DanMachi, An Adventure I Could Care Less About

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

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Yamada’s First Time (B Gata H Kei) Review

“B Gata” meaning “Type: B” and “H Kei” meaning “Style: H.” Make of that how you will.

Everyone has sexual tendencies, but is it natural for a virgin teen girl to want to bang 100 guys her first year in high school? Well, Yamada is 15 years old, and this is her goal. She’s beautiful, popular, athletic, smart, and even musically talented – so why the sudden urge? We quickly discover that she has no sexual experience whatsoever when she corners a boy in the library and flashes him. But hey, as the saying goes, “The journey of a hundred miles starts with a single step.”

Like so many, I judged this show just hearing the title. After actually watching it, however, I was in love by episode one. This plot is definitely a hit-or-miss for some, considering its mature themes, but the show goes beyond that. While Yamada’s First Time lacks the actual sex, it teaches a valuable lesson about rushing into things, and how you might want to rethink things through before you do something regrettable. This anime is a one-of-a-kind gem that shines best when it strays from its goal.

Yamada is an interesting character, that’s for sure. She’s slutty, perverted to the max and simply a disaster. But despite her intriguing plot involvement, she is a really enjoyable character. Yamada can be the “go get em’” girl all she wants, but deep down she is only a teenager – she’s still growing and learning. Her lust to lose her V-card results in her chasing down the most unremarkable boy in her class, Kosuda, and she begins to realize that she might have feelings for him.

Kosuda (“cherry boy”) is doomed to her by the first episode – that innocent boy in the library, but he sure doesn’t think that! Kosuda is bland, boring and honestly looks like a background character. He represents the average boy in many ways, but stands out because he gets so freakin’ nervous about most everything related to Yamada. In that, he’s quite hilarious to watch.

While it’s fun following these two chase after each other, you realize that by the end of this short anime, Kosuda is all Yamada’s gonna get. The anime loves teasing its viewers with X-rated hot stuff, but then quickly pulls up its pants before anything unfolds. After watching so many ridiculous scenes with the two, you really want them to have sex – you do and you know it!

Accompanying the lead couple is Yamada’s enduring girlfriend Takeshita who advises her through her journey, Yamada’s Eros Deity, the brash and sexual embodiment of her darkest desires that promotes her banging boys, Kosuda’s quiet childhood friend Miyano who crushes on him the entire series, the perfectionist transfer student and rival of Yamada, Kanejo, and so many more. What can I say? Yamada’s First Time has an ensemble cast that manages to entertain and keep you laughing.

There’s not much to say regarding the animation. It lacks much detail in background scenery, but it gets the job done. You can tell the animators put extra work into making Kanejo and Yamada appear cuter than the others, as it shows when the two face off in various activities.

The OST is spicy and dramatic, fitting the tone and adding to the overall flavor of the series! Argumentative scenes are well supported while the softer romantic scenes strike the heart. I especially enjoyed the opening and ending, “Oshiete A to Z” and “Hadashi no Princess,” both by Yukari Tamura. The opening is just so catchy and tons of fun! J It reminded me of other S.A.V.E. titles like Strike Witches or Negima!?.

Yamada’s First Time is by no means a full-blown hentai, but rather a more playful ecchi. The show teases its viewers and services the fans. It’s a guilty pleasure that I enjoyed probably way more than I should have >.< Because of its mature content, the anime is not for everyone. But my god do I recommend it – absolutely. Yamada’s First Time is a precious and lovable anime. “Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.” – Kobi Yamada

While I don’t currently own a copy, Yamada’s First Time in FUNimation’s S.A.V.E format is on my Amazon.com cart! For less than $15.00, it’s a must buy! Also, Brittney Karbowski’s role as Yamada is really good ~

Thanks for reading as always and be sure to check out other reviews for more recommendations. If you had similar thoughts or were inspired to watch this anime, then go ahead and hit that like button or drop a comment below! I welcome all new customers (followers) to the anime café and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

 

 

 

TRINITY SEVEN Review

Harem anime rely on three concepts to succeed, regardless of how stupid the plot might be:

1. A decently likable lead that undergoes some sort of personal growth throughout the show
2. An even more enjoyable and interactive ensemble cast that is attracted to said lead for some odd reason
3. Humorous dialogue and decent amounts of fan service

. . . Or so I thought.

