Life in the bustling city of Orario is never dull, especially for Bell Cranel, a naïve young man who hopes to become the greatest adventurer in the land. After a chance encounter with the lonely goddess, Hestia, his dreams become a little closer to reality. With her support, Bell embarks on a fantastic quest as he ventures deep within the city's monster-filled catacombs, known only as the "Dungeon." Death lurks around every corner in the cavernous depths of this terrifying labyrinth, and a mysterious power moves amidst the shadows.
Even on the surface, survival is a hard-earned privilege. Indeed, nothing is ever certain in a world where gods and humans live and work together, especially when they often struggle to get along. One thing is for sure, though: a myriad of blunders, triumphs and friendships awaits the dauntlessly optimistic protagonist of this herculean tale.
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.
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 becoming 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 was ever accommodated to show the level of quality a title holds, DanMachi will presumably fall somewhere in the lower segments. This isn't to say the show doesn't retain some kind 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 in order 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 catch up to her, and with the aid of his Goddess Loli Big Boo- Hestia, he sets off on his journey to do just that.
Despite the ho-hum premise that's been churned out a hundred times over in other stories, DanMachi doesn't seem to know how it's supposed to approach it. One of the 1st problems that become apparent is that the setup and what we're actually given doesn't match up. It tries to tell a coming-of-age story but our protagonist is never shown going through any of the proper stages of buildup 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. He's yet another "chosen one" figurehead who's nuts haven't dropped, yet wins his battles like he's the spawn of Guts and Chuck Norris.
Why root for a protagonist if the outcome is always the same? Why portray him as a struggling newbie when he's simply going to gain an ability without any foreshadowing to it? The show quite literally writes in a new power up every other episode (no I'm not kidding, see spoiler section below). This could have been done in a more believable manner if there was at least some sort of proper explanation behind these events but DanMachi makes no attempts to do so. It simply shrugs it off and goes back to dangling boob strings like a set of shiny car keys.
What the show does have going for it, however, is the setting itself.
The world of DanMachi doesn't waste time letting the viewer know what it's all about. With a medieval/fantasy like architectural setting, it's easy to get on board with what it's selling. Since the game aspects are treated as part of real life to the inhabitants of DanMachi's universe, the adventurers have to kill monsters in order to generate income and possibly to keep regular civilians safe. When they defeat the monsters gems are left behind from their carcass (similar to most MMORPGs). And while the world mechanics and how things function was never explained to any amount of detail, it was still an enjoyable one to dabble in. 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 forethought as to how the macroeconomics of its world function but that's fine since no one really expected it to.
What I was expecting, however, was better pacing, to be more specific, pacing that wasn't the equivalent of the show trying to belch out the alphabet in one breath. Starting off at a steady pace, after 3-4 episodes in, the show begins to rush through plot points and character introductions at breakneck speeds. Where we were given a few episodes to establish the person's back story, personality, and motivation, the show later attempts the same kind of effort in just one episode. 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.
Now, if you're expecting a story that goes somewhere or one that actually wraps up plot lines, leave that notion at the front door. As of the time of this review, there has been no official announcement of a season 2 in the works, but given the show's popularity, there is still a chance that there might be one in the foreseeable future. But until such an announcement is made, it's simply a "read the manga" kind of ending that leaves everything open-ended and unresolved. Throughout the show's run-time, there are hints at a bigger scheme going on in the background but like the unresolved storyline, that too remains up in the air. The show doesn't provide any sense of closure whatsoever.
But what it does provide is a cast predestined to be overshadowed by a pair of underage sweater puppies.
The characters of DanMachi are of your garden variety, with many having indistinguishable personalities 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 has the ability to attract every female character in the series for no real reason whatsoever.
And in the same way that Yuno Gasai is more popular than the show she's a part of, so is the case with DanMachi's mascot, Hestia. Infamous for her boob ribbon, Breastia has become the subject of many fan arts, sending manchildren the world over clambering for their body pillows. She has a bubbly personality and is infatuated with our protagonist to a gross extreme, clinging to him at any given opportunity. The only "depth" found with her is the endless cleavage between her unnaturally huge milk jugs. A character who's only purpose is to serve as someone's 2D desktop waifu.
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 essentially just an idolized Mary Sue.
The rest of the cast are mostly forgettable tag-alongs 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
The presentation of DanMachi is a mixbag of passable to awful. There are moments where the show boasts well-choreographed action scenes that gets you pumped, 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 time period they worked on DanMachi. The art, for the most part, was appealing, with nice color choices that really made the landscape and character pop. They also used more subdued color choices when dealing with dungeon levels and during key narrative moments. It's a minor detail but one that's still worth noting.
As far as the soundtrack is concerned there isn't really much to say. The opening is your standard j-pop track that a few might find catchy but otherwise is one of the same kind of melody you'd come to expect from the j-pop genre. 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 time period; you know what I mean, that basic celtic music in pub/Inn settings and those usually big booming brass sections for 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.
Because of the erratic pacing and contrived plotting, almost every 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 2 episodes later, he's handed a powerful weapon by episode 3 that he never earns. And 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 that. It seems like every other episode he's given another power up, which leave you wondering what's the point of presenting a coming-of-age story if he's simply handed everything? Where's the buildup to these events? The show actively fights the idea of earned rewards. And to put icing on the shit cake, we find out he's a Demigod later on, as if being plot armored and overpowered wasn't enough of a buffer.
And then there were introductions to people that amount to nothing much
Characters like Welf Crozzo, for example, was given a backstory within one episode for the sole purpose of being a plot device. A character who's entire purpose in the narrative is to be Bell's blacksmith. But perhaps even worse than that was the characters that were constantly shown lurking in the shadows throughout the series. Despite the show constantly hinting at a bigger conspiracy going on in the with them being the puppeteers, we're never given any definitive answer for their involvement. In fact, we never get to see any of their plans come to fruition, making their very involvement nothing more than a "read the manga" pretext. The show simply creates plot threads and leaves them all unanswered. 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 the show's simplistic story and surface-deep depiction, I never felt frustrated watching it since the show never gave me a reason to care, to begin with. It was a show that I felt impartial towards from beginning to end and didn't care either way about the final result.
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 is a commendable attribute, it simply isn't enough to be anything more than just that. It's easygoing entertainment but offers nothing else when it is 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 titts.
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.
Do you like cosplay? Do you like sexy asian cosplayers? Then come on in friend, because a glorious bonanza of images awaits you featuring fan favorites from Macross F, Re:Zero, One Piece, Pokemon and many more.
If it was physically possible, and we managed to avoid being put in the friend zone, it would be almost every anime fan's dream come true. Let's take a peek at some characters that would make for the best anime girlfriend!