Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in A Dungeon? Volumes 9 & 10 Light Novel Review

Volumes 9 and 10 are more or less one story so I’m reviewing them together. That means there will be spoilers for the end of volume 9 in this review.

Previous reviews for Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in A Dungeon can be found here.

Review:

Volumes 9 and 10 plunge us back into the dungeon at first but with a slight difference on what we have seen before. These volumes are actually looking at explaining a bit more about the odd nature of the dungeon and we meet some new and interesting inhabitants as well as coming across another slightly undesirable familiar.

Yes, Bell is back in the thick of things, rescuing a monster who kind of looks like a girl and can speak. Initially taking her from the dungeon to protect her from those hunting her, trouble brews on the surface and soon, with new allies, Bell is forced to return her below and with that they are plunged into yet more trouble. I’m not going to talk to much about what happens in specifics because I really feel any real details that I give you are just going to take away from the experience of reading this story.

DanMachiVol10b

For someone who has always wanted to be a hero, Bell is faced with some really tough decisions in these volumes and while you might feel his rescue the damsel in distress thing is well established, the difficulty in choosing to extend a helping hand to an inhabitant of the dungeon isn’t overlooked here. It is made the centre-piece of a fairly tragic series of events that forces Bell to turn his back on even Aiz, his ideal, in order to protect who he believes he needs to be (and it will be very interesting to see the ramifications of that in future volumes).

As such, the journey these two volumes take us on are a little more emotionally wrought than previous ones. The light hearted banter, the oddly placed fan-service, and even the over-the-top heroics of the previous volumes have kind of taken a back seat as we see the truly dirty reality where doing what is right is not an easy choice and what is right is something that is difficult to ascertain.

While Bell’s familia stand by him through the mess, much is lost and those that were becoming his friends now see him in a different light. Despite everything Bell accomplishes in these volumes, and he does accomplish a lot and overcomes some really huge challenges, the cost is almost heart-breaking.

That said, it isn’t as though these volumes just plunge us into a downer for the sake of it, and as we learn more about their gods and their plans we can already see that there is a light awaiting us in future stories. The question is, will things get worse before they get better?

DanMachiVol9a

I really do recommend these two volumes (though read them together because volume 9 will just kind of leave you wondering what all that set-up was for that didn’t quite deliver anything). There’s some great characters introduced, a large showing of the support cast, some truly amazing battles, and a villain that seems really worth taking down. Bell is at his absolute best here as he really is forced to step up and not go with the flow.

I really had fun with these and I’d love to know your thoughts on them if you’ve read them.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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Slime, Ogres, and Lizardmen, The Coming Conflict Looks Colourful

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode Review Title Image

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 10 Review

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime continues to move at its own pace. Last week, Rimuru defeated the ogres and invited them back to his village. This week, we admire the meat and feast before Rimuru gets to the business of inviting the ogres to join him in the village. Now, this seems fairly straight forward: ogre village destroyed, ogres should go elsewhere. However it turns out it is a little more emotionally complicated than that for the leader of the ogres who feels he has failed to protect his people and all that. 

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 10 Rimuru

I don’t actually mean to sound blase but it is really hard to sound otherwise when discussing this anime. For while we do get a fairly decent scene with the ogre punching a tree showing off some inner turmoil, in almost the next scene he puts a few amendments onto the agreement with Rimuru and takes to one knee. It is back to this idea where Slime kind of lingers on slice of life nothing kind of moments but then where something major happens it feels like it just kind of accelerates straight through it.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 10 Ogre

Not that it matters. The point gets across. The episode doesn’t feel dragged out. Ogres join with Slime and Rimuru then gives them names causing him to take another nap. He really needs to learn to ask first as to what the cost of something is going to be.

However, just in case ogres weren’t enough, the anime then brings in some Lizardmen. And while these guys haven’t gotten to Rimuru’s village yet it is kind of only a matter of time. Their introduction seemed only relevant in that it reinforced that the orcs are coming, the Prince of the lizard-guys has been given a name by a wanderer, the same as the deceased goblin brother that was mentioned episodes ago, and the ogres have all but confirmed that the demon lord guy who connects those two points is the one who came to their village and was refused right before the orcs destroyed it.

