Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Volume 14 Review

Last time on Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, there was a murder, and Lyu seems to be the culprit! A witness testifies that she fled down to the 27th floor, so the group from the last volume, along with some people from Rivira, join up and head down. Again. However, Cassandra has another premonition, and it’s the usual “everyone is going to die” premonition. And like with all of those premonitions, everyone completely ignores it, except for the person who had it to begin with. Turns out that Lyu once slaughtered a Familia that attacked her old one, and she caught wind (no pun intended) of one of the survivors. Bell manages to find her attacking a dwarf named Turk, while the rest of the group finds the aforementioned survivor, named Jura. Bell chases Lyu, who went after Jura, and figures out that everything has been a setup by Turk and Jura to frame Lyu for the murder. After fighting two snakes summoned from floor 37, Turk and Jura set off a chain reaction of explosions that literally makes the Dungeon itself scream in pain,  causing it to birth the Juggernaut, a powerful monster that’s meant to defend the Dungeon if it takes too much damage. This monster was summoned in the same manner to destroy Lyu’s familia in the past, and now here it is! With some nakama power by his side, Bell manages to put a big dent in it, but Jura uses his monster taming items to try to control the beast. It fails, but the already-tamed serpent hears his final order and attacks Bell and Lyu. They survive, but end up… in the deep levels of the Dungeon. It’s time to play some Dark Souls.

For me, this volume is definitely a step-up from last time, that’s for sure. Within about five seconds, a massive Floor Boss appears on the twenty-fifth floor, and our supporting protagonists have to fight it without Bell. This is probably one of my favorite fights in the series now, simply because of the ridiculous amount of close calls there are. Even if they manage to beat it, they still have to deal with the other mobs in the area. 

Bell and Lyu aren’t doing much better. Although they are technically within the recommended level, they are absolutely exhausted and wounded after their battle with Juggernaut, which happens to still be alive and hunting them. If that wasn’t enough, the thirty-seventh floor is massive, and there are also the regular mobs to deal with.

Seriously, this is probably the most critical condition that Bell has been in yet. Usually, whenever he’s fought a tough boss, he gets to recover afterwards. But nope; this volume is like doing the Master Sword trials in Breath of the Wild with two rusty broadswords and no armor. Each skirmish genuinely conveys how close to Death’s doorstep they are, and how desperately they’re trying to escape.

I love the intensity in this volume, but for some reason, I just can’t get into Lyu’s backstory. I just don’t get it! There are even some special chapters set in her past, but I found them to be kinda boring. To be fair, Lyu wasn’t among my favorite characters of DanMachi in the first place. Maybe if she’s your waifu, you’ll like her backstory a lot better than I did.

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Verdict: 8.9/10

I’m glad that this arc was short. It’s not my favorite in DanMachi; but nonetheless, this was a powerful volume, and a quick reminder to us that Bell still has a ways to go in his character progression. Let’s just hope the next major arc will be even better than the phenomenal Xenos Arc.

Otherside Picnic Volume 2 Review

Last time on Otherside Picnic, Kamikoshi Sorawo finds a doorway to another world, where she is henceforth attacked by a strange creature called the Kunekune. She is saved by Nishina Toriko, a cool girl who came here in search of a missing friend, Uruma Satsuki. They return to the real world, where she meets Kozakura, another friend of Toriko’s and a researcher of the mysterious world, called Otherside. They go back to fight another Kunekune, but get afflicted by it; Sorawo in her eye, and Toriko in her hand. However, they still manage to fend it off and obtain its core. They have other adventures (one of which involves the American military and a haunted train station), and learn that they have been given some strange powers: Sorawo can change realities with her eye (which, in Layman’s terms, means that she can see through illusions), and Toriko can touch strange things in the Otherside with her hands. After the incident with the military, the two girls have an argument, and Toriko goes to the Otherside on her own to find Satsuki. Sorawo and Kozakura end up searching for her, despite the warnings from some strange, middle-aged men who seem to act as guardians of the Otherside. While postulating the existence of the Otherside and about the science of fear, they find Toriko in a weird, abandoned village full of plants. Using the power of her reality-shifting eye, Sorawo manages to save Toriko from an illusion of Satsuki, and they make it back home safe and sound.

