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.
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.
Danmachi is a textbook example of an anime that is truly a guilty pleasure in its own right. It doesn't have the most impressive writing, there are tons of clichés and fanservice, and the pacing is sometimes questionable but even so it never ever fails to be entertaining, which is something I can't say for most anime.
Danmachi follows a popular trend in recent years of having a setting that takes place entirely within an MMORPG game world. The difference this time however is that... it actually doesn't. Instead, the story takes place in the characters' real world, but their real world functions like a game.
Adventurers gain experience points, earn loot, level up, gain skills and magic etcetera, but it all still takes place in their own actual reality. There is a magical dungeon which adventurers go to in search for treasure in order to make a living for themselves. They have to fight the local monsters found inside the dungeon in order to get the loot to drop, and in the process they level up, gain experience and become stronger. Pretty simple. It's a quite fresh take on what is otherwise a somewhat overused concept in recent years.
The story begins when a young rookie adventurer named Bell Cranel one day gets his life saved by a female swordmaster within the dungeon. Her name is Ais Wallenstein, a quiet, airheaded yet very powerful woman whom Bell instantly falls in love with. He sets a goal for himself to become stronger so that he one day might be worthy to stand beside Ais as an equal. Upon doing this, he gains a unique ability which makes him gain experience points at an unbelievable rate as long as he stays true to those feelings of affection.
Bell is an extremely shy and innocent boy, but also a very passionate one. What I like about him is that he actually feels like a real human being. He's not a typical self-insert imbalanced protagonist like Kirito (even if they do have the same voice actor), nor is he a generic shounen lead relying on nakama power. Rather he comes across as a very kind-hearted person who truly cares for those he's close to, and will do anything to help them in any way he can. He's someone you can genuinely relate to and cheer for during his struggles, and given the nature of Danmachi's dungeon crawling oriented storyline, that's a pretty important factor.
The female lead on the other hand would be the poster girl of the 2015 anime fanart community, namely the illustrious goddess Hestia; perhaps the only character ever who somehow ended up more famous than the series which she actually comes from. There are numerous reasons for her insane popularity outbreak. For one, she's an oppai loli, which is an incredibly rare sight in anime regardless of series, but she's also an incredibly energetic, fun and loveable genki girl who keeps breathing life into the show and makes it interesting for the viewer. She's madly in love with Bell, but she doesn't try to hide it any way whatsoever. She keeps dropping hints everywhere that she just wants him to push her down already, but of course Bell doesn't pick up on this very well… because you know, protagonists in anime don't do that for whatever reason. Lastly of course there's the unmistakable outfit and boob string she wears which took the internet by storm so hard it became an actual fashion trend in real life Japan, but I'm sure you know all about that by now. Anyway, as a goddess Hestia is the leader of a "Familia" which operates more or less like a Guild in your typical RPG, where Bell is the only other member, and thus they spend their lives together in a rundown church, barely scraping by with what little money they can earn. Watching the pair of them living their unorthodox lives together never fails to make me smile.
Then there's half a dozen other girls as well, either side characters or main characters introduced later on in the story who also conveniently enough end up falling in love with Bell (shocking, I know) so Danmachi is definitely a harem in the end even if MAL might not have it tagged as one. That being said it doesn't really focus on the harem elements all that much; it's mostly a secondary factor. The main attention is pretty much always on the adventuring aspect itself.
The plot progression of Danmachi is fairly straightforward. It basically follows Bell's struggles as well as how his relationships progress with the other adventurers he ends up encountering during them. You can probably imagine what a shounen adventure anime about RPG dungeon crawling is like, and that image is probably dead on as far as Danmachi is concerned. What I really like about it though is how it manages to present the dungeon as an environment. It actually feels threatening and ominous the deeper you get inside it. Have you ever ended up in a zone that is way too difficult for your character's current level when playing an RPG, and you can't manage to find a way to get back out alive? I mean in the kind of game where you only have one life, or at least you really can't afford to die? That's kind of the same feeling as Danmachi manages to give off to the viewer. As a result, the harder fights in the story feel awfully tense and relatable to any somewhat experienced gamer watching it.
Adaptation-wise, Danmachi is honestly pretty rushed as it spans a whole 5 light novel volumes in just 13 episodes. Yet despite that I never really felt like it was too much of a problem. Somehow, someway even from an anime-only standpoint the plot feels perfectly coherent and understandable. In fact as far as enjoyment value goes I'd even say I liked the anime *more* than the novels, because a) the fight scenes come across better animated, and b) Hestia's character is *way* more likeable in the anime. Yes, there is a lot of content from the novels that is skipped, but it feels like it didn't hurt the overall story very much to leave it out either, so it works out anyway. The only thing the anime occasionally lacks is some proper explanations of certain skills' and items' functionalities, but other than that I don't have a whole lot to complain about.
All-in-all, Danmachi is far from a masterpiece, yet given the premise I think it delivers a lot more than most people probably expected coming into it. The story has most definitely been done before, but Danmachi adds its own twist to it and more importantly it does it *well*. It goes to show that with proper execution, a time-tested concept is still perfectly viable, and as a result it provides an anime that always leaves you with a smile on your face. Call it generic or shallow or whatever, but that doesn't change the fact that it's easily one of the most entertaining anime of the year thus far. And really, when it all comes down to it... that's essentially all that matters.
Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon?
a.k.a. Dungeon Harem
a.k.a. Loli Big Boobs
a.k.a. The Misadventures of Breastia
a.k.a. My Breastia Can't Be This Cute
a.k.a. Not SAO
is the latest anime to follow the video game trend that's become increasingly popular within the anime medium. These video game type series, usually MMORPG based, have gotten so commonplace in the last handful of years that they're starting to form their own sub-genre altogether, in a similar fashion to the "moe/cute girls doing cute things" craze in the mid-2000s. With an easy premise to understand, little to nothing to
comprehend story-wise, and a "turn your brain off" level of entertainment value, DanMachi was tailor-made for mainstream success. But whatever integrity it may have had was lost somewhere in the creases of blue boob ribbons. If Maslow's Pyramid were ever accommodated to show the level of quality a title holds, DanMachi would presumably fall somewhere in the lower segments. This isn't to say that the show doesn't retain some sort of value, but in the bigger scheme of things, it's as significant as the crusty end slice of a loaf of bread.
Brief synopsis: Set in a world that functions and operates like an MMORPG, we follow Bell Cranel, residential pussy protagonist and one in many self-proclaimed "adventurers" that strive to become the best of the best. These adventurers are aided by Gods/Goddesses who descended from the heavens to live among them. With one God/Goddess being the leader, many adventurers join them to form a guild (or for modern day standards, they're essentially a gang). After a chance encounter with another adventurer named Aiz "no personality" Wallenstein, or better known the world over as the "Sword Princess," our protagonist is motivated to become a better adventurer, if only for a chance to woo her over in the future. With the aid of his Goddess Loli Big Boo— Hestia, he sets off on his journey to do just that.
Despite what the paint-by-numbers premise would have you believe, DanMachi doesn't seem to understand the construct of its own narrative. Beyond just meeting regulatory standards, the actual story and content itself never quite mesh. It tries to tell a coming-of-age tale, but our protagonist is never shown going through any of the proper stages of character progression usually associated with this kind of narrative. Instead of seeing him make mistakes to later learn from them, all of his conflicts are overcome by the writers splooging out dues ex machinas at every given turn. His advancements aren't earned through hard work and determination but are simply handed to him on a silver platter, making him yet another "chosen one" figurehead who's nuts haven't dropped, yet finds himself winning every battle like he's the spawn of Guts and Chuck Norris.
Why rally for a protagonist if the outcome is always the same? Why portray him as a struggling newbie when he's merely going to gain powerful abilities and weaponry without any foreshadowing towards it? The show quite literally writes in a new power-up every other episode (no I'm not kidding, see spoiler section below), so by the time we're at the halfway point, he's practically outpaced most of the seasoned adventurers set in the same world. This could have been done in a more believable fashion had they given any of sort of proper explanation behind these events, but DanMachi makes no attempts to do so. It shrugs off all accountability and goes back to dangling boob strings like a set of shiny car keys to keep the audiences distracted from the underhanded ploy taking place.
What the show does have going for it, however, is the setting itself.
The world of DanMachi doesn't waste time debuting its features, with a medieval/high fantasy inspired architecture, it creates an interesting subculture, being anachronistic in its implementation, yet obtuse concept-wise since gaming mechanics are treated as much of a central pillar as its Middle Ages inspiration. Since the game aspects are as much of a part of real life to the inhabitants of DanMachi's universe, it's quite easy to buy into the world from the get-go. There's a weird amalgamation of game physics and natural world properties that the show fully embraces; it's grounded in our universe but slightly left-of-center given that game stats and leveling up is treated with the same sense of normalcy that gravity is. This includes adventurers that have to kill monsters to generate income and possibly to keep regular civilians safe. When they defeat these monsters, gems are left behind from their carcass (similar to most MMORPGs). And while the world mechanics and how things function were never explained to any reasonable amount of detail, the implied base knowledge that most viewers would have going in as to how these games work made it feel suitable despite its tendency to underwrite the parameters of its fantasy elements.
