Fujino Omori/Suzuhito Yasuda
Things are swell for Bell and the gang. They set a personal best for deepest dive into the Dungeon, put down an unusual monster before its reign of terror got outta hand, and are coming back to the surface, high as a kite. And then they find out Bell's lady associate Lyu murdered an adventurer in cold blood. Troubled by this alarming incident, they dive back down to the floors they just left with a bunch of dudes looking to put her behind bars so that they can take the reward money to the bar.
A unique aspect of this volume is that it plays out like a detective novel. Well, sort of. There's a body, a culprit, and a suspect, but it only leans so far into its mystery aspects. Most of the clues you get are the characters going, “I'm suspicious of this one guy,” and it doesn't quite prime you to don your thinking cap to figure out whodunit. In addition, it has the same issue as volume 2 of the Empty Box and Zeroth Maria, where, because it introduces new characters, it'd take an extremely thickheaded lummox to not figure out who's the man behind the mystery.
Speaking of the man behind the mystery, spoilers, he's a terribly cheesy villain. When he's found out, he spills his entire plan to Bell and Lyu, sparing no expense at detailing who he roped into his grand scheme and how he threw everybody for a loop. He barely even has an explanation for why he did the things he did. Danmachi has always itself been guilty of painting things as black and white, but this is too much even by its standards. You can practically summarize his entire bio by writing “He did all this bad stuff because EVIIIILLLLL!!!!”
Honestly, I don't have much else to say about this volume. Aside from its middling play at a murder mystery, it's your standard Danmachi affair. Nameless adventurers are just cannon fodder, Bell gains two new additions to his ever-growing harem, and the plot climaxes in one wicked face-off. For the most part, it's just another day in the Danmachi world, which isn't bad, since I enjoy this series, but it's one of its weaker additions. It tries having the bombast of volumes 5 and 6 but just obsesses with wrecking everything in sight, and it lacks any sort of deeper development for either of the two heroines taking up the spotlight. It's still that same popcorn entertainment the series is great for, but it ends up biting off more than it can chew, and a lot of what it's chewing is plain fat.