It felt like I’ve been waiting a year for this volume to come out. In the time leading up to it, I was more scared of it sucking than of the disturbing imagery in the actual story. And perhaps… I could’ve scared myself into not enjoying it as much as the previous one. But at the same time, the first volume was likely to have been exceptionally good for the same reason that caused Made in Abyss to become popular; the element of surprise. I don’t know about you, but this series definitely did not LOOK scary on the cover. So, when we read volume 1, it was like, “Holy sh** this is so freaking scary!” Now that we know what to expect, it loses the chutzpah from before.

Anyways, let’s actually talk about the content, shall we? One review I read of volume 1 (don’t worry, it has to do with the matter at hand) called Otherside Picnic a yuri series, and I was like, “Whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout, dude?” However, this volume definitely seems to be where the yuri stuff comes in. I kinda realized it when they pulled the classic “here-let-me-caress-you-with-my-entire-body-while-I-instruct-you-on-the-proper-posture-for-using-this-thing” schtick that they do with romantic couples. I know that yuri can get pretty contentious in this community, so proceed with caution if you’re sensitive to fanservice and stuff.

Similar to the previous volume, the chapters are all self-contained episodes that slowly build up a semblance of an overarching story. The first chapter is a rescue operation of the US soldiers from the first volume, and the chapter after that is the “beach-vacation-so-we-can-see-the-girls-in-bathing-suits” trope. The third chapter introduces a new character Akari Seto, whose main personality quirk is being good at karate. I don’t know if she’s going to become plot relevant or what…

But if there is anything relevant, it’s the continuing escalation of intrigue in this volume! More signs of Satsuki start popping up, but only we and Sorawo catch wind of them. She elects not to tell Toriko about any of this, presumably under the assumption that she’ll go after Satsuki alone and almost get wrecked again. But if this really is a yuri series, it could also be because Sorawo doesn’t want Toriko to be in another woman’s bed. My biggest concern is that this could get escalated to sitcom-like proportions, but we won’t really know that until the future.

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Verdict: 8.5/10

While it might lack the fire of the first volume, Otherside Picnic’s second volume proves that this series is still one of the best new isekai on the market. With so many new plot threads established, I need to have the third volume yesterday. Hopefully, the wait won’t feel as long this time around.

There Was No Secret Evil-Fighting Organization (srsly?!), So I Made One Myself! Volume 2 Review

Last time on There Was No Evil-Fighting Organization (srsly?!) so I Made One Myself!, Kimemitsu Sago gains some phenomenal cosmic power. He decides to use those powers to form both a crime-fighting organization, as well as said organization’s enemies, which he fashions out of telekinetically manipulated water. He meets up with a rich chuunibyou named Shiori Kubaragi, and she helps fund the project. They name their group Amaterasu, and set themselves up in a bar that they buy and name Ama-no-Iwato. They recruit the Buddhist fanatic Touka Hasumi, the cocky Shouta Takahasi, and a monkey. After a battle against a large water blob of Sago’s creation, the CIA catches wind of what’s going on…

…as well as some aliens. Specifically, one alien, named Lonalia Linalia Baba-Nyan. Despite her name, she is neither a cat nor an old lady; she’s a straight-up elf loli. On her world, demon Lord’s are an endangered species, and she yearns to fight a real calamity-type one instead. So, she goes to our world and catches wind of Shouta fighting a water blob, and ends up getting roped into the whole thing.

The big irony with her character is that, despite being a fantasy person, Earth’s lack of magic makes her unable to actually do anything magical in the first place. It really showcases how cynical modern society is (or maybe it’s just a way to keep the series relatively grounded). 

In other news, the occult is experiencing a big boom thanks to Sago, with Tokyo’s population getting a big boost due to tourists. The police and other investigative organizations are getting involved too, and it naturally becomes a big issue for him.

Unfortunately, Secret Organization seems to still be stuck on the exposition-heavy writing. Once again, words- and not action- govern the progression of the plot, making it still pretty tedious to read. It’s a real shame, considering that the actual scenes, as opposed to the montages, are where the story is at its best.

At the end of the volume is another episode with Nicolas Stallone, the CIA agent from before. I assume that his role will be limited to these bonus chapters, until he ends up getting roped into the main story later. It just stinks that his sections are the most tedious of all.

