It’s another day of adventuring to the Dungeon for Bell Cranell and with his increase in strength, his Guild Advisor, Eina Tulle, decides to take Bell to get some new armor. After being outfitted with a new set of clothes, Bell stumbles upon a small girl who introduces herself as Lilly. She makes a proposal to Bell; to team up as an adventurer and a supporter in the dungeon. While the teamwork between the two is a very cooperative one, Bell can’t shake the fact that Lilly’s hiding something, and with the surrounding negativity regarding her Familia, Bell’s worries about her continue to increase.
With Bell’s entry into the deeper levels of the Dungeon, the danger is more apparent than before. Sure Bell might be slowly getting stronger and faster, but it only takes one misstep before everything goes downhill. In this volume of Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeons (nicknamed DanMachi), we get introduced to a new “class” in the world called Supporters.
Supporters assist the Adventures on their daily trips to the dungeon, picking up the loot from the monsters. At the end of the day, the two split the profits, or at least should be split between the two. This volume features the more darker parts of adventuring, dealing with discrimination, deception, and greed. And in this story, those concepts are told in two main perspectives: Bell, our lead Adventurer, and Lilly, the newly introduced Supporter.
“Did an adventurer who didn’t look down with contempt on a support who is lagging behind even exist?”
The reason why I said “main perspectives” is because the story often switches from character to character to tell their side of the story, causing an issue with how the climax at the end is revealed. When these side characters aren’t lazing around talking about their own irrelevant worries, they voice their own opinion and thoughts about Bell and his new Supporter. With the story moving back and forth between them, it reconfirms the sketchy behaviors of Lilly, reminding the reader constantly that she’s not who she seems to be. This repetition becomes increasingly obvious as we go through the story, and it almost becomes frustrating at times with Bell’s pure-hearted disposition. While this is applied to give us more world building about the Gods and their Familias, it causes the character buildup to the reveal to be a lot weaker than expected.
On the other hand, the way the light novel tackles Lilly’s character is quite commendable. The use of changing perspectives allows for Lilly’s intentions and actions to be broken down and analyzed by the surrounding characters. We have Bell, who deals with the false personality of Lilly, giving us small hints of her inner turmoil. Meanwhile, the side characters who care deeply for Bell, investigates the situation plaguing Lilly, in an attempt to protect Bell. This analysis is a continuous process until we hit the climax of the volume, which leads with having Lilly undergo self-reflection, revealing her true motivations. It’s another way for DanMachi to continue the quality of character development similar to the first volume, and Lilly is a sufficient character to play that role as the lead heroine.
As for Bell, not much personal development is added to him in this volume. He later gains a weapon that adds to the mechanics of the world and to give Bell more internal personality. However, its main purpose is to give him that extra ability to move to the next “area” of the story. And what I mean by next area, is the strength he displays to help Lillith out as a “support”. Thinking more about it, it wouldn’t really be necessary because he would end up helping her out regardless, or in fact anyone in that matter.
And that leads in to the next issue the volume has: the side characters’ infatuation with Bell. Apparently, the stars lined up perfectly to create Bell Cranell, the guy who every girl wants. Most of the girls covered in this volume have some specific ideal trait in a guy and for some reason, they all are highly concentrated in this little boy. It seems a bit too convenient for him, for just being a nice guy and wanting to protect people. Granted, this is a harem light novel and I would have passed it off as a normal circumstances in this genre. However it becomes surprisingly noticeable due to explicit statements from individuals and the lack of male characters introduced, or at least individuals who aren’t jerks.
The illustrations from the second volume retain the same amount of quality from the first one, but with a small increase in details to the character design and more creative designs for the chapter pages. This volume holds back on the sexual implication in the drawings, by focusing the poses of the characters instead. While DanMachi has its female characters as its primary feature in the illustrations, I found the lewd content lacking in originality. There’s other ways to make a character sexy or erotic besides boob grabs and “unfortunate” situations. A notable illustration in the volume is the page where Bell uses his new ability. The shading of black and white used makes Bell’s physical features appear three dimensional, such as Bell’s hand popping out in the illustration.
The second volume of Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon introduces more elements to the world these characters live in, featuring more malevolent characters, Familias and concepts. With a bit of rough spots here and there in terms of storytelling, the second volume still remains focused on the character interactions between Bell and his newest companion.
Afterword: It took me a while, but I finally finished the book and the review. Took a lot longer than expected. And I’m pretty indifferent to the content in this volume.
Author: Fujino Omori
Illustrator: Suzuhito Yasuda
English Publisher: Yen Press