Sword Oratoria: Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side – Mid Season 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)
Mid Season (6 Episodes) Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Sword Oratoria’s shifting animation quality gives away the focus of the series. While the more down to earth, character, slice of life elements often feature unimpressive, even slightly off model animation, the combat sequences are eye-catching, with effects, sound design, and fluid movement that is near as high as DanMachi’s own best sequences.
Linny: The mix of slice of life and action doesn’t always have the smoothest transition from one to the other either, in fact, sometimes it almost feels like two different shows. That said, both tones work well on their own, the slice of life parts can be a bit generic but still occasionally fun while the action scenes are a visual delight.
Tom: I feel, however, the slice of life isn’t nearly as compelling as the larger narrative, which involves plenty of conspiracy, mystery and intrigue as mysterious foes work to bring the most terrifying monsters up from the depths of the dungeon. I feel this is where the series has its greatest pull, but these moments are locked behind a gangle of character centric episodes, giving the series a slow start.
Linny: For viewers who have watched DanMachi, it should be interesting to see how Oratoria replays and expands upon certain scenes and events from its parent show. In fact, some of the scenes add so much that it makes Oratoria a must watch companion piece. Also, fair warning for anyone uncomfortable with fan service, the series starts off with a fair ton of boob groping but it pretty much disappears by the third episode.
Tom: I completely agree that one of the most fun elements is getting to see where Sword Oratoria and DanMachi both match up. Any time we reach a scene where Ais meets with Bell again, or Bell runs across the background, you’re immediately reminded of DanMachi’s proper events and understanding how the two series connect, when and why Ais ended up meeting Bell again. It’s a fun little feature and also is a great way to engage fans of DanMachi.
Linny: Sword Oratoria starts off playing Lefiya Viridis, a new fledging member to Ais’ team, as the central character, often putting her in the limelight or letting the viewers catch a glimpse of her inner thoughts. She feels rather cliche personality wise. She’s the timid girl who lacks the confidence to be a capable fighter but has the innate potential and desire to be one. She is a complete fangirl of Ais, and seems to have this fetish about feeding her food. She keeps slipping up during combat at the start, then being all upset about having failed everyone, which could potentially make viewers tire of her if they’ve seen this cliche in too many shows already.
Tom: Once the series shifts focus to Ais, which doesn’t really happen until after episode three, we’re offered up a character arc that shows our seemingly infallible lead struggling against her own internal issues. It works to add depth to Ais, but hardly elevates her into a truly interesting lead, a similar problem DanMachi had as Bell was never as compelling a protagonist as he could be. Perhaps saving the series in the same way Hestia did for DanMachi, Sword Oratoria’s side characters offer up enough fun, bubbly and silly personality to keep Sword Oratoria from feeling bland.
Linny: Ais starts off feeling much like the powerful but stoic fighter that we saw in DanMachi. Of course, we do then get a character arc for her that helps viewers see beyond her stoic exterior. The disappointing news for those liking her as the stoic and powerful warrior is that some of the reveals about her seem to turn her into yet another shy and awkward girl, especially in relation to her interactions with Bell.
Tom: Sword Oratoria isn’t quite on par with DanMachi. There’s no character that matches the fun, bubbly appeal of Hestia, and Ais isn’t quite as compelling a lead as Bell, even if Bell was never the pinnacle of compelling leads. That said what’s here can be plenty enjoyable when focusing on its grander, mystery and conspiracy laden plot line. I’ll also be interested to see, as Ais gradually becomes a larger part of DanMachi’s story, how Sword Oratoria will portray those upcoming events.
Linny: If you enjoyed DanMachi but weren’t crazy about it, Sword Oratoria might help you enjoy and appreciate DanMachi more through its relevant scenes. However, on its own, the characters of Sword Oratoria combined still do not quite match up to the charm of Hestia and Bell. Given that the show also has a tendency to inject its weaker slice of life segments often into the story, it might drive away anyone who isn’t fond of its cast and thus finds their daily lives equally off putting. At the end of the day Sword Oratoria is proving to be a fun spin off and companion show to DanMachi but it has yet to prove itself as a strong solo story.
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.