Commonly known as the "Dungeon", the city of Orario possesses a huge labyrinth in the underground. Its strange name attracts excitement, illusions of honor, and hopes of romance with a pretty girl. In this city of dreams and desires, new adventurer Bell Cranel has his fateful encounter with the tiny Goddess Hestia.
Thus begins the story of a boy striving to become the best adventurer and a lonely goddess searching for followers both working together to fulfill their goals.
There are times you get a reminder that no matter how many swords, boobs and magic you throw at a show it can’t save it from the boring characters among it all. Welcome to the world of Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka, where strong personalities are obviously illegal and main characters are inexplicably attractive to women. A 13-episode fantasy story put to screen by J.C. Staff and based on a light novel, ‘DanMachi’ can at times be an enjoyable experience if you shut your brain off. Action is served up in droves but in an equal share comes a bland cast and a setting that doesn’t exactly shout out originality.
We follow the journey of Bell Cranel. Bell is an ‘adventurer’, one who goes forth to the dungeon to seek fame and glory while putting their life on the line to do so. There he encounters the talented and renowned ‘Sword Princess’ Aiz Wallenstein. Suddenly he’s love struck. With the help of his goddess Hestia, Bell sets out to conquer not only beasts but also his fear of approaching the girl of his dreams.
I’ll put my positive first: This is that show that doesn’t dwell on things for too long. Bell makes progression at a ridiculous rate but at least events keep coming and every episode feels fresh in some way. Different enemies provide a new challenge. Some of these enemies remind Bell of when he was weaker and it brings some painful memories. He has to overcome these grim reminders and apply the new knowledge he’s learned to beat his enemies. Some also force him to change up his technique and get creative. For all its terrible harem schlock this is at least a nicely paced adventure.
Some of the later episodes had some more interesting fights with more than just some crystals on the line. The cast also expands a little at that point, definitely to the show’s benefit. At that point it really starts to feel like we are watching something interesting come together. There’s also this sense that Bell is really fighting for something he wants and not simply hacking at things for no reason. That’s where the praise ends in this department.
Here’s the problem: Bell doesn’t truly earn anything in his line of adventuring. Everything that helps him become stronger is either served to him on a silver platter or overcome through some ridiculous newfound level of power. Through certain attributes Bell is rendered pretty much unbeatable and given an unfair boost of all other adventures. With that you say goodbye to almost all the tension this show creates within the dungeon. If something does hold Bell back it takes no time for him to find a way around it. Some methods he uses to do so are out of left field and not properly explained. When an explanation for them does arrive – very much out of the blue – it comes at a ridiculous moment. While it does excuse a lot of Bell’s powerful capabilities, it’s a double-edged sword. The plot armour simply stacks higher on him.
An early scene posits Bell as the runty adventurer who can’t achieve anything and you get the sense that this could be a tough rise through the ranks. But before you know it he’s making a name for himself in the field quicker than you know it. Why? Because of the power of love, which as we all know is far stronger than any physical material. How touching. Why couldn’t his romance simply be a driving force instead of something that literally has the capability to bolster his stats?
While the story has redeemable moments, and is actually decently written, the characters reduce this show to a mess on many occasions. Let’s start with our main man. Bell is just another run-of-the-mill anime MC. He’s just… there. There’s no background to his character to at least give us an idea of why he wants to take up adventuring in the first place. He’s an example of the ‘play it safe’ approach to characters. By stripping him of any hard-hitting character faults he gains likeability but at the same time becomes a lot less interesting.
Then there’s the pint-sized goddess Hestia who has a bust size and a temperament trying to outdo each other in volume. As annoying as her character can be at least her affection for Bell, compared to the rest of the female cast, actually makes sense. Bell is her only familia member so it’s understandable that she’s going to be a little clingy. The writers play up this fact though to the point that it starts degrading her character. Hestia goes from someone looking for validation and purpose to being a paranoid stalker. A very, very annoying paranoid stalker. Top that off with an abundance of ridiculous fanservice involving her and it’s a great way for me to stop taking a character’s problems seriously. At times we get a peek into seeing a different side of her but it remains hidden in the shadows, presumably for that inevitable second season some time down the track.
