Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? IV episode 16

Rating: B+

The split between three fronts continues in this episode, but this time the third front isn’t the rescue party, but rather Hestia talking to Hephaestus about where Tsubaki went. That short scene mostly just exists to reinforce scenes on the two main fronts, and so really isn’t of much importance.

What is transpiring on both Floor 37 and Floor 27 is much more important, especially in the latter case. This is Welf’s time to shine, as he tries to do a feat seemingly impossible in this setting: forge a magic sword in the Dungeon outside of a safe zone. Such a feat would normally be impossible because the constant threat factor does not normally allow the time and focus for such an endeavor even if one does have a portable hearth, but Bell’s whole party (and Bors!) band together to give him the chance to make it happen. That also proves key to giving Welf the focus necessary to pull his stunt off, with this episode suggesting that intrinsic motivation and conceptualization is at least as important in the process as raw skill.

The result is more impressive than it might seem. While the production team does a fair job of making the new magic sword’s display of power flashy (despite the CG on some of the flames being a little too obvious), it cannot quite capture the essence of just how important Welf’s new magic sword is. A magic sword which channels the wielder’s magic (rather than using its own), and thus will never break, might be fairly commonplace in other fantasy settings but it is a game-changer for this one. In FRPGs like Dungeons and Dragons, it would be equivalent to using spell slots rather than charges to power magical staves. As long as anyone in the party has any magic to contribute, Welf’s juiced-up sword can keep firing. And that gives Bell’s party the ability to break their despair.

Comparatively speaking, Bell and Ryu get less attention, although what’s going on there is important, too. Most tabletop RPG gamers wouldn’t think twice about rolling fallen bodies for equipment and loot, but it’s not hard at all to understand how someone like Bell – with his strong morals and sense of propriety – would find such a task odious to the point of sacrilege. But one of the critical lessons of survival in a hostile environment is to take advantage of anything you can, and in that case that means lifting armor and weapons from the trio of fallen adventurers. Promising to take the familia banner back to the surface may be a bit of rationalizing to justify what Bell sees as an offense, but again, you do what you have to do to get by. Every storyline in the franchise has been as much a learning experience for Bell as a test of his mettle, and this situation is no different.

The title of next episode suggests that the focus will be more on Bell and Ryu’s attempts to get out of Floor 37. Will a certain nasty beastie show up again after being sidelined for the last three episodes? Even if not present, plenty of danger still awaits. . .

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