When your world is a city run by gods and goddesses on top of a dungeon teeming with dangerous monsters, what’s an adventurer to do but to try and pick up some girls?

Bell Cranel grew up surrounded by heroic stories of adventurers who journeyed into the endless labyrinth beneath the city of Orario and was eager to explore The Dungeon himself. After journeying too far down, Bell is saved from a fierce monster by the beautiful warrior Aiz Wallenstein, and swiftly decides to do whatever it takes to get stronger in order to get his new crush to notice him. Filled with dreams of impressing the opposite sex and bringing glory to his familia, Bell must contend with his own lonely goddess as he navigates a world filled with gods who have way too much time on their hands.

Fans of adventure stories that take place in fantasy settings such as Log Horizon and Sword Art Online will enjoy a lot about this series.

Dungeon Vol. 1 delivers upon a near-perfect mix of comedy and story, introducing readers to its compelling setting without issue and building a good foundation for future events. Our initial introduction to the city of Orario is done very well, presenting the setting in a logical and easy to follow manner while introducing us effectively to Bell’s quest to become stronger. While Dungeon’s premise isn’t particularly complicated, I found the system of familias quite interesting and I enjoyed that this volume introduced a number of different god and goddess, effectively setting up some minor political drama. Furthermore, I liked that we were quickly given a sense of what makes Bell tick in his quest to pick up girls, and I found that I was quickly able to invest myself into his story because of this.

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I got the impression from this volume that Dungeon knows exactly the mix of comedy and adventure it wants to be and as a result doesn’t try to do too much or overly complicate things early on. This led to a very pleasant reading experience in contrast to many other works which try to overwhelm the reader with depth right away, and I really liked that Dungeon quickly established a effective setting and was content to let the story develop from there. Clearly this isn’t going to be the most dense series out there, but the system of familias and other aspects of this world show that original author Fujino Omori put a lot of thought into fleshing out this world, giving this series a lot of potential in terms of story direction. Overall, it was impressive the way that Dungeon’s world was so well established and compelling while easing the reader into the world, and this is a trait more series should strive for.

I can’t say enough about how pleasing Kunieda’s art was in this volume as it perfectly complimented the story, with detailed and clear actions scenes combining with a dynamic sense of motion to make the these scenes that much more enjoyable. Panels never felt cluttered at all during these scenes, portraying a good amount of movement without making the action difficult to follow at all. I never felt uncertain what was going on in a given panel, and I greatly appreciated this clarity. In addition, Kunieda did a great job adapting Suzuhito Yasuda’s original character designs, drawing them with a pleasing amount of detail as well as perfectly portraying the expressions of each of the characters. These expressions were often exaggerated but still fit the characters well, and I found this added to the comedic aspect of the series greatly by complementing the situation. It’s also worth mentioning that the quality is consistent throughout the volume, making the art one of the best parts of this volume and very impressive overall.

I really enjoyed this volume so my complaints are fairly minor. My main complaint is Hesitia seems needlessly sexualized compared to the other goddesses that I would have expected to be even more scantily clad than her based on their descriptions. However, this was a minor issue that did not affect my enjoyment of the book.

Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Vol. 1 is a great start to the series, and I really enjoyed it introduced readers to a simple yet entertaining premise with a good degree of clarity. The art was fantastic, perfectly complementing the action and comedy scenes and allowing this volume to deliver a greatly entertaining introduction to its world. The minor elements of political intrigue between the familias were also fascinating, making me excited to see what direction this series will go in as it follows Bell’s quest to become an adventurer.

What do our scores mean?

Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Vol. 1 was published by Yen Press on May 23rd, 2015. Authored by Kunieda and based off the original light novel by Fujino Omori and character designs by Suzuhito Yasuda, this manga adaption began in 2007 and is still ongoing in Square Enix’s Young Gangan magazine. Volume 2 will be published in English on August 18, 2015.

For more reviews, keep an eye on AniTAY as well as Taykobon, your home for reviews of manga and light novels. You can also follow us on twitter @taykobon for more updates! If you’ve read this work or have any questions or comments, we would love the hear from you in the comments below!

Do you like this series? Check out our review of Vol. 2 right here!

*Copy provided for Taykobon by publisher.
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