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Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatte Iru Darouka Gaiden Sword Oratoria – 03

「祭典と勇気」 (Saiten to Yuuki)
“Festivals and Courage”

When the Spring Schedule 2017 was announced, people expressed surprise that I wouldn’t be continuing my coverage of Sword Oratoria. This is where I will confess, I don’t think Sword Oratoria has lived up to its potential, taking the source material into consideration. Instead, much to my disappointment, JC Staff chose to stubbornly persist down the path of stagnation.

Episode Impressions

I have no problem with some focus being on Lefiya. Lefiya is not a bad person, far from it. She is incredibly kind and sweet. But she is also really uncompelling and JC Staff have done a terrible job of making us sympathise with her struggles. JC Staff messed up the balancing by making Lefiya pretty much the entire focus. Lefiya should be an auxiliary to Ais’ growth and development as a character, not the person to lead and carry the focus by herself. She is supposed to expand upon Ais just as Ais expands upon her, much like a symbiotic relationship.

Perhaps JC Staff were trying to emulate the types of struggles Bell had, where he went from loser to something special. But it really hasn’t worked here with Lefiya. Bell made progress every episode whereas Lefiya lack of progress and lack of charm has just ended up frustrating the viewers, making it difficult for us to like her despite the fact she has done no wrong.

Why are JC Staff overplaying her incompetence? Why aren’t they explaining that she had just graduated from the junior middle school equivalent of magic academy? Although Lefiya took undeniably huge steps towards the end of the episode by showing an active desire to change herself, I’m left asking if the venture was even worthwhile. Everything comes too little too late and it really takes away from her defining moment when she’s revealed to be the ‘Thousand Elf‘ that can copy other people’s magic. Seeing Lefiya coming into her own was admittedly rewarding, but I think it unfortunately fell short of its mark in terms of creating a really strong impact.

At least I think this episode showed being a mage is nowhere near as easy as people otherwise suggested. It’s not about being easily protected by your party while casually nuking spells. One stray hit and you’re pretty much out of the fight or done for. So hopefully that should clear up a few grievances people had from the first episode.

I guess it wasn’t all doom and gloom. Things I enjoyed included how the suspicious foreshadowing of Dionysus was done. Freya’s meeting with Loki was fairly interesting and the Amazon sisters were one of the redeeming factors in this episode as usual. While Bell’s cameo appearance was cool, I felt it was neutralised by the decision to cut out his fight with the Silverback. You win some, you lose some.

Concluding Thoughts

There are examples of shows that do a fantastic job of ‘show and tell’ this season. Tsuki ga Kirei is easily one of them, while Sword Oratoria easily is not. Whereas you can pretty much get a sense for what the characters in Tsuki ga Kirei might be thinking or feeling even from the likes of silence, Ais may very well be a blank slate with the lack of any implications alongside her stoic mannerisms. Considering JC Staff are having an easy time showing a load of Lefiya’s internal monologue, why not Ais? If there was an episode for JC Staff to finally start revealing her internal monologue, it was this one. And it never happened.

No doubt, Sword Oratoria will have amazing action coming up. I will continue to watch the series though, and potentially write an end of season review it it manages to recover. But I was never really one for style over substance. I care deeply about seeing good characters being built up from scratch, and if Sword Oratoria is refusing to give me the cookies I’m hoping for, then I have no incentive to stick around.

 

 

April 28, 2017 at 11:04 pm
22 comments »
  • April 29, 2017 at 12:27 amRedRocket

    I think JC Staff was trying to go for another Bell type story to repeat that success even though Sword Oratoria was a hit as a Ais kick ass story. Typical we can do it better drift from source, every so often it works more often it fails and I believe often it the Producer or higher level executive making changes trying to boost their image when they are not creative enough to do it.

    To me still enjoyable and they can save it so I will watch it but sad so far a hit in written form Sword Oratoria is being killed.

    • April 29, 2017 at 9:40 pmZaiden

      If I hadn’t read the first few translated volumes, would I have been able to enjoy Sword Oratoria more? I’m wondering if my prior knowledge and set level of expectations have shackled me.

  • April 29, 2017 at 1:11 amHalfDemonInuyasha

    Aside from what you mentioned, it also doesn’t help that Lefiya is supposed to be a Level 3 Adventurer which, as it was brought up in the first series and in early episodes here, is supposed to be a big deal since, IIRC, most Adventurers have difficulty JUST getting to Level 2, so making her out to be so “weak” and “helpless” so often doesn’t really make much sense whereas Bell was Level 1, IIRC, so it’s understandable that he would have such difficulties; even more so since he’s the only member of Hestia’s Familia and so had no one helping and supporting him (at first), so Lefiya being such a “crybaby weakling” feels like it’s spitting on Bell’s honest attempts to get stronger despite his hardships. It comes off much more forced with Lefiya in JC Staff’s attempt to make her out to be a moeblob type character that people would want to protect themselves in order to make it easier to force down their throats.

