Everyday, adventurers go to a large underground labyrinth known as Dungeon in search of fame and fortune. One particular young boy, Bell Cranell, goes down to the maze with the dream of becoming a famous hero. He hopes to one day create a group of courageous adventures, defeat giant monsters, and more importantly, meet the most beautiful girls in the world; but he quickly realizes that in that same place where he wants to meet the girl of his dreams, is a deadly place where hundreds of adventures die from fearsome monsters. So what is Bell’s reaction when the girl of his dreams ends up saving him from a giant Minotaur?
Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon is an action adventure light novel series about how a young boy wants to become a hero and pick up girls at the same time. Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon? Short answer: No. Longer answer: No, but good luck trying. As we soon get introduced to our main character, he gets saved by Aiz Wallenstein, a very beautiful and powerful female warrior, and Bell runs off feeling embarrassed and pathetic. The story in this volume is dedicated to the growth of our main character and how he regains his confidence to become a hero.
Over the course of the story, we see how Bell Cranell’s objective drives him forward to become stronger. This is shown in two different ways: directly through Bell’s actions and behaviors, and Hestia’s interventions and guidance. While the events do lead up to some very good emotional scenes (see the bar scene), there’s a feeling that the volume stagnates in terms of development to fill in details about the surrounding characters and repetition of fight scenes.
“The question burning in his mind wasn’t “What can I do to get close to her?”
It was “If I don’t do something, I don’t even have the right to stand next to her.”
However, those details prove to be somewhat significant as they are used to add development to the world of Orario. The series has a mythological background and along with the adventure system, it creates an interesting premise where the characters (in this case, the Gods) shape the world and what happens inside of it.
One of the main highlights of the volume is the heartwarming relationship between Bell and Hestia. Bell works underneath Hestia as her newest and only recruit in her Familia, which pretty much a perfect word for the two of them. They both treat each other very well and is always looking after the other. Bell wants to get stronger but he doesn’t just want to do it for himself, but for his beloved Goddess as well. On the other hand, Hestia sees the amount of determination her new recruit in his objective and she does everything in her power to help him out-even if her love is one-sided. Watching the two together is very delightful and with the climax at the end, it helps to amplify the intimacy between the two.
The illustrations were drawn by Suzuhito Yasuda. There is a big focus on the character designs as they were clearly meant to be fanservice, showing off a majority of the girls in various poses. But at the highlight of the character, the background is ignored, simply using plain looking visuals (color illustrations) or large white or black fills. What makes this disappointing is the possibility of the adding more details to the character as there is more creativity in the formatting of the light novel rather than the actual content in the novel. The designs are unorthodox; making clever use of font size and positioning, and specific character designs. These small little effects help to give the series a bit of flair to the overall style of the book.
Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon: Volume 1 is a pleasant story about revitalizing courage and determination. While the title may appear to be an entry into the harem genre, the series focuses on the relationship between our main two duo for this particular volume. Add that in with decent world-building and very good emotional scenes and you have a fairly competent light novel for its genre and content.
Afterword: I’m more of a character development person rather than world-building person.
Author: Fujino Omori
Illustrator: Suzuhito Yasuda
English Publisher: Yen Press