Sword Oratoria... the spinoff, not second season, of the beloved DanMachi series. This time around, we're going to see the same story from Ais WallenWhatsit's point of view, at least, that's what I thought was going to happen...
Story: In the first, or at least first few episodes, it should be clear that this is in fact the same story of DanMachi. However, instead of focusing on The Misadventures of Bell Cranel, we get to see a different side of things. This spinoff focuses mainly on the cast of the Loki Familia. Yes, the Loki Familia, not just Ais, which is very important to know.
Originality: 0/1. I mean, come on now. It's like the author suddenly had second thoughts about the original story and how basic it was, so he created this spinoff to add a deeper meaning to everything, just centered around Ais' character.
Potential: 2/2 Although reusing the same story, I'd say this had a lot of potential. It's kind of an interesting thing to see the same events occur from another character's perspective; especially the one (Ais) who has the biggest influence over our DanMachi protagonist.
Execution: 3/7 :
-One of the biggest problems I think this show had was pacing. The first few episodes were a complete drag, and I felt like I was forcing my way through them. The only highlights of the first couple episodes were the moments when Ais came into contact with Bell. Having a slow introduction can really put a damper on the overall feeling of a series, especially one that only spans twelve episodes. I honestly didn't even somewhat enjoy an episode until we got to episode four. 3/12 is a fourth of the series. Not a very good start.
-I'd say this show really missed it's chance to focus on Ais as the main character. Hopping from her to Lefiya as a protagonist really put a damper on the story. Ais is a big part of the story, but the amount of screen time she missed out on was a sin.
-Another problem I had with this series that is a recurring issue from the original was the excessive amounts of fanservice shoved in my face. If Hestia wasn't your cup of tea, then Lefiya might make you drop the series all together. Her "fantasies" that I'm sure were supposed to be comedic were way over-the-top and completely unnecessary.
- The final episode made zero sense if you have any recollection of the original series and the order events played out. I'm not going to spoil anything, but there was an event that should have happened but didn't which was somewhat aggravating.
+ Even amidst all of these negatives, there were some positives. The moments that Ais came into to contact with Bell were just precious, as we got to see a different side to Ais than even Bell got to see. This was exactly what I was hoping for from the series, and I was just a bit sad there wasn't more of it.
+ The moments the series actually chose to intertwine Ais and the overall story were done pretty well. The motivation for Ais to become stronger is revealed. Best of all, we get to actually see the Sword Princess struggle with some of her battles.
Story overall score: 5/10. Although it wasn't very original, I'd say it had a lot of potential. It just chose to execute it in a way that wasn't exceedingly interesting.
Animation: 2/5. A pretty obvious step down from the original series. The fight scenes seemed far less intense. Their movements were sometimes rough. I mean, seriously. If the best animated scene from the series was taken directly from the original series, we have a problem.
Art: 3/5 A serious downgrade, once again, from it's predecessor. The setting and scenery were fine. Nothing spectacular. In the scenes with less action the characters were occasionally drawn very sloppily, and it was pretty noticeable Nothing great overall, which is a shame because the first season had fairly decent art and animation.
Art score overall: 5/10 Obvious short cuts were taken, but some scenes were pleasing to look at.
Opening: 1/3. It's a pretty skip-able opening. Nothing spectacular, certainly nothing I'd want to listen to on it's own. It wasn't an opening that got me excited to watch the episode at all, although I guess it was an okay opening for a fantasy genre show.
Ending: 0/2. This ending was just bad. Not only was it entirely skip-able, but it didn't even make me want to watch the next episode or convey the tone or mood of the show accurately at all.
OST: 2/3. The original soundtrack wasn't anything particularly special. It had common fantasy instrumentals (you know the ones). There was one track that caught my attention, surprisingly, although it still wasn't anything I'd listen to out of context. The rest of the soundtrack did a decent job of conveying setting and the mood and/or tone of the occurring events. Not a lot of complaints here.
Voice: 1/2 The voice actors of the main characters were pretty meh. Lefiya's voice was rather annoying and didn't really portray emotions well at all. Ais' actor was alright, but I feel like she didn't really conform to the character well enough. Side character voices were decent all around. I'm a fan of Bete's VA, and Finn's wasn't too shabby, either.
Sound score overall: 4/10. Nothing spectacular at all, not that I really expected much. The OST was by far the best part for me.
Character: Oh my, here we go. Buckle in, boys and girls, we're going on a bumpy ride.
Design: 2/2. Not really any complaints here. Their designs are typical fantasy setting, and they're easy to tell apart.
Enjoyable: 1/3. I did not really care for most of the members of the Loki Familia. I did enjoy watching Ais, Finn, and Bete, but that's unfortunately it. Lefiya might be one of the most annoying characters I have ever come across. I had to stop myself from rolling my eyes whenever she came on screen. No, that's not an exaggeration. She was that bad. At least the moments with Bell and Ais were fun to rewatch, as were the moments when Ais was fighting. Otherwise, the remaining characters were mostly boring. Although, I have to give it up to that perverted Goddess, Loki. I did enjoy the scenes where she actual showed that she was a pretty cunning woman.
Shall we break down why?
-Lefiya: Oh, hello there Bell 2.0. Lefiya is literally the "Can I copy your homework?" meme. I mean, not that another Bell would be particularly terrible, but she was just so much worse. Honestly, combine Bell and Hestia and add in zero character development and an exceedingly annoying personality and voice. There. That's Lefiya. Perhaps the worst choice of a main character they possibly could have picked. I can't even remember if she was in the first season or not. Not to mention the most annoying aspect of her: It's stated that she's already has the power of a Level 3 Adventurer, but she's /too scared to do anything/ on the battlefield.
-Ais: The only reason this got a measly point. I was so glad Ais got at least a tiny bit of character development. Like I've stated previously, the amount of screen time she got was a sin considering I thought this entire season was going to be following her story. But we got her motivation to become stronger, we saw some fights where she did struggle and wasn't some OP God being, and best of all we get to see that she seems almost somewhat envious of Bell (who is developing so quickly). We see the reason as to why she agreed to train him in the first place, and that he's actually motivating her at the same time. Still no drastic changes in character, but it was a start.
-The rest of the cast: Not really any development here. Tiona and Tione were pretty static the entire way through. Although Bete, Finn, and Riveria were enjoyable to watch, they didn't change much, either. I will mention Filvis,though. As a new character introduced in this series, I found her pretty interesting and she did get some development. Still, not much.
Overall character score: 4/10. Even though they have decent designs, over half of the characters were not even enjoyable to watch, and this series was seriously lacking in the character development department
Enjoyment: 5.5/10. Despite there being countless flaws to this spinoff, I did kind of enjoy it. If I hadn't watched the original series I definitely would not have enjoyed it as much as I did.
Overall: 5/10. Although this series can be watched on it's own, if you haven't seen DanMachi, you'll probably enjoy this even less than I did. If you didn't like the original season, definitely steer clear. However, if you're an avid fan of DanMachi and are eagerly awaiting a true second season, I'd say you should watch it. It gives a different perspective and a deeper story to the events that occurred in the first season. I haven't read the Manga, so I'm not sure if the storyline here will be necessary to know if we ever do get a true second season, but if you're a fan of Ais WallenWhatsit, you'd probably enjoy this show at least as much as I did. Keep in mind that the latter six episodes are much better than the first six. Or, more enjoyable, at least.
Thanks for reading~