After the issues involving Lilly are fully resolved, Bell sets out for another day at the Dungeon. Just when he can finally have some peace of mind in the dungeon, he runs into an unexpected situation. The girl of his dreams, Aiz Wallenstein, has been waiting for him at the Guild, and with his missing vambrace! Intrigued by Bell’s sudden growth, Aiz offers him a proposition: to help him learn how to fight properly. What the both of them don’t realize, is that there’s a higher force above planning something for Bell Cranell; a scheme that forces him to deal with his worst fear and become a true adventurer.
Volume 3 of Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon is the end of part one of the series, as noted by the author, and it ends the section with a very strong delivery on the content in this volume.
The story maintains a steady pace, with every event having varying degrees of importance in terms of foreshadowing or character development. Even when the story isn’t told directly from Bell himself, the side characters have some sort of role to play, no matter how big or small. Each scene has some emotional importance, some told by those specific characters or in a discussion with Bell. Some examples are Lilly’s analysis of Bell’s magic, Lyu’s lecture on leveling up, Syr’s worries about Bell safety, and even Otter’s prideful rivalry for Freya’s affection. These scenes are told in such a way that where it all comes together to fulfill the right amount of requirements to create the climax.
This volume is largely focused on Bell’s character and how he goes through with his conviction to “become an adventurer”. During his training sessions with Aiz, Bell realizes that he has a long way to go to get up to Aiz’s level and during these sections, there are short monologues that convey Bell’s feelings and his battle mindset. And with each mock fight the two have, we can feel Bell grow steadily in both strength and beliefs.
“If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that my path to her is an very long one. Long enough to make me stop in awe and fall into despair.”
“Is it really possible for someone like me to catch up to that girl walking away?”
“But I have to try.”
“If I don’t, I’ve already failed”
It’s not just Aiz that gives Bell advice; his fellow associates and friends also provide him help in terms of emotional encouragement. Like I said previously, Bell doesn’t even have to be in the same room. An individual can reconfirm Bell’s own beliefs and universal concepts by just approaching the situation with their opinions.
“What you seek, most likely, cannot be obtained without venturing forward.”
“While there might have been adventurers willing to abandon a supporter, there were also adventurers willing to save a supporter.”
I’ve held off on talking about the writing, mainly because while it was a notable feature of the light novel, it would have been best explained here where the writing is best shown off. The action is conveyed in a reactive style; Bell will describe the situation he’s in, and then follow up with his own actions and strategy in a string of short sentences just as the process is happening. Interchange that with his own thoughts and feelings and you have a grasp of the fight scenes in the dungeons. The climax at the end is told in this for the first half of the fight, and then switching to a third-person narrative to show off the audiences’ reactions and words. It’s a very fast paced style of writing and it fits for the emotion heavy scenes.
The illustrations, while they haven’t drastically differed in quality, are more detailed in physical features which brings out some very noteworthy pictures. Starting off with the folded color illustrations, we have a two very alluring pictures. The first one features Bell and Hestia, with Hestia showing off her playful and mischievous side with Bell sleeping on her lap. Meanwhile the second one, displays Freya’s rather devilish and provocative nature using the combination of the poses and the blended colors of crimson and black. However, the real highlight here is the black and white illustrations during the latter half. The illustrations featuring the monster at the end of the volume uses very wild strokes and shades of black to convey the atmosphere in the scenes.
DanMachi Volume 3 brings back the themes from the first volume to bring us a thrilling ride in this volume’s second half. It reconfirms what it means to be an adventurer and to overcome challenges to reach our goals. With its action packed writing and powerful scenes, the volume becomes an apex for this series, as we see Bell move forward in his ambition to become a hero.
Rating: Highly Recommended*
* Best appreciated after reading the past two volumes.
Afterword: Check out “The Meaning of Adventure” chapter. Most of the review is based upon that chapter alone.
Volume 3 > Volume 1 > Volume 2
Author: Fujino Omori
Illustrator: Suzuhito Yasuda
English Publisher: Yen Press