Original Story: Fujino Omori
Illustrations By: Kiyotaka Haimura
Character Design: Suzuhito Yasuda
Translation: Andrew Gaippe
What They Say:
The beginning of a new Oratoria …
The clock ticks dangerously close to the beginning of the final battle. No matter who wins, who loses, who lives, who dies, there will be no glory or riches for the taking. Those who fall shall not be remembered in the annals of history, joining the long funeral procession snaking around the heavens.
Even so, the adventurers plan to stand strong against the greatest evil the world has ever seen in a thousand years. Having come to terms with their fate, they prepare for the ultimate struggle – for pride, for solidarity, for justice, for restoring peace on the mortal realm …
Content (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
It has been five days since Loki Familia were forced to leave behind the man-made dungeon of Knossos in disgrace, when they unceremoniously ran for their lives and were left with no other choice but to abandon Dionysus Familia within that sickening abomination of living flesh, and where in that place Lefiya saw her friend Filvis mercilessly murdered before her eyes. While most of the members are suffering in silence as to their unusual show of cowardice, affirming to themselves they will return with a vengeance, it is Thousand Elf who was torn apart that day, her heart crushed as she saw Challia rendered into nothing more than a crumpled body before she was devoured, with nothing she could do to help a fellow elf. However even as others try to push those memories aside in order to continue, Viridis has been reduced to a shivering form who cannot stop crying for her loss, huddled within her shared room with Elfie who is screaming herself hoarse at her roommate to seek revenge, all in an attempt to shake her fellow faerie from this depressing state of endless grief. And yet none of her words break through this self imposed isolation of denial and disbelief, even as Aiz tries to comfort this mage by gripping the elf’s hand, she shows no reaction, even from someone she sees as a close friend.
Even as the members of Loki Familia attempted to deal with their own embarrassment and grief, the leaders of the family – Finn, Riveria and Gareth assembled within Braver’s office to discuss their next move against Knossos and the newly revealed god who was the mastermind behind everything: Enyo. While the elf and dwarf recited a breakdown of how sickening walls of green flesh had taken over everything within the manufactured labyrinth, and Ganesha Familia with a few select adventurers were trying to clear out the mess with little success, Deimne brought out the only clue they had as to the plans of their enemy, a parchment which Lefiya had drawn from memory, taken from a mural she and Filvis saw during their encounter with Thanatos. Upon it was drawn a menacing black dragon surrounded by six maidens, one of the oldest calamities which was released by the Dungeon during the Ancient Times, something even older than the Three Great Quests, a beast only known as Nidhogg. There is little information known about this monster, with the world engulfed in despair due to the destruction it had caused, and the description outlining the method to destroy it being little more than a child’s chant that hid the truth within song. And sadly, with the crushing state which Thousand Elf is currently in at the moment, there is little chance they can glean any more information from her, or any time soon.
However as their patron goddess Loki, the Guild, Ganesha Familia and other interested parties were working behind the scenes, members of Loki Familia attempted to unearth more facts behind the new enemy which now supposedly inhabited Knossos – Nidhogg. Within the impressive and aptly named Great Library of the Gnomes, the ire of visitors was drawn as the Amazon twins attracted undue attention as the sisters screamed in frustration, with neither able to find any more material about the mythical beast. Finn had assigned everyone jobs in preparation for a new assault upon the man-made dungeon, and it unfortunately fell upon Aiz and her team to search other places after exhausting Twilight Manor’s own resources, with this location the next likely place to find more stories about the creature, with their reputation as to having the most books in all of Orario. And yet after several hours and numerous headaches in relentlessly pouring through the tomes, no one was able to find any information, even the younger Tiona who was obsessed with heroic tales had no luck, and she understood why – none of the sources had the same telling about the dragon, noting changes in the sources as not agreeing as to what Nidhogg was or how it was defeated. Due to this confusion, there was no defining thread to narrow down where to look, as so with no other choice, they decided to split up their forces and look elsewhere, with some volunteering to stay here to peruse through other books and Tiona, Tione and Aiz to return to the Guild on the off chance they may have overlooked something.
But as the trio head toward the Pantheon, all Aiz could think of was the relentless suffering which their friend Lefiya was undergoing, with no one able to comfort her in any way due to all words falling upon deaf ears. It was only then did she hear a female prum voice chiding an unseen person, and then she saw a familiar shock of white hair bobbing within the crowd. As Tiona cheerfully greeted Argonaut, it was only then did all notice the odd collection of silvery white pieces of metal embedded within his left arm, looking like a gauntlet which was missing its protective shielding, more than likely a result of Hestia Familia’s first expedition into the Dungeon. The new level four Little Rookie, or rather now addressed by his new title of Rabbit Foot appeared to be moving forward within his progress to get stronger, just as he promised himself and told his idol Aiz. But as they looked at each other awkwardly, the younger Amazon did not hesitate to ask Bell about what was supposed to be a confidential matter within their limited circle, showing him the parchment of Nidhogg and questioning if he knew anything about the creature, with him also being an admirer of children’s fairy tales. While Tione did not think this query would be useless, all were surprised when Cranel immediately recognized the image, fondly recalling the stories his Grandpa told him when he was younger, confidently stating the picture shown depicted the spirits’ six-ring which they used to defeat the seemingly invulnerable beast.
