「剣姫と妖精」 (Kenki to Yousei)
“The Sword Princess and the Elf”
Animated by the same studio in JC Staff and featuring an overpowered female character from the mainline series as its heroine, I kid you not when I say Sword Oratoria is potentially the next Railgun. My expectations are relatively high, although tempered for the first few episodes. After all, Railgun took some sweet time before getting its engines revving.
Compared to Danmachi, Sword Oratoria seems like it will feature higher level action and focus on expanding upon the characters within the Loki Familia. Since they are already seem really powerful, there is also no need for the spinoff to cover repetitive grinding and training arcs, which is a bonus for me.
Ais is a character from DanMachi who would greatly benefit from having her own spinoff, as the original series left a lot of room for her character to be fleshed out. Hopefully, having the story focus on Ais and her familia will reward us with the Misaka Mikoto tier character development that made Railgun such a brilliant series to watch.
Before we get started, my episode impressions will focus on the Loki Familia as a whole, as well as the action scattered between events. Excluding Hestia’s cameo, we briefly dive straight into the action with a Formors horde encounter, only for it to be a bait and switch as we flash back to the main focus of the episode: The Elven Mage Lefiya.
At Level 3, she is hanging out with higher level members of the Loki Familia to gain combat experience and level up in a safe environment. However, her inability to properly back up her fellow clansman in a reliable manner causes her to feel glum. Although I can sympathise with the idea of anxiety affecting your everyday life, Lefiya’s pitiful struggling started nearing Ikari Shinji levels of frustrating. While I can understand that her character is important for demonstrating the awesomeness of Ais, I felt like JC Staff went too far in emphasising Lefiya’s incompetence to create a dynamic contrast with Ais’ heroic capabilities. It’s not like she doesn’t complete the fire spell in the Light Novel and helps with wiping out some of the corrosive giant caterpillars *grumble*. Having said that, the shield comes to Lefiya’s rescue and it worked out well in the end because Riveria’s powerful magic was probably my personal highlight of this episode. Watching her chanting the epic line ‘I am Alf’ in order to nuke corrosive giant caterpillars was awesome. Episode saved from frustration in my eyes by the skin of its teeth. Lefiya having such a patient and wise teacher who can only help her grow is so important.
The Amazoness twins are so fun and entertaining both in terms of their individual characters and their mutual interactions. I know Tiona’s flat is justice and she has the killer kawaii smile that makes Minotaurs wet themselves, but Tione’s wholesomeness comes close to rivalling some of my recent photoshopping hidden in posts. Seeing Tione fluctuate between angry, dere dere and berserk is a rollercoaster and a half in its own respect. Plus her fanservice metrics were over 9000.
Speaking of Tione’s crush Finn, my guess would be that Finn is vaguely aware of Tione’s feelings towards him, but chooses to ignore them to maintain the professionalism expected out of a Familia captain. Also, his chiding of Ais can be seen as his gruff way of looking out for her, as he seems incredibly mindful of her shortcomings.
I can’t say Ais stole the show whenever she appeared on the screen, but she definitely looked super cool when turning up with her sword in tow, especially when utilising her wind magic ‘Ariel’. You know shit is about to go down. Her decisiveness and grace in combat was definitely a sight to behold, and her pouting face alone would have been all the reason I needed to watch this episode. Not to mention, Bete’s snide reaction to Bell running away from Ais somewhat redeemed his grating personality in my eyes, since it subsequently elicited the pout from Ais. Credit must be given where it’s due.
In my opinion, for such a quiet and introverted character, it would certainly help expand Ais’ character if we could hear her internal monologue. Using it specifically on side characters like Lefiya rather than her was a truly wasteful thing to do.
The mystery of Uranus strikes me as something that might be very important later down the line, so I look forwards to seeing how his guild operations are incorporated into the story. Other than that, even with all the action and insights to the Loki Familia that we got, I can’t say that Sword Oratoria’s first episode was too exciting. However, a price has to be paid in pacing in order to establish that the story runs concurrently with the mainline Danmachi, evident in Bell’s cameo Minotaur encounter towards the end of the episode. With that out of the way, hopefully Sword Oratoria now has greater freedom to do as it wishes, and I am left enthusiastic by the raw potential it offers.
Even if you are not familiar with the original Danmachi, Sword Oratoria is something you can pick up if you like comedy, throwbacks to ancient mythology, and action. The fanservice could be hit and miss depending on your mileage, but if you are put off by Lefiya’s character, I highly suspect she won’t continue to be the focus of the show as it continues to progress.
The focus on Lefiya meant that quality time could not be spent elaborating on Ais’ character, although some of Ais’ personal issues are indeed alluded to. Not that I can empathise with those issues because they seem far removed from ordinary meaning, but it should be interesting nevertheless. I look forwards to seeing them explored in the near future, and hope that the spotlight can truly shine on Ais from now on
Stay tuned to follow at least three episodes worth of coverage for Sword Oratoria!
ED: 「day by day」by Kano