It would also have been nice if the girl Bell desires so badly, Aiz, actually had some semblance of personality that makes her a worthy target of his affection. I guess she’s a blonde, green-eyed beauty in questionably-designed armour who can swing a sword well. Sure she’s got it on the looks front but the show never once makes me feel like she’s worthwhile being the end goal of our main character – even taking into account the fact she’s helped him out before in some tough situations. In defence of Aiz she at least isn’t going completely head over heels for our white-haired friend. But in the face of that, she still feels like a soulless background object.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want a character study out of show about fighting beasts in dungeons and levelling up. You’d not be of sound mind to want that. I just want something entertaining with a cast I really want to cheer on. More personality and overall likeability could have been breathed into the group. My problems are only made worse by the fact that every piece of comedy missed the mark. Considering it makes up a large portion of the show you can imagine my frustration when some comedic intervals just dragged on and on.
If you value strong, interesting characters then this isn’t for you. If you value the creation of original ideas and environments then this isn’t for you. If watching a cardboard cut-out, danger-immune, overpowered main character whose presence makes every female he encounters flood the vicinity in juices of excitement while living with a four-foot god with a breast size that has the second half of the alphabet in its sights then this is for you.
The more people keep dishing praise on shows like these, the less encouragement we give studios to adapt exciting and challenging material or create interesting original works. I guess what sells, sells. DanMachi isn’t remotely close to the worst shows I’ve watched but it brings absolutely nothing new to the anime table. There are less memorable moments in this series then there are words in its own title.
I’ll be nice enough to say that there were brief moments where I did sit enough and give it some attention. I can see why other people can enjoy it for longer periods than myself. There’s flashy fights and some nicely animated sequences that even got a cynical man like me to sit up and say ‘Yeah. That’s alright’. The story isn’t going to blow your socks off but it never drags. The action keeps coming and the show rarely sits down for a breather. However I feel like a lot of the purpose of the world is kept locked away from us, which got on my nerves. There’s characters pulling the strings from shadows but even as the show comes to a close we learn almost nothing new.
I can stop hacking away at the show for a moment when it comes to the art department. With a J.C. Staff anime you know you’re at least going to get some well-polished art and decent animation. Fights have plenty of impact and punch thanks to a combination sound and debris. You can really feel the weight behind every sword swing, fist flying and rock scattering. The fights are clearly the show’s strong point and the technical side of things have gone a long way to achieving that.
Some may find entertainment in the fight choreography - a very fair point - but when a particular outcome always feels certain then I can’t put myself in that boat. There is virtually no interesting complications character-wise. There’s catering for every character trope imaginable. There’s fan service ready to leap out at you from every corner. For everything that DanMachi does right it seems to do two other things wrong.
Is it wrong to pick up girls in a dungeon? I still don’t know and I don’t know if I want to hang around longer to find out the answer.read more
The easiest way to sum up Is it Wrong to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon, or Danmachi for short, was eloquently put by Youtuber Demolition-D as “Sword Art Online: Fat-Fucking-Titties edition”. Who am I to argue with such a flawless summation? There is no question about what Danmachi is; it’s an otaku-pandering, self-insertion, video-game-inspired LN adaptation. The real question lies in whether you will love it for what it is, or hate it for what it is. In case you haven’t guessed it by now, I fall into the latter category. This shallow, ridiculous, and remarkably unoriginal work is a good example of everything wrong with anime today.
Synopsis: Bell Cranel is an adventurer; someone who explores dangerous dungeons and fights monsters for a living. He and his “goddess”, which is basically a glorified manager, Hestia, make up the smallest “familia” in all the land. This is the story of Bell winning every fight he’s ever been involved in one way or another, making every girl he comes into contact with fall in love with him despite his obvious lack of any charisma whatsoever, and gaining special abilities that nobody else can use for no discernable reason. In other words, it’s your standard LN adaptation.
