LN Review: DanMachi – Sword Oratoria [Volume 1]

Aiz Wallenstein, one of the most powerful warriors in the city of Oratoria, ventures down to the lowest levels of the Dungeon, along with her familia. Their adventure goes smoothly enough but when they unexpectedly encounter a dangerous new monster species, they are forced to fight it. Thanks to Aiz’s remarkable sword skills and magic, the familia was able to escape from the monsters with no major causalities.

The party decides to conclude their expedition to restock on weapons and armor, but not without taking out a couple of Minotaurs in their way. On the way, Aiz saves a certain white-haired boy from being attacked. She reaches out in concern but he runs away from her before they have a chance to talk.

Later that night, her encounter with the white-haired boy reminds her of a memory long ago…

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Sword Oratoria is a side-story to Is it Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon/DanMachi, featuring Aiz Wallenstein as the lead protagonist. In the original series, Aiz and the Loki Familia didn’t appeared very often, and when they did, they mostly served supporting roles. In Sword Oratoria, we explore the various individuals in the Loki Familia and the character of Aiz Wallenstein, the heroine who was the main motivation for Bell Cranel.

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Aiz Wallenstein is unbelievably strong. She’s regarded by others as the Sword Princess, and even her own familia respects her power. She’s counted on to take on the tougher battles, which also puts her directly in the spotlight when it comes to saving people. From a social standpoint, she isn’t like the rest of the her familia; Aiz is very stoic and she doesn’t speak a lot. We get to read her thoughts on what she thinks or wants but Aiz is often unsure on how to voice her reaction appropriately, to which she often ends up not speaking at all.

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If it was just left to Aiz to lead the story, it would be completely void of expressive personality. That’s where the Loki Familia comes in. Both in-battle and out-of-battle, the members are very comfortable with each other, much like a family. Aiz’s laid-back role gives the various members of the Loki Familia a role in the spotlight, with their own distinct personalities and character traits, from the Amazon twins, to the tiny general to the high elf mage and to many others. The novel spends a lot of time with these characters, creating a very relaxed and light-hearted atmosphere to balance out the action-heavy portions. The exploration of the Loki Familia also emulates the relationship between Bell and Hestia in the original series, adding their own moments of intimacy between Aiz and certain individuals. For example, there is a sub-plot regarding Lefiya, a low level supporting mage, and her self-esteem issues with have the Familia having to protect her all the time.

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While Aiz’s thoughts are behaviors she wants to express, a large part of her mentality is her desire to become stronger. She’s already powerful as one of the top warriors but for someone who’s hasn’t changed in ability strength in years, this stagnation becomes irritating for the Sword Princess. So when Aiz meets Bell for the first time, she’s given a reminder to who she was originally: a scared and weak girl. It’s an interesting point as Aiz and Bell both have the same goal with similar motivations. For Aiz, she can relate with that weakness that resides in Bell, however, she can’t revert back to the fragile girl she was before.

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Like with DanMachi, Sword Oratoria‘s other half in the story is their battle scenes. At the very beginning, the novel doesn’t spend time introducing characters but rather throwing us right into an expedition. The writing is standard-fare for an action-adventure series, detailed with plenty of fantasy aspects that Sword Oratoria throws into the mix for world building. These concepts are the same as presented in DanMachi, only with Aiz or the Loki Familia’s interpretation of them.

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While the character design and illustrations for the original DanMachi series were done by Yasuda Suzuhito, the illustrations for Sword Oratoria were done by Kiyotaka Haimura, the same illustrator the A Certain Magical Index light novels. The character designs are treated to fit the world of DanMachi/Sword Oratoria with each individual having distinct characteristics fitting their race/profile, like elves, demigods, and humans.

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Most of the concepts, themes, and writing styles in Sword Oratoria are very similar to DanMachi’s and to anyone who is a fan of the original series will enjoy reading this as well.* While it is only the first volume, I see this light novel, like with DanMachi, as a series that will take time to learn more about Aiz and the Loki Familia. Sword Oratoria isn’t a necessary read for the DanMachi franchise but its material adds more to the world and the characters it features.

Rating: Recommended – Highly Recommended*


Author: Fujino Omori

Illustrator: Kiyotaka Haimura

Translator: Andrew Gaippe

English Publisher: Yen Press

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