I can’t help but chuckle (under my breath) every time I read the title of one of my favorite anime… Is it Wrong to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon. It’s a problem that’s plagued D&D players since its inception, and now, it’s an anime.
When I first saw this anime, I thought it was to good to be true. Here is a story based on my years of playing Dungeons and Dragons. I mean, a “Little Rookie” dungeon crawler falls for the beautiful “Sword Princess” while trying to prove he’s worthy of her; all the while, he’s pursued by a variety of women who he considers just friends. Yup, every D&D players dream.
Is it Wrong to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon, or Danmachi, takes place in the fictional city of Orario to when gods all came down seeking excitement, limiting their divine powers to perceive and experience the lower world, offering mortals to fight monsters assorted in an underground labyrinth known as Dungeon as part of the god’s family, or Familia. The story follows the exploits of Bell Cranel, a solo adventurer under the goddess Hestia. As the only member of the Hestia Familia, he works hard every day in the dungeon to make ends meet while seeking to improve himself. He looks up to Ais Wallenstein, a famous and powerful swordswoman who once saved his life, and with whom he fell in love. He is unaware that several other girls, deities and mortals alike, also develop affections towards him; most notably Hestia herself, as he also gains allies and improves himself with each new challenge he faces.
As I watch this anime, I come to one basic conclusion… We’re all Bell Cranel. He is the plucky, wannabe hero who wants nothing more than to prove himself to the woman he loves. This is something that every man, or woman, has done in some form or another. We all want to be worthy of love, and Bell tries his best to work past his own inadequacies to become the hero he wants to be, through hard work, determination, and heart.
The world created by this anime is fun and exciting. You have your basic fantasy elements–Elves, Dwarfs, demi-humans, etc.–but also a real twist on the gods themselves. You have all pantheons included, from Greek to Norse and Far East deities, and even some gender-bending. Loki and Hephaestus as women actually works for me. With the exception of some of the female deities (Freya and Ishtar as an example) most of the gods don’t exude the divine power they embody. They’re just there to gather together a Familia, improve their status, and bestow their divine blessing on them.
The status thing is what brings out the D&D vibe in this anime. Their status is maintained on a magical tattoo on their back. The gods use a drop of their own blood to update and track their status as they fight the magical monsters in the dungeon. It keeps stats like a basic D&D character sheet–level, skills, abilities–and changes as they grow in power. It’s really reminds me of my long weekends spent in late-night D&D sessions!
This anime has all the characteristics of a traditional “harem” anime as so many beautiful women are throwing themselves at Bell, and he is oblivious to all of it. His innocence and embarrassment at the affection shown to him is quite charming. His awkward nature reminds me of how I was around girls at a young tender age. It brings me back to my youth and, for someone my age, it keeps me “young at heart!” Add to that the adventure, dungeon crawling, monster fighting, and magical combat, and you’ve got a great story. The characters are engaging, enticing, and fun to watch.
Is it Wrong to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon is a great anime to watch and follow. I hope this storyline continues for quite a long time. There are many more stories of Bell and his Familia to be told and I look forward to watching them.
Mark Piggott is the author of the Forever Avalon book series. Forever Avalon is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon. The Dark Tides is available for purchase as a paperback/ebook at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iUniversepublishing. The Outlander War, Book Three of the Forever Avalon series is coming soon from Austin Macauley Publishing.