First Impression – Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka Gaiden: Sword Oratoria

Haven’t we seen this before?

winter15-highw It’s kinda late for an FI, but there were some reasons besides pure sloth for that. This show is about a week behind everything else, and that’s one reason, but another is due to some maybe confusion about the show. What’s that, and how is the rest of this re-version of a show we’ve seen before? Let’s talk about it!

Which Main Character?

Bare feet are not good against acid monsters

Let’s start with the confusion that I mentioned. One reason that I waited until after episode 3 to do this FI is because the show is very non-committal about who the main character of the show is. The pre-season promotional information all talked about how Sword Oratorio is Ais Wallenstein’s story of the same period that we saw Bell Cranel go through before. And that indicated to me that Ais would be the main character. But starting out the show, she’s not. Lefiya Viridis is our main character, and ends up failing in a big invasion of the safe zone on Level 50 of the dungeon when she is unable to keep casting her spell in the face of the enemy bearing down on her. So the show’s going to be about Lefiya. Ok.

Lefiya loses her nerve

But then the B-part of the first episode almost completely ignores Lefiya and features Ais in her navigation of the internal relationships of the Loki Familia. So is Ais back to the main character? Not so fast. The second episode goes back almost entirely to Lefiya, as the focus character in the group of girls of Ais, Lefiya, and twins Tiona and Tione, as the three of them try to cheer up Ais. So I was waiting to see if episode 3 continued with that group, or switched it up again. And it seems to have stabilized, especially on Lefiya, Tiona, and Tione, because Ais is a bit too powerful to be able to stick with just them. But I’m guessing that the show is going to go back to looking at Ais at least for some points.

Saved by some weird armor

So Lefiya…

Tione, Tiona, and Lefiya (you’ll never get Tiona and Tione straight)

So if Lefiya is at least the co-lead character of the show, maybe we should spend some time on who she is. And the first impression is “scaredy-cat”, at least when it comes to facing down monsters. And to be honest, if it was a normal person, then you’d say “yeah, what normal person isn’t a scaredy-cat when monsters are coming at them?” That’s totally true. Unfortunately, Lefiya’s job is as an adventurer, so facing down monsters is kinda part of the job description. If you can’t handle that pressure there, then you’re not going to be able to hold up your end of the deal. By halfway through the first episode, we’ve already heard about her failing once and seen her failing at this again, even after Riveria puts her word on the line to support Lefiya.

Lefiya gets her magic on

But the third episode is finally where Lefiya starts to decide to turn it around, casting the decisive spell in a battle with a particularly dangerous plant monster (at the same time as Bell was being chased around, which wasn’t shown). She realizes that she should just work on catching up to Ais, not catching her eye. Partly this is because Ais won’t just look at her and her yuri crush, especially if it’s just out of pity or to protect her like Ais does with everyone. So she finally puts the whole thing together and gives the rest of them a chance to do her full introduction, as someone who can apparently copy the spells of a thousand other people. That seems like a bit of poor writing to me, making Lefiya be too much of a get-out-of-writer-jail-free card, but whatever. We’ll see if it gets played subtly or blatantly later.

Loki’s doing the hard job, watching the kids

Great, another smiley bad guy

Overall, the series concept seems to be a bit more free than the promo material made it out to be, at least so far. There’s been very little intersection with the previous story, and honestly there shouldn’t be if it’s the same timeline, at least not yet. We’ll see how much more of this story is spent on the training sessions with Ais and Bell later, but as the series goes on, it seems to be less and less about BellxAis and more about just the Loki Familia subgroup mentioned above. They even have their own villain among the gods, with Dionysus being a bit of a jerk so far, separate from the antics of Freya, who was working to drive a wedge between Hestia and Bell. Another jerk in the series is Bete, the loudmouth guy in the Loki Familia. I think he’s already had plenty of screen time for the entire series, because a very little of him goes way farther than anyone would want. But he’s not been omnipresent too much, so that’s helped. But in summation, I think that the best way to think of this story is just “some characters that you knew something about, in a time frame you know something about, but not a lot of sameness.” I think the less you look ahead for the common points between the shows, instead just taking them as they come, the more you can appreciate this show.