Does the prospect of killing monsters and taking gems out their hides for a line of profession make sense? Well no, of course not. But was it fun? Yea, it sure was. For an anime that borrows its world functions from video games, DanMachi accomplishes what it had set out to do. It didn't place any further foresight as to how the macroeconomics of its world operates but that's fine since no one was expecting it to do so in the first place.
What I was expecting, however, was better pacing, to be more specific, pacing that wasn't the equivalency of the show trying to belch out the alphabet in one breath. After the introductory episodes (1-3) in which the show maintained a steady pace, it then began to rush through plot points and character introductions at breakneck speeds. Where we were initially given a few episodes to establish the person's backstory, personality, and motivation, the show later attempts the same kind of effort in just one episode. It's as if the show had plans for 2-Cours and was later informed by the studio heads that they canceled plans for the 2nd season, and in a state of panic, the creators condensed everything in its screenplay into whatever schedueled episodes they had left. It's jarring, to say the least, doubly so when plot points are whizzing by without any proper setup or payoff. Shit sorta just... happens.
But what did have staying power was a pair of underage sweater puppies. The kind of visual eye-candy that's predestined to overshadow the rest of the characters involved.
The characters of DanMachi is of your garden variety, with many having indistinguishable personality traits from other shows. Our protagonist, Bell Cranel, is your typical dense bishounen beta-male who always strive to do the right thing. The kind of boy scout character that you just want to strangle repeatedly for his unrealistic amount of idealism. And like most protagonists of this ilk, he too has the uncanny ability to attract every female character in the series for no real reason whatsoever. But he isn't the one that the show would be remembered for, that honor lies with Hestia.
In the same way that Yuno Gasai is more popular than the show she's a part of, so too is DanMachi's mascot, Hestia. Infamous for her boob ribbon, Breastia has become the subject matter of many fan arts, sending manchildren the world over clambering for their body pillows. With a bubbly personality and an extreme infatuation for our pussy protagonist, she's ideal power fantasy material for anyone that chooses to self-insert themselves into the show. The only "depth" found here is in the endless cleavage birthed from her unnaturally huge milk jugs. A character who's only purpose is to serve as someone's 2D desktop waifu. But even this cheap trophy-wife model offers more to like than the show's designated love interest.
Aiz Wallenstein, the girl of Bell's affection, does not compute emotion. With the personality of a brick wall and the combat ability of a one-man-army, she's mostly just an idolized Mary Sue placed in the story to be Bell's object of admiration. Outside of that, her nonpresence has made her nothing but a goal for Bell to reach.
The rest of the cast is mostly forgettable tag-along members that fall into one of three camps:
a.) another female for Bell's harem
b.) another female for Bell's harem
c.) Welf Crozzo, the one trick pony
Similar to how underbaked the character writing was, the production as a whole also underperformed.
The presentation of DanMachi is a mixed bag of passable to awful. There are moments where the show boasts decently-choreographed action scenes that get you pumped up, only to be followed up by jarring CGI monsters and choppy animation. This lack of consistency can be contributed to J.C.Staff's workload, as they were also adapting Shokugeki no Soma during the same period they worked on DanMachi, which could have resulted in an improper allocation of manpower. The art, for the most part, was appealing, with suitable color choices that made the landscapes and characters pop. The peppy tone in which the characters moved and carefree disposition in how its world was colored to life helped compensate where other departments failed.
As far as the soundtrack was concerned, there isn't much to say. The opening theme is your standard j-pop track, far from distinctive when placed in a crowd, and could easily be replaced without making so much of a difference. And like most medieval fantasy shows before it, this too has a very standard soundtrack, using all the bells and whistles you'd expect from something trying to portray that period. That basic Celtic music in pub/Inn settings and those usual orchestral choir sections during fight scenes. It's all very standard. And that's basically DanMachi in a nutshell, a show trying to portray things it can't fully grasp and coming off middling because of it.
Because of the erratic pacing and contrived plotting, every other episode of Danmachi has the main character receiving a power-up of some sort. 1st we find out that he has "unlimited potential," in other words, he's a borderline overpowered beta-male. And then, only two episodes later, he's handed another powerful weapon that he never earns. By the 5th episode, he gets a book that conveniently teaches him fire magic. And if that wasn't enough, he gets an ability to KO any opponent as a last ditch final attack only a few episodes after. And this trend of gaining a new advantage never stops either, happening all the way up to the very finale of the show, robbing the purpose behind even creating a coming-of-age story. The show actively fights against the idea of earned rewards. And to put the icing on the shit cake, we find out he's a Demigod as well, as if being plot armored and overpowered wasn't enough of a buffer.
And then there were introductions to people that amount to nothing at all.
For example, characters like Welf Crozzo was given a backstory, motivation and character introduction within one episode just to serve the role of a plot device. A character whose entire purpose in the narrative is to be Bell's blacksmith, yet is marketed as a defining side character despite the rushed-job given to indoctrinate him into the group. This isn't just an isolated incident either, as every character introduced after the third episode mark is simply pushed off an assembly line with no time given to even let the "archetype" that is their paint to dry.
So at the end of the day, you're not watching this because it has something to offer, you're watching it because there's nothing else to do.
****END OF SPOILERS****
Going into DanMachi, all I expected to get out of it was easy-to-consume entertainment, and that's precisely what I got. Because of its simplistic story and surface-level depiction, I never felt frustrated watching it since the show never gave me a reason to care, to begin with.
With DanMachi, what you see is what you get. It's a show that isn't trying to be more than what it is and is honest about that. And while that's a commendable attribute, it just isn't enough to be anything more than just that. It's easygoing content that offers nothing else when it's all said and done. DanMachi is the intermission title you watch before watching your next "must watch" series. An anime that will forever be remembered for a pair of loli boobs than it will for anything else.
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.
Here is what I thought when I watched this:
The MC shits on his enemies, check.
All the ladies fall in love with him, check.
Hot chicks with big tits, CHECK.
Lolis, DOUBLE CHECK.
Face gets buried in tits, CHECK FUCKING TRIPLE CHECK HOLY SHIT THIS ANIME IS AWESOME.
I actually enjoyed it. You can say it has no plot twists, no development, no deep characters, but fuck I really liked watching a guy shit on bad guys while collecting vaginas. I wish I could do that too. Truth. Thats why I gave it a 10. Now go ahead and press not helpful since yall hate
[2016 note: This review contains spoilers, pretty specific ones that go deep into the series, might I add. It's also old and not how I would've written it nowadays, but since it's "helpful" I'm obligated to keep it but not obligated enough to watch this show again to refresh my knowledge and polish the review. So, you know, have fun but don't talk to me about it.]
So, I’m gonna do my first review on something dangerous. Something with a lot of fans, and a lot of haters. One side will hate you regardless, unless you can squeeze yourself in the middle somehow.
Sadly, no. No, I
cannot. You already know which side I’ve chosen. I did not like Danmachi, so much that I won’t even bother copy/pasting its (ridiculous) full name.
Frankly, it’s nothing more than a cashgrab, one that doesn’t make me feel bad about all the anime torrents and unofficial websites that everyone outside of Japan uses. It’s the perfect money-maker. You have a modern, popular concept with a general, an average shounen protagonist, and some nice, juicy fanservice to make sure you don’t look away and so the merchandise sells. Oh, and we’ll throw in some blood as well. It worked for Attack on Titan, so we might as well.
Danmachi does nothing to separate itself from anything. It’s simply a watered-down action/adventure anime meant to please those who ride on the most popular anime, for those who are easily amused. Like a Taylor Swift song. I’d try to tell you to not watch it, but who am I kidding. It’s already gonna have a fuckton of seasons, so it already won. GG Danmachi.
Well, we’re already this far in, so let’s start talking about it.
Danmachi takes place in a fantasy city with its most notable feature being the dungeon: a tower that stretches so high that it disappears into the clouds. …Did I lose you there? Yes, the dungeon is a damn TOWER, no matter how many times it’s referred to as a dungeon, or how many times you actually see someone go DOWN in the dungeon. Either this tower is not actually the dungeon and is instead some random point in the setting that the camera likes to see, or nobody really knows what a dungeon is.
