I often end up reviewing Isekai anime. It’s currently the big go to a lot of the time. There are probably several reasons for this.
They are from Light novels being adapted. A level of wish fulfillment/power fantasy or it’s just in vogue. One thing that has been apparent to me is, it often means there is a somewhat lack of non Isekai fantasy series (since there are little to no Isekai sci fi anime). So with me being slightly more relaxed and the new anime season starting and not having anything from there to review (cause they have just started) I popped on Netflix and went looking, and rather than just reviewing BNA or Little Witch Academia the series here’s a fantasy anime that isn’t an Isekai.
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? or Danjon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru or DanMachi as we are going to call it now for everyone’s sanity (though I lost mine some time during the 3 months of being locked up alone afraid to go outside for morons going about in big groups acting like there wasn’t a pandemic going on grumble, grumble). It is set in a fantasy world where the gods of various mythologies (or at least ones based/named after the gods of various mythologies) decided, hey the Earth is way more fun than Heaven let’s all foster a group of adventurers and have fun while they beat up monsters in this strange dungeon.
We open our tale after the narrator is done explaining stuff about the gods with our lead character nice mr. nicey pants or Bell Cranel to give him his actual name, about to be killed by a Minotaur, an enemy that shouldn’t be on that level of the dungeon. When a blond haired woman (who has an annoyingly designed breast plate that p****d me off cause it’s sensible except for one odd aesthetic choice) effortlessly strikes it down. He is instantly smitten with her (hence the name of the anime).
We are then introduced to this world. How it works – namely each adventurer is a part of a gods Familia who also do things like upgrade their stats as they grow and we find Bell is the only member of the Hestia Familia. We learn that after his grandfather died he wanted to become an adventurer but none of the Familias were going to recruit such a rookie but Hestia who had no one smiled on him. Hestia’s rather obsessive about him considering him, hers… she’s kind of the worst character in the show and her outfit is even dumber than the blond girl’s in that it should work so it enrages me even more so.
The show follows Bell on his journey as an adventure in which unknown to him he has the power ability that as long as he has a set goal or interest in someone his stats will grow rapidly (the origin of this power is not explained in this season). The cast is expanded of course, as this is the first season we do get some mini arcs towards people clearly going to join Hestia’s Familia at some point (cough… Season 2… cough) The first of these Lilliluka Arde showing just how super nice Bell is, fortunately him being nice never got on my nerves as well I’m so annoyed these days by emo pretty boy protagonists of olden days that I like seeing nice heroes. This arc is probably the darkest part of the season and fills out the middle section (there is some good comeuppance for jackasses though which is always welcome).
There is no real main antagonist of the anime, there is a goddess called Freya who has a interest in the boy (and someone with knowledge of mythology should figure out a connection between her and another character that seems interested in Bell). That sets up a fair few dangerous incidents for Bell in the start and middle sections, however has nothing to do with what is the final boss of this season.
If you’re wondering what I mean by that game terminology. Well the world feels very video gamey in how the stats of adventurers work, even going up in levels which makes it odd that this isn’t an Isekai as no one has been teleported to this world.
One of the main problems is a standard one with a lot of Light novel adapted series, in that they often have things alluded to or built up that happen in future volumes. So we may see the obvious connection between two characters or get a tease about something big that could happen. But since the novels are still going or they aren’t covered in the part of the series that’s being adapted nothing will come of it. Oh there is a second series and a third in the works. As a standalone, its fine. Focusing on Bell’s early days in this season rather than fully delving into the mystery of what the dungeon actually is means we aren’t standing on any big cliffhangers by the last episode and we do get a slight big reveal as to one thing near the end.
It was an ok series, one I probably won’t get the DVDs of but if season 2 pops on Netflix I’ll give that another watch… Hestia’s outfit still enrages me, oh well got a cool elf made that kicks ass though.