A review of the 2015 spring anime “Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (DanMachi)”
I originally entered this anime thinking “This is J.C.Staff. The genre is fantasy adventure with comedic action on the side. It looks and sounds great. I’m gonna love this show too much.” Let’s just say that I slid out of this dungeon with more scrapes and bruises than benefits (also, 😦 I didn’t get any girls).
In the dead center of the medieval city Orario, a land where Gods walk commonly in the streets, stands an impressive tower that has been nicknamed the “Dungeon.” Roaming the several floors of underground labyrinth are strange beasts and mystic lands. Killing and exploring awards adventurers with experience points, gems, and other items, which can be sold for cash or used to create weapons and armor. Bell Cranel is a noob fighter and inexperienced with the ladies, but after being adopted into the Hestia familia (Total members: now two) the big-boobed “Kamisama” raises “Bell-kun” to become a hero.
The anime kicks off excitingly, showing off neatly intertwined RPG gimmicks that actually make up the world. When the social system is based on your adventurer status and level, you’d try damned hard to beat each and every little goblin with your friends to earn the extra pocket change and EXP. Additionally, you return home to your familia each night with your respective God or Goddess smiling upon you, which only increases your determination. It’s like that for Bell, too, but Bell only has Hestia and vice versa, which mean the two quickly become best buds – “HESTIA IS BESTIA” is real BTW.
Though coins and rankings mean absolute bliss for Bell, he’s set his eyes on the gold: Aiz Wallenstein, the Sword Princess. First contact with this babe saving his life brings Bell to his weak knees, and as the series progresses, he becomes entranced with the idea of leveling up to follow her.
About half way through, when I stopped drooling over the pretty art, however, I realized that DanMachi had no idea where it was going. Bell was growing stronger to catch up to Aiz, his party was slowly increasing, and it’s confirmed that a villain looms in the background, but then nothing else was happening. What started off as a promising quest of heroism and mischievous Goddesses soiled a into fan service mess – one adventure I could honestly care less about. Each episode accomplished so little and the anime doesn’t even end properly! I had more concerns stacking up than compliments, only by the end to realize that none of the aspects the story offered were satisfying.
And what’s with that ridiculous title? It doesn’t even apply here, considering that Bell isn’t in the dungeon to “try to pick up girls.” If anything, they follow him! An alternate translation, Is It Wrong That I Want to Meet You in a Dungeon, at least makes sense because Bell trains to be with Aiz. The subtitle Familia Myth is my favorite, though. Simple, applicable, and effective.
For characters, Bell Cranel is an adorable little fluff of white hair and red eyes. Kind, shy, and easily intimidated, he’s oblivious to all of the girls that flaunt over him, as he only sees Aiz in his heart. I’ll admit he does develop, literally standing one whopping level ahead of the other characters, but much like the show itself you start to care less and less about him because his plot armor was so thick. Hestia and Bell’s supporter, Lili, were also decent, but after their introductions, they just become more players to help Bell succeed.
I was also very unimpressed with “Ms. Wallenwhatsit,” for as one reviewer put it, she’s just a “ditz – a complete airhead.” Her one-hit K.O. slices might be muscular compared to Bell’s little knife, but Aiz is just another sleepy, dull adventurer.
As I mentioned earlier, J.C.Staff paints the colorful world of DanMachi through what appears to be the eyes of Sword Art Online. Even the voice actor for Bell is the same as Kirito! Character designs for Bell and Hestia specifically are really cool (such beautiful eyes), and the Elvish flare on other characters thrown here and there help establish the setting. The dungeon fight scenes are also very well done, slick animation with Hestia’s knife, too!
While the OST is nothing remarkable, it wasn’t a weakness, either. Some Irish tavern jigs and one epic string song for Bell are the only tracks I can recall. I enjoyed the opening “Hey World” by Yuka Iguchi, but only because of that “gif-worthy hip-swingin’ teeth-brushin’ groove that Bell and Hestia do!” The ending “RIGHT LIGHT RISE” by Kanon Wakeshima was more preferable for that cute “tutturu” of the trumpet.
At the end of the day, DanMachi is a lost little fan service/comedy/action segment that has no idea where it’s headed besides trying to be cute and leveling up the main character alone. If you have time to waste, which you shouldn’t cause you’re an anime fan with a never-ending backlog, then I suppose it’s worth a hot afternoon go. Who knows, maybe it was just a poor simulcast, and that it should have been viewed with little time in between? Otherwise, there are a plethora of fantasy comedies out there that perform the same skits with actual success.
“I didn’t want you to leave, because you’re you. I wanted to save you because you’re you.” – Bell Cranel
+ Interesting RPG world, but could have used more depth
+ Nice animation on everything but the monsters; too CG, creative character designs
+ Decently entertaining in terms of comedy and fan service
– Does not have a structured plot, just aimlessly following the “Little Rookie”
– Fantastic start, but lack of plot direction resulted in an unsatisfactory ending
In the cafe, this anime is served up with in the “Breads” category. I know DanMachi is only a small adaptation of a larger light novel series, but still, I don’t think I’d watch a sequel if it even got one. Such a shame, considering that it started off as one of the most anticipated shows of the season. Did you also think Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? was a bit lackluster? Comment below! Until next time, this has been
– Takuto, your host