The Beginner’s Guide to Anime, No. 110 – Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

For anyone who is slightly worried that this title sounds like some sort of BDSM-themed erotica, don’t worry, it isn’t. However, it does fall into the category of the anime genre known as “harem”, in which one character is surrounded by lots of other characters of the opposite gender. The “dungeon” itself refers to the sort of thing you would expect to find in a fantasy role-playing game.

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, also known as DanMachi, an acronym of the title in Japanese (Danjon ni Deai o Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Daro ka), began as a series of light novels in 2013 by writer Fujino Omori. It has since resulted in several manga adaptations, spin-off novels, and an anime series which began in April 2015 that is still currently being broadcast and streamed online. It plays on the notions of romance and fantasy novels, but also has resulted in a peculiar fashion trend.

The series is set in fantasy world of Orario, in the middle of which is a huge dungeon tower. Adventurers travel to it to slay monsters and collect magical shards of stone that are used in magic. All the adventurers also worship a particular god or goddess, all of whom came down to Orario because humans were so interesting, although they do not practice their powers in their world. The gods come from various different ancient religions and myths from our world, such as Greek, Norse and Hinduism. The groups that worship a particular god are known as “Familia”.

14-year-old white-haired boy Bell Carnel is an inexperienced adventurer and the sole worshipper of the small-yet-buxom goddess Hestia. Bell devotes himself to worshipping Hestia and trying to become a stronger adventurer, but he is also interested in some of the women of the land, and they too become interested in him. There is Bell’s adventurer heroine Aiz Wallenstein of the Loki Familia who previously saved his life; Eina Tulle, a half-elf woman who acts as Bell’s personal advisor for particular missions; and Syr Flover, a waitress at the Benevolent Mistress tavern which Bell frequently visits. Hestia however is incredibly jealous and wants Bell entirely for herself. There is also another goddess, Freya, who secretly schemes to gain Bell for her Familia.

Although he appears weak, Hestia discovers that Bell has a special skill that allows him to become stronger at a much faster rate than normal. Thus he becomes suspiciously good at a rate surprisingly quick to many onlookers. Bell eventually takes on bigger challenges, gaining fellow companions on the way. These include “Supporter” Liliruca Arde, a little girl carrying a gigantic bag who at first hates adventurers for what they did to her in the past but Bell gains her trust; and Welf Crozzo, a smith who becomes Bell’s personal armourer.

Like many “harem” anime, it is the relationships between the characters which are key to enjoying this show. Bell builds up his relationships with Hestia, Aiz, Eina, Syr and others to create comic conflict and minor romantic tension. There is also the recurring plot of Bell’s rapidly growing strength and whether this will ultimately help or hinder him.

However, one of the more bizarre things that sprung off from this anime has been in terms of fashion. The character of Hestia is usually seen wearing a loose blue ribbon that goes around her entire body, including her arms, and under her large breasts. This “Boob Ribbon” has become rather popular and now several women (and men) have tried making their own ribbons. This resulted in something which is never a good thing: British tabloid newspapers commenting on how weird this supposedly looks. Nobody wants the likes of the Daily Mail or the Daily Mirror expressing an opinion on this (or indeed an opinion on anything for that matter), and if people want wear such ribbons then good luck to them.

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is currently being streamed on Crunchyroll.