[Anime Review]: DanMachi (Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka)

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A.K.A: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
Director: Yoshiki Yamakawa
Writer of Original Light Novel: Fujino Omori
Animation Studios: J.C. Staff
Version Watched: Subbed

You know, of all the possible analysable aspects of an anime, there’s one that I’ve never complained about before and that’s the title. The translation of DanMachi’s title makes it seem like one of the borderline-trashy romcom adaptations that seem to be a dime a dozen these days and the very first thing I have to make clear in this review is that it is most definitely not. While it also doesn’t quite achieve greatness, DanMachi explores a unique and interesting setting with some likeable characters and a smattering of emotion. For me, it also very tidily answers the question of “Which fictional world would you most like to live in?”

Bell Cranel is an Adventurer. In a world where the various Gods and Goddesses have descended from the heavens to live among mortals he belongs to the Hestia Familia, which acts as his patron and facilitates his expeditions. The Goddess Hestia provides her Blessing, allowing him to develop his combat statistics with practice and venture into the dark depths of the Dungeon. She’s also incredibly protective of her only Familia member. Bell desires nothing more than to become a Hero from the tales his grandfather told him, and by traveling deeper and deeper below the surface he might just accomplish that with the help of his friends.

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I often disagree with the reviews posted by users on MAL; people have different opinions and that’s okay. When it comes to DanMachi, however, I’m forced to wonder whether their writers even watched the same series given how abjectly false their claims are. To begin with, for a gamer like myself, the show’s setting is almost absurdly intriguing, taking features like player stats, roguelike dungeon crawling and levelling up and placing them into a world where they form a normal part of everyday life. It’s all fascinating and expertly weaved into the main narrative. Besides that, though, because that’s also a very subjective point, the moment-to-moment writing of the series is actually really very good. On multiple occasions I found myself predicting certain mundane outcomes to situations and DanMachi actively took advantage of the expectations I had to show me that it could surpass them repeatedly. For the entire first six episodes I was utterly entranced.

After that? Well, disappointing isn’t quite the word I’d use but things do start to feel a little more generic. Early character relationships make for some entertaining viewing with a significant amount of depth behind them while later interactions tend to be more superficial and discovering the mechanics of the world is a lot more entertaining when Bell is starting out than after he’s had a few successes. Don’t get me wrong, though, the show never once becomes boring and I’m very much hoping for a second season. One other complaint I have relates to my earlier comments on the title because occasionally DanMachi does return to its “roots” as you might think of them. Events are always interesting when they’re showing their serious face and most of the jokes are appropriate and worth a good laugh but whenever the harem/jealousy aspect shows up (mostly in the form of Hestia) it’s simply jarring because DanMachi really doesn’t feel like that kind of anime most of the time.

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It’s been a while since I’ve seen such entertaining combat in a series. DanMachi’s visuals are a real asset, with action that flows well and choreography that makes sense; scenes with Bell fighting various dungeon monsters are some of the best on offer. There’s an unfortunate level of fan service (mostly to do with outfits rather than the usual bouncing bits) but I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there was far less than the title might have you expect. This is also one of the few times I’ve been able to comment that sound effects really stand out in a good way. Otherwise, the music and voice acting are as good as usual without deserving special praise.

Summary – DanMachi is a whole lot of fun to watch and if you’re into gaming it’ll be that much better. The setting alone makes for superb entertainment while likeable personalities and surprisingly good writing do a great job of backing it up. Things fizzle a little bit after the first half as the magic of discovery dissipates but boredom is not in this show’s vocabulary and there’s definitely room for a second season in there. The usual romcom tomfoolery implied by the title is mostly absent, replaced by fantastic animation and some of the best action I’ve seen for a while. The Geek Clinic happily recommends DanMachi.

Score: 8/10 – Good

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About Silvachief

I'm a Gamer that dabbles in a little bit of everything. I'm big on Video Games, Visual Novels, Anime, Books and TV Series, but there's more to me than just those!
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13 Responses to [Anime Review]: DanMachi (Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka)

  1. Lazarinth says:

    I have a feeling I watched up to the tipping point you’re talking about. The concept reminded me a little of heroes die minus the world jumping, which along with every other anime of this kind, put it into context of how very average they all are in comparason. You might think it’s like comaring Apple’s and oranges but I prefer a more adult atmosphere over the candy colored harems that most of these shows provide.