Well, hey, the world itself seems to be pretty weird. I mean, the people here have actual stats and levels, like an RPG. Except this only seems to apply for combat in the dungeon, at least from what I heard. And generally, people that fight in the dungeon are only those who have received powers from a god. I’m assuming this is the only area of civilization in this series’ entire world, since actual gods and goddesses seem to put a huge focus on it, and they basically have their own currency and everything. Iiiiit’s a small world aaaafter all…
And now, cue the main character, believe it! Kirito is a young man with the simple ambition of becoming stronger! He truly is an hero, because when the going gets tough, he always has a convenient way out! …Wait, what? Oh, sorry. I meant Bell. Not Kirito. Same rules apply, though. Bell, who even has Kirito’s voice actor, is your basic protagonist. He wants an adventure, he wants to be stronger, he’s heroic, he’s fighting for recognition, and he’ll never give up on it! Believe it!! Overall, this is just the start of Bell’s adventure into an underground sky tower, so a lot of results are just him getting something, from power-up to party member. In the most basic sense, it’s nothing special. In a more specific sense, it’s still nothing special.
The rest can essentially be summed up as “shit happens”, which can be expected when there’s nothing really at stake in the plot. Bell and his partner Hestia seem to be just fine in their small house, but I guess it’s just not enough so LET’S GO KILL THINGS. Oh, and Bell wants senpai to notice him. Really, I just laugh that Bell works so hard to get attention from some emotionless girl who saved him a couple times, and then casts aside the girl who’s constantly supported him. Priorities.
But along with Bell’s dumb, pointless motives are his abilities, his ways out. His growth in strength is LITERALLY determined by his emotions in battles. Basically “do it 4 da waifu”. There’s one fight towards the end where he fights someone that can turn invisible. Why this person isn’t like the strongest person in the show is beyond me, but anyway Bell ends up defeating him because he could “feel his eyes on him”. Okay, Bell. Sure. It’s not like this crap is uncalled for, though, because the plot itself has predictable outcomes. I mean, call me crazy, but I think the person that smirked darkly at the end of a scene MIGHT be up to no good. But first, a word from the main villain on what she’s about to do.
But you know what really makes me displeased? The characters.
Bell Cranel, the main character. A young man with the goal of becoming stronger, inspired by his dead family member! Truly riveting! 10/10 character! No, he’s just some typical, beginning adventurer who likes to play the hero. Nothing else. But what I actually hate is that this show tries SO HARD to get you to like him. In the pilot episode, there’s a scene where some asshole in a bar starts ranting about how utterly terrible Bell is, not knowing that Bell is like 10 feet away. This scene goes on for MINUTES, just blabbing about Bell being a scrublord tomato dork who will never have his dream girlfriend as his girlfriend. I can feel Danmachi’s cold, dead hands grabbing me by the shoulders yelling “FEEL BAD! LOVE HIM! LOVE HIIIIIIIIM!” as it shakes me violently. It not only wants you to feel bad, but makes you want to be him, as he tries to be the badass hero you dreamed about in your early childhood, only this time he has a fair supply of titties surrounding him. I think I’ve complained enough about him. Let’s move on to the other lead.
Hestia. Oh my god. I heard about this character before I heard about the actual anime. I saw the dumb hestia.dance thing and that she was “hestia bestia” or some shit. I hate whoever is responsible for this. Hestia became unbearably annoying by the show’s end. She obviously loves and supports Bell, who lacks the brainpower to actually realize that, and she becomes clingy and gets mad whenever Bell’s around one of his many harem members. In context, this isn’t a recipe for disaster or anything, but it’s so overdone that it gets ridiculous. Hell, she’s ruined some scenes entirely, like one time where Bell and Aiz have a conversation by themselves, only to be interrupted by Hestia yelling at Bell, including some 5-10 minute long scream. It was the 592nd time that I’ve contemplated suicide. Really, I want to know what is so appealing about this character beyond the fanservice. She’s literal, walking fanservice, and even then you can find much better. I mean, come on.
Liliruca: a furry with one of the most ridiculous and idiotic backstories I’ve ever heard. Her familia does everything for wine, basically. And as for herself, she couldn’t cut it as an adventurer, so she became a supporter instead. Despite the name, it’s apparently so useless that she was bullied for being one, despite being kept around. Basically, her backstory is that people are assholes to a facepalming degree, and she therefore takes it out on the first honest person she meets. What a nice girl.
Aiz. There’s nothing to say about this character, really. She’s strong, Bell loves her, and that’s about it. She’s some quiet, passive person who doesn’t show any real personality. She herself seems to have the pointless goal of getting stronger for no reason, so at least they have something in common I guess.
Anyone else doesn’t get enough screentime to be worth mentioning. And now I’ll throw in the flavor parts.
The soundtrack is actually pretty decent. It didn’t exactly jump out at me, but there were times where it got my attention enough. The opening is absolutely garbage, though, I mean there are bad shows with great openings so I’m not biased, but it is seriously one of the most lackluster openings I’ve heard in a while. The ending theme isn’t very interesting either, but I’d be a liar if I said I actually cared about ED’s. Then you have the visuals, which are pretty solid. I’m not a master judge in this part, so all I can tell you is that it’s not bad.
I think I’ve covered what I need to say. Danmachi is just not worth your time if you want to take something seriously. Even if you’re super casual and into the basics like Fairy Tail and Bleach, I still encourage you to shy away from this and expand your horizons. But who am I to say what you can’t like? I for one certainly did not this, though. The 2/10 I gave it may or may not be fair based on my comments, but most of all it’s given this score to note it as one of my least favorite anime, ever. Of course, I don’t flat-out expect you to agree, and if this was poorly written instead of being just disagreeable, there’s a helpful/unhelpful button. After all I am inexperienced in both watching and reviewing, but I hope I have at least some merit in my words. Regardless, thank you for your time.
"Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon" is a goddamn abomination. JC Staff capitalizing on the video game anime craze was already a flag, but to go this far... is pathetic. This is every anime you have ever seen. This is everything wrong with anime. This anime is the exact reason why anime is ostracized at face value. This is what anime viewers should be trying to stop.
There is a story. It is hyper-simplistic. So stupid that anyone could understand it. Yet the plot points make little to no sense. The main character Bell Cranel starts his adventures with his well-endowed companion,
the goddess Hestia. Why this girl is supposed to be Hestia I have no clue. She does nothing Hestia-esque. Her character design has nothing to do with Hestia. She's blatantly an oversexualized little girl with a bra made out of string. A quick aside - bras made out of string do not exist. They do not exist because they do not work.
So Bell Cranel and his representative goddess have to go into a dungeon to, like, do adventures or something (unexplained). But Bell Cranel is very weak so every episode an unforeshadowed deus ex machina pops out of nowhere and saves him. There is no character progression and no power scaling boundaries set. Then things get really crazy, because the bad guy gives Bell Cranel a very strong power for no reason at all.
The bad guy gives the main character super powers for an unexplained reason. All of the main characters powers are given to him for an unexplained reason. The villain, the evil character, the bad guy gives the protagonist, the good guy, the hero, his super powers. The rest of the anime is spent on everyone being impressed that the main character has super powers. Please note that it is completely unexplained why the bad guy gives the good guy his super powers. And why he can just have super powers.
And of course there is a harem. Of course the camera angles settle on poorly animated breasts whenever a girl is on the screen. Of course the fight scenes are embarrassing and the main character has to use his unexplained super power to kill the bad guy. I have no clue if this is supposed to be an underdog story or not because Bell Cranel is so overpowered yet everyone in the world wants to help him. Everything is contradictory.
The writing is abysmal. It is the worst writing I have seen in anime in a while. Every single character is an archetypal character with an archetypal backstory. There are three episodes spent on the lolita character they introduce in the middle of the season that are obvious and cringe worthy in terms of direction. You knew exactly what was going to happen. Every single scene was predictable, yet the script was just rehashed lines. The script is the nail in the coffin with gems like "I'll save you because you're a woman." They took garbage, put garbage on top of it, threw in a couple of minotaurs and little girls and sold it for 76 bucks per blu-ray after the current Yen to US Conversion rate. If you buy this anime, it's associated manga or light novels, figurines, buttons, pins, moist towelettes, and so on... you will hurt my feelings. I'll consider it a personal attack.
DanMachi is so terrible and so idiotic. Nothing is ever explained and the most random drama ensues at the most opportune times. The final episode is just one huge monster battle for, once again, a completely unexplained reason. Every episode something crazy happens and it simply does not get explained. Like Hestia's Divine Powers, or why Hermes is a jerk, or what Hephaestus and Crozzeo's relationship is... and... and... everything. But don't worry because I'm sure everything will be explained in season two! Even sarcastically that hurts to type.
Only watch this anime ironically. If you watch this anime ironically I'll still be upset with you. Take my advice like a doting mother or teacher who said you can redo a paper. I really care about you, anonymous, I really do. I want you to love anime. I want people to respect your great taste. I want you to succeed in life. Watching this anime won't help you get any of those things.
