By Fujino Omori and Suzuhito Yasuda. Released in Japan as “Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatte Iru Darou ka? Gaiden – Sword Oratoria” by Softbank Creative. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Liv Sommerlot.
I am frequently amused when I find that my own thinking as I read a book has mirrored the author’s. As I read this new Sword Oratoria volume, which focuses on Tione and Tiona, the twin Amazons from Loki Familia, I remember thinking that I didn’t really think much of them beyond “loves Finn” and “kind of an idiot”. And sure enough, in the afterword the author states that they had the same thought, and writing the book involved finding their character to an extent. Fortunately, it works out great: this is one of the strongest books in the Sword Oratoria series, with not only the usual excellent fights and seeing Loki be clever, but also some terrific backstory for the twins, whose live growing up was horrific and has left its mark on… both of them, though it’s not surprising that Tione thinks at first that it’s just her.
Here we meet a new goddess, Kali, as well as her followers, who the twins split off from years ago. As you may have guessed, Kali is bloodthirsty and desires endless war, so her children participate in a battle royale event from the moment they can walk, fighting each other to see who is strongest. (There is a chilling age reveal at one point that was handled fantastically.) Of course, it’s not just the new people – the series continues to also mirror what’s going on in the main one, and we’re nearing Book 7 on the timeline, so Ishtar Familia proves to be very active behind the scenes as well. This is unfortunate for Aiz, as the frog-faced battle warrior of the family, Phrynne, has a hate-on for Aiz for being… well, powerful and beautiful. And there’s another God involved as well, which surprised me, especially after reading the Lyu spinoff.
That said, Tione and Tiona are the stars here. We’ve seen Tione angry before, but here she spends almost the entire book in an incandescent, uncontrollable rage. I’ve never been a big fan of her goofy crush on Finn, but it works here because it’s actually weaponized, and also serves to remind Tione of what she’s gained since leaving the Amazons. As for Tiona, she absolutely knocked it out of the park for me, taking “smiling idiot” and showing how it can be one of the most powerful, heartwarming things ever – as well as showing that the idiot is not as true as it seemed. Tiona’s very clever here, in many respects.
This book lacks Bell Cranel for the most part, which works in its favor. As for Lefiya, well, she’s peril monkey here, sadly, but at least is shown to be more upset about her ongoing magic advancement and less about her crush on Aiz. The book is on the larger scale, so you’ll need to set aside from time for it, but if you like DanMachi, and particularly Loki Familia, you’ll love this.