Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? IV episode 9

Rating: 4.5 (of 5)

Ryu is unquestionably a killer. However, she only kills people in the cause of vengeance, so whacking an informant isn’t her style. How moral it is to kill for vengeance is another matter, but that delineation that Bell insists on having spelled out, combine with him realizing what the item he picked up last episode was, is enough to de-escalate the initial potential fight between him and Ryu. It was a fight that neither wanted anyway, but more interestingly, it also establishes that Bell doesn’t seem to have as much of a problem with Ryu taking Jura out over past misdeeds. Of course, to make certain that Bell doesn’t get caught in any moral quandary, Jura quickly shows plenty enough villainy to justify even a heroic figure working to take him out.

That easy out is the only minor issue I had with what is otherwise a tense, well-executed episode that, despite the immediate danger the two Lambtons pose, is actually just set-up for the real fight next week. On one front we have Ryu and Bell teaming up to deal with the Lambton controlled by Jura; on the other, the rest of Bell’s expeditionary team must deal with the Lambton sicced on them by Turk. The Bell/Ryu fight shows where the skimped effort on animation last week went, with the snake-like lambtons being impressively mobile and well-integrated into the animation. (If CG was being used at all for them, it was hard to tell.) Though the other fight gets less emphasis, it also showed some nice teamwork in taking down an intimidating monster. I also liked how this gives a clearer picture of what tamers can do in this setting; they have been mention a couple of times before in both the first season of the main series and in Sword Oratoria, but this is the first time we really get to see what they can do.

(As a side note, the Lambtons shown here are not original creations. They are at least partly based on a monster from English folklore called a Lambton Worm, which was, in some accounts, described as being very snake-like.)

But the Lambtons are only appetizers, designed to keep the heroes occupied while Jura’s allies carry out the main element of the plot: arranging and setting off explosive items to damage the Dungeon. The Dungeon has previously been described as a living thing, and like any living thing, defense mechanisms get triggered when it takes sufficient damage. In humans and other animals, that means the release of white blood cells to fight off the infection. So what does the Dungeon come up with in a scenario where multiple floors get heavily-damaged? We only get the faintest hint of that oncoming horror as the episode ends, but Ryu clearly knows it and fears it, because it’s the same catastrophe used to wipe out the rest of her Astraea Familia. It’s just the right kind of irony that a total scumbag like Jura would come up with, and the kind of thing powerful enough to bring on the despair that Cassandra has foreseen.

Kudos to the production team for the sound design in this episode, especially the intimidating growling of the oncoming Juggernaut. Kudos also for the excellent design of character expressions for both Jura and Ryu; this is something easy to underrate until you have seen it done as well as it is done here. The next episode will feature the battle that novel fans have probably most been waiting for, and after the successful set-up this episode, I am eager to see what the Juggernaut looks like in animated form.

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