Please select one of the other of thousands of anime that exist. May I recommend Urawa no Usagi-Chan? That's probably better because there's only one level of irony. One level of irony is better than the many you're going to have to explain with this one. This is so bad it's bad bad and then a couple layers past that. It's so bad it's bad that it's still bad and that means that even if you think it's bad and know it's bad it can get worse because you knowingly fear it's badness as you watch it and understand completely that you are subjecting yourself to something that is just bad without any way to escape the badness because under no circumstances can you figure out how someone would think it's good so you resign yourself to just watching something that is bad. In simple terms, anonymous, this is very bad please don't watch it. Even if you do watch this anime to watch something bad and feel bad watching something bad I'll probably still be disappointed in you though, anonymous. Just don't do it please!!
And lastly, can someone please tell me why if they are descending the dungeon why the dungeon stretches into the sky? Does that even make any sense? And why can gods and goddesses just sneak into the dungeon like it's no big deal? And why is this world's entire economy based around some sort of video game spawn thing? Why is the elf so powerful? And do we really not care she murdered a bunch of people in cold blood? Is there no jail in this world? And just goddamn why? Why does this anime exist?!
All these questions and more - completely unanswered in season two of "Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon!"
I decided to write a review for "Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka" due to some of the hate I saw it receiving and wanted to provide my perspective. This is my first review so don't expect it to be well polished.
Story: The story isn't this rpg's strong point. Truthfully, this rpg doesn't have a single strong point. It's a combination of different things that make this rpg enjoyable to watch. The story isn't really explained in detail. We are really just given an explanation of gods and goddesses and the aspects of the anime develop more and more with each
episode. The best thing I find about the story is that it's not really there. This allows me to enjoy each episode separately and be surprised by the things they introduce. It's the same reason why Gintama is enjoyable if you have seen that anime. Many people compare this anime to SAO but I find it more bearable to watch because things aren't as serious until certain points.
Character: The main character, Bell, is simply setup to become a hero. It's like in an rpg game where the main character is meant to have the best stats and skills as they level up. People say the main character just becomes overpowered after a few episodes but I feel that he is reasonably average. He is always shadowed by the sword princess, who he wishes to surpass. He isn't the strongest person around. I hated Kirito in SAO because he was ridiculously overpowered. It didn't really explain why he was overpower either. The other main character, Goddess Hestia, is a great component of the show. With her addition, I feel that this show is a parody of the usual harem. Several times Hestia will point out the amount of times she finds Bell with a different female. In addition, none of the other female characters display the amount of affection that Hestia shows except Lili. Other characters are introduced but never really expanded on.i. I feel that this anime could improve a lot if they added more character expansion, especially with Freya who seems like the main antagonist.
Art: The art is simple but I feel they use the money they save to add in a decent amount of action and quality animation. I was surprised at how well animated the fight in episode 8 was. However, I really wish the Dungeon and it's enemies had more variety. In the later episodes, it seems like they are trying to remedy this. The dungeon definitely holds a lot of promise. The characters could also use more design. They show a lot of expensive equipment available in shops around the city but you don't see even the best fighters with anything flashy equipped. We all know that the strong people are suppose to have cool armor.
Overall: A feel like this anime is so enjoyable because of how average it is. I never have any high expectations. Every episode I watch is good and I know that the following episode will be good and so forth. I hate anime where you wait a week for a new episode and that episode is nothing but talking and a complete let down. That never happens with this show. Every week is worth the wait. This anime didn't start off boiling hot and simmered down. Instead, it started out cold and is slowly warming up, just like an RPG. Because it's a mix of comedy, action, and harem , every episode has the possibility of being either full of jokes, action, or character/relationship development.
I just finished this anime series, and I'm going to be completely honest with this anime series. Me personally I like the show, as much as people say its "Generic" but its not a bad show to begin with. For me this would be my most favourite show of the season. If you disagree with me, I need to ask you to leave my review, because this will not be a rant.
So let's start off with the review of, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
The story itself takes place in a medieval fantasy world, where I actually like
the aspect. Other than that it starts out very generic as people claim, however I think people takes the show as a very misleading title, thinking it would be some sort of guy chasing after girls and trying to make a harem of his own. Actually this is not the case of the story. The story revolves on our Main Protagonist Bell, who wants to become stronger to get the person that he loves. I'll get to the characters later but let's say, the story revolves on explanations and how the world works, the Main Character slowly progresses on becoming stronger, and to be honest, if it wasn't for the slow paced, and if it was rushed it would be very very painful to watch. As the story progressed, we get a lot of the world building aspect, we get some moments where we're giggling or laughing, moments when we kind of feel attached. The story revolves around our cast as well having to go through situations, in the end of the day of the final episode I honestly like how it ended, and it gives hints for a possible second season. Note the story isn't that great and it starts as an average story, but then it shows the true colors of the show, and its a show, that knows what it wants to be. A show full of fun and giggles. In a good way.
We get a varied amount of characters in this anime, starting off with our Main Protagonist Bell, our generic protagonist. He seems generic but doesn't strive to be so serious like other shows. What I like about him is his personality being shy and somehow nervous at first, and at the time progress we see his progress of becoming strong. Take a note that the ability was reveled, so if it wasn't it would be considered an asspull. He in the end developed into at least good developed, but there are still more mysteries around him.
Next up we got Hestia, our little busty girl Goddess. I know, some people would say she's useless, she's the best, she's waifu material. But let me take my personal opinion at hand please. As much as people say she's useless in terms of supporting, at least for me she shines the series with her obsession with Bell and her personality makes me giggle. She didn't support much on the show, but she became funny in the series at the very least.
Aiz, we see her as a dependant girl who fights without help of a man, and if you check, we see that she doesn't need to be save or anything, she shows as a character that can strive on her own and help Bell out in some cases until later on.
As for the other cast, I remember the cat girl's name but she got some pretty nice development as well, won't tell much about her, same with Ryu, and other characters as well. What it did bugged me was just bits of these characters being forgotten after a while, however they still participate as apart of the show and makes the series fun to watch for me.
I personally think the artstyle and animation looks very well from a series like this. It kept its consistencies and even with the animation looking very fluid and dynamic, entertaining to watch. When it comes to fight scenes it lets the show shine bright with the different styles and atmospheric sceneries. So I personally find the art very good.
My most favourite thing about this show would be the music, from heart touching, normal, to tension moments, the show has a soundtrack that I cant stop listening to.
As for the Opening and the Ending song, I prefer the ending song more than the Opening song, but the Opening song is not bad either.
Personal Enjoyment: 8/10
It's a show that fully entertained me among expectations, and from a generic start to a true colors shown, I do not regret watching the series, and I had more enjoyment on this anime than the others from this season. But enjoyment for me is subjective, people might not enjoy it, people would enjoy it.
Final Veredict: 8/10
And a note, this is an opinion, you can like it, you can hate it. But I personally love this show more. It's enjoyable and its good.
When you see a title this long and silly, then you may also be asking yourself if you should watch the show. “Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon?” That’s the translated title for this series which really sparks a bit of curiosity. Just judging on the surface, you can tell the story has relations to dungeons and girls. What you may not expect would be the presence of goddesses that really spices up the excitement.
For the purpose of this review, the series will be referred by its shortened title “DanMachi”. Adapted from the light novel of the same
name, DanMachi is essentially a fantasy adventure show. The setting takes place in a fictional world known as ‘Orario’. While this name isn’t anything special to remember by, its features crafts many possibilities because of the existence of Dungeon. This is a basically a location that contains all sorts of supernatural creatures ranging from minotaurs, dragons, goblins, etc. Why do people visit this place? The answer is simply for the rewards. Although the series isn’t based on a MMORPG game, it has similar themes in that monsters drops valuable loot. At the center of the story is a young man named Bell Cranel. DanMachi chronicles his adventure as he picks up girls in dungeons in this world of bizarreness.
The series is pretty straightforward. No less than 5 minutes into the first episode and we can see that Bell gets himself in a bit of trouble involving dungeons. Perhaps trouble would be an understatement because Bell’s life does get put into jeopardy when he gets trapped by a minotaur. Luckily, a young girl by the name of Aiz coms to his recuse. This encounter not only saves Bell but he also falls in love with her. Ironic really. The girl picks up the guy in this case. However, this isn’t what it all seems. As the series progresses on, Bell gets involved in acquaintance and relationships with many other girls. Perhaps the most prominent of them is a goddess named Hestia. She is part of a group known as Hestia Familia where he and Hestia are the only two members. Bell is shown to work very hard every day to get by. As a character of only 14 years of age, he takes a lot of responsibility and display insurable amounts of courage as the story progresses. Alongside is Hestia who supports and unknown to Bell also is in love with him. So in essence, Bell already has a girl picked up but he just doesn’t realize it. In Hestia’s case, she throws a lot of hints towards Bell that he fails to recognize. Although they don’t act entirely like lovers, they are very close. And this is where the fun comes in. DanMachi crafts relationships in this series with a comedy formula. It never tries to act too serious despite some of the dangers that exists in this show.