Danmachi’s plot is what you get when you take SAO’s plot and crank it up a notch on the pandering scale. MORE fanservice. MORE blood. LARGER harems. MORE white-knighting from the protagonist. DOUCHIER side characters to make the protagonist look good by comparison. And, of course, LESS actual substance. It’s seriously like someone looked at the already stupid LN video game formula and said “Hmmm, how do we make this even harder to take seriously?” But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with the first reason Danmachi’s plot is bad: plot armor and melodrama. Much like a battle shounen, it is painfully obvious in any video game LN adaptation that the MC is never actually in any danger. However, the show spares no expense in convincing you that he is using the cheapest tactics possible. Last second saves? Check. Asspulled power ups? Check. Deus ex machina? Check-aruney. The entirety of the plot consists of Bell and the other main characters being put it perilous situations that even the most naïve of viewers can recognize will be resolved smoothly at the last second. Over and over and over again. It’s bad writing, it’s repetitive, and it’s not entertaining.
It’s at this point in the review that I realize there were so many things wrong with the show that I don’t even know what to talk about next. This may be a bizarre order of doing things, but now let’s talk about Bell Cranel; the protagonist. Dear. God. What an annoying, insufferable, shallow, clichéd, gary-stu, self-insert, AWFUL character. When you talk about characters who might as well be literally Gandhi, you can go ahead and put this saint at the top of the list. Nothing, and I mean NOTHING would ever cause this guy to do something wrong or immoral. People can betray him, steal from him, assault him, whatever; he just takes the abuse like a proverbial Jesus Christ and instantly forgives all wrongdoings. After all, they wouldn’t want to give off the impression that he is human or anything! Real people don’t have flaws or negative emotions, right? It’s SO much more interesting to have an idealized concept of all that is good in the world without an ounce of moral ambiguity so that otakus can fap to fantasies of the hundreds of sex objects that flock to his holy cock! Oh, and you better believe that he has special abilities that nobody else in the entire world has! It’s not enough that he’s the most righteous organism on planet Earth, but he also has a super special power that enables all of his skills to be as high as they possibly can AND enables him to level up faster than anyone else who has ever lived! Now, I want you to guess the explanation they give for why this makes sense; this is their GENIUS explanation for why Bell has this one-of-a-kind ability that makes him the most special person in all the land: BECAUSE HE’S IN LOVE. …OHHHHH! WELL THAT MAKES PERFECT SENSE! FUCK. I mean... just… fuck. I won’t even question it. In conclusion, Bell sucks. Moving on.
Unfortunately, the trend of shallow, awful characters continues with the rest of the cast. Let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room; Hestia. Fucking. Hestia. *Sigh… Just… why? I must be the ten-billionth person to ask this, but what the hell is the obsession with her? She is no different than any other 1 dimensional, big-boobed, harem-fodder nobody in a slutty outfit that allows us to instantly identify her as a sex-object, as if we wouldn’t have figured it out anyway. The absolute best description you can give about Hestia is that she functions as comic relief, and I don’t even think she’s very funny. That brings us to Lili, the other 1-dimmensional sex object who occupies the loli, furry, and tortured fetishes all at the same time. Impressive writers. Very impressive. Fetish writers around the world will have to come up with an answer to that. Maybe if she was also a robot-childhood-friend? Anyway, I’m not even going to mention the rest of the harem since they are completely one-dimensional and indistinguishable. Let’s also go over the nameless side-characters; I feel the need to bring attention to the fact that Bell is the ONLY adventurer in the entire world who is not a tremendous asshole. The “villain” adventurers have no depth at all, of course, but they are still made out as such blatantly awful people in order to FURTHER drive home the fact that Bell is Jesus. Not only is this lazy characterization, it’s also blatantly black-and-white morality, which makes the show require even less thought. This is one of the worst character casts since, well, Sword Art Online.
Let’s also take a moment to discuss how incredibly creative the monsters in this show are. Danmachi brings us such breathtaking and original monster designs such as, a bunny. A wolf. A minotaur. Oh, and who could forget the floor boss, “literally a titan from Attack on Titan”? Truly masterful creativity from these animators. It’s clear that a lot of work went into this show.