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Verdict: 7.5/10

There is some charm to Secret Organization, but in execution, it’s really tedious. Like I said in my Ascendance of a Bookworm post, I don’t have the time or money to read just anything. I gotta pick and choose what I want the most, and sadly, I might have to abandon Secret Organization someday. But hey, if you love it, more power to you.

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Volume 13 Review

Last time on DanMachi, Bell made it to Level 4, which increased Hesita Familia’s overall rank to D. This means only one thing: Fetch quests! Now, they have to go to the Dungeon every day, get to a new floor, and come back with a bunch of crap to prove that they actually did it! Today, they enter Floor 25, a beautiful, watery paradise. However, on this floor is an enhanced version of the rare moss huge, which has gotten stronger by gaining EXP from other monsters. It deceives the party and they get separated from Bell. Bell meets a new Xenos mermaid named Mari, and she helps him reunite with his friends in time for him to fight the kids huge head-on. He uses a new combination of Fire Bolt and Argonaut to one-shot it like a boss. With their new victory, the team begins to head out of the Dungeon. But on the Floor 18 town, someone pops up saying that there’s been a murder! This would be setup for an arc where Bell is framed for some BS reason. But fortunately, the witness saw conclusively who did it: an elf named Gale Wind…

…whom at the time, I had completely forgotten was Lyu’s adventurer name! I don’t remember much of her backstory (even though it hasn’t even been a year since I read earlier volumes. Or, heck, it might be a marketing ploy to get you to read the Lyu Chronicle spinoff), but apparently, she killed some people, and that’s why she was working at the bar (i.e. to hide). Key word “was”, for she’s also vanished at around the time of the murder. That’s not incriminating at all.

Meanwhile, Cassandra has another prophecy, this time one where everyone dies. She more or less spends most of the volume perseverating on it, which doesn’t offer any help.

Of all the characters here, Lyu is the one who gets the character development this time. Unfortunately, this is probably one of the weakest character arcs in DanMachi up to this point. This series wasn’t too great on originality, but her backstory felt particularly checklist-y (professional term) to me. I didn’t feel any strong emotions this time around, which is weird, given that I’ve known Lyu much longer than Wiene from the previous arc. You probably get better context on this whole thing if you read the Lyu Chronicle stuff, but that feels really… jerkish, especially to me, who already has enough crap to be spending money on, and cannot work spinoffs into my budget. 

Heck, even the boss battle in this volume felt like torture porn more than anything else. DanMachi is admittedly a series that’s fueled by it, but- I don’t know- something felt off about it this time. The cliffhanger ending at least shows some promise for this new arc.

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Verdict: 7.8/10

I’m sorry, but this is probably one of the weakest volumes of DanMachi thus far. Lyu’s backstory felt meh to me, and there really wasn’t that much going on. But hey, every long-running series has its bumps in the road. Plus, whatever arc immediately followed the Xenos was destined to feel underwhelming anyway. Let’s just hope that this is the ONLY bump in the road for a while.

Combatants Will Be Dispatched! Volume 2 Review

Last time on Combatants Will be Dispatched!, underpaid Kisaragi employee Agent Six is sent as a spy to a fantasy world, so that the company itself can conquer it later. He goes with a sassy pretty-girl android named Alice, and they set up camp in the world. They meet the gropable royal knight, Snow (who isn’t as morally correct as she seems), along with the princess, Tillis. Six and Alice get paired up with a chaotic chimera named Rose, and a wheelchair-riding weirdo named Grimm (but hey, both are cute girls). The Demon Lord’s army attacks, but Six manages to hold them off easily, thanks to Kisaragi technology (patent pending)! However, doing so cost him too many Evil Points, and if he goes back home now, he’s in for a rude awakening from his supervisors. So, he chooses to stay (and grope Snow some more). 

After a brief chapter to re-acquaint us with the girls, we find that the town is running short on water, and they can’t get any new water because Six changed the rain machine’s password to something lewd. Fortunately, the neighboring kingdom of Toris has some water crystals that Tillis is going to negotiate for. The problem is that the prince of that kingdom is a real perv, so Six and the others are to accompany her. 

They plan to have Snow flirt with him so they can catch him being a perv. But of course, Snow’s a greedy woman, and she intends to fully get with the prince. It really showcases what a horrible person she is, and it’s hilarious (what’s even more hilarious is that the guy denies her advances). All this is just the beginning of the antics in this volume!