Girls. A main emphasis in this show is how Bell meets them during his adventure. From the elegant swordswoman Aiz to mischievous traveler Liliruca Arde, the series continuously shows Bell’s development. A strong point about his character is how he can influence others with his kindness. It also gets some of them curious such as the case of Aiz. She often wonders about how Bell can get so strong in such a short of time. Over the course of the show, Bell develops a relationship with Aiz through their training sessions. There’s also harem tropes that becomes more and more evident as Bell builds connections with them. While it’s not fully shown whether Aiz likes Bell or not, there’s definitely a certain curiosity that she has for the young man. As generic as this seems, I actually find the series to be genuinely entertaining. This is because Bell isn’t overpowered nor is he a weakling. More like a balance of both, it gets the viewers curious about how much he will improve. Characters such as Bete Loga and Freya are also surprised at his improvement despite their initial outlook of Bell.
In terms of story, the show follows a rather straightforward set of mechanics. There is no central antagonist introduced in this season nor are there any game tropes that indicates some sort of setting that relates to MMORPG survival. It’s simple with established mechanics such as the Familia, groups in the story with specialized skills including item crafting and monster hunting. So in essence, the series almost has a slice of life-like tone at times. What it sets differently apart from some adventure is mostly the relationship building. To be quite honest, there’s perhaps far too much of it. Bell and Hestia’s relationship makes up the core of the show. While some episodes doesn’t exclusively focus on this, it still ultimately communicates the message to the audience that the pair is inseparable. Unfortunately, Bell treats Hestia more like a close friend than a girlfriend. And this becomes a source of annoyance for Hestia. It can also be a source of annoyance for the viewers as it shows how dense he can be. Romance is subtle as we don’t really see much development except on casual levels. Despite this, the show often transits between relationships and fantasy adventure. What I do find disappointing is that the focus is too much on our two main characters. Even as a prominent character in the show, we don’t learn much about Aiz from this adaptation. There’s little we see from her background but only her personality on the surface. Similarly, her guild mates are often trying to impress her (both guys and girls included). It’s paltry in the end in terms of characterization. On the other hand, it’s nice to see that Bell can make friends outside of his Familia such as Welf, a blacksmith who made his armor and a member of the Herme Familia. In this way, it shows how Bell interacts with other characters that are not so close to him while allowing the audience to see his other characteristics.
Based on the light novel, I am on most parts satisfied with the adaptation. While it’s not frame by frame faithful to the source, it captures the most important parts. These include the magical contents such as the various items that are shown. Skills and abilities that Bell learns are also introduced such as the Fire Bolt. In the background, there’s a considerable amount of world building. In fact, the world fiction of the show is one of the features that is very noticeable. The supernatural creatures that exists in their world are crafted to make them look real. While it isn’t unique compared to most fantasy adventure stories, DanMachi attracts appeal to any fan who wants to see how their world functions. From dampy dungeons to enchanting forests, this show exhibits an attractive appeal to fantasy. It even has a good amount of explanation for how stats and skillsets work including limitations to adventurers’ levels. The comedy can sometimes feel a bit of a hit or miss but on most parts flows well with the story. It can also mislead viewers sometimes as some episodes that are seemingly indulged by humor turns serious with the buildup and execution. For such a goofy title, that’s saying something.
J.C. Staff is behind the wheels to operate this show. What you see from the preview is what you get. The artwork retains a fantasy atmosphere with its elegant world. There’s careful texture that decorates the world of Orario with what it has to offer. The dungeons is still the most prominent feature as the show creates its features to look legitimately menacing. At the same time, it also display a good fixture of concrete detail. These ranges from the various monsters to the magical elements that are displayed throughout the show such as Bell’s abilities. Fans who wants to be serviced will feel pleased at times because the show does show a bit of skin. These include Aiz’s partially broken armor, Hestia’s outfit, or even the inevitable bath scenes. It’s also noticeable that character designs for the series puts a lot of emphasis into the female characters. All the gods and goddesses are designed to look beautiful or seductive. In the case of Freya, she also display a bit of yandereness with her expressions. However, the character expressions is a bit silly for its own good at times. This is mostly coming from Bell especially in the first half of the show that makes him react more like a kid than an adventurer. His puppy crush on Aiz brings this out the most. On the other hand, who can forget about Hestia’s jealousy when she sees Bell hanging out with a girl?
Surprisingly enough, DanMachi’s soundtrack matches very well with its consistency. If there’s any first impressions, soundtrack should be one to name especially for its battle oriented OST. The extensive fighting in some episodes as well as the thriller-like feeling of dungeon conquests flows quite well with the intense soundtrack. It brings a heavy feeling and even bit of realism of what being part of an adventurer is like in the dungeons just by the sheer music too. The OP and ED theme songs are more lighthearted. And in general, most of the humorous and slice of life scenes has a more relaxing feeling. Finally, there’s the voice mannerisms. Hestia is a big of mixed bag. Her voice sometimes sounds like a spoiled brat while other times shows a very caring friend. Aiz’s soft voice makes her one of the more calm characters; a bit of contrast to Bell’s personality. And then there are many other characters with a wide dynamic range of voice expressions. The ones that stands out the most are the goddesses such as Freya while others…well, not so much. Bell would fit into that category as his voice matches mostly as a teenager.
So what does DanMachi really try to appeal? If it’s a fantasy and adventure story, then that’s a success with its fantastic world fiction and mechanics. When it comes to characterization though, that’s more of its Achilles’ Heel. It does make up for it with concrete relationships especially in the case of Bell and Hestia. Other times, the show tries to capitalize on Bell’s adventure by presenting us his improvements. Now I do have to say that the comedy feels a bit repetitive while other times, the story’s consistency feels blend. As a 1 cour show, expect certain elements of the original source to be omitted or changed. Still, DanMachi is a story that shows how fantasy can be fun. It may not feel original but it has a lot of reasons to make us think of its title.
All right Lion Tamers. We look at another anime. This time, I found one I actually like.
It's called "Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka", what a mouthful! Translation is 'Dzun-ge would be wrong I'll seek a meeting to sound day', I swear that's the Google Translation.
There is a short name some use "DanMachi", don't ask me I have no idea. Google Translation is 'Dan-Machi'.
A lot of the time; most of us get caught up in the story, or the music, or the dialog, or the artwork, or the characters.
But then there is the forest, hiding in all those trees. And
DanMachi is one of these shows, that shows us that sometimes the forest is more important than the trees.
I'll discuss the Anime's specifics in a moment, but I want to have a word about the meanings of things. Sometimes Anime has a meaning that shines far above the actual artwork. DanMachi is one of those rare shining lights.
For once, we have a show that stands up and shouts to the highest mountaintops.
That our faith in our fellow Man, is more important than the impending threats, the suffering that is a consequence of standing up for our friends, and loved ones. That courage in the face of enemies, in the defense of our true friends and loved ones, speaks louder than any fear.
And the fact that no one else sees it, isn't the same as if it never happened at all. Things that are important in our life, are not, unless we are willing to suffer to protect them. Things that are important, has nothing to do with the property we own, or the school we go to, or the stores we frequent.
The valuable things are those items we carry with us for our entire lives, that enrichen it, and make the days we live in the future, seem richer for knowing those things.
All of that leads us to DanMachi, and a little fellow that would not surrender his belief for temporary freedom from fear and pain. And because he stood up and fought to protect what he held dear, his faith in the strength of the friendship and love of his fellows; his fellows responded in kind.
In other words, those things many would find a weakness in his character, was exactly the forces martial'd, to bring about the friendships he gained. These friendships and loved ones were a direct consequence of his behavior. All of these people that centered upon him, as a compass point; were not there to form a harem, or a club. They are friends and neighbors, their behavior paid for, by his offering his spirit of neighborhood to his fellows.
The spirit of neighborhood, and fellowship are not weakness; they are an enormous strength. When we forget that, we give a heave-ho to our own lives within the context of our own way of life, without safety, without friends, without community. But most of all, our neighborhoods become embattled contests for survival, and the grace of a civilized culture is the victim.
Bell has two character traits that are all to rare in the description of a male hero: charity, and mercy. He gave of himself, in the name of his friends, and they became his neighbors. What is a neighbor, but a person who stands with you, when your sense of community is threatened?
What does it mean to be Human? Does it mean we are all born Human? I don't believe that. Being Human is to decide to operate by set of principles that define what it is to be Human. Being a Human Being has nothing to do with biology, or procreation, or how we look. It is defined by how we believe we should behave among our fellow Humans.
