How do you deal with feelings of love towards a god or goddess? What if someone proposed to you out of the blue one day? These are the questions that the eighth volume of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? (otherwise shortened to DanMachi) attempts to answer through the medium of short stories.
The seventh volume of DanMachi had some high stakes for Bell and his friends, so now our heroes are taking a few days off to recover. However, peaceful times never last long for this Familiar and it’s not long before Bell finds himself in trouble and fighting with Hestia and Lilly. Bell might not be the only one with love trouble in the city of Orario as elsewhere Mikoto is struggling with her feelings for a god and Finn Deimne of Loki Familia is looking for a bride…
While this volume doesn’t offer much development for the main cast, it’s refreshing to have the chance to spend some time with lesser known characters. There are six side stories on offer here and each of them has a heartfelt and emotional tale to tell – and for once, Bell is firmly sidelined while someone else has their stories told.
This change of direction from focusing on Bell gives author Fujino Omori the chance to really spread his wings. Writing from the perspective of so many other characters, especially someone like Finn whom we’ve seen little of, is a real test of an author’s skill and their ability to make sure every character sounds different from a first person perspective. It’s thankfully something Omori manages very well, so it’s a real treat to read through these stories and learn more about some of my favorite adventurers.
If you’ve come this far and found yourself sighing at the idea of this being a volume of side stories rather than being more plot-based, then never fear! The final story on offer gives us some important character development for Aiz which hints at her history, something that might become an important factor going forward…
Omori comments in his afterword that this volume marks the end of DanMachi’s second arc, and looking back, I’m impressed with how far Omori has come as a writer. His style of writing and attention to detail has improved immensely since the first volume and DanMachi’s world has grown considerably as the series goes on – although I do wonder when we’ll get back to dungeon crawling!
It’s not just Omori’s talents that shine through in this volume, as illustrator Suzuhito Yasuda has penned some great artwork again this time around. This book is almost 400 pages long, which means that there are more illustrations than usual. The majority of the artwork on offer depicts the characters in head and shoulder shots, or standing around happily, but although they’re simpler than what Yasuda normally draws for the series, they all convey the emotion of the cast very well.
Overall, Volume 8 of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? is a satisfying read. Considering how tense and action-packed the last few books have been, I’m more than happy to spend some time reading side stories. If nothing else, it gives us the chance to become a bit more attached to members of the cast we otherwise don’t see that much of. The series continues to be highly recommended!