginning. An attack from dragons far below sends Lefiya plummeting toward the fifty-eighth floor, with half the expedition’s party after her. Now floors apart, those separated struggle to hold their ground against the Dragon’s Urn while Aiz and the others race to rejoin them.

The promise of answers awaiting on the fifty-ninth floor lures the expedition down deeper than ever before, but no one could have prepared for what lurks in the unknown … When all hope is lost and the finest have fallen, who among them will exceed their limits?!

Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
It seemed as if they had just entered the fifty-first floor a moment ago, but now Lefiya finds herself hurling down a seemingly bottomless pit carved through the Dungeon’s lower levels thanks to the seething rage originating from the Dragon’s Urn and its inhabitants the valgang dragons. These fearsome beasts may be seven floors below, but their fiery anger has managed to bore a hole upwards and results in the elven sorceress, Bete and the Amazonian twins now finding themselves falling towards almost certain doom. With her actions now frozen within ravaging fear, Viridis can do nothing even as a wyvern soars up from below threatening to blanket them within a barrage of all consuming flame, with only Tiona leaping in at the last second to block its attack. Watching her friend now swallowed within the overwhelming pyre, she suddenly breaths a great sigh of relief as the protection from Riveria’s hastily cast Veil Breath significantly nullifies any major damage, only resulting in an annoyed girl hastily brushing off the remaining flames. It is only Tione’s calm voice reassuring Lefiya they will protect her that rouses her back into action, just in time to watch as more of the reptilian attackers surge forward in an attempt to protect their home.

As the irate werewolf continues to bark out orders no one able to land a blow upon these persistent assailants due to their unnatural mobility, and it is Lefiya sees only one option to protect her friends and tells Tione to toss her toward the oncoming wyverns, even as the Amazon hesitates she follows through after seeing the determination burning within the elf’s resolute eyes. Wondrously running down the quickly advancing wall face, the astonished trio are further stunned as they watch their usually timid companion begin her spell thanks to the rare skill concurrent casting, allowing her to dodge and concentrate on her ritual at the same time. As the chant concludes and Viridis launches her explosive Arcs Ray, this powerful magic seemingly appears to have missed its target, but thanks to the pliability of the energy this magician is able to correct its course, allowing it to unerringly impact with devastating results. With smiles emerging from all the amazed watchers, her fellow familia members will not be left out of the fun, spurred on by her impressive results their zeal for battle is renewed and they dedicate themselves to surviving the deadly fall toward what will most certainly be a fight to remember.

In Summary:

As we approach the end of the epic battle upon the fifty-ninth floor, this riveting adaptation of Omori-sensei’s saga by mangaka Yagi-sensei’s immersive illustrations allows readers to completely submerge themselves within the thrill of the action, even if one has not seen the anime translation. However thanks to the faithfulness of this rendering, we are able to fully realize the immense tension and psychological uncertainly Loki Familia faces as they venture into the unknown, now tentatively exploring what even the strongest family lead by Zeus never saw, but also allowing Aiz to unveil the mystery Levis alluded to before in their prior encounter. And yet while the battle toward the goal was frenetic and its results exciting, what shines forth the best is how Lefiya is allowed to blossom from the shy elf who always thinks she is failing her friends due to her hesitation into a determined sorceress who is now worthy of her title of Thousand Elf, showing how she is able to handle herself on the battlefield even amid the chaos which once made her panic in embarrassment.

Although even with an admirable reenactment of this amazing narrative, if one is a loyal reader of Omori-sensei’s original light novel, the final conflict will stand out as being strangely altered when compared to the anime and source material. Thanks to Yagi-sensei’s fantastically detailed imagery, one cannot but be captivated by the alluring depiction of the corrupted spirit which Loki Familia must face in the final act, but if the audience is surprised by this portrayal as being nothing like the show’s faceless final reveal, if you read the light novel Omori-sensei describes her as looking like a goddess, so this version is right. However what is disheartening with this adaptation is how the battle with said monster has been shortened and rushed so as to close out the book with an explosive climax, instead of elaborating how supremely powerful this abomination truly is, easily deflecting all physical or magical attacks and regenerating so as to make the situation seem all but hopeless. This is where the anime had it right, displaying how every powerful attack was brushed off as if it was a minor irritation and allowing the Irregular to counterattack with overwhelming magic. This one-sided battle is essential within the story to show how hopelessly outmatched Loki Familia is when compared to this mocking monster, allowing their imminent defeat to provoke Finn to give his rousing speech to urge on his friends into a new approach to defeat this menace. And yet this pivotal build-up was disappointingly skipped so as to allow more visually exciting moments such as Deimne’s Hell Finegas attack and the magical display from Riveria and Lefiya to take center stage, all leading into how Aiz would finally meet one who insisted on calling her Aria and finally give her a pointed answer.

The expedition to the fifty-ninth floor within Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side: Sword Oratoria may have been a visually stunning display for the adaptation of the light novel, but for those who remember its description within the original light novel, the final stand falls disappointingly short in way of dramatic gravitas for a pivotal moment. Although one may deem this conclusion as outstanding in way of visual appeal, the full impact of every event building to the climax needs to remain intact so as to give Omori-sensei’s work the emotional resonance which is necessary for the narrative to have a satisfying resolution which makes his stories so deeply fulfilling. Hopefully, with the next story arc, this necessary ambiance will be restored and Yagi-sensei will be able to balance his beautiful illustrations with the meaningful words that he is attempting to portray.

Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: A+
Text/Translation Grade: A-

Age Rating: Older Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: January 21, 2020
MSRP: $13.00

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