New Kisaragi agents transfer to this world from Earth, but we only get introduced to one of them, Tiger Man. He’s a grrrrrrrreat character whom I want to see more of, but he seems to be someone who’ll only pop up once in a while. We get introduced to a new Demon named Russell, but he’s perhaps the least interesting character so far. At this juncture, Combatants‘ biggest issue is introducing lovable characters other than those in the main group, especially compared to existing volumes of Konosuba, such as the tenth one, which made Iris of all people into a new Best Girl.

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Verdict: 8.75/10

This is a great volume of Combatants Will Be Dispatched!, but whether or not it’ll stand up to Konosuba is still up in the air. In the afterword, the author implies that our protagonists will be more heroic, which would admittedly be kind of a cop out, especially since scummy protagonist’s are this guy’s forte. I guess we won’t know until the next volume drops!

Konosuba Volume 10 and Sexiled Volume 2 Reviews

Konosuba 10

Last time on Konosuba, the crew was dispatched to dispatch another Demon Lord General, this one being a dark goddess named Wolbach. Turns out that she is A) a goddess that Megumin and Yunyun accidentally freed, B) Megumin’s idol, from whom she learned Explosion, C) that woman from volume 4, and D) half of their cat, Chomusuke. This means Wolbach is the original Explosion user! But Megumin fries her no problem, and later gets some one-on-one time with Kazuma. After it all blows over, Kazuma receives a letter from Iris…

…about how she’s getting betrothed to this guy from the Casino Kingdom of Elroad so that her kingdom can get funding to fight the Demon King. So naturally, this volume is all about Kazuma trying to put a stop to it. Fortunately, Iris invites him and his party to be her bodyguards, so he doesn’t have to sneak in. It also helps that the actual prince doesn’t want to get married either.

So, was Iris always such an amazing person? I liked her when she was first introduced, obviously, but I don’t remember her being so powerful. She hits like a truck in battle, to the point where you question why she has bodyguards in the first place. Eris was a great surprise in volume 8, but man, Iris might have her put to shame.

With Elroad being casino-themed, Kazuma has a distinct advantage due to his high Luck. He kicks more butt than he ever did before, and that includes the poor prince’s butt as well. The other girls don’t get as much screentime in favor of Iris, but they’re still fun.

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Verdict: 9/10

Even after ten volumes, Konosuba is a great, screwball comedy of an isekai. This volume has all the usual antics, despite how little the main girls’ involvement is. Let’s see how much longer it can hold this level of quality.


Sexiled 2

Last time on Sexiled, Tanya Artemiciov is kicked out of her group for being a woman. When she vents anger on some local sediment, she frees the powerful sorceress, Laplace. Laplace turns her into an OP Magi-Knight class and they agree to go get revenge against the guys… except that they’re party is too strong to enter the tournament. So, they recruit Level 3 Nadine Amaryllis and enter. Naturally, they kick butt; even Nadine, who is apparently some assassin chick (who also got crapped on for being a woman). But hey, they win the tournament, and that’s what matters. 

In classic power fantasy fashion, the main cast goes from unknown to superstars overnight. The group’s efforts in the tournament become an inspiration to women everywhere, and people start asking them for autographs and such. Life can’t get any easier for them.

But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for a new party member! Joining up in this volume is Katherine Foxxi, one of the exploited girls that they beat in the tournament. She’s got great offensive spells, and being a victim of sexism was holding her back all this time.

Laplace ends up being the big star this time. In this volume, we get her backstory with Maxwell, and some major developments happen on her part. Unfortunately, this also means that everyone else pretty much gets shafted in terms of character development. But who am I to complain? Laplace IS Best Girl after all.

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Verdict: 8.65/10

This volume of Sexiled was a pleasure to read through. However, I wonder what else can be done moving forward. It seems a lot of stuff is brought to full closure in this volume, without any groundwork for a future arc. I wonder how long Sexiled will last before its ham-fisted feminism gets old.

Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki Volume 1 Review

This isn’t the first time I’ll say that I don’t like factoring relatability into quality, and it won’t be the last. And despite how much I can relate to the titular character of Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki (published in English by Yen Press), I will absolutely not factor it into the final score of this series. Well, assuming I even finish it, since there are a billion things out there right now..