    And it’s quite disappointing that Ais has been little more than just a deus ex machina savior and support catalyst for Lefiya on top of being yuri bait with Lefiya’s fantasies. They may vocally say it’s “idolizing” her, but mere idolization would not include fantasizing about sharing indirect kisses with the subject of idolization (unless it was unhealthy obsession).

    In spite of my rant, like you, I don’t hate Lefiya; I just wish there was A LOT more Ais focus as we really didn’t get much at all. (And I’m pretty sure it’s what a majority of us were expecting, especially given how much focus is on Ais on various promotional scans and such with little to no Lefiya at all). We’re not learning anything new about her, we’re barely learning any of what she’s actually thinking regarding various situations, and she’s not getting the chance to develop herself. All of that is being given to Lefiya, and not in a good way.

    • April 29, 2017 at 1:28 amzztop

      They could be saving reveals on Ais for later episodes, especially stuff about her past.
      That said, I can’t speak on the behalf of the show’s direction unless I can find the info…

    • April 29, 2017 at 9:46 amSMinstrel

      To be fair to Lefiya, the monsters she faced are on a whole different level compared to what Bell faced. She is a level 3(4) taking on endgame monster meant for level 5-6, like Ais.

      The plant monster in this episode took a punch from Tiona, completely unharmed. Y’know, Tiona is LEVEL SIX, and can KICK a minotaur to death. Is it any surprise that Lefiya struggle hard and look weak?

      Even with support, the power disparity between Bell vs Minotaur is NOTHING compared to what Lefiya managed to kill this episode.

      • April 29, 2017 at 11:28 amHalfDemonInuyasha

        But you have to consider the context. As I said, Bell initially has no one as he’s literally the only member of Hestia’s Familia whereas Lefiya is at least surrounded by other strong Adventurers who she can count on for support when things get tough. There’s also the fact that Lefiya is financially secure due to the Loki Familia being so strong and able to complete high level expeditions together whereas Bell can barely scrape by to make ends meat; Hestia herself even having to indenture herself to Hephaestus in order get a much better weapon for Bell.

        JC Staff seems like they’re trying to somehow put her and Bell on equal footing when really, they’re worlds apart and, as I said, feels like it spits on Bell.

        Also, your argument about power difference loses effectiveness considering Lefiya was able to pull out such a huge and powerful magic spell that literally earned her a known nickname and was able to OHK that monster easily.

      • April 29, 2017 at 9:56 pmSMinstrel

        @HalfDemonInuyasha

        They’re about equal in term of outside help. Sure Bell is piss-poor and have to fight mostly alone, but he is:
        1) A rogue-type that’s good at working alone.
        2) Generally fighting monsters at his own level, unless the plot demand him to fight a “boss” like a minotaur.
        3) Has a one-of-a-kind skill that boost his stats to unbelievable level and level up like crazy as long as he is in love.
        4) Has all the luck on his side, by literally having a “luck” as his stat.
        5) Has friends and supports from beyond his own familia, including Ais and several other gods.

        Compare this to Lefiya, she is:
        1) A mage-type that pretty much require constant support.
        2) All the monster she faced, as of now, are plot-demanded monsters several order of magnitude above her level.
        3) Unlike Bell’s skills, Lefiya unique skills and magics do nothing to help her to survive or overcome challenge in any meaningful way. Her unique skill allows her to shoot more powerful magic than her meager level 3 might indicate, and her unique magic allows her to use all elven magic. She’d make a great mage, but a glass cannon is still a glass cannon.

  • April 29, 2017 at 1:21 amzztop

    I’m interested to see how the director/producers will justify the focus on Lefiya for this Ais-centred spinoff. If I can find any info, and if you do a final impressions post, Zaiden, I will put it up.

    http://randomc.net/image/Dungeon%20ni%20Deai%20o%20Motomeru%20no%20wa%20Machigatte%20Iru%20Darouka%20Gaiden%20Sword%20Oratoria/Dungeon%20ni%20Deai%20o%20Motomeru%20no%20wa%20Machigatte%20Iru%20Darouka%20Gaiden%20Sword%20Oratoria%20-%2003%20-%20Large%2019.jpg

    Nearly thought Loki turned into a man…

    • April 29, 2017 at 9:26 pmZaiden

      The director doesn’t seem to have directed much before and it sent shivers down my spine seeing that he will be directing UQ Holder too.

      That said, a final impressions post is hard to say. The key to producing these posts on a regular basis is motivation. And well, the Sword Oratoria anime adaptation has me suffering from a lack of any such thing.