The fact that many try to gain our faith in themselves, as if all Men deserve to be trusted as if we were all Human, is a deceit of the highest order, a con-game. Especially when non-Human Homo-Sapiens walk among us trying to get the results of these values from us, without trading in kind. These are liars, cheats and thieves.
Is it any wonder that the motto of the U.S. Air Force Academy is "I shall not lie, cheat or steal; or tolerate anyone who does."? Those who do, don't stay at the Academy long.
The little female character, Miss Arde, is a case in point. She had been beaten, kicked, dropped into terror, mistreated in so many ways; that she had lost her faith in her fellow Man. But just as in real life, it only took one true faithful spirit to teach her that not everyone had to live as she had. She realized what she was doing wasn't living; she had sold her soul to pay for existence.
And because of it, she mistrusted Bell's motives, even to betraying him because he was an easy mark. True Humans usually are. Until Miss Arde realized that it was the very things she thought of as weaknesses, that were the very causes for Bell's decisions to defend her when she least expected it.
Weakness? Lost promises? Can't relate to people of the same stripe? I don't think so. Bell is a symbol of all that is good in Man, and needs to be nurtured for its own sake.
Now I can talk about the basic production of DanMachi.
This anime has a wonderful story, that covers an enormous amount of back-story and premise in 13-episodes. I would have appreciated more episodes, to give more depth of history, but this Anime was adequate in this regard, for what was offered.
The artwork was very good, even having some parallax artwork in moments where Bell or some other characters are walking down a street, or images of large panoramas are described. This is 'J.C. Staff' at its finest.
The music was, for once, something I could sink my teeth into. Catchy tunes, with fine melodies. Singing that is worthy of the name. Harmonies that work together with the voices, to make something that is pleasant to hear. While I would have preferred to have music that also had import to the show itself, after all, we are dealing with an alternate universe, with Gods who walk among the ordinary gentry. And the basic soundtrack was also appropriate to the moments in the story.
The characters were interesting, each one a three-dimensional personality. Even the girls were varied, and while they tended to be way to cute for real life; still all bounced off each other (no pun intended) as people would in a real town, with real neighborhoods. There is nothing unusual about a girl finding herself interested in a boy who has a history of treating other people with dignity and respect. And this happened quite a few times. Rare? Never. Many girls become women who marry such boys, who grow up to be good men.
The only thing that began to not jive very well is that even though the beginnings of the tale centers on a little God named Hestia, who pairs herself with her one and only Adventurer, in an old deserted non-Greek-God Worship Church; as they developed in their community, and became somewhat richer, they stayed in the rent-free squatters life-style. Never to be improved upon, as they could afford more and better. Everything in their lives were old, hand-me-down and discarded by every one. Including the building itself.
One has to wonder about that. And then there's the debt to be paid, by Hestia, for the knife Hephaistios created for Bell. But these items are for another season. If there ever is another one. This show is one of those that deserves another season. After all, we still don't have a motivation for the actions of Freya. This is not a weakness, it just needs some more episodes, to place Freya on center stage. Something that was never done, in the interests of developing the rest of the plot. This is not an error. It is an author's license.
With all of the above, I finish this review of a short, flawed, but otherwise excellent offering. Slickly written, with comedy, pathos, heartfelt emotions; and a soaring set of principles that is all too rare.
Finally in the fantasy world the main character isn`t finished moron.
Finally he isn`t perverted, he isn`t teleported from parallel world.
Finally the story isn`t borning.
Finally something good.
The whole is set in a fantasy world with elves, Greek gods who have descended on themselves to surrender the divine powers, cute girls and monsters.
I hate to rave about shallowness of main. Bell Cranel is opposite of almost everyone mains in this type of anime and I love it. He is charming, handsome young man or boy, who cares? He looks childishly and often behaves like that.He wants to be a hero - childishly but nobly and cute.
hero is save to her by Ais Wallenstein in which he falls in love. He wants to catch up with her to can using to be close with her. She is so cuuuute,blonde, shy introvert which is "Sword Princess". Because of his love, his goddess Hestia is jealous and a love triangle is created.
Hestia behave like Bell`s little sister and he treats her like that. Her tits are veryyy huge when she is a shrimp herself. She also live with him. She is very lovely and you can see that she loves Bell.
The main thread is their relationship. Because of this two important for him girls, Bell develops very quickly and he becomes stronger.
***contains trace amounts of spoilers and mild profanity, please consult your doctor before reading***
I've been seeing opinions that this anime is a worse version of Sword Art Online and I must strongly object. In fact I'll argue there're some significant improvements over the posterchild of everything wrong with anime.
For starters the adventure aspect received proper attention, SAO had barely any fights with monsters or dungeon crawling, most of it resolved around the mc being a harem king, doing a detective game and numerous other activities that introduced absolutery nothing of value to the main plot. In DanMachi it actually resolves around the adventure and
fighting! All the other harem-esque nonsense exists but the main theme of the anime is actually explored, they got that part right at least (or right-er anyway).
Secondarily, people's motivations actually make sense. In SAO despite having a common interest of escaping the dungeon player rivalry was intense, and some people even resolved to perma killing. Considering bosses don't respawn it made the drama both absurd and pointless, that hatred for beta testers was just ridiculous. In here however the ones who advance deeper in the dungeon get the edge over other familias, more money, better equipment; occasional cooperation exists but it's driven mostly by pragmatic gains. Shanty town in the lower dungeon set absurd prices to rip-off adventurers passing by, but in a situation of need everyone teams up against a common enemy. Different familias can join forces to take on a boss but it doesn't change a fact it's a competition among the gods, even if driven by nothing more than vanity of being better (likely allusion to greek gods being fickle douchebags that toy with human lives for their own amusement). Behaviors follow logic patterns, nakama nonsense exist only in minimal amounts, and that already is a step forward (or rather reverse from a step backward, eh?).
Shallow characterization is an obvious flaw, but hey, at least the author bothered to equip his heroes with some. That party that dumped the monsters on the the protagonist did so to protect their own wounded, and they felt guilt for it later. Human behavior and moral choices, something that SAO can't do.
Accusations of taking misogyny up to new levels are incorrect. The levels are quite standard (no one said it's a good standard) and in some cases there's improvement over Demonspawn 2012. For example the elf chick, she has her own reasons for going back to the dungeon, the regret over her lost party members. She assists the albino lab rat on occasions but it's driven by the need to prevent another tragedy where she failed previously, not because the mc is "attractive". See? Actual character. The Sword Princess remains the strongest fighter throughout the whole series, even when the mc tries to catch up to her armed with godlike growth skills, still remains vastly inferior. No excuse for lack of personality but it's worth noting. And the goddess Freya that enabled the growth as well? Playing with whitehair boy for nothing more than fun, turning his desperate struggle for survival into a pass time joke activity. "Let's traumatize this kid by putting him into extreme mortal danger, motivate him with a possibility of heavy humilation in front of his loved one, so I can orgasm to my sadistic fantasy later."
This is where we arrive at a suprising conclusion: if anything the show is heavier on the misandry side. The male protagonist is a worthless unsympathetic nobody (as in "so beta it's revolting"), and the only reason he can reach the top is through love. Power of love is a retarded plot device on it's own but the really bad thing is the resulting implication - without love he's worthless. Or more simply, the only reason he's ascended from a pathetic loser state forever doomed to be an unremarkable peon, into a S-rank hero is because of a girl. And even then he can only get his rear end whipped a little less than before by the top player. Getting a level up? Only because Freya made special effort for nothing more than maniacal egocentrism, incidentally arranged through her male henchman with a personality of a wet dishrag, and a few cases of accidental manslaughter (adventureres that got rekt by the pet minotaur). Something banal as updating stats? Not without a loli sitting on your ass. Superpowerful weapon? Woman smith doing a big favour on a pity credit basis. Learning magic since he had zero chance of overcoming the hurdle on his own? Female mercy, and someone is going to miss that book but the chick is cute so screw moral implications of property theft. The little furry girl that tried to scam and murder him for purely immoral reasons? Forgiven without a blink. Because why bother having personality or rationality, that'd just be insensitve. The planned joke of mc being a damsel in distress unitnentionally becomes an offensive stereotype itself, talk about hilarious irony :)
In conclusion, the position of all time worst title remains secure. DanMachi suffers from many of the plagues of modern anime (idiotic overpowered doormat mc, horrible writing, pandering, wish fulfillment etc) but nowhere does it fall below the Unholy Abomination 2012. At the very least it succeded in belonging to the adventure/action segment, and in some cases it's made noticeable improvements over the One Which Must Not Be Named (Without A Lot Of Criticism). If there's anything DanMachi truly excels in is that it hates it's male characters much more than the female ones. Not that pushing one extreme into the other is an improvement in the subject, but it shows we're dealing with a quite different type of bad show. Not worse, just a more unique type of bad.