    • Silvachief says:

      It’s fair enough. Beyond genre and concept, atmosphere plays a big part in how much you’re going to like something. As long as it’s not at either extreme on the spectrum of “adult” versus “candy” i’m fine either way and not particularly swayed which direction a show might lean toward.

      If we considered that you have a positive modifier for “adult” and a negative modifier for “candy”, while I am neutral to both, I think we’d see our opinions on shows line up a great deal more. It’s a pretty powerful variable.

  2. Wakai says:

    Better Kirito than Kirito (same VA).

    Beat me to this show for reviews, though I’ll probably still write a small quickie at some point. I agree that the combat in this series is superb. That Minotaur battle game me so many chills.

    • Silvachief says:

      They’re both relatively easy to self-insert though. That said, you have to go pretty far out there to find a male protagonist that isn’t but still remains likeable.

      I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts. The novelty had me really excited to begin with, and J.C. Staff definitely needs to get into some more good action!

  3. HijackedCat says:

    I definitely agree that DanMachi is a good one, but then again have game-like play/stats/about a gamer and I get into it pretty easily. I admit to liking Date a Live, so you know I’m pretty easy to please~
    But then again, I am picky when it comes to sports anime (which I’m actually passionate about) so I guess it depends on genre and genre expectations (☆^ー^☆)

    • Silvachief says:

      I’m a big fan of game-themed anime, though featuring games doesn’t guarantee i’ll like a show. Log Horizon, for instance, didn’t really appeal to me. As a side note, I found Date A Live to be pretty decent (even if the movie didn’t really do anything for me).

      I’m not really sure how to feel about sports anime though. I watched and enjoyed Chihayafuru which is pretty much only a sports anime in spirit, but then Haikyuu failed to interest me at all >.< I'm probably going to give Kuroko no Basuke and Hajime no Ippo a go at some point.

      • HijackedCat says:

        True, I don’t end up liking all the game-themed anime, but it does raise my interest enough to try to watch xD
        I haven’t seen enough of Log Horizon to actually say if I like it or not yet~
        Date a Live is cute to me, so I was pretty surprised when people considered it the worst anime or the anime “cancer” 😑
        Sports anime are so gooooood! Admittedly, Haikyuu starts strong and then softens a bit. If you a drama-filled (in the good way) with a lot of impact I tell you to go with Ace of Diamond (Daiya), it’s one of the best baseball/sports anime adaptations I’ve seen lately! (≧∇≦)/
        Kuroko is enjoyable, but it depends if you like your sports overpowered/genius, or if you prefer underdog type of stories. For underdog Daiya and Hajime are definitely those types of stories (I haven’t seen Hajime, but then I’m not very into violent sports xD; )~
        You’ll always have hits and misses with anime, no one anime works for everyone. The key is really knowing what interests and what kind of anime gets you going. Me, personally, I love them underdogs the best(⌒▽⌒)

        • Silvachief says:

          A lot of people really liked Log Horizon so it’s worth trying…it just didn’t do it for me. I haven’t heard anything at all about the second season, either, so maybe it wasn’t as popular.

          There are most definitely worse shows than Date A Live. I can see why fans are getting sick of harem series but Date A Live was funny enough and novel enough that I had fun with it.

          I wouldn’t say i’m particularly attracted to underdog stories but I certainly don’t mind them, so i’ll take a look at adding Daiya to my list!

          • HijackedCat says:

            I don’t always like all that was popular or well liked, it’s hit or miss with me xD
            Date a Live was hardly the worst anime in existence, but let’s admit anime fans tend to be dramatic. I speak as someone that is when it comes to the shows I like xDD
            Definitely try Daiya out, it’s a really high production anime! (^_-)≡★

  4. Kai says:

    I see the “player stats/dungeon-crawler integrated into everyday lives” premise just a tweak in an attempt to make Danmachi more unique among the sea of many titles with already similar genres — it is still a pretty good tweak though, admittedly :p And I don’t think Danmachi even needed any of the romcom moments, because I’m liking the more familial aspects of it more than anything else.

    • Silvachief says:

      I’ll admit that it’s a gimmick, but it’s a gimmick that I like XD And that was enough to keep me interested. I also agree with your second point; I enjoyed the camaraderie and mutual support more than Hestia’s random bouts of jealousy.

  5. i really like DanMachi hope to get season 2 soon

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