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Sword Oratoria: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side
Episode 9

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 9 of
Sword Oratoria: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? On the Side ?
Community score: 3.6

It might not be entirely fair, but I've come to think of Lefiya as the moment-killer of this series. The main plot this week is that Aiz finally comes up with a way to talk to Bell without him running away screaming so they can begin training, but when Lefiya finds out, she becomes jealous and demands that Aiz train her as well, separately from that Human, of course. Lefiya's jealousy, while not unexpected given the direction the anime has chosen to take her character, is overplayed and makes the character seem immature rather than lovestruck. In fact, the whole situation smacks of a fifth grade fight over who gets to be the popular kid's bestest friend ever. It's also completely one-sided – Bell barely knows who Lefiya is - which doesn't do anyone any favors. It's holds up poorly in contrast with Hestia's more protective jealousy; she's insisted that she get to watch the training because Bell is hers, but she's not foolish enough to say that Bell can't have it. Given that Aiz's interest in the boy comes from his rapid growth rather than his personality, Aiz doesn't really get it. But since Hestia doesn't actually interfere in their rapport, as opposed to Lefiya, her concern takes on a background quality that doesn't disrupt the story.

What's interesting about seeing the training from Aiz's point of view is that we more fully understand why she makes the offer in the first place – she's determined to get even stronger, and Bell's quick progress through the dungeon makes her suspect that he's got some sort of secret method that she can divine and adopt herself. We also get a more solid idea of why this is so important to her – in this week's flashback to her childhood, it looks like she watched both of her parents die. That's certainly traumatic enough to make her focus everything on making sure that she never has to witness such a sight again, as well as making her repress her emotions so that she doesn't have to feel the same pain a second time. Strength itself is armor for Aiz – both for her body and her heart.

Presumably, Lefiya is meant to be her foil in that respect. All of Lefiya's emotions are on display at all times (the dinner scene this week is a good example), and she forms attachments deeply and quickly, as we see this week with Filvis, who takes over her training. Aiz can't even figure out why she finds Bell so fascinating until this week; Lefiya gives her heart fully the moment she feels a connection without asking questions. If her character had been toned down and not used purely for humor, it could have been a much more powerful setup.

Plot problems aside, this episode is a treat for fans of the original DanMachi series. Not only is Bell a much bigger part of it (giving us his voice actor's amazing weird noises), but we also get Hestia and a glimpse of Welf before he actually enters the story. Eina also makes an appearance when Aiz is looking for Bell at the Guild, so we're really just missing Lilly. The original cast's inclusion helps us more firmly place this in context with the main series, and it also provides a reminder that the two series are linked – neither Bell's nor Aiz's adventures happen in a vacuum, but in a town where people all follow their own connected stories. It also brings up some small details that we might not have noticed, such as Lefiya's apparent aversion to humans. The way she calls Bell "Human" sounds like an insult, as if she can't believe that Aiz would chose a Human over an Elf.

While this episode is enjoyable in parts, Lefiya's overblown jealousy doesn't do it any favors. More time focusing on how the rest of Loki Familia is preparing for the upcoming expedition or any research Loki is conducting would have been a better use of time, providing more details that we weren't privy to in the main story. Maybe we'll get to that next week, but first it's time for Bell and Aiz to defend themselves and Hestia, when they all get attacked on their way back from training. It should be an exciting way to open next week's episode.

Rating: C+

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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