Dungeon de Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteru darou ka anime review (ending spoilers)

All right, I’m sure we can all agree that Dungeon de Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteru darou ka (Is it Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon?) is a ridiculously long title that no anime reviewer should be expected to type out more than once in her lifetime, so I’m going to abbreviate it as Danmachi for the rest of this review. Any objections? I thought not.

On to business. Danmachi is set in a fantasy RPG world where everyone lives in a town with a massive dungeon in it and spend most of their time dungeon-crawling or taking part in related activities. If you’ve watched Tower of Druaga (highly recommended) it’s pretty much the same thing except instead of going up the characters are always heading down. And unlike in Druaga no one knows exactly what’s at the bottom or what they’re heading there for. They’re just exploring the dungeon because it’s there. Typical human nature.

Bell and Hestia. I don't see the chemistry at all.

Bell and Hestia. I don’t see the chemistry at all.

Into this show comes an ordinary seeming boy named Bell Cranel, who forms a contract with a busty loli goddess called Hestia. She gets to form her own clan and he gets the power and protection of a goddess, win-win. Except super-win for him, because somehow he manages to get an EXPx2 passive and some other passive haxes that make him a super-duper rookie in no time at all… which robs the series of all fun pretty quickly.

I watched most of the show pretty faithfully but by episode 13 I’d had enough. “Yeah, yeah, Bell’s just going to kill the boss and save the day again.” Skip to the last few minutes of the episode and yup, just as I expected. Oh, but it’s worse than that. It turns out that the reason why Bell is so super-special and all the gods are interested in him isn’t because he was lucky enough to get that Double EXP passive. Nope, luck had nothing to do with it. He’s actually the grandson of Zeus, king of the gods. Waaaooow. Color me surprised. And a little bit angry.

danmachi screenshot animefangirl3I really hate it when the main character starts out prattling about “working hard” and “determination” and “wanting to get stronger” and then it turns out the secret was in their genes all along. If you’re not lucky enough to be born to the right parents or into the right family from the start then you might as well not bother, is the message of shows like that. Dragonball (love that show but maaaan…), Naruto, Bleach where we thought Ichigo was some random human then it turned out his parents were reapers, now Danmachi as well. Like, I don’t mind at all if the character is a super-elite because of their families. No, really. But I like to be told that upfront instead of being fed a load of dung about hard work and determination blahdiblah when in the end it’s who you know that matters.

Bell-sama sugoooi!

Bell-sama sugoooi!

I was going sour on Danmachi before that revelation came up though. I’m not sure why. I like JRPGs quite a bit, so I like animes set in game-like worlds, but this show just didn’t do it for me. It was all over the place. Maybe they spent too much time on the Lily part early on so the rest felt rushed. The last few episodes were just one random boss fight after another after another. Oh Bell-sama is so sugoi! Bell-sama! Bell this, Bell that. *sigh*

And then all these characters just showed up and took center stage in the last few eps like this Hermes guy and his girl and Welf who should have gotten some more development but was just kinda there, and some other familias and then some random baddies who were eventually forced to recognize the wonderfulness of Bell-sama and it was all just one huge mess. Anyway Bell saves the day and everyone thinks he’s sooo wonderful, the end. At least I’ve saved myself the effort of watching Danmachi Season 2 if they ever have the nerve to release it.

Give us a kiss, Bell-sama!

Give us a kiss, Bell-sama!

That said, it’s not a entirely terrible series. I wouldn’t have made it all the way to the end if it was. I liked the setting and the premise, as I mentioned before. I like that people have stats and level up and go around shopping for armor and buy better weapons, all the things you would expect from an RPG series. In the beginning I was also interested in seeing how the relationship between Aiz and Bell would develop, but now I know he’s the grandson of a god, the Bell x Hestia ending is all but confirmed now, so that’s that.

The fight with the minotaur was a good one too, since at that point I still thought it was possible for Bell to lose at anything. He used a bit of strategy and dexterity as well, culminating in seizing the beast’s weapon and using it against him. The Firebolt in the wound plan was a good one too. Too bad the other battles in the show didn’t live up to that. Just people hopping up and down and flying left and right, slash, slash, magic spell, I can’t even see what they’re trying to do, oh the monster is dead. Too many battles packed in the last quarter too. Quality over quantity please.

So there are some good things about Dungeon de Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteru ni kimatteru darou, just not enough to overlook the endless fawning over Marty Stu Bell Cranel the hardworking born with a silver spoon in his mouth rookie and his very annoying “goddess” Hestia whose sole raison d’etre is to stick her boobs in the viewer’s faces. Watch if you like faux-humble overpowered protagonists, game world settings or loud, busty lolis. Give it a pass otherwise.

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