This is the paragraph where I planned on talking about how misogynistic this show is and how distracting the constant fan service is, but do I really need to give you that whole spiel? I already briefly talked about this stuff, and I feel like it’s so obvious why these aspects of a show are flaws that I shouldn’t need to explain it. Women with the obedience and dedication of slaves and no complexity whatsoever? It’s every otaku’s dream! And that’s precisely why this show is going to make a ton of money.
I could keep going. Really, I could. I could talk all day about what an awful betrayal of the basic fundamentals of writing this show is, but I think you get the idea. The reality is, a lot of people are going to like this show. A large percentage of anime fans are not at all bothered by anything I just mentioned, because for them, a self-insertion work is all they need. That’s fine and dandy for them, but from my point of view, this show and all shows like it are cancer. Danmachi is the antithesis of the clever and intelligent shows that made me become a fan of the medium in first place; it’s a brain-dead, effortless advertisement for the LN that ends incomplete. If you liked SAO or any other similar LN video game adaptation, you’ll love Danmachi. Everyone else? STAY. AWAY. Far, FAR away. read more
Danmachi is an anime made to be simple. First of all, you won't see anything complex here. I see it as one of the budget anime, where there's nothing special about it, but it sells. It feels like sao season 3, just with more fan service. The purpose that I've found of Danmachi, is to serve as a passtime, and relaxation after you've exhausted the list of must watch anime, or if you want something "casual".
Right at the start, there is a narration, that quickly shows you a bit of how the world works. Later on, in the first episode you will of course find out more. What you will be finding out is, that that world is basically an RPG. It doesn't say anything about this being a game, but it simply works like that. People that aren't gamers probably won't understand most of the stats, leveling and item thingies. There are adventurers, that follow certain goddesess, which lost their divine power, just to have fun with mortals. The purpose is to conquer the Dungeon that is in the center of the world, and beat all the bosses. Doesn't sound like anything special, does it? Feels like you're watching someone else play an MMORPG, since everything is very easy-going.
*Minor spoilers in this paragraph
The adventurer that we are following is Bell Cranel. He is a guy that is naive, wants to be a hero, good mannered. But he's STUPID. The first scene we meet him, is when he was being chased down, just to see him soon saved from the strongest adventurer there is, that is supposedly a female. After being saved, he falls in love with her, and his motive is, I MUST GET STRONGER JUST TO REACH HER. Later on I will talk more about her. Soon after we meet his goddess, that is Hestia. I can describe her very quickly. Loli, with boobs, and throughout the entire series, you will only see her going after Bell. This serves to stop Bell from ending up with anyone. Hilarity ensues, except i didn't find it that funny, because it's the most stupid love triangle. Instead of bell going for the one that is extremely caring for him, he chases the strongest female, that turns out to be an airhead which we will see later on. And because it is all like that, the dialog is extremely stupid, leading to nothing. If they're not talking about adventure, they're talking about how the sky is beautiful or something like that. Another stupid character he meets, his supporter, living in the guild with the most ridiculous motive (more wine!). She has a very inconsistent personality. At first she wants to scam Bell, for his items. She accidentally falls down, the weapon gets out, and miraculously, that happens in front of a good character related to Bell. Cheap trick just to get the supporter some forced character development. Bell soon gets it back, without him noticing anything, 'cause it's Bell! Soon after witnessing her betray him again before his very own eyes, and she tells him that she already betrayed him once before, Bell forgives her, risks his live to save her, and the harem increases. On the question why? He answers that he didn't know (but he does! The writer told him, that he will gain a new motive; protect thine friends!) Most of the characters are plot devices that lead to a boring story.
Bell cranel has a Premium account, and he's the only one. He's the chosen one, and while the world seems very balanced, Bell with his unstable personality, manages to do great things, and beat monsters, that realistically speaking, if the world is based on stats, his weapons should just break. What's the point in stats and leveling, if it doesn't even show how powerful someone is. But he gets an ability, that makes it impossible to lose. Literally impossible, even though it is not instant. He's just beating everything through out his screams, that sound really good. He isn't a chicken Gary Stu like i describe him, he first falls, and than comes back, it isn't like he's god mode walking through everything. He also sees invisible people because he feels their eyes on him, perfect logic. Premium account, or hacker? You decide!
