Though a near endless Labyrinth lies beneath the streets of the great city of Orario, filled to overflowing with all manner of deadly creatures, it is far from being the most immediate threat faced by the people walking the surface. For when two familia meet in all-out war, it is the alleyways and rooftops that become the battlefield. When faced with enemies numbering in the hundreds, what can a familia of two hope to accomplish?
Bell Cranell arrived in Orario little more than two month ago and through his phenomenal growth the eyes of many have begun to drift his way. Now the attention, and unwanted affection, of a lustful god has turned upon our hero, and this god will stop at nothing to obtain his desires. But the Little Rookie does not stand alone, it is time for the Hestia Familia and its goddess to experience their own growth. The actions of a few can leave an indelible mark upon the world and soon all of Orario will know the name and visage of Bell Cranell.
Though I have maligned certain aspects of the Dungeon series from time to time in my previous reviews of the series, I am happy to say that nearly every issue I have mentioned before has been addressed in this volume. And the first and foremost character improved would be the goddess Hestia. Oh, Hestia. How I have loathed thee. But surprisingly enough, that opinion I have so strongly held is starting to change. What was once a rather useless bystander or distressed damsel in most of the situations that she found herself in, can now be called both competent and a rather decent leader. But I may be getting ahead of myself.
Volume six starts off only days after the confrontation with the variat Goliath on the Lower Sixteenth. And despite the Guild’s efforts to keep the situation from becoming known to the general public and adventurers, rumors are still managing to reach the ears of a select few. One of those few would be the god Apollo, leader of a decently strong mid-sized familia. He has set gaze upon Bell and wishes to make the Little Rookie his very own. Yet another example of a god ruled by his own obsession, he is a superb foil for Hestia, as he forces her to grow up and truly become a respectable familia head. Apollo’s plan is simple, he will use his familia’s adventurers to rile Bell into a bar fight and then use his funds to have the witnesses claim that Bell was the one to start the fight. Leveraging the situation, he will force Hestia to accept participation in the loosely justified War Game, with Bell Cranell as the prize. This may seem to be a rather weak set-up, but Apollo knows that the other gods and goddesses need only the flimsiest of pretexts to agree to something that will entertain them. The gods of Orario are a rather contestable bunch and it shows again in glorious fashion.
The author, Fujino Omori, has always had a knack for action sequences and has built a impressively consistent world, but the pacing of past volumes has at times left me wanting. Again, this is not the case with volume six. It’s narrative moves from frantic and pulse-pounding battles in the streets of the city to times of quiet reflection and interpersonal drama deftly. The balance between these moments is excellent, nothing feels out of place or unneeded and there wasn’t a single page that I can recall being disengaged with the story or the people living it. Not a single one of the central characters is ignored, each is given their standout moment, allowing them to make growth as characters and to resolve some of the their own personal story threads that have been sitting out in the wind for a while now.
Once the War Game is agreed upon, Bell sequesters himself into a weeklong training camp from hell in his pursuit to overcome his own foil in this volume, the level three adventurer that leads the Apollo Familia. In the meantime it is left to Hestia to both secure the resources for the fight and come up with a plan that can see her fledgeling familia win in a battle against more than 100. It is at this point where the goddess starts showing a whole new set of colors, I can only guess she is finally putting all the book reading she did in the past to work. Because not only is she having to deal with the Soma Familia’s kidnapping of Lilly, she must also face the truly disagreeable conditions set forth for the War Game. But Hestia Familia has made a number of dear friends in the short two months of its existence and they will not stand idly by. What was once family of two is set to grow.
As it should be, the finale is the highlight of the volume, not just in spectacle, but also in storytelling. All of Orario is watching the War Game unfold, as the gods use their powers to project the battle throughout the city, bets are placed. Each of the participates on the Hestia Familia side get to show off their own particular set of skill in an excellently sequenced showdown, even Hestia gets to display her own much deserved brutality. And when the dust clears we are left with the truly satisfying conclusion.
I can confidently say that this is the best volume of the series to date. Not only are the characters and storytelling in general improved, but the stakes feel tangible. With a theme focused on how the bonds of love and friendship can make a family from strangers, this volume also manages to get you in the feels a few times too. The future of the series looks bright indeed, I have high hopes for what comes next for the Hestia Familia.
Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Vol. 6 was published by Yen Press on August 30th, 2016. Authored by Fujino Omori and illustrated by Suzuhito Yasuda the series is currently ongoing and published by SB Creative Corp. The book series received a one-cour anime adaptation in Spring 2015, covering the first five volumes. Volume 7 will be available in English starting December 13th, 2016.
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