Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon – Anime Review

Japanese Title: Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka

DanMachi (for short)

 

Similar: Sword Art Online

No Game No Life

Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic

 

Watched in: Japanese

Genre: Fantasy Action Romance Comedy

Length: 13 episodes

 

Positives:

  • Funny moments.

Negatives:

  • Deceptive pitch.
  • Bland characters.
  • Little semblance to an RPG.
  • Protagonist hacks his way to success.

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon is a deceptive anime. Despite the RPG world premise, there is little RPG-like about this anime. Furthermore, the gods and goddesses that run this world are neither gods nor goddesses. And finally, it has nothing to do with picking up girls in a dungeon – bait title if I ever saw one.

Wrong Dungeon follows the typical nice guy noob, Bell, in his quest to become stronger and worthy of Aiz, the pro swordswoman who saved him from a Minotaur in the ‘Dungeon.’ Bell is the sole member of the Hestia Familia, led by the goddess Hestia, famous for her blue boob ribbon.

The anime says ‘goddess,’ but there is nothing goddess about her. She’s a class trainer at best and has no divine significance to the games – none of the divinity do. Each god or goddess has a Familia (clan), but they don’t have amazing abilities nor are they powerful – many adventurers would kerb-stomp them. All they do is apply an adventurer’s experience points at the end of the day. And even then, to level up requires a boss kill, making them further redundant. They aren’t real threats, not even the villain. Oh, and they bear no resemblance to their mythological counterparts. Freya in the anime isn’t a goddess of war, Ganesha isn’t a deva of wisdom nor does he remove obstacles, Loki isn’t a trickster, and Hestia doesn’t build a single pantheon!

You need to forget previous iterations of the gods and goddesses. While you’re at it, forget RPGs as well. The game uses experience points and levels, requiring a god and boss kill respectively, as mentioned previous, which implies that you cannot learn by simply training unless you apply the points later. As in, it implies you cannot grow on the spot, but several scenes prove the opposite. So, my question: why have experience points? The rules only apply half the time, and when they do, it doesn’t deepen the plot or world. Is it just me or do these RPG anime have no idea how to make use of RPG mechanics?

Speaking of, Bell’s special something is his boosted levelling rate. How does he have this? Because he’s the protagonist, of course! All anime RPG protagonists have to be cheating hackers. And like Kirito, he attracts all the ladies despite being as flat as Loki’s chest (Loki is female in this). In fact, Wrong Dungeon shares much with Sword Art Online, down to the ‘Dungeon’ being a many-levelled tower.

Bell isn’t a bad character – he isn’t close to the awful that is the harem protagonist – but he’s a nobody; they picked a random NPC in Stormwind to play protagonist. He has a good heart and a positive attitude, except, so does every other forgettable hero.

Wrong Dungeon’s strongest aspect is the humour. Hestia nicknamed ‘Loli Big-Boobs’ is hilarious – I like the acknowledgement – and if you ignore her lack of architectural skills, she is the show’s best character. When the narrative focuses on the serious, matters fall apart, for the hacking protagonist, predictable fight outcomes, unthreatening villain, and weak goddesses sap all tension from proceedings. I would have preferred a comedy with the divinity warring against each other for silly reasons, as we saw in the one episode with ‘Loli Big-Boobs’ versus Loki ‘No-bits.’

With Hestia being all the rage, one would be forgiven for dismissing this as a perverted harem, but to my surprise, the boob comedy was the most successful element. Is It Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon had enough going in its unobtrusive, mild-mannered plot to keep me until the end, though I am glad it had no more than thirteen episodes.

Art – Medium

Standard. Looks a lot like Sword Art Online from the art style to the design of the elves. Suffers from a serious case of mouth-in-cheek syndrome.

Sound – Medium

Acting – standard. Script – average. Music – fine.

Story – Low

A young adventurer seeks strength to woo the best swordswoman in town. Should not have undermined his efforts by giving him free power. As standard a plot progression as you can get.

Overall Quality – Low

Recommendation: Despite the Low quality, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon isn’t a bad anime. If you want something safe, predictable, but nonetheless enjoyable, then pick this up.

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Awards: (hover mouse over each award to see descriptions; click award for more recipients)

Positive: None

Negative: 

Hollow World BuildingLacks ConflictMisleading

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8 thoughts on “Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon – Anime Review”

  1. Well I figured as much. I was psuedo interested in this, but it just never held much of an interest to pursue it. Also, I’m starting to grow tired of the “trapped in a game and other related anime” boom. I also never understood how massively popular this was, but then I read “boob ribbon” and I knew instantly why it became popular -.-

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep, the power of the boob ribbon is strong.
      The trapped in a game premise is popular because it instantly creates tension in the mind of the audience before they even start watching. What if they die in game? (SAO) What if someone can’t get out? (Hack Sign) How does an outsider cope? And so on. The genre also allows all the fantasy and sci-fi you want with all the high school tropes anime is famous for.

      Like

      1. I know, but I guess I’m one of the few people who just doesn’t get tension out of that. SAO? Sure I can argue it’s because the characters weren’t fleshed out, but I just didn’t care if somebody died. And I have that mentality for all trapped in game anime.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, I agree with you. They use the instant tension as a crutch not to create lasting tension. One could start a story with the world ending, but if no further tension is created, it still won’t capture the audience.

        Like

  2. An atmospheric but vague movie that functions like a therapy session, counseling acceptance and forgiveness via a storyline that seems pinched and forced in relation to the wide open spaces of the images.

    Like

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