The fights are very good, not anti-climatic, they also have very nice music, and sounds, and are also animated extremely well. There's even a lot of blood going, and you can feel really well how the monsters get sliced up. The music is really epic, but the opening is just, no. It feels like it is for some slice of life show. It should sound more adrenaline pumping and exciting not like this. The music is at it's peak in the fights as i mentioned. And this is one of the few anime where i really enjoy the fights. Even though they're just shit Bell has to go through. However, the art and character designs are not well done for 2015, but they aren't terrible.
I didn't talk about all the characters, since most of them exist just to be there. Nothing to talk about them, since they don't do much for the plot. Even though it is all cliched, by my point of view, i usually don't like this stuff, and would rate this even lower. The only special thing about Danmachi is that it is not boring to watch; it's so easy-going with many flaws. It's like so simple, that it is fun in the same time, it gives off some kind of a nice feeling. If it is nice why is it only 4? Because the characters, are mostly annoying, and the story is just shit Bell goes through, without him receiving any character development.
I've just stated in this Review mostly how I feel about it. It is of course possible for people to enjoy this. Since it is, like I mentioned, very simple. If it isn't objectively good, it doesn't mean it won't be fun. With being simple, and the way the pacing is easy-going, together with intense battles, there is no sin if you enjoy it. It doesn't try much to be what it isn't, and I didn't give 4 since it failed, rather because i didn't like it. Since i usually burn this kind of anime down and I didn't really hate it as much as I could, most people would still find much more enjoyment in Danmachi than me. read more
Dungeon ni Deai wo Motome..... Or DanMachi for short(What is with all the anime shows with long ass titles nowadays?), was an anime that aired last season that sparked a tiny bit of attention, probably due to the fact that it has the fantasy/romance/adventure tags and it shared some similarities with SAO. Being one of the most controversial shows of the spring season, I noticed that many people are giving high ratings for it, 7, 8, and higher. While everyone is entitled to their opinions, after watching all 13 episodes, I have concluded that DanMachi is deserving of a 5/10, which might be low to some people, but I think it's fair for what DanMachi was able to offer.
STORY: The plot of the show is actually very simple. To summarize it, the story follows Bell Cranel, a newbie adventurer who strives to become stronger in order to catch up to the girl he likes who is also an adventurer. With the support of his goddess Hestia, they both go on a journey to achieve their goals through dungeon exploration and encounters with other adventurers. First, I'll start out with the bad points. I'll be blunt. The story does not go anywhere. It may look like it, but it really doesn't. The whole story is supposed to be showcasing Bell and Hestia's journey, how he reaches his goal of becoming stronger, with the support of his goddess. But the thing is, Bell was already strong to start with. There wasn't one part where Bell failed. I won't give any specific details, but every time he encountered a new problem or enemy, he would almost fall or give up, but he just got stronger in every situation and pulled something out of his ass each time. In all seriousness though, because of this, there really wasn't much story development in that respect. Bell is already strong, and we just see him get even stronger and nothing really changes story wise. It's a typical anime cliche, which we have seen a lot in shounen. The plot is basically,
beat enemy - make friends - get even stronger - beat enemy - make more friends
And the cycle continues. The other issue is the story has some plotholes. What I mean by that is nothing is really explained. We are given an introduction into this world of adventure, filled with dungeons, monsters, magic, weapons and so forth. It's interesting and grabs your attention, but the information they give is very vague, if they gave any at all. And then as you watch through the show you are left with a bunch of questions which can distract from entire story. You might be able to figure things out by piecing information together, but it would have been much better if they made some aspects of the story and setting clear, which would have strengthen the foundation of the show. There are also times where the goal of the plot is forgotten. They threw in some romance in attempt to push the story forward, but that aspect of it goes nowhere and is completely ignored after the first and second episodes, which was the main reason Bell wanted to get stronger in the first place, and they changed it to him wanting to boost his stats. The ending was also unsatisfying and didn't make much sense. Anyways, if there is anything that DanMachi does well with it's story is bringing something new each episode. Whether it's a new battle with a new enemy, or the characters shopping in the town, each episode has something that sets it apart from the rest and keeps it refreshing. There are also some small side character arcs which help in keeping your interest. Besides that, DanMachi's plot has quite a few flaws, more than good. The show can also feel overdramatic, but despite all that, with the fantasy/adventure aspect along with the some comedy, makes it a lot easier to watch.