TRINITY SEVEN demonstrates what happens when an anime relies too much on its harem, sidelining any plot explanation, and ultimately pays a heavy price for such unbalanced writing.

Arata Kasuga’s world literally comes crashing down on him when an apocalyptic event known as a “Breakdown Phenomenon” destroys the whole world and throws his cousin Hijiri Kasuga into a different one. Unable to get Hijiri back nor stop the catastrophe, Arata finds himself enrolling in a magic school, Royal Biblia Academy, that houses the great “Trinity Seven,” seven girls who have mastered their own “Thema” and are ace magicians. From here, Arata plans to “learn the magic” of these powerful ladies and control his “demon lord candidate” abilities in order to bring back his beloved cousin, Hijiri.

What caused this untimely “Breakdown Phenomenon?” What did the caster gain from this tragedy? How does one learn the complex system of magic?

These are just a few of the many reasonable questions that get little to no answer. Crucial explanation is tossed out for exploding clothes, bouncing boobies and nude scenes of Arata and the girls. I enjoy my fair share of fan service as much as the next guy, but TRINITY SEVEN has way way too much of it! I grew really tired of it :/

Unnecessarily convoluted plot aside, the show might score a win with its characters.

The lead boy Arata Kasuga appears to be your typical pervert, but he’s surprisingly different. He’s honest about his attractions, never stuttering while apologizing a thousand times; we’ve all seen it, don’t lie, it gets really old. “Thank you for the feast” is one of his quotes to witnessing nudity. Kasuga was a fresh harem lead, and I enjoyed the fact that he doesn’t use the Trinity Seven, but instead fights even stronger alongside them. Plus, his voice actor is Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (Kirito-kun) – you can’t get much better than him!

While a couple of the Trinity Seven are cutout characters, the ones that I found myself drawn to were Lilith Asami, Levi Kazama, and Akio Fudou.

First off, Lilith-sensei is one of the teachers at Royal Biblia Academy, and as such is Arata’s #1 tease. She wields a magical rail rifle weapon and knows how to fire it quite well. I love the concept art of her character, red-braided hair with blue eyes and a monocle on occasion, as well as her hate/love relationship with Arata. The two get along well, and by the end, hold respectful positions with each other. Also, Arata loves her giant jugs – the best out of the Trinity Seven 😉

Levi and Akio act more like supports for Lilith and Mira Yamana (the cute yet stern tsundere leader) respectively, and as such are mainly “power houses.” They both have their own motives, yet go along with Arata’s teasing. Truly a hidden comical duo!

Another one of the show’s better features was the animation by Seven Arcs. While intricate CGI architecture made up the school and its majestic hallways, characters had matching and rich color designs, be it in uniforms, hair color or eyes. The ecchi hot scenes are also a beauty; graceful curves and shining skin really do go a long way :3

OST-wise, the soundtrack contains lovely violin melodies for both combat and relaxation. Sometimes rap-like chanting is sung to help fill the space. It’s unique and adds its own touch to this anime.

The opening “Seven Doors” by ZAQ is freakin’ amazingballz! By using chromatic scales to create a haunting undertone, and mixing that with a sweet, reminiscing melody, you get a super cool song! Check it out – it is a must! BTW, I love Hijiri’s cute face when the verse starts ~

Now back to the rant. TRINITY SEVEN is nothing but boobs, attempted serious magic, exploding clothes, then more boobs. It’s awesome for a while and really could have been so much more, but by episode 6 or so I was utterly lost and just done. To be honest, I can’t believe I stuck it out, but then again, I’m a completionist, so yeah. “Connect to blah blah – Execute Thema!” Or whatever the hell it is.

Thanks for reading! Remember that these are my own thoughts, so feel free to drop a comment with your own. Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host