Fumiya Tomozaki views life itself as the Dark Souls of… life itself (great analogy there)? Basically, he ranks humans in tiers, with higher tiers given an unfair advantage over bottom-tiers like himself. And as such, he just plays videogames, which make more sense to him. However, all of this changes when he meets a tough online opponent IRL, who turns out to be top-tier girl Aoi Hinami. After a serious argument, she convinces him to let her give him the “tutorial” for the game that is life, so that he can pick himself up and not be a piece of crap.

As someone who’s content as an introvert, this premise immediately made me uncomfortable on a personal level. While I don’t entirely agree with Tomozaki’s attitude, his viewpoints of life are undoubtedly true; after all, there are some individuals who have more net worth than entire nations in this world. But what bothers me the most is that whenever we have an introverted main character, they are forcibly put through the social wringer until they become an extrovert. I get that there wouldn’t be much of a narrative without the goal of making friends, that at least 99% of the human race actively seeks out relationships, and that Japan is really hypersocial, but the nature of the situation in Tomozaki really irks me.

But like I said, I’m not factoring all that personal-schmersonal crap into the score, no matter what.

The writing in Tomozaki is better than I expected. With the titular character as the narrator, you get a lot of videogame terminology lumped into aspects of everyday life. It’s not very descriptive, but it’s set in the real world, you can just picture where they are based on intuition.

Since this is technically a rom-com, the characters are gonna be the bread and butter. Unfortunately, they don’t give off a good first impression. Tomozaki is pretty passive; because of his situation, he just ends up getting strung along by Hinami every step of the way. He’s also treated like an idiot because he seriously knows NOTHING about social interactions, not even what one could glean from basic intuition (and I relate to him- Nice job giving yourself a good reputation, Mack). Hinami seems to be the Best Girl, because she is literally the best at almost everything. She has a funny quirk where she minces the word “exactly” and acts like nothing happened, but I see it becoming an old meme quick, especially when the anime airs. Although the interactions between Hinami and Tomozaki are where the series is at its best, the former sometimes comes off as a real b**** to me. The other characters aren’t even worth talking about yet; they are very one-dimensional, and some of them are kinda a**holes.

The art is pretty unremarkable. It’s a nice, tame style for a rom-com, but it’s not my cup of tea. It’s probably still more presentable than the anime will be.

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Verdict: 7.5/10

Sorry, but this is the score I’m giving volume 1, even when I’m not factoring personal input. A lot of people on social media have hyped this thing to be an amazing masterpiece. But so far, Bottom-Tier Character Tomozaki is a generic “degenerate boy meets perfect girl, who helps him become an upstanding person whether he wants to or not” but with videogame jargon thrown in for what seems like further pandering. It’s a solid rom-com for someone who’s been in Tomozaki’s position (and of course, wants wish fulfillment). 

Eighty-Six Overview (Volumes 1-3)

Covers of volume 1-3

I’ve been reading Eighty-Six since its English release courtesy of Yen Press. Due to the fact that volumes 2 and 3 all happen during the epilogue of volume 1, I decided to cover all three of them in one blog post because it’s technically still a review of volume 1(?).

Eighty-Six is set in the Republic of Mongolia, in a world at war with the Legion: surviving robot weapons of an empire long gone (supposedly). The pale-skinned people of Mongolia live in paradise within the 85-sector city, leaving the dark-skinned people in the 86th sector to fight the Legion. It’s justified because the Eighty-Six (the derogatory term for this people) are considered pigs, and nobody cries when pigs are killed. …Yeeeeeeah, this is a light novel about racism. 

Racism is such a universal issue that it can also be used, in writing, as an easy emotional hook to make something that sucks seem good. However, the portrayal of racism in Eighty-Six is executed really well. The writing is so evil and devious, it’s as if each passage is like firing a railgun bullet straight into your throbbing aortic pump.

The biggest strength of Eighty-Six lies in the main protagonists.. Like in classic forbidden romance fashion, the lead female is a white girl in the military- Lena- who is assigned as an operator who corresponds via some kind of brain-Skype to a squadron of Eighty-Six soldiers, captained by the male lead Shin. The experiences that they have with and away from each other are very engaging, and makes their relationship one of the better romances, despite how they don’t communicate in person (at least not yet). 

