Note: Review copy supplied by MVM Entertainment
Title: Is It Wrong to Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Sword Oratoria
Anime Studio: J.C. Staff
Publisher: MVM Entertainment
Genre: Fantasy / Action
Released: September 3rd 2018
Language: Japanese / English
Running Time: 300mins
Extras: Clean OP and ED, Japanese Promos
Contrary to what the adventures of Bell and the Goddess Hestia might imply, not everyone goes into the dungeon of Orario to pick up girls. The veterans of the Goddess Loki’s Familia have lots of reasons for risking life and limb facing the monsters and mayhem lurking within the deadly labyrinth’s multiple levels, but new member and mage Lefiya just wants to prove that she’s worthy to be on the same team as her hero, the famed sword princess Aiz Wallenstein. As for Aiz herself, she’s seeking something that no one else even suspects, and she may find it when trouble comes after her from the previously unreached 59th level! If you thought you knew the DanMachi universe, be prepared to think again as the adventure continues from an all-new point of view in SWORD ORATORIA: IS IT WRONG TO TRY TO PICK UP GIRLS IN A DUNGEON? ON THE SIDE!
Sometimes, whether for the right reasons or wrong, an anime series stands out. It does something that makes you think “wow”, and as a results gets held up as either a shining example of the medium, or a representation of all that is wrong with anime. Then, sometimes, you find a show that’s just there. Such is the case with Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Sword Oratoria.
This spin-off to DanMachi follows the Loki Familia, with a primary focus on the elven mage Lefiya Veridis and human adventurer Aiz Wallenstein. The two ladies have their goals – Aiz wanting to master her sword skills and Lefiya to become the most powerful mage in the land – but the whole thing is set against a bigger story that crosses over with the original series. This fact alone is enough to ensure some cameo appearances from the DanMachi leads Bell Cranel and Hestia. Even with this cross-over though, you don’t need to have watched the original series to pick up on what’s going on. I haven’t seen it, and I was fine. The story is set up in such a way that you learn enough about the world to avoid getting lost, and the main characters have enough attention put on them that they don’t get lost in the shuffle with the frankly huge cast.
The accessibility of the series from a universe standpoint is definitely a plus, and it’s aided a fair bit by the characters. Aiz is bad ass. There’s no better way to put it. She’s more than capable in a fight, and is also willing to help others train. At the same time though, she’s tied intrinsically into the backstory, allowing her some growth. Lefiya meanwhile is the sort of character that may grate on some, but she isn’t unlikable, and does benefit from some slow growth. Of the rest of the cast, hotheaded werewolf Bete Loga was a good addition to the proceedings, and allegedly cursed elf Filvis Challia had an interesting arc, though most of the rest fade in and out of the background unless needed to pad out a scene.
The general world building is very good, and should satisfy most fantasy fans, though this is certainly not going to be for everyone, thanks in a large way to the nature of the combat. You see, the action scenes come across well, but offer a mix of pure fantasy and pure violence. To clarify, you’ll get the expected swordplay and magical blasts, but you’ll also get characters graphically choking one another and hiding inside the flesh of their slaughtered foes. No, the show certainly isn’t afraid to show blood when appropriate. In much the same way, the art seems to be intent on offering a style mix with some character designs being standard modern Shonen in feel and others looking like they’d fit in in Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust.
Of course, there are also the usual array of elements that can broadly be quite divisive in anime. If you’re not a fan service fan, you may struggle with the sheer amount of breasts on show at various times. There’s also multiple appearances of the unfortunate non-consenting groping that’s supposed to be funny trope, especially early on. It should also be noted that, while the main story is decent, it does take the show meandering through the first half of the series before it really kicks in.
So, we have some of the usual suspects that reduce the final score, but we also have plenty of positive points. With that being the case, what is it that makes Sword Oratoria fail to be a high scoring series? Well, to put it simply, nothing really stands out. Everything, both good and bad, is executed well but not in a way that makes it rise above others that do the same. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it well enough for the most part, and it’s a relatively easy watch, but it’s just not something that goes out of its way to reach for the stars. As such, I give it a final score of 3.5 out of 5.
If Sword Oratoria sounds like it might be something you’d enjoy, then why not click on the affiliate links below? You can grab the DVD/Blu-Ray, the original light novel, the manga, the original series, or even some merch. Best of all (for me), I’ll get a small commission.