  • April 29, 2017 at 2:07 amPurpleBomber

    The most irritating thing about all this is that Lefiya isn’t even a bad character. She’s a major character in both the LN and manga, shows up a lot, and even gets dedicated scenes from her viewpoint precisely to replicate a point of view in Sword Oratoria comparable to Bell’s in the main series. THAT SAID, JC Staff is going way overboard with these extra inserts, to the point that they’re actually cutting some rather meaningful thoughts and monologues from Ais’s point of view at expense. I can’t even fathom why they thought Ais wouldn’t be able to stand up as a solo main character to the anime audience, necessitating Lefiya as a co-main foil just to keep us engaged.

    I’ll keep watching too, and I’ll even be calling JC Staff’s bluff on how far they can keep going with these over-insertions of Lefiya because I know there are some later events that would make ABSOLUTELY no sense to have Lefiya be clinging to Ais.

    • April 29, 2017 at 9:32 pmZaiden

      Could not agree any more. Her portrayal here compared to the LN/manga leaves much to be desired.

      Ais wouldn’t be able to stand up as a solo main character to the anime audience

      Looking at JC Staff’s track record, there seems to be a stunning lack of series with a kuudere as the main heroine. But even with the lack of experience, avoiding tackling the issue head on altogether is not the correct approach either.

      Let’s see how long they continue with this charades. If they drop it next week, I think I might become incredibly annoyed –> ‘Let’s get Zaiden to not blog this show, before we pick up the pace!’

  • April 29, 2017 at 4:30 amrenasayers

    I am curious to know why seeing another Bell like character came as a surprise? The production company had always been motivated to mimic previous success this is how production always roll in business. When you inject a new story to the sequel you ultimately take a gamble with the title, especially one with so many expectations. Yes the original Danjon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darō ka was a well loved series and JC Staff must have been and probably still are raking in the cash from royalties. That being said if they want this current project not to fail after going live the production company had to reincorporate what worked originally.

    If look at it from American perspective, sequels have always been a hit or miss, and if you ask the American public a large amount of them will say sequels &^%$ and that the original was awesome. So if the production company wants to see a BIG ROI (Return on Investment) they need to mimic and not take chances with new stuff; or else it will become a major flop like Rokka no Yuusha…Great story personally speaking, LN is better but sales–not so good, no sequel.

  • April 29, 2017 at 4:37 amDude

    Dammit I expected a title of Sword Oratoria to focus on Ais.

    Damn disappointed.

    • April 29, 2017 at 9:37 pmZaiden

      If it’s focusing on Ais, does that mean this is more like Mage Oratoria?

      I think it technically focuses on Ais, but through Lefiya. But Lefiya puts so much of herself into that focus that we get more of her rather than the unadulterated Ais herself.

      • May 3, 2017 at 7:36 amRyuutobi

        Staff Oratoria?

  • April 29, 2017 at 10:31 amdelt

    someone know if you already translated the last 3 chapters of manga

    If you have summarized the story of chapter 3 of the anime, I already came to chapter 8 manga and that which has each chapter has between 45 and 55 pages

    The scenes that animated lost impact

    Zaiden Edit: HTML Link Formatting

  • April 30, 2017 at 11:02 amhjerry

    A storm is brewing? Seriously?

    I felt like they should’ve done the Gundam Seed Destiny meme there and just plastered the screen with:

    THIS IS FORESHADOWING

  • April 30, 2017 at 11:04 amhjerry

    It really is amazing how a story that supposed to be more about the battles and the gaming aspects of the universe, somehow ends up being far less interesting than the original.

    Yep, I’m done. My real pity here is that I fear how bad this is, will just about ensure that we never see a DanMachi season 2. Oh well.

  • May 1, 2017 at 12:09 amdxanato

    I was so looking forward to this show but with 3 episode in it truly testing my love for Bell, Aiz and Hestia for brief moment that they are in the show.

  • May 1, 2017 at 1:54 amJC Staff#buried alive

    What do you expect from JC Staff; they have fallen a long time ago from their pedestal to cringeworthy mediocreness.

  • May 3, 2017 at 12:41 pmdaikama

    Behind on shows and that’s only going to get worse for a while. :/ However, I did watch Ep. 03 and wanted to comment on it (even if no one reads this XD).

    – The Lefiya Problem

    And it IS a problem. Is she a bad “person”? No. As Zaiden notes she’s very nice, if somewhat cliche’. Maybe just me, but she does strike me as a fairly standard anime (or LN/manga) character. That itself is OK & can work well enough, but, but, she’s NOT one to carry a show as the main character and JC Staff’s execution isn’t helping matters. She DOES strike me as the main character in the anime rather than Aiz. Sorry, but I’m here for Aiz, not melodramatic, angsty self-doubting elf kouhai. SOME of that is fine, but IMO it’s overblown and my impression is that JC Staff amped that part up. Not good. I agree with Zaiden that one does get a sense of trying to make Lefiya Bell 2.0, and it doesn’t work. If I could only point out one issue with this adaptation, it would be TOO MUCH LEFIYA!