Unfortunately, they are marred by a lackluster supporting cast. It seems you need to be SERIOUSLY emotional and not analytical, because the rest of the characters are either blatantly wearing red shirts, or are of almost no consequence. These people tend to be really one-note and forgettable. The only character I liked besides Shin and Lena was Frederica, a military loli introduced in volume 2, but that’s only because she actually has plot relevance. You’d think that the characters who are higher-ups in command, such as *takes out notes* Lena’s supervisor, Karlstahl, or Ernst Zimmerman from the city introduced in volume 2, would be very important. However, these people just end up twiddling their thumbs, stalling out the story discussing different strategies when we KNOW that Shin’s squad is going to just tackle any given conflict head-on because Shin is a lead protagonist. If that’s meant to be a commentary on the actual military’s competence, then I applaud the author on that one. 

Due to this miserably sad cast (both in the emotional sense and the writing sense), a lot of Eighty-Six really drones on. The basic formula seems to mainly be slice-of-life and drama, followed by actual battles. However, since I didn’t grow emotionally attached to these characters, I got bored fast, especially in volume 2, which didn’t even have a fight. There isn’t much character development outside of Shin either; most of his squad complains about how miserable they are, while other people complain about how unjust it is for kids to be in the military (yet Shin ends up getting sent out anyway). In a manga very similar thematically, Attack on Titan, I could at least grow attached to the characters because there were more defining traits, and instead of Shin being the only one who matters, everyone in Attack on Titan (well, mostly everyone), has some important role to play in the story. Shin could literally be a one-man squad and nothing would change in terms of what actually goes down on the battlefield.

The art is middle-of-the-road for me. The characters look okay, but the real juicy stuff is in the schematics of various Legion and other machines as well as maps of the areas where strategies are being planned. The color art’s also great.

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Verdict: 8/10

Eighty-Six is torture porn, but damn good torture porn. Despite the low quantity of good characters, the series has great worldbuilding, and great tryhard writing to boot. Now that volume 3 has contextualized volume 1’s epilogue, maybe we’ll FINALLY GET TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT IN VOLUME 4!!

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Volume 12 Review

Cover of volume 12

Last time on DanMachi, we finished off the Xenos Arc. All kinds of chaos ensued (including a gripping fight between Bell and Aiz) as Hestia Familia tried to help the Xenos escape from Orario. However, Hermes created a fake notebook to trick them and force Bell to kill one of the Xenos. Double however, Freya had other plans. She had Ottar direct Asterios, the black minotaur that Aiz injured earlier, to Bell. Turns out that Asterios is a reincarnation of the very first minotaur that Bell fought all that time ago. Their battle is enough of a distraction for the Xenos to escape into the Dungeon, but Bell gets his ass handed to him by Asterios. After the battle, the beast returns to the Dungeon, to train up for the last of their best-two-out-of-three-match. Bell cries for a bit, but continues to move forward as usual.

So, guys, did you know that there’s a massive, underground labyrinth called the Dungeon right underneath Orario? It’s kind of been a while since the story actually involved going there. After the incident, Bell’s rank increases to Level 4, which brings Hestia Familia’s overall rank to D. At this rank, the Guild will now send them off on regular expeditions in the Dungeon, with each ending off on a floor that they haven’t been to before. Finally! But here’s the thing, floors 25 and onward are called “the New World” (*cough* not a ripoff of anything *cough*), and this is where the Dungeon takes the kid gloves off.

The main narrative of this volume is that they end up discovering a rare monster that has grown stronger  by gaining XP from other monsters. Although it’s not Asterios, it ends up proving to be quite a challenge because it’s also much smarter than most monsters that aren’t Xenos.

Overall, it’s a good volume, but the biggest issue with this volume is the lack of further character development. It’s undeniable that the characters have grown immensely throughout the series; Bell has better judgement, Lily and Welf are better fighters, Haruhime even gets a new move, and more. The character arcs for most of these people feel more or less complete, which is both good and bad. Good because the series can focus primarily on the Dungeon like it was meant to, and bad because there’s still a lot of story left but it needs chutzpah to stay interesting. Hopefully the new development at the end of the volume will give it that chutzpah.

