Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? (DanMachi)

Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Comedy, Romance, Ecchi

Age-Appropriateness: 15+ (Violence, profanity, Plenty Suggestive themes)

Platforms: Crunchyroll, Hulu

Episodes: 25 (+1 OVA and +1 Recap)

TheAwersome Rating: 7.9 / 10 (Lots of charm, lots of fanservice)

Premise: In the city of Orario, the gods have come down to live as and among mortals after limiting their divine powers. The gods offer the opportunity for mortals to fight monsters in an underground labyrinth known as the Dungeon in order to grow stronger beyond that of normal people. The people of Orario join groups called Familia, who serve a range of functions from dungeon crawling to crafting items. Each Familia is named after and serves a resident deity. Like an RPG, the adventurers gain experience, and have trackable levels, skills, and stats. Join Bell Cranel, the solo adventurer of the destitute Familia of Hestia, as he aspires to become a great hero (but only so he can impress Aiz Wallenstein, the girl who saved his life).

TheAwersome’s Thoughts: While of a similar flavor to KonoSuba in fantasy world, they have quite different vibes. DanMachi has a good amount of charm and heart to it, despite relying heavily on a premise of fanservice and boob jokes. Like any adventure story starring a teenage boy, we’ve got severe harem syndrome going on, with just about all the female characters throwing themselves at Bell’s feet and getting into their catty jealousy spats. And yet the animation is great, and you get sucked into the story/world/situation. Characters are decently well-written, and there’s some good Shonen-flavored weight to the show, with occasional sweet, tender episodes.

TLDR: Beneath all the tropey fanservice and boob jokes is a charming show with a good amount of heart.

A 3rd Season has been confirmed for 2020.

The shortened name DanMachi comes from the Japanese title “Danjon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darō ka” (Is it Wrong That I Want to Meet You in a Dungeon?). Dan from Danjon (Dungeon) and then the Machi from Machigatteiru. With these obnoxiously long “Light Novel” titles, almost every piece has its shortened version. I’d generally refer to it as “Dungeon Grills.”

There is a spin-off series, “Sword Oratoria”, which takes place from Aiz Wallenstein’s perspective and is synchronous with the events of Season 1, as well as a movie, “Arrow of Orion” which takes place after the events of Season 1. Both will be reviewed in the following weeks, so my recommended watch order is Season 1 of this, then Sword Oratoria, then Arrow of Orion, then Season 2.

If you felt uncomfortable with the fanservice in the first season, the second season will ramp that feeling up as the primary arc follows the story of a brothel empire. There be skin-service a-plenty and heavier mature themes. This gives us a lot more weight in Season 2, but it still has an amount of annoying jealousy spats and childishness that feels awkward and out of place given the weight of other events.

It’s not as jarring as Angel Beats, but it cheapens some of the character development and really makes it feel like you’re watching two separate shows that just happen to have the same characters and world. I feel that DanMachi (especially in Season 2) would have greatly benefited by changing up their OP and ED or omitting them on certain episodes to better match the tone. You’d literally have an episode with a brutal scene of torture that ends on a sad and tender note and have it go right into the bouncy happy-go-lucky ED and it would ruin the moment. That said, the drama and action are so well done, that it was more gripping than any of the 100+ episodes of Naruto that I’ve seen so far (except for maybe Rock vs. Gaara).

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