Japanese Title: Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka
DanMachi (for short)
Similar: Sword Art Online
Watched in: Japanese
Length: 13 episodes
- Funny moments.
- 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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