With this newly gleaned information, Loki, the twins, Aiz, Anakity, Raul and leaders of the familia gathered within Finn’s office to discuss their confounding strategy, with a map of Knossos spread out upon the desk before them, allowing the depth of Enyo’s plan to truly settle in. Confirming the legend which Bell had told them, the group listened as the tale unfolded: instead of maidens sacrificing themselves to destroy Nidhogg, it was six great spirits who were summoned forth by an unknown deity, using their powers to create a massive barrier which sealed away the dragon, and yet this legend stirred an even darker premise for the evil god’s intentions. Riveria drew red circles upon the floor plan of the man-made dungeon, one in each of the cardinal and ordinal directions and when connected, they formed a complete circle centered upon the tenth floor of the maze. This expanse would supposedly cover an area larger than Central Park, which enclosed the entrance to the Dungeon, but realization of the impact was made manifest as the werecat placed a corresponding map of Orario overlaying the previous one, allowing the group to truly visualize this scheme’s grandeur. It was only then when Tione spoke up and asked if the enemy’s intention was to weather their siege or bide the time to detonate a giant bomb within Knossos, with no one able to concoct an answer. The silent Loki broke the stalemate and announced her findings from her discussion with Ouranos, with the elder god confirming if the created demi-spirits’ essences were consumed within a spell, the results would be devastating, taking up pen and drawing simple runes within the sphere of Knossos, transforming it into a magical circle. The ritual they could perform was called Heavens’ Gate, conjuring forth a celestial pillar at each point with power that approaches that of the gods, and when combined and detonated, it would be enough to destroy all of Orario and the surrounding area, thus bringing forth what Enyo wanted: to allow monsters to be freed from the Dungeon and once again rule over the surface, bring back the chaos of Ancient Times and fulfilling what Olivas Act had told them in the pantry of the twenty-fourth floor – they will destroy the world.
Although the prior book was apocalyptic due to the destruction of Dionysus Familia and Lefiya being devastated when she saw her friend Filvis murdered before her eyes, those unforgettable crises were but a stepping stone for what writer Omori-sensei planned for this epic conclusion, resulting in a rousing and memorable closure to a story arc which is five years and twelve volumes in the making. One could never imagined the span of his exploration into the adventures of Loki Familia could have resulted in a conclusion that is this far reaching, enclosing preparations which he concocted so long ago into a significant and cohesive narrative which draws together disparate tales concerning our favorite familia members, essential characters which helped to flesh out back stories and painful memories, plus daunting foes who we thought might never be seen again, all coalescing into questionable vision of the future that most citizens of Orario will never know occurred behind the scenes of the Dungeon.
But at the same time, I will admit I was hesitant to begin reading this closing volume, knowing full well that it could mean the end of one of my favorite titles, and at the same time, nauseated to finally be shown what resulted in the sickening fallout of the madness of Enyo and tenacity of the beautiful creature known as Levis. All of this was made that much more painful to think we must still face the suffering of Lefiya, a broken elf who saw her companion massacred, all while knowing she could do nothing to stop the destruction of a friendship which was so delightful to watch unfold, and then ruthlessly crushed. It was with all of this in mind that I undertook the tentative consumption of this bittersweet feast laid out before us, valiantly attempting to hold back tears, choking up as I remember the events which lead up to crucial battles, cheering as fantastical displays of heroism unfolded and breathing a sigh of temporary relief as one haunting battle was paused, only to be replaced with any even more chilling moment of unadulterated but meaningful defeat for friend or foe. With all of these unpleasant uncertainties we are finally lead to the welcomed closure of a stunning storyline, one which created such fond memories and torrential nightmares that we will never forget them, and yet we must question why Omori-sensei chose to allow an outsider for a title which is supposed to be centered around Loki Familia and Aiz to seize the reward of the final battle, leaving us with an unpleasant aftertaste of dissatisfaction, all as while we wonder what awaits our promising, yet still vulnerable Thousand Elf.
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side: Sword Oratoria has crafted a fascinating and rewarding look into the life of Aiz and Loki Familia, all while exposing us to the darkness which shaped their memorable world, but also guided them to relationships which might never taken place, whether for better or worse. While we attempt to come to terms with the fallout of these tragedies, one cannot but hope our heroes will perservere with the battles which will hopefully make them stronger, but as with all human struggles which are a basis for life, sometimes only time will tell if recovery is possible or if one will fall into a deeper pit of despair. And yet as one door closes, another opens with repercussive effects that we might not see the full effects for another five years to come, all as we anticipate the excitement which the next book brings with bated breath.
Content Grade: A++
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: A+
Text/Translation Grade: A-
Age Rating: 13 & Up
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: July 21, 2020