Manga/Anime Television TelevisionTalks

TelevisionTalks: Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

Oh brother, is that title a mouthful or what? The Japanese version of the title, however, isn’t any shorter. So join me as I take a look at this anime about questing in a dungeon and becoming a hero. I will say right off the bat, I’ve watched two seasons of it, there is a third, but that one is subtitled versus either subtitled or dubbed, so I’m waiting for it to become dubbed.

The Story

There is a giant dungeon in the middle of the town of Orario. It’s a place where adventurers can go and test themselves and grow their stats. However, you don’t get stats and you can’t become an adventurer unless you are part of a familia. These familia are headed up by gods and goddesses who have come down from the heaven to interact with their children. Bell Cranel is one such adventurer who can only find one god who will work with him, the goddess Hestia, because he is too small and doesn’t look like a normal adventurer. Hestia, also doesn’t look like a normal god and doesn’t have a familia of her own until she brings Bell into the fold. Bell, in the dungeon, encounters Ais Wallenstein, a top level adventurer from the Loki familia when she saves him from a minotaur and he falls for her. This makes Hestia very jealous but grants Bell a skill which allows him to level up quickly.

Bell and Hestia
Image Source: Sentai Filmworks

The Show

Season 1 vs Season 2

So, there are a few things to cover with how this show goes. Let’s start with the first two seasons, since that is what I’ve seen. There is a big tonal shift between the two seasons. The first season is all about Hestia and Bell and how Bell is growing into a hero. The second season focuses more on how the gods interact with each other and I’m not really sure we end up going into the dungeon at all. It is a bit jarring, and while there are parts of it that are still well done, it feels much more scattered in focus, which is a shame, because the first season left more to be explored in the dungeon and with Bell growing. I’m not sure if season three is more focused or not, but I will check it out when it’s dubbed. Season 2 also leans more into the fan service in a different way, I’ll talk about that later.

Sub vs Dub

Before watching the dubbed version of the show recently, I have watched the subbed version as well. The dubbed version is better between the two of them. However, I wanted to watch the subbed version and will likely continue with that in Season 3 now that I’ve watched dubbed because I am working from home, so I can put it on in the background. The dubbed voice acting is good for some characters, but for others is a bit stiff, which is a shame.

Fan Service
Image Source: Sentai Filmworks

Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is what is known as a harem anime. along with other things. Bell Cranel basically ends up surrounded for the most part by girls. However, he’s more of a clueless leader of the harem versus some anime where characters seem to realize that girls love him. Bell really only has eyes for Ais (pronounced the same) and a lot of the other girls have eyes for Bell. Hestia in particular wants Bell all to herself. And there is fan service because of that, Hestia wears small clothing and is buxom and the same can be said for other goddesses and adventurers as well. In the first season, there is a lot of fan service, but it’s done in a way that really highlights how Bell is such a pure character and only has his focus on Ais. In the second season, we delve into a story arc with Ishtar who runs the redlight distract of Orario and it is much more on display there in a way that is very different than season one. I felt like that arc really pushed it over the top in a way that it didn’t need to.

The Story

But with all of those things, is the story good. Season 1 is one of my favorite anime seasons of all time. They just do a great job of creating this main character who is so focused on becoming the best adventurer and becoming the strongest or catching up to Ais so he is worth her attention. And the interplay between Hestia, the other gods, and Bell is really good. The second season, like I’ve said before, loses some of that focus as the story expands. And the story jumps around a bit more. Now, the first arc in season two is quite good with the Apollo familia, but the subsequent two are less interesting. I want to spend more time in the dungeon and I want more of Bell and Ais, and Hestia complaining about Ais. I hope that season three, whether or not we go back to the dungeon feels like a more cohesive story.

Who Should Watch This Anime?

I do have some final thoughts on this. I have talked about how there is a fair amount of fan service. For that reason, Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? won’t be for everyone. I’ve enjoyed both of my watches of it, though, like I said, the second season wasn’t as good. I think that even with the fan service most anime fans will like season one. The anime has a heavy LitRPG type feel to it, and tells a good story in season one. If that season is just fine, then I’d skip season two. I’m not sure that I’ll ever go back and watch season two again, though I might depending on if more comes out for the anime and I feel like I need to catch up. But season one is good, season two drops off.

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