welcome to my overcritical & super quick review
very light spoilers below
story 4/10 - an 8 year old could write something on the same level but at least it was coherent
characters 4/10 - extremely generic & less depth than the kiddy pool. their backstories and motivations were barely explained and range from "MY FRIENDS WERE ALL KILLED AND I WENT ON A QUEST FOR REVENGE" to "MY DAD DIED AND I WANT TO BE AN ADVENTURER BECAUSE"
sound 6/10 - it was okay, not close to Hiroyuki Sawano level
art 7/10 - i enjoyed the art style even if it was generic, had a nice fantasy and warm
feel to it
animation 7.5/10 - surprisingly better than most until they got cheap and starting throwing in CGI midway through
enjoyment 6/10 - i couldnt tell if this show was on full parody mode or if they were really trying to make a decent anime. there were semblances of actual character development and a plot, but they never did anything with them. if this show was trying to be self aware it failed, and if it was trying to be serious it failed even harder.
the 'ending' was a huge letdown and this show is both sequel baiting harder than NGNL and a blatant advertisement urging you to just buy the source material just to not have such an incomplete product
felt like i was watching lackluster satire
you will probably like this if you:
* consider SAO a good anime
* don't care for deep plot or characters
* enjoy fanservice
* like random RPG elements thrown in for no reason
watch if you have nothing better on your plate and set your expectations low
ps: just becuase you like something doesn't make it good
Honest and short review from me so I believe that I am the only one who evaluates this anime..... let start with my love of all shows which are connected with magic/medieval (or MMORPG variant) and this show was similar to Sao what for me means cool!
Story 5/10 nothing special<Sao story line
Art 9/10 art is great 9 boobs from 9<> same something like sao
Sound 8/10 I like when sound is matched and remains atmospheric
Character 8/10 main hero is like a Kirito from sao but more trolling than seriousness and Hestia is very pretty, seeing their she hypnotize me, and last character who I liked too
is Wallenstein, Ais she reminds me somehow Asuna from sao but she is more like Kirito by character.
Enjoyment 9/10 I watch the whole season in two days= I LOVE IT
Overall 8/10 this show for me is very good but not great or masterpiece becouse story is poor quality and thats all... so if you liked Sword art online and wanna see something very similar (in character) then this show is for you!!!
Is it wrong to pick up girls in a dungeon? Pfft, it's the best way to pick up girls!
More commonly referred to as DanMachi, "Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka?" is a fantasy, action, adventure, romance and, to some extent, comedy anime. The tags aren't inaccurate, as these themes are visible throughout all twelve episodes. After watching each episode weekly as they were released, I've come to that conclusion that DanMachi is deserving of around a 7/10.
DanMachi's main story line is decent. With plot twists every few episodes, it's safe to say that the main story is pretty exciting
and definitely drags you into continuing the series. There are some brilliant moments of tension and the story changes its side character focus every so often, which keeps things fresh. At the start of the anime, the story shows a lot of promise, with an amazing RPG-style fantasy world being shown. However, this is exactly where it falls flat. I found myself asking questions about the world as the anime went on... "Why is there a massive dungeon tower in the middle of the world (that's extremely reminiscent of the one in Sword Art Online?" "What other towns and cities are there?" "Why did the Gods choose to live with humans?" "Who says what the Gods can and can't do?" "Why do people get exp. like in a video game?" "Why did people start going into the dungeon in the first place?" "What do the magic rocks that monsters drop even do?" "Who put the monsters in the dungeon?". I could go on for ages. Point is, they presented a wonderful and interesting world and explained nothing about it. To me, this detracted from the story greatly as I was unable to immerse myself into the world due to the fact I was constantly saying: "B-b-but that doesn't make sense! Why?". I can only hope that this is elaborated more upon in season two.
DanMachi's artwork and animation is stellar. The character designs are all incredibly lovable and unique, especially the Goddess, Hestia. The weapons, armor and monsters are all terrifying and very well designed. If you were looking for flaws in the animation, you would not find any, with action and fight scenes that are so very clear and fun to watch. The style of the world is just simply awesome, my favorite part being the backstreet alleyway in the city. However, the only drawback with the overall art is that it bears shocking resemblance to Sword Art Online. I understand that it's from the same studio, but it's as if they didn't even try making it different.
The soundtrack is good, the battle songs and tavern music definitely add to the feel of the world and help you become more immersed. The opening is catchy but kind of weird and doesn't really fit the anime if you ask me. The ending is the same really. It seems somewhat out of place at times, especially when there's an intense cliffhanger and then it suddenly plays all cheery and upbeat. Kind of ruins the cliffhanger-y mood.
One good aspect of this anime is the array of vibrant and lovable characters it presents. With each character being unique and incredibly well designed, it's somewhat hard to find many faults with the characters. Hestia in particular being just so damn cute and hilarious. However, the main issue I have with the characters is with the protagonist. Bell is a pretty normal kid in terms of personality. However, that's all he is- he's an average kid trying to win over a girl. There's nothing unique or entertaining really about his personality and DanMachi relies on side characters for its comedy relief and bizarre traits. Some side characters even have dark and intruiging back stories, with development being shown in some!
Despite huge drawbacks with the story, DanMachi's animation and lovable characters make it a pretty enjoyable watch.
As mentioned slightly earlier on in the review, DanMachi bears striking resemblance with the older, more popular Sword Art Online. In fact, even so to the point where some characters' faces look identical and the main character has the same voice actor. In short, if you disliked Sword Art Online, it's pretty likely you'll dislike this too. However, the vice-versa rule applies here too! If you enjoyed SAO, then you'll enjoy DanMachi. Althoguh, that's not to say it's a carbon copy. It does have its unique aspects and is a must watch for any adventure/RPG anime lovers out there.
With an absurdly long title such as, "Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?" your first inclination is to think that the show is trying too hard to pander from just the title alone. With Romance, Fantasy, Action, and Comedy spliced in with an element of Harem, your anticipation going into this will probably sink into apathy. But fret not my dear friends, this anime, shortly titled DanMachi, actually has much more to offer than your prototypical otaku bait anime. That is if you think a story is essential in anime that fit this description.
When I say otaku bait, I
mean the classic stereotype of a protagonist who is relatable to your average Japanese teenager, a sexy loli girl with a beautiful petite body who sticks with him thick and thin, and a plot that owes itself to another shonen show's popularity in similarities. In which case, the shonen show DanMachi wants to emulate is Sword Art Online. In DanMachi, a boy, named Bell-kun, who craves to become a great adventurer to prove himself to be a strong warrior in the eyes of so many people by leveling up his attributes to accomplish this feat. Does that sound familiar? Thought so. However, DanMachi is set in an actual fantasy world, not an MMO. So it is a fantasy interpretation of Sword Art in some fashion.
For those who might be discouraged by this comparison I mentioned, I assure you that DanMachi isn't just another clone for Sword Art Online. For one thing, the plot itself is not of the same magnitude of Sword Art Online. DanMachi's plot is somewhat barebones and can easily be summed up in a sentence or two: "Boy wants to be an adventurer to overcome difficulties in life. With the help of his sexy Goddess sidekick, he will be able to achieve this goal." That's pretty all there is to it. By the time I was halfway through it, I was hoping that there was more to it than just this fundamental premise. By the time the last couple episodes have gone through, there wasn't that much to go on than just that.
That's the only big gripe DanMachi has going for that keeps it from being great. Still, with all that is said and done, there many admirable qualities to the show that can add up to an outstanding experience. The first one to mention is the characters Bell-kun and Hestia. Individually and together, they add a lot of great hilarious and impactful moments from their dialogue and actions. It becomes evident from the excellent chemistry they both create whenever they are both together on-screen, whether they are fighting various monsters together or happily having a lovey-dovey date together, at least to Hestia's perspective. Bell-kun himself may seem like a weakling of an adventurer with a soft, calm voice but he proves himself worthy to rival some of the better shonen protagonists you typically see. It also helps that he has a very likable personality that puts him in a comfortable position for us to root for him in his journey.
Then we have the one and only goddess herself, Hestia-chan. I mean, what can you say about the bootylicious, big chested, and genki archetypical loli that hasn't been said already? Well, I will tell you one thing that can be added into those three categories: Awesome. Why should this title be mentioned in the same breath as her name you may ask? Most of it has to do with how her personality ranges in all sorts of hilarious and adorable ways that make her very expressive. These expressions make you feel an attachment to her when she is acting serious, humorous, or just all around flirty with Bell-kun. Not to mention that her voice actress, Inori Minase, gives it her all in creating a wonderful character with her remarkably expressive voice. It also provides a delicate balance between her wild and joyful nature and Bell-kun's quiet and gentle personality that makes their camaraderie even more exciting and hilarious to watch.
