A new anime season is finally here and I am pumped! Having caught a number of new season premiers already, one series in particular really stands out for me: Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka (quite a mouthful, to be sure).
DanMachi for short, it directly translates as, “Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?”. Wait what? Picking up girls… in a DUNGEON? That can’t be right. I couldn’t help but giggle a little. That’s a pretty hilarious premise for an anime . Leave it to the Japanese to come up funny yet eye-catching titles, they’re definitely the experts in their own field.
DanMachi is set in an era a long time ago when human beings were still leading primitive lifestyles — at least, by our modern standards. Technology hasn’t been invented yet and everybody is busy trying to live the simple life as best they can. In this universe, however, the Gods do not always regard the lives of mere mortals from above but rather, a few of them have decided to journey to the lower world and live among the humans too. Despite the many hardships and inconveniences that such a lifestyle entails, these Gods seem to prefer living a less predictatble, more exciting lifestyle.
This is where the twist comes in. The Gods have to seal away their divine powers in order to live on Earth. But wait, wouldn’t that just make them no different from mortals? Hold on, let me finish. Instead of using their powers to benefit themselves, they now have to grant blessings to those mortals who come seeking them. Upon being bestowed their blessings, these mortals become enabled to fight the monsters dwelling in their lairs or dungeons. However, once a person has been given a specific God’s blessing, he or she automatically becomes the God’s servant, or as the anime calls it, part of their Familia.
And this is where the story begins. The anime follows the adventures of a lonely Goddess by the name of Hestia; and Bell Cranel, a young boy striving to become the best adventurer in town. Hestia, being a not really popular goddess, has only one sole member in her Familia, namely, Bell. The first episode starts off with a frantic Bell being chased by a minotaur in the middle of a dungeon. In a matter of seconds, Bell is trapped in a corner with nowhere to run. As he cowers in fear and with little time to spare, he seems to accept his impending doom.
Out of nowhere, a blade slices across the minotaur’s back, yielding a critical hit. A few slashes later and the minotaur disintegrates, leaving a crystal in its wake which adventurers collect and use as a form of currency. Covered in blood, Bell sits in the corner as a stunning maiden asks him if he’s okay. And yes, this dude just got rescued by a mortal woman, so he is a little embarrassed for not living up to his Alpha male aspirations. Nevertheless, Bell is awestruck by her immense beauty and immediately develops a crush on her (which could result in a conflict of interest with Hestia later). This is where he begins his journey to train even harder so he might one day be strong enough to protect his female counterpart, the way he believes it’s supposed to be.
Despite this only being the first episode, I’ve already taken a liking to the 2 main characters of this series. Having an adorable and easygoing personality, Hestia seems to be a goddess of many quirks, and she teases Bell a lot. It’s pretty funny to watch her reactions to Bell’s praises for her many skills and abilities. I guess she is pretty lonely since Bell is the only member of her Familia and she craves all the attention she can get from him. Especially with this personality and all the potential backstory that can be told about Hestia, she’s definitely already an audience favourite. Bell, on his part, seems crazy-motivated to grow even stronger so he can become worthy in the eyes of the girl that saved him in the dungeon. Of course, if he plans on eventually asking her out, who could blame him? C’mon, which guy wouldn’t go for the beautiful heroine given the opportunity?
This series is clearly a mashup of the fantasy, romance and comedy genres.The many side-splitting scenes set a lighthearted tone for the first episode. Romance-wise, I guess it’s pretty obvious who the ‘ship is going to be between: BELL + HESTIA. Despite the anime complicating matters with Bell chasing the female adventurer who saved him, we all know that eventually, it’ll be Bell and Hestia who are going to be an item.
Starting off with such a brilliant and enjoyable first episode, I really do hope DanMachi is able to maintain this quirky premise throughout the series. I also expect the series to go more in depth about the various questions the storyline sets up, such as “What benefit does clearing the dungeon have to offer?” and “Are there any ulterior motives for the Gods who have decided to live among mere mortals?”. The fight scenes are slick and flashy, definitely no complaints about that. If DanMachi is able to provide more backstory and character development along the way, there’ll be nothing more I can ask for. That, and the prospect of a good laugh is what I’ll definitely be looking forward to in subsequent episodes.
If you’re into the likes of Sword Art Online or Log Horizon, I’d say give this anime a shot. It’s similar to the dungeon crawl, hack-and-slash mechanic of most fantasy RPGs, but more on the more humourous side. I’m having high expectations for this series and I really hope that each subsequent episode will continue to build upon the previous one. Now pardon me while I grab more snacks and get comfy, I’ve got another episode of DanMachi to watch. #HestiaHype!