Sword Oratoria: Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side – Anime Review
Synopsis: Sword Princess Ais Wallenstein and the Loki Familia take to the dungeons below Orario once more. This time, there may be more lurking in the shadows than mere monsters. (Official Anime Strike Synopsis)
Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Ais Wallenstein was never DanMachi’s most interesting character. She was largely a goal for Bell to reach and for Sword Oratoria to focus on this rather wooden warrior seems like it’d make for a solid snooze fest. Surprisingly Sword Oratoria’s most engaging moments are when squarely focused on Ais and her quest for strength. She’s still a fairly flat character, her lack of more colorful traits leaving her to feel otherwise dry. But what’s been added here is an exploration of what makes her tick, her goals of becoming stronger, and her mysterious past. It’s enough to keep Ais interesting, although it rarely matches Bell’s appeal. It’s predominantly the side characters that keep things lively by adding a bit of fun to what could otherwise be a very dull series.
Linny: Those seeking loud mouthed, rambunctious and dynamic characters will have that need met by the supporting cast. It’s nice when side characters are memorable or remarkable through their designs and/or personality and in the case of Sword Oratoria, it helps to make up for the reserved/mediocre leads. However, devoted DanMachi fans will still be most pleased and impressed by the cameos from the original show, in particular Bell and Hestia who are as adorable as ever. In fact, they manage to inject not just comedy but heart into the story as well.
Tom: The one character dragging Sword Oratoria down is its secondary protagonist, Lefiya. Lefiya feels like a poor man’s Bell. She’s obsessed with Ais, much like Bell, only it’s not nearly as amusing and leaned on all too frequent. While she also wants to attain strength much the same as Bell or even Ais, Lefiya’s journey just feels like a retread of a retread, making her side of the story unappealing.
Linny: Lefiya is definitely a weak secondary protagonist. Her story feels like just a lazy rehash and her timid/Ais obsessed personality isn’t all that enamoring either, as they too feel like cliches in and of themselves. Whenever the show focuses on her, the episode ends up feeling so much more boring and less powerful than the action packed and mysterious elements.
Tom: Ais is already a bit of a retread over Bell’s arc, although it manages to feel ever so slightly different thanks to Bell being her impetus to improve. With Lefiya, Ais is again square at the center of her desires, and her progression much the same as Bell but without any of the epic battles or other developments. Thankfully Lefiya’s focus amounts to only a third of the series, leaving Ais and the more action packed elements to shine through and keep most episodes feeling, at least partially, gripping.
Linny: Sword Oratoria is definitely praise worthy in how it blends in the events of DanMachi. Both shows are occurring simultaneously and it makes for some amazing callbacks as fans get to view events through a different angle, giving it extra appeal . However, Sword Oratoria does a disappointing job playing out its own main storyline. Despite all the foreboding and build up of the great mysterious evil lurking and waiting to be solved, the show ends with a battle that doesn’t really solve anything. The whole time Ais is teased about finding out the truth/ discovering a dark conspiracy of some sort but they win a super serious and difficult battle and seem to completely forget about the original quest. It ultimately feels like a weak and temporary conclusion that’s hoping for a second season. While many shows have done similar things, it’s still extremely frustrating.
Tom: A big hamper on the series is indeed its non-ending. Sword Oratoria has a truncated finale, with a final battle that feels decidedly like a stop gap. There’s few satisfying answers and, unlike other Light Novel adaptations, doesn’t provide us with a sense of closure to off-set the lack of a proper conclusion. It’s telling that the stand out moments for the series are when it crosses over with DanMachi proper. The excitement to see Bell’s greatest moments from a different perspective are never matched by any of the original content. That says something and it’s not good.
Linny: Sword Oratoria is most likely best enjoyed by hardcore fans of Ais or the DanMachi universe, and those who like the idea of getting to explore the events of DanMachi through a new perspective. However, it really doesn’t feel like a strong stand alone tale nor a must watch for someone who isn’t already a fan of the series thanks to its lacklustre portagonists and a storyline that gets a disappointing wrap up.
Tom: Sword Oratoria isn’t bad, but it’s not great either. Purely from a side story/spin off perspective it’s likely to please the fans and offer a fun tale that runs in tandem with the series proper. But for those less enveloped in the world of DanMachi, Sword Oratoria feels much less like a must watch.
Sword Oratoria: Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side is available for streaming via Amazon’s Anime Strike Channel.