Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? IV episode 11

Rating: A

Last episode ended with Bell in his worst shape ever – possibly even dead. Naturally, a series so heavily-dependent on its protagonist was not going to kill him off, and as I noted last episode, the series did leave itself a combination “out:” The Goliath Scarf reduced what should have been a fatal blow to just a stunning one and the ally coming through the water to help had far more potent healing, than Ryu alone could manage, strong enough even to reattach a limb. For a change, not a bit of this feels contrived, as the scarf was the result of two of his allies and Marie’s help is the product of his unwitting diplomatic efforts with her. Reprieves are far more tolerable and dramatically satisfying when they’re earned, and this one definitely was.

That both directly and indirectly leads to some more fantastic action sequences. Ryu’s attempts to fend of Juggernaut as it goes after Boris provided terrific details and outstanding use of her expressions, as did the attempt of Boris and the Riviria spellcasters in their ill-fated efforts to take Juggernaut out with magic. And all that was just stage-setting for Bell’s triumphant return, where he uses Hestia Knife and the Goliath Scarf both offensively and defensively. Scene framing, battle choreography, and especially the musical score and sound effects all hit exactly the right notes, leading to Bell’s use of his newest ultimate technique:

. . .And in the classic spirit of shonen action series, it’s still not enough, because this foe is on another level from anything previous. Jura’s attempt to take control of the Juggernaut failing with fatal consequences was predictable enough, as he never seemed to account for the fact that Juggernaut simply exists to exterminate threats. Would such a primal force be at all controllable? The renewed presence of the Lambton was doubtless a surprise twist for anime-only viewers, and is the tool by which the story sets up its season-ending cliffhanger: a badly-injured Bell and Ryu stranded on Floor 37, far deeper than he has ever gone before.

And that’s not even all the fun! Even though the Juggernaut pursued, the rest of the gang up on Floor 25 has their own problem with the floor boss for the Great Falls, Amphisbaena, shows up early as a result of the area’s routines being disrupted. (In Greek Mythology, the Amphisbaena was a serpent with a second head on the end of its tail.) That sequence is itself a visual and presentational feast, even if it does rely much more heavily on CG. Hence we effectively have a double-cliffhanger and plenty of dramatic threat to go around for next time.

The events of this episode bring the fourth season’s first half to a conclusion at the arc’s most logical break point: the end of novel 13. A second half will be returning in January, and given the production quality we’ve seen here, I’ll tolerate the wait. If the franchise needed any reaffirmation that it’s one of the top fantasy action series of the past decade, this episode should provide ample reinforcement.

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