Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? III
by Rebecca Silverman,
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Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? III ?
In 1851, Sojourner Truth made a speech at the Women's Convention in Akron, OH. Most people know it as the “Ain't I A Woman” speech, although that version, dressed up in the linguistic stereotypes of the time, was published and possibly doctored long after the fact, in 1863. The transcript published in The Anti-Slavery Bugle in 1851 is likely much more accurate to Truth's actual words, and even if it lacks that phrase Truth is now known for, it conveys the same ideas – ideas given form in the late 1690s by Shylock in Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice. This week's episode of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? brings us back to those thoughts, no matter who says them or when, as the Xenos in general and Wiene in particular find themselves fighting for their right to exist. As Truth said, “You need not be afraid to give us our rights for fear we will take too much.”
She's speaking specifically of women's rights there, just as Shylock is specifically speaking of Jews' humanity, but the heart of the problem is the same. There's a fear of changing the status quo, a worry that somehow one small change will crack the world right open and destroy everything. It's that fear that is at least in part behind Loki Familia's refusal to listen to Bell and which AIS uses to deliberately stop his words from reaching her ears during their confrontation. Not only can AIS not understand why Bell would protect Wiene, she doesn't want to understand. That would mean upending her entire understanding of the way the world works, and even for someone as powerful and talented as AIS, that's too scary. It isn't until Wiene forcefully demonstrates that she's not going to hurt anyone that AIS is able to see what's been right in front of her the whole time – and if it takes a child ripping out her fingernails and tearing away part of her body to do it, that might be a pretty good sign that you're in the wrong.
That's what makes AIS' and Tiona's reactions to Wiene so interesting. Tiona will happily admit to anyone that she's “not smart,” but her ability to watch and process what she's actually seeing might mean just the opposite. She's been musing about what Bell's motives could be since the whole mess started, and we could see that she had doubts when she just flicked the al-miraj away a couple of episodes ago instead of killing her – it's not like a seasoned adventurer wouldn't know how much damage the bunny monsters could inflict, so her action indicated that she was aware that this whole debacle might be about more than what was immediately obvious. This week she keeps that awareness in the forefront of her mind as she tracks Wiene along Daedalus Street, proving that no matter what she says, she's much more aware of the details of the situation instead of just making assumptions based on the fact that monsters are outside the dungeon. She repeats “I don't know if you can understand me” to Wiene several times, but the fact that she keeps talking indicates that she does think the vouivre knows what she's saying, and that allows her to see the truth about Wiene's actions when part of a building collapses: to everyone else, Wiene “attacked” a child, but Tiona knows that what really happened was that the monster saved her.
The sixth Sword Oratoria novel certainly gives more insight into why Tiona is more able to trust that Bell hasn't had some sort of psychotic break, but even without that we can see her being a direct foil to AIS. When she confronts Bell, AIS is almost belligerent in her refusal to hear that Wiene isn't evil; it's not so much that she can't see that her arguments about “monsters kill people” holds no water in a series where Ikelos Familia was doing (or trying to do) the exact same thing and where Lyu's familia was wiped out not by monsters, but by adventurers. We'd call those people “monsters” if push came to shove, so why is it so hard to call someone "human" based on their actions even if they look a little, or even a lot, different? Going back to Shylock, “If you prick us, do we not bleed?”
It is Wiene's blood that rewrites the story for AIS, because the shock of a “monster” doing harm to herself to demonstrate that she is not a threat is more shocking to AIS than Bell's words, which she can more easily ignore. But it is Hermes' action in the final moments of the episode that may well reverberate across the story. People, like AIS, Tiona, or even Finn, can change their ways of thinking. People, like Haruhime and Wiene, can wear their emotions on their sleeves, standing firm in their convictions and being determined to say that they can and should have their rights.
They're usually thinking to only benefit themselves, and you won't know that until it's too late.
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? III is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and HIDIVE.
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