I apparently have an affliction for anime’s with really long titles (see here). Is It Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon? is one of those properties that’s known by many names. Commonly referred to as just Dungeon or DanMachi or just Familia Myth. Its roots go back to a light novel series which seems to be the norm nowadays and then of course a manga and now an anime. I’m not familiar with the light novel or manga; let’s be honest, not everyone that will watch this is going to be either. If I miss something or criticize something that’s later explained in the manga, well that’s the nature of reviews. I’m here to enjoy the anime and not absorb the entire franchise. I feel like I have to throw that out there sometimes when I see that a properties roots stem past the anime, because then mega fans tend to throw out inadvertent spoilers to defend criticisms and really it’s not needed. Every adaptation needs to stand on its own.
Which I think Is It Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon? 1.1 does quite well. We’re given a quick set up of the world which is common, especially when the world looks different from our own. It’s a story device that when used properly doesn’t annoy and when it’s used wrong ends up looking like a modern Hollywood Sci-Fi film.
The gist is pretty simple, but don’t get me wrong simple to explain is not simple in execution. The gods have descended to our world and given up their powers and promised not to interfere with our world. But they bless adventurers in protecting the world and also going through the dungeon maze.
We meet our main character Bell as he’s running away from a Minotaur, only to be saved and covered in blood by another adventurer Aiz Wallenstein the Sword Princess. For Bell its love at first site and he goes running off to find out more info about Aiz… while covered in blood. He runs to the Adventurer agency and his friend/handler person Eina helps him get cleaned up, but then scolds him for going to a level of the dungeon he shouldn’t have been in with his level of skills (though we later learn that the Minotaur shouldn’t have been there in the first place).
Through their interaction we get an idea of how the dungeon and world works. Blessed “Family Members” go into the dungeon and kill monsters and collect the gems they drop and then adventurers turn those gems in for money.
After Bell turns in his few gems collected he runs back home to his Goddess Hestia. As it turns out Bell is the only member of the Hestia family and since he’s a newbie and weak… well so is the family. Hestia is clearly into Bell. She brings him food and they have a fun night. They do act like a family even if there’s a brewing love interest in Bell. We also see another part of how the world and adventuring works when Hestia checks Bell’s “Levels.”
This is when the idea became quite awesome to me because it’s a role-playing video game turned into a real world. Bell has levels and everything is stored on a tattoo on his back. Hestia checks his levels and puts it on a piece of paper for him to look at. He gets excited when his agility goes up. He also learns a skill, but Hestia being jealous of Bell’s interest in Aiz keeps it from him. Also I think she’s trying to protect him because clearly she’s lost family members before and doesn’t want him leveling up to quickly and getting killed.
There’s more to the first episode, but really nothing worth going into detail about. There’s a really awkward scene in a pub that serves as some weird motivation for Bell and his puppy love for Aiz. It’s very much forced upon the story and frankly felt too formulaic compared to the rest of the story. As it was the very definition of convenient writing. I get that Bell is in love with Aiz and there will be other love interests for Bell and they’ll never get together. I get it. It’s the formula and it’s not going away anytime soon in anime, manga or light novels. But it really wasn’t needed here. The world was interesting enough that Bell didn’t need to become emotional attached to the first woman he sees in the dungeon.
The world though, is really interesting. I don’t know what the larger story is at play, but for now Bell trying to get stronger and show the cat man that talked shit about him that he is somehow worthy of Aiz is good enough. I just hope they keep it fresh and make the monsters in the dungeon more of a threat. The Minotaur was cool, but the other monsters that Bell faces later were pretty whatever. The worst part of dungeon crawling is facing lightweight bullshit monsters and so hopefully we don’t have to see a bunch of that on the show.
The animation is very good. Since it’s a fantasy world there’s a lot of details to the city and backgrounds are full and rich with the exception of the dungeon itself. It’s a dungeon so rocks and dirt are all you see which isn’t visually catchy in the least bit. It doesn’t have to be beautiful, but it’s a really hard shift from the rest of the show.
The character designs are interesting. The woman all have fan service in mind and Hestia has a string that goes around her arms and under her boobs to give them more… definition… or bounce… it serves no purpose other than to draw attention to them. Bell has softer features to give him that innocent boy look and it works. Overall the design captured a fantasy world, but not in a Knights and Dragons kind of way which was a nice change of pace. In fact it has this hint of Final Fantasy VIII to it in my opinion.
I liked this episode. I can see all the tropes and story formulas at play, but the world is interesting enough for me to stick with it. The comedy is pretty light so hopefully it gets better, but the serious parts were decent making a good balance for the series. If you’re not into fantasy worlds, video games or anime tropes then you’ll probably want to pass on this one, but anyone that enjoys those three things should give it a shot.
Is It Wrong to Try To Pick UP Girls in a Dungeon? 1.1 - Adventurer (Bell Cranel) Official Website