Besides our two main leads, the rest of the characters are, unfortunately, not up to par with these two. The only supporting role that I can remember liking was Lili, only because she at least had something that made her distinctive from the rest of the cast. That something being that overly large backpack of hers that doubles her small size, go figure. The rest of the supporting cast can be encapsulated into one word: boring. It all comes down to how the writers put minimal effort in making the supporting cast at least somewhat enjoyable so that it doesn't seem like the only thing carrying the show is our two main leads. All they come down to is them making semi-funny jokes and get involved in fight scenes with Bell-kun or Hestia; which, to DanMachi's credit, are very well done.
Here is where another of DanMachi's strong points starts to bloom. If you thought shonen action shows fighting has gotten tedious in recent years, you'd be right. However, DanMachi manages to set the bar up pretty high with the amount of great tenacity and flair it gives to the action sequences with the monsters and other characters. What helps is how great the animation flows through these sequences with nice fluid movements with the characters and how they use their weapons in combat. There are the occasional "cutting corners" in animation, but not to the point where it becomes jarring. Even outside of the action, the animation leaves a strong impression with how well detailed it shows off its medium-sized budget.
Not only does the animation work wonders, but the art design also leaves a solid impression in DanMachi. Not just with the character design, but also the design of the world itself. The world is your general fantasy world with a few new things added that you may or may not have seen before. The backgrounds have a subtle elegance to their artistic influence, from the massive scope of the mountains to the urban-style design of the city that our main characters live in. Character designs are quite colorful and eloquent in how beautiful they look, especially Hestia. Even if you have no taste in petite girls, Hestia will no doubt raise a few eyebrows, and maybe raise a few other things.
DanMachi was surely a surprise for me to experience this Spring. Where it lacks from a story and mostly character standpoint, it succeeds in providing a fun action/hybrid anime with its stellar art and animation department and a great duo from Hestia and Bell-kun with their fantastic chemistry. It managed to tickle my action and ecchi bone enough for me to say that it was a worthwhile adventure to take part in. As far as experiences go, this is one where the journey itself is the fun part while the end of it makes you want to yearn for more. For me at least, I want more Hestia-chan in the future. Please?
The world of DanMachi (short name for the Japanese title of this series) is interesting. The system that's used in this world is in accordance to what Family you belong in, as it determines how you're going to go on adventures. If you are in a family with a lot of people, then it's likely that you'll be going in dungeons with multiple other individuals. For the main character, since he is the only member in his Family, the Hestia Family, he goes on adventures alone--and that played a big role in his development throughout the series.
Although DanMachi is enjoyable, and although
I was interested in its world (as I am a fan of Greek Mythology), I personally did not get more interested in its story and characters until around half-way through. A big part of it is probably because I look for character development, how the characters are involved with the story (even if they are not the main character), and if it's set in a fantasy world: how the world factors into their development and involvement with the story. In other words: I had some issues with its execution (such as what they chose to include *coughs: the harem-like element* and what they chose to NOT include: such as some of the characters' backstory and development--although it was mostly due to having to cover the story in only 13 episodes), but I still enjoyed watching it--as each episode made me want to watch the series until the end, to the least--despite how it actually does end.
The animation of DanMachi is nicely done. I like how most of the fight scenes looked, and the scenery that was used in the episodes. It really gives you a good feel as to how the world is like.
***(Spoilers ahead! Read only if you've finished watching.)***
I hope there's a season 2 for DanMachi, as I would like to know more about the Myth that Hermes was referring to at the end. He said something about Zeus, and if I'm correct, Bell being related to him--more specifically, his grandson. If so, that explains why Bell was able to level up so quickly, and grow at such a fast pace (although, admittedly, the knife that Hestia gave him helped as well). However, why Freya pulls strings to put Bell's life at risk (in terms of what she hopes to achieve from that--aside from wanting to see how fast he can develop) still remained unanswered...
***(Spoilers section over.)***
Overall, the world and animation of DanMachi is something to look forward to while you're watching the show. However, it might let you down if you're looking for character development and explanations of certain unanswered questions you may have. If you can look over that, then, go ahead, give it a watch.
Recommended to anime-watchers who likes the genres of: adventure, action, and fantasy.
You're welcome to post a comment on my profile to tell me any feedback and/or critiques you have for my review; any feedback and/or critiques are appreciated.
Danmachi (not typing out the show’s title) was a show that frustrated me. There are the seeds of something good in this show, but unfortunately, it falls into a bad pattern of pandering and bad characterization that left me pretty cold after a few episodes once I got a better feel with what the show was going to be.
I took a shot on this one, as I watched a couple fantasy anime and this popped up on my recommended list and showed a decently high rating. To be fair, this show isn’t the worst in this genre that I’ve seen, and there are
some good points.
The art and color is pleasing. Danmachi has a pretty nice art style. Some of the animations and facial expressions of certain characters aren’t the best, but in general, the quality is serviceable. Many of the battle sequences are pretty exciting and well done enough to be entertaining to watch. I think that the sound and voice acting is on par with the average show too, and doesn’t feel out of place.
The world itself and the town feel like a decent roleplaying setting, perhaps something out of a pen and paper roleplaying game world, and you can get the feel of what they’re trying to accomplish here. There’s a good amount of material that could have been expanded on to make the viewers more involved, and is one of many huge missed opportunities, of which there are many.
Danmachi has a lot of problems, most of which have to do with the issue of shallowness in all aspects that need to be fleshed out to make a show good.
The biggest failing is the world building. Danmachi takes a lot of shortcuts and just expects the viewers to take for granted what’s going on in the world, as not much about it is actually explained. Some of the fogginess may be planned to be explained in a season two, or with reference to the light novel, but really, not explaining more about the world early on doesn’t give any context for character motivations. Why be an adventurer? What’s the allure? What the hell is the tower for, what are the gods doing and why are they involved with adventurers at all? Is this the only part of the world where adventurers can ply their trade, where do all the fantasy races come from, etc. The show just expects you to accept all as presented without much hint to how the world works, and in a fantasy setting, understanding these things is important.
Another big failing is the characters. The biggest problem with most of the characters in this show is that they are poorly developed and in many cases, their motivations are not easy to follow given what’s going on. Again, most of this could probably be resolved by providing more context.
It’s hard to dig too deep on the character failings without spoiling things, but the main protagonist Bell is about the perfect example of a Gary Stu as I’ve ever seen. I have an extremely hard time with this character because his plot armor is so ridiculous that nothing feels desperate or urgent, even if that’s what the action is implying. At no time watching this show do you feel that he is in serious danger, or won’t pull something out of his ass at the last minute, and that’s preposterous with what’s actually going in front of you. There were a few scenes where the deus ex machina is so ridiculous that I rolled my eyes. Or the love interest saves him, for some bizarre reason that I can’t fathom, more on her below. I also understand very little of his motivation or background as it is very limited. He seems like an inoffensive self insert protagonist that every girl drools over just because. While he does work hard in the dungeon, as I mentioned, nothing ever feels urgent, and his rapid progression plot point feels like a huge cop out as it diminishes his hard work and cheapens the character quite a bit.
Other characters beyond the MC aren’t written much better. The main love interest that the MC is pining after is about as wooden a character as I’ve ever seen. I get that they’ve written her to be a super powerful, stoic beauty archetype, but you expect there to be some hidden depth that you get a glimpse of here and there that may spark the MC’s interest, but aside from looking like a blonde-haired model, there’s nothing I can see to spur more than a passing interest in her. I’m also unclear as to why she seems to want to be Bell’s guardian angel and pull his ass out of the fire. It’s really hard to read anything from this character other than she’s this world’s all powerful sword master who takes down raid bosses by herself, which is a little ridiculous.
The character that shows the most depth, oddly enough, is the fan-service poster girl of the show, Hestia. She’s a little too attached to the MC, her chest is bouncing all over the place and she’s a little too much of a clingy jealous girl cliché, but you actually get to understand more about her motivations and character than just about any other character. She’ll actually make some sacrifices so her charge can go out and try to impress the stoic girl without a personality. Her motivations are a little silly, as the MC doesn’t do much that I think would warrant affection from her, but you understand that she’s got her reasons. Beyond the pandering, she’s seems to be the most sympathetic character in the show, and the one that I felt was actually the most heroic oddly enough. While I don’t think doting on the MC is worth her time, I understand why she’s doing it way more than I understand why any of the other characters are acting the way they are.
To wrap it up, it’s a show that passes on the technical and does provide moments of entertainment, but it’s really hard to like and enjoy the characters as they are written pretty poorly and there’s no real adversity that ever feels dire. The world itself is hard to get into as they don’t explain much of anything, and you’re really left wondering why anyone is doing what they’re doing. If you’re bored and like fantasy shows, you could do worse than Danmachi, but I don’t think this show should be scored as high as it is, as there is a lot that needed improvement.