Sword Oratoria: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side
Episode 10

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 10 of
Sword Oratoria: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side ?

This episode is more interesting if you've seen the original DanMachi version of it – when Bell fights his third minotaur and refuses to let Aiz bail him out. From a main series perspective, it's the moment when we really come to understand his Realis Phrase (or however they're spelling it in the novels now), when his admiration of Aiz's skill and power translates into his own need to overcome and prove his own strength. From Loki Familia's point of view, it's when Bete and the others realize that Aiz's fascination with the sole member of Hestia Familia isn't totally weird. Bell more than proves himself to his observers, marking a turn in his own story as well as the larger narrative of what's going on in Orario.

As you know, that has a lot to do with Freya Familia. Although Ottarl, Freya's chief minion, denies his goddess' involvement in this particular incident, we already saw other members of the familia attack Aiz specifically when she was walking with Hestia and Bell, intending to warn her away from Freya's target. Aiz doesn't have a lot of emotional intelligence, but she definitely knows that Freya is up to something, and now that that's been confirmed with Ottarl's presence and role in Bell's dungeon near-disaster, the question becomes what she'll do with that knowledge. Finn and Riveria are no fools either, so they're quickly putting the pieces together as well; hopefully we'll get a little more insight into how they and Loki use this information.

In terms of later main series events, this episode may also mark the first time Finn comes into contact with Lilly, which will factor into novel eight of DanMachi. It's certainly Lilly's first major appearance in this series, following the increased presence of Hestia and Bell and Welf's cameo last week. All of this serves as a reminder of how connected the two series are - Sword Oratoria is obviously filling in the gaps of DanMachi with additional information about Uranus and Freya's actions specifically - and perhaps Aiz's emotions to a point. Although she doesn't harbor any romantic feelings for anyone including Bell, this week she notices that he reminds her of her father, which is the first real hint of any kind of affection from her. Could he have unconsciously reminded her of her father from the start? It would certainly explain her instant fascination even before she knew the extent of his strength and determination, and it may mark her the first person who truly looked at Bell and saw a hero.

The action scenes are especially nice this week, and although the minotaur fight isn't quite as breathtaking as its first portrayal, it's still impressive. It also gives Bete another chance to prove that he's not the jackass he appears to be; when Aiz is respecting Bell's wish to fight alone, Bete tries to jump in to save the boy, honestly concerned for his safety. He even takes his familia's comments about how Bell is clearly more than Bete assumed him to be in stride – at the start of the series, he'd probably have snapped at whoever pointed out that he was wrong, but he's learned enough humility to just brush off the statements. In some ways, Bete feels like the character who has grown the most – he doesn't get the screentime of Lefiya or Aiz, but he has really changed from the initial tavern scene. Likewise, Lefiya seems to have matured a little after her heart-to-heart with Filvis last week. Sure, she's still furious with Bell and jealous of his apparent closeness with Aiz, but she also reigns that in more, deciding to focus on showing Aiz that she's better rather than pouting about it. (And wasn't it sweet that Filvis showed up to see her off?)

Despite all of these strengths, the episode still couldn't resist having Loki gripe about not being able to grope her female children and a random scene of “boob exercises” that look fully ridiculous. I could almost hear the line, “We must, we must, we must increase our bust” from Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. Presumably it was intended to be humorous and add some lightness into the otherwise serious episode. As you can guess, it didn't work for me when Judy Blume did it, and it doesn't work for me now. More entertaining is when Hestia makes a deliberate point of telling Aiz that she and Bell live together, which Aiz completely dismisses to think about something else.

Sword Oratoria is winding down in terms of episode count, so I'm not sure how much of the Floor 59 story we'll get. But things are definitely building to a major event, so let's hope that the end of the season can do it justice.

Rating: B+

Sword Oratoria: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side is currently streaming on Amazon's Anime Strike.

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