Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? IV episode 18

Rating: B+

In some respects, writing reviews when familiar with the source material is actually trickier, since you have to avoid spoilers and carefully gauge if an anime-only viewer could reasonably discern key points only from what’s been animated so far. In this case, though, I think it’s safe to say that the direction the series is going with the Bell/Ryu interactions as they try to survive the Deep Floors is obvious. Based on the regular, episode-opening flashbacks, Bell is, in a sense, the epitome of what Ryu was trying to accomplish in Astrea Familia. While he may not have been oriented towards ideals of “justice” like Ryu once was, he nonetheless is still young enough to possess naive but powerful ideals, and unlike Ryu, he may well have the ability to carry them out. In other words, Ryu is no longer looking at him just as a child to be fostered or her best friend’s love interest. Given the way this franchise operates, can this be going anywhere but one certain direction?

That aside, DanMachi has always done better than most fantasy titles at fight choreography and design, and Bell’s fights against the Werewolves and Barbarians showcases this once again. By fusing the physical training he did with Ais with the theory provided by Ryu, he is developing the slick fighting style to complement his skills and stats, and the animation this episode showcases that beautifully. Everything that Ryu taught him is on display here, especially his greater emphasis on getting monsters to do his work for him in crowded group fights, whether it’s leaping acrobatically over foes to put a body in the path of an enemy strike or twisting a foe around to use as a shield. He even finally gets a chance to put the Unicorn Horn blade that Welf made for him right before the expedition to good use, showing how effective it is at sapping out even the nastiest poison. (Eliminating diseases and poisons is one of the common powers attributed to a unicorn’s horn.)

But that’s not all that’s afoot on the 37th floor. The Juggernaut has finally shown up again, doubtless on a convergence path with the wayward adventurers. But first they have something interesting ahead: what seems to be a crude Colosseum of some sort in the depth of the Dungeon. Nothing like this has shown up or even been hinted at before in DanMachi lore, so this offers a potentially exciting new variation on this deadly dungeon crawl.

Meanwhile, the 27th floor fight comes to an end as both the Xenos and now Tsubaki and the maids converge on Hestia Familia’s expedition.* This confirms earlier suggestions that the maids are all powerful; like Ryu, they’re all level 4s. (If you want more details on who they actually are, check out the novel Familia Chronicle: Episode Lyu.) Marie also surreptitiously appears again to speak to her fellow Xenos, while Weine and Haruhime get to have a happy reunion and those who don’t know about the Xenos yet are, as expected, left scratching their heads over what’s going on. (Aisha’s grin at one point suggests that she has been filled in, also as expected.) Since Marie knows what actually happened to Bell and Ryu, their direction is set: the original expedition plus its newcomer reinforcements have to make it to the Deep Levels to rescue Bell and Ryu, and with a Level 5 and a trio of Level 4s plus the Xenos running interference ahead, that’s now a feasible task.

In adaptation terms, the Level 27 part fills in a big gap that had developed in the source novel between the floors 27 and 37. (These two parts did not alternate to this point, like they have in the anime.) Combined with the content from Floor 37 and the episode-opening flashbacks, that takes the adaptation to page 272, which is roughly the two-third mark. That puts the arc on pace to finish in probably three more episodes, perhaps four with a little stretching, so it looks like this who cour will just be adapting novel 14 after all. The one minor skip is a recognition that Cassandra has upon seeing a couple of the Xenos which would have tied in to events back in season 3, but since the anime skipped over that short scene then, it deletes the follow-up here, too.

Overall, this is another solid entry in the season. Next episode we’ll get to find out why the Colosseum would have made the dead adventurers turn back.

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