ART/ANIMATION: I thought the animation/art was good. The details of the characters, setting, weapons, and even the monsters were all done well. Colors were nice and bright, and the action scenes were clear and fluid. There really wasn't anything I found myself uncomfortable with, I think it's around the quality you would expect from an anime show in 2015.
MUSIC/SOUND: Th music in the show I wouldn't say is very distinct, or something that I would listen to outside of the anime, but I thought the soundtracks were fitting of the show and the setting that we were dealing with. I also enjoyed the opening song, I found myself wanting to actually listen to it instead of skipping it. I can't say so much about the ending, but the OP was enjoyable I found. Other than that, there isn't anything particularly memorable that I would want to listen too all the time. The main characters voices, Hestia and Bell, got annoying at some point though and I got tired of hearing them. But it really depends on you.
CHARACTER: Honestly, the characters were mediocre. As the MC's, we have Bell and Hestia, and then we have many supporting characters, including Crozzo, Arde, Wallenstein, Eina, Ryu, Freya, to name some of the more important ones. DanMachi actually has quite an arrange of characters, but there are some issues revolving around them. For example, Bell is really just your standard MC. He wants to be a hero, and he tries way too hard to get you to like him. We are given little background about why he wants to be an adventurer, and he's given all these positive qualities which just makes him all the less interesting. Not to mention the fact that he is over powered, when compared to many other characters in the show(besides Wallenstein), as he has this extreme growth rate and skills which no one else has which pretty much makes him stronger than everyone else and gives him the ability to get to pull through any dire situation. Hestia, the other MC, can be described with one word. ANNOYING. In the beginning of the show, she was actually a fun character to watch, mainly because of the dynamics between her and Bell. As a goddess who is looking after him, it is evident that she really cares for Bell and wants to help him reach his goals. This side of her is what makes her stick out as a character, and her interactions with Bell can be quite cute, and she adds a lot of humor to the show. At some point though she does get annoying because she starts becoming a stalker instead, and getting very paranoid when Bell interacts with other girls. At that point she becomes an annoying stalker with enormous boobs. Then there is Wallenstein, who Bell supposedly likes, but nothing ever develops between them as the driving force of the story changed. Wallenstein can be described as one of your cool, composed characters with striking beauty. But to summarize her character, she's as airhead who shows no emotion whatsoever and can kick ass. She really had no personality, which in turn made no sense why Bell would have been attracted to her. I think she would have been a really cool character if she actually showed some emotion and was clear about her feelings, but she's a dead character from what I can tell which is disappointing. Besides that, there are many other characters that are actually way more interesting, but sadly any sort development was shafted through the show. We do get hear/see some of the characters backstories and motives, but none of them were fleshed out enough to really bring out the characters. The only time we get any real development is through the small arcs with some of the supporting characters, like Lili. Other than that, we can see some slight change within the characters, but none of it was touched on, and we don't get much depth. There are also characters like Freya, who played a part in the story and were shown frequently, but their motives were never revealed and as characters they were never touched on.
OVERALL/ENJOYMENT: Overall, I'd say DanMachi is just another average anime. There isn't anything that makes it good or stand out, but I wouldn't put it off as complete garbage. The atmosphere and setting of the show keep it interesting, enough to make you watch it and get through it without wanting to punch your computer screen or drop it. It is to say that it wasn't as good as I expected it to be either, but some part of me enjoyed it, probably due to the similarity it shares with SAO. Anywho, if you're thinking about watching this, go for it. If you enjoy fantasy and action, then you may like this more than I do. Just for your information though, don't be deceived by the title, it is not wrong to pick up girls in a dungeon, but the MC never picks up one if that's what you are thinking.
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