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Verdict: 8.5/10

Sorry for the short post today, but there really isn’t much to say here. This is a good breather volume, and one that we really needed. It doesn’t have a huge revelation or anything, but it’s still DanMachi.

Infinite Dendrogram Volume 10 Review

Cover of volume 10

Last time on Infinite Dendrogram, Ray fought a lot of people (like he always does). This time, he uses the pent-up powers of his Miasmaflame Bracers to summon the true form of Gardranda, the first boss he ever defeated (which is a cute girl, of course), and she helps him defeat Hell General Logan Goddhart (who lost because he’s a whiny brat who doesn’t actually know how to play the game). But it’s not over yet, for the ancient weapon Arca-Vesta has rebooted itself and is about to destroy Quartierlatin! The strange Tom Cat guy he met before heads down into the ruins to fight it. Turns out, he’s actually Chesire, the A.I., and the Incarnations that the ancient weapons were created to destroy are actually the A.I.’s of Dendro itself. Cheshire uses his power to make infinite clones of itself to fight, but it doesn’t do crap because Arca-Vesta is comprised of two machines: A ground-based one which constantly gets healed by the other, flying machine. Arca-Vesta sets out to destroy the town, but Ray and Azurite try to fight it. The obvious solution is to destroy both parts at once, but how? It doesn’t help that the flying one has an ability to distort space and expand the distance between itself and the ground so it’s much further than it appears. But fortunately, Ray has the Shining Despair he got from Monochrome, which travels at the speed of light. So, with the help of Azurite (and his horse, Silver, using one of its hidden skills for the first time), they’re able to defeat Arca-Vesta. Oh, and fun fact: Azurite is actually the Princess of Altair. OH MY GOD I DIDN’T SEE IT COMING (sarcasm).

So, this volume… I knew that this was inevitable, but here it is: the first volume to contain nothing but side stories. Normally, in something like SAO or Overlord, this feels like the author saying, “Hi, I don’t actually know what the plot moving forward is going to be, so here’s some crap to tide you over,” and it ends up being equatable to the filler arcs of anime of old. But Dendro has proven its side stories to be not just wholly entertaining, but also essential for the overarching plot.

This volume has two types of chapters, episodes and side stories, and both are important. Ray begins his juggling performance, with college and Dendro as the balls. We also get to see Gerbera’s character arc progress down in the gaol with Sechs Wurfel, the King of Crime. Plus, this volume introduces two new and incredibly rare types of Embryos.

There are several chapters, but I need to focus on the one that isn’t like the others: Pallid Pages Part One. In it, we get some Hugo action for the first time since Franklin’s Game IIRC. He ends up getting caught up in a MacGuffin fetch quest, with a strange lady named AR-I-CA, that appears to be a setup for possibly the next big arc. AR-I-CA is some wild bi lady who has what is perhaps the most broken Embryo thus far, and she’s a real hoot.

The one issue with this volume is that we get to see at least a taste of every region in Dendro, except for the one that they’ve been teasing since volume 1: Legendaria. To add salt to the wound, we still don’t get to meet Ray and Shu’s superhuman sister.

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Verdict: 8.5/10

Like DanMachi, Dendro knows how to make really enjoyable side stories that are actually plot relevant. While I’m so ready for what happens next, the author stated in the afterword that volume 11 is just gonna be Shu’s fight with Gloria. Sure, it’ll be really cool to see the battle that everyone keeps talking about ad nauseam since volume 1, but man… I rrrrrreally wanna know what happens next!

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Anime Reaction Prediction: Heavily Criticized, but Popular

You know that the SAO critics are gonna hit the Dendro anime like trucks, and there’s no stopping them, especially if it airs on Crunchyroll, where the shows that cause the major hubbub normally end up. Also, LN fans, like myself, will notice everything wrong with it (which looks to be a lot), and characters like Gouz-Maise will likely be marred by bad CG. However, since Dendro is one of the better of its ilk out there, SAO fans will probably eat it like Nemesis eats, period, regardless of the production issues it inevitably will have and the criticism it will inevitably receive. Of course, since there will be stuff like the new season of Haikyuu!! and Quintuplets airing during the same season, it might not get that much recognition (which, to preserve the sanctity of the source material, would be good).