Proving that you don't have to be young to love anime, I enjoy all genres and styles of shows. If it's not hurting anyone else, you should never be ashamed of what you like!
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9 Responses to “First Impression – Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka Gaiden: Sword Oratoria”

  1. zztop says:

    The show is very non-committal about who the main

    Ais is supposed to be Oratoria’s main character. Part of Oratoria’s appeal is that it gives insight into her thoughts and opinions via her inner monologues (she’s not very expressive); the other is the expansion of Danmachi’s universe (what big league Familias do, what other gods are doing etc.).
    Sometimes Oratoria crosses over with Danmachi to give alternate views to its events, the author writes both at the same time.

    The anime’s issue is that it’s NOT revealing Ais’s inner thoughts per the LNs and manga version. Instead it seems to be trying to use Lefiya as a surrogate character to illustrate Ais’s personality.
    For example, when Bell runs away after Bete insults him, the novel (and manga) shows her inner self;
    Show ▼

    • Highway says:

      To be honest, if there’s one thing we didn’t need another show for, it was to find out what personality Ais has to other people. I don’t think there was anything ambiguous about that in the previous story, and it’s not exactly breaking new ground by having Lefiya be a total fangirl. So I kind of wonder what the show director is thinking by cutting out the parts that go into Ais’ head, since that would seem to be the entire point of this show.

      Now, one thing in addressing your spoiler (which I don’t really think is spoiler information, so I’m not going to bother with tags) is that if her thoughts really are “I just need to be strong, I don’t need any other people”, then maybe it’s not missing out on much, because honestly that’s bleh. I don’t know that anyone needs their time wasted by that tired old retread. If they’re blowing past that to get to more interesting things, that wouldn’t be a bad thing in my opinion.

  2. skylion says:

    Not sure I want to get on the same page as Lefiya. Like you point out, she became – or at least her powers became – that get out of plot corner card the third episode. But she has no real choices outside of doing that. Also, like you say, she confuses the idea who the main character is. While I can acknowledge that she and Ais have a shared lead, the rest of the story isn’t really pulling around that is it? Far to breezy.

    But, overall, not a horrible effort, despite being sophomoric in it’s approach.

    • Highway says:

      I don’t know if the real magnitude of Lefiya’s magic being poor concept really comes through in just this third episode. Fighting the first monster and being effective is fine, especially since she’s considered very powerful (and if she weren’t, she wouldn’t be an adventurer in the Loki Familia in the first place). I’m more concerned about later when Lefiya *just happens* to have a spell that is effective against whatever monster they come up against. It’s the kind of thing that sits in the viewer’s head, and kinda ruins the credibility of the remainder of the show, when they have to do something else to make the tension happen.

      You’re right that the story isn’t really pulling around Lefiya coherently, especially when it’s sold as a story about Ais. After 3 eps, it doesn’t feel like a shared lead, it feels like a minor detour that was almost a mistake that the show followed Ais in the second half of episode 1. And Lefiya’s story at the moment isn’t distinguishing itself at all from a generic “Notice me, Senpai!” story. If that’s what they are planning to do with it, it’ll be ok enough to watch, but it certainly won’t be anything remembered.

      • skylion says:

        I guess she’s the powerhouse ingenue role to the hilt?
        “We’ll find out how to use you and your crazy powerful magic as we move along”?

  3. HannoX says:

    So far this show has been rather *meh.* I was also under the impression that Ais was to be the main character, but so far it seems more like Lefiya is, unless we’re supposed to be seeing Ais through her eyes, much like we saw her through Bell’s eyes in DanMachi.

    But I really hope the show now shifts its focus more onto Ais and we see things from her point of view. So far in both shows she’s been pretty much the powerful, taciturn heroine everyone admires and that’s about it. I want to know more about her and what makes her tick. IIRC, in DanMachi she seemed to be on the dim side mentally. Of course, that might have just been ignorance rather than lack of brains if she spent all her time on honing her battle skills and ignoring pretty much everything else. But we’ll never know for sure if Oratoria doesn’t shift to her and her view of things and give us a view of her mental map.

  4. Rathje says:

    I don’t blame you for not knowing who the main character is.

    In my opinion, it doesn’t get any better – the manga has a real struggle keeping narrative focus.

    • Highway says:

      It’s not necessarily bad if there’s not one main character. The problem is that it needs to follow through. Either give us more than one character, and keep going with it, while keeping them all in play, or just go with one. Plenty of successful stories have multiple narratives. It’s more that this show is being told by someone who remembered another interesting part of his story and cut to that, and then cut to something else, and didn’t finish the first part.

      • Rathje says:

        Well, it ain’t no Baccanno.

        But I won’t say the manga source material doesn’t at least have the potential to provide an interesting anime – if they handle it well of course.

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