    – Silence is NOT Golden

    Zaiden also makes a VERY good point about how we get a lot of Lefiya’s internal monologue, but Aiz? Nope. OK, maybe you want to keep a LITTLE more mystery with Aiz’s character, but YEESH. It’s NOT all or nothing as this adaptation has been. Find some bloody middle ground if you can just go by the source. Yet, for some odd reason JC Staff doesn’t realize this issue. I’m not watching Tsuki ga Kirei, but I have watched enough anime to know when internal dialogue is handled well and when it is not. “Show & tell” can be very effective when done properly, more so than either “show” or “tell” alone.

    – Still in… probably

    I still like the DanMachi world enough that I’m still in for now. From an DanMachi standpoint, we are getting some extra story/things filled in though it’s bits & pieces rather than anything substantial so far. :/ Dionysus playing around is something new and wonder if that will continue. There are some elements I like, but also quite a few items not working.

    Maybe I’ll drop the show (I’ll be behind on enough shows as it is), maybe not. I do plan to read the Sword Oratoria LNs though. Not because the show got me interested in the series (already had interest in the series), but rather how much did JS Staff screw this up. So… if the anime is supposed to spur interest in the source, I guess mission accomplished? OTOH, I cannot imagine DVD/BD sales for this going well. This doesn’t seem like a particularly hard LN to adapt so have to place a lot of blame on JC Staff.

    - Other Random Thoughts:

    “While Bell’s cameo appearance was cool, I felt it was neutralized by the decision to cut out his fight with the Silverback.

    Completely disagree with Zaiden here. We already saw Bell vs. the Silverback. No need to do it again. Would just be needless repetition. IMO, JC Staff did make the right call.

    …she’s revealed to be the ‘Thousand Elf‘ that can copy other people’s magic.

    I’ve read (negative) comments about Bell being too hax/op. In some sense, yeah. Argonaut is certainly pretty damn powerful, and he does have the XP bonus skill. On the latter one though, I think that’s actually kind of required given how long it takes for people to normally level up. Maybe different if reading, but watching 13 episodes and he’s still level 1? Oh, but his skills increased from “I” to “D” Exciting? So yeah, it’s a powerful skill, but after reading some more of the DanMachi LN, even at level 3 Bell still gets his ass kicked a lot so it’s not like he’s just pawning all. There’s still some group effort balance, and even Argonaut has its limitations.

    I mention this because I started to realize more that some other characters have some pretty damn good skills as well. Not just the MC. Welf’s anti-magic skill (forgot name) is definitely powerful. It’s fast and you can take down a very powerful mage quickly. Also, it’s not just limited to mages, but monsters using magic-type abilities. That’s almost OP on top of the whole magic sword forging. Lilly’s transformation ability looks to be more powerful than one might expect. Not sure what Aiz the other top members of Loki’s family are like for skills (bet they are powerful as well), but Lefiya seems to have a pretty hax/OP skill to me. Yeah, she’s got the whole nervousness & self doubt issue, but solve that and can cast a shit-load of spells? Ain’t too shabby at all.

    -“It’s not about being easily protected by your party while casually nuking spells.”

    Isn’t it? I mean if your tanks and other front line fighters do their job, your squishy mage won’t get one-shotted. See Riveria in Ep. 01. Lefiya just didn’t get the spell off in time as she should have. Also, there’s “concurrent chanting” (or something like that). No question there’s a mental aspect and mages are not the most sturdy of adventurers, but can’t see someone like Riveria getting one-shotted. To me it’s some of both. Party tactics could/should have been better (in Ep. 01 at least) and Lefiya needs to step up her game.

    • May 3, 2017 at 4:22 pmZaiden

      Hey Daikama, I will probably watch the show till the end. Even if my enjoyment has taken a heavy hit, I can’t deny that I still begrudgingly enjoy watching Sword Oratoria. I also like the Danmachi world enough that I’m in for now. No Amazon twins and I might have considered dropping it though.

      Just a few points you made that I want to discuss.

      In retrospect, it was possibly the right decision to cut out Bell’s fight with the Silverback. But I was more or less annoyed at some of the unnecessary things that were included in this episode, to the point I think that cutting all of those things out and inserting Bell vs Silverback would have certainly been better. Was also getting flashbacks to how JC Staff hugely improved the Touma vs Accelerator fight.

      I think that Riveria would be oneshot if she got hit but she concurrently casts and jukes everything. My point was more that mages face the risk of dying if they get hit on the wayward chance, whereas frontliners can probably tank similar hits without as much risk to their lives. Lefiya does need to step up her game and I do believe that she will, but it can’t come soon enough and I can’t help but feel JC Staff might have dragged this on for a bit too long.