Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? follows Bell Cranel, a new adventurer who made a pact with the goddess Hestia and began entering the Labyrinth with her blessing to fight monsters in order to become stronger. Fortunately, the name of the show is slightly misleading. Although a large portion of the show does focus on the main character’s dream of meeting a girl in the dungeon, it is not entirely focused on this aspect and actually has thus far proven that it houses a formidable concept.
The most fascinating part of the show is easily the lore. As many likely remember, Sword Art Online and Log Horizon are often compared because of their settings’ similar MMO trappings. I would argue that Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is easily placed in this category, but for a slightly different reason that makes all the difference. The world that Bell lives in is HIS world; it is a fantasy realm with no such thing as video games. However, it bears an uncanny resemblance to dungeon crawlers such as the Diablo series.
First off, the Labyrinth itself is one huge multi-floored dungeon with all manner of beasts, and generates new monsters constantly. Adventurers of all different talents kill these beasts, and sell the gems they drop (as well as ‘loot drops’, or other lucky items generated) for money. There are vendors who buy and sell goods including weapons for the adventurers. As if this wasn't enough of a hint, the adventurers themselves have literal stats that increase as they fight enemies. The whole concept is a unique spin on what several other successful franchises have done recently, and it really seems to be utilized well in the opening episodes.
There is one other unique twist to go with the setting: adventurers are given blessings of gods and goddesses by joining their respective ‘familia’. Obviously, some familiae are more successful than others, and this creates an interesting sort of social structure. Bell is actually the only member of his familia, and his patron goddess is Hestia. Since Hestia is rather unknown, the two of them don’t really live in the greatest quarters and Bell’s earnings from his adventures are what keep them afloat. The gods and goddesses are not just interesting for the social structure and flair they provide, however. In case you didn’t notice from the name ‘Hestia’, the once-divine beings called gods that now choose to live among the mortals are all derived from world mythology, and not just any single ancient civilization. While Greek mythology is represented by the likes of Hephaestus (who is a female in the show but a male in the ancient myth), others are present as well, such as Norse mythology with representatives such as Loki. The gods and goddesses are genuine characters in Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? with some traits loosely based off their real life counterparts, and the entire concept greatly adds to the already intriguing idea of dungeon crawling.
Bell himself is a more-or-less classic kind of underdog hero: he works hard, and is very friendly towards others in general. I have no problem with this traditional archetype, as it actually works very well with the mythological underpinnings of the show. The romance elements are equally classic, and in more ways than one. On one hand, we have the traditional ‘forbidden love’ that Bell has towards one of Loki’s familia members as well as a love triangle formed by the addition of Hestia, who also likes Bell. On the other hand, there is (as the title might make you expect) a decent amount of fanservice present. However, although this is something ones detrimental to shows, I have had little issue with it here as it is significantly less prevalent than I initially imagined and has yet to interfere with the clever premise and introductory plot.
Overall, I would say that based on these first couple of episodes Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is definitely worth a shot for most anime fans, as its intriguing premise and lore work well with some of the traditional concepts it utilizes, and the story has been set up to have the potential of epic proportions if handled properly. Whether or not the show ends up living up to its potential is another matter entirely, but if the beginning is any indication we are likely in for an enjoyable ride.
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is currently available for free and legal streaming on Crunchyroll, with a new episode every Friday.
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