By Fujino Omori and Suzuhito Yasuda. Released in Japan as “Dungeon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatte Iru Darou ka?” by Softbank Creative. Released in North America by Yen On. Translated by Andrew Gaippe.
First off, let’s take a moment to make fun of me for my last review. Yes, I thought that the author was going to leave everything up in the air and unresolved and move on. Whoopsie. This book starts off where the last one ended, with Bell hated by most of the city, and then takes off at breakneck speed and doesn’t stop. If you read DanMachi for the epic battle scenes, you’re absolutely in luck, as these make up most of the entire last half of the book. And there’s a lot of “scenes we’d like to see” here as well, as we get Aiz fighting Lyu (Aiz wins), Aiz fighting Bell (Wiene wins), Welf and Mikoto vs. Tiona and Tione (Welf and Mikoto win, but by dirty tricks), Lili vs. Finn (Lili wins), and most importantly, Bell fighting Asterios, the minotaur creature who has haunted his memories and dreams ever since the very, very beginning of the series. Who wins? Well…
The thing the book emphasizes over and over again is that there is no easy out here. The monsters are not just magically going to convince people that some of them aren’t always killers, though Wiene makes a good shot at it. The book does not end with any agreements for them to live on the surface in peace and harmony, it ends with them back in the dungeon hiding from everyone. But, on the bright side, they’re all back in the dungeon rather than getting slowly killed off on the surface. As for the adventurers, I’m not sure whether this will deeply affect them going forward. Things are not helped by Hermes, who is a right bastard who’s trying to force Bell into a role and is absolutely shot down in a way that will make you cheer. I hope Hestia kicks him in the nads next time she sees him. Fortunately, Bell is adept enough to choose his own path and by the end of the book has greater resolve to grow stronger, and this time for more reasons than just “Aiz Wallenstein”.
This is once again a pretty serious book, though there are a few “every girl loves Bell” jokes, leading to the biggest laugh of the book, which is Aiz contemplating Bell’s true nature. (Speaking of Aiz, if Sword Oratoria ever gets to these scenes from her perspective, it’s going to be fantastic.) I mentioned Lili winning in a fight vs. Finn, but of course it’s in a fight of intellect – honestly, I have to agree with Finn, he and Lili would be an amazing match, and I would fear the Prum race if their’ kids turned out anything like they are. But she’s in love with Bell. As is Eina, who at least is able to admit it to herself now. To me, though, this book hinges on two scenes that will, I hope, take it to a new level going forward – Bell’s fight with Aiz, and Bell’s fight with Asterios. The former is all about empathy, but the latter is just straight up action and love of battle.
The book ends with Bell wanting to go back in the dungeon, and so I think we’ll be there most of the next book (yes, I said that before). Till then, you should absolutely read this. I think Books 9-11 have been the highlight of the entire series, and can’t be missed by fans.