That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime Episode 10 Lizardmen
You just know this guy is going to be a problem.

It’s kind of a lot of information but at the same time still feels like we didn’t really get very far. And I feel like I say that a lot with this anime. Anyway, I had fun, in case that wasn’t clear. The more characters and the more the world opens up, the more entertaining each episode seems so let’s push on and see what happens next.

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Karandi James
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Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest Volume 2 Light Novel Review: They Introduced a Bunny Girl

Arifureta Volume 2 Cover

When you have a main party this overpowered the only thing to do is throw everything at them, including terrible puns. Hajime and Yue having escaped the dungeon now encounter a blue bunny girl before setting off to defeat the remaining labyrinths. If you missed my review of Volume 1 you can find it here.

Review:

I’m really torn on this second volume of Arifureta. On the one hand, I like the overall quest Hajime and Yue are on to conquer all the dungeons and get back to  earth. On the other hand, we’re definitely starting to build a harem with the introduction of Shea, the single most annoying punching bag character ever introduced. So reading this volume was a mix of moments that I really enjoyed followed by a lot of inane interactions between the new core group of three that just didn’t sit well with me.

Arifureta Volume 2

There are two real parts to this volume. The first is Hajime and Yue leaving the labyrinth and being recruited by Shea to save her family of bunny men which Hajime ends up doing despite his endless protests because despite being a complete ass ninety percent of the time they still want us to somewhat like him and believe that he’s kind of a good person who was just warped by circumstance. What follows, after a lot of waffling and some not so funny attempts at comedy, is a sequence that kind of reminded me of that episode in Full Metal Panic Fumoffu where Sousuke turns the soft-hearted football team into killers.

I will admit, while I found the sequence fairly entertaining it kind of left a bad taste in my mouth because we now had these ruthless rabbit people pretty much happy to engage in the kill or be killed mentality that Hajime had to develop to survive. Then again, part of this process is probably trying to emphasise what Hajime lost in the process and maybe the point is to help him slowly figure out that he needs to reign it in. At least he kind of acknowledged he may have gone to far before they moved on, though even that moment is kind of ruined by Shea being Shea (and can Hajime stop using rubber bullets on her and just kill her).

“You know, I really did feel bad about what I did to you guys. Even if it was to train you as quickly as possible in the short time we had, I should have put a stop to it after a while.” – Hajime

The second half of the story focuses more on Hajime, Yue and Shea venturing into the human towns and joining the adventurers guild before taking on their second labyrinth. The issue with this part is that the first book was fun because we started with Hajime literally at the mercy of everything and having to coldly build himself up, discarding everything human in the process in order to survive. This labyrinth doesn’t have that.

Instead we artificially limit Yue and Hajime by using a mineral that makes it hard to use Mana or magic, making Shea the tank of the team as they traverse this labyrinth. There still is never a real sense of danger and Hajime and Yue don’t ever really get serious, although they do get annoyed more often than not at the taunting of the labyrinth’s owner.

We get a few cuts to the other students and what they are up to, but they are definitely side characters at the moment and their scenes feel very much like after thoughts. They might be leading to something later on but right now they aren’t very interesting.

Basically it isn’t as compelling a read as volume 1. It is still quite fun in its own way but a lot of the tone and the general idea of Hajime’s character is kind of lost and this volume settles into far more generic isekai tropes. And while that doesn’t result in a bad book by any means, it also isn’t grabbing me as much as volume 1 did.

I’ll give this series another volume and see if it can pick itself back up or whether I’ll part ways with it there.


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Karandi James

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Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in A Dungeon? Volume 8 Light Novel Review

DanMachi Volume 8 Light Novel

This volume felt like a breath of fresh air after volume 7 and there was plenty to enjoy about it. There’s an army marching on the city of Orario but let the bigger familias deal with that crisis. Inside Orario there are better stories to be told.

Previous reviews for Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in A Dungeon can be found here.

Review:

I mentioned that this volume felt like a breath of fresh air and I mean that in the most literal sense. Volume 7 felt like the fight dragged on far too long and the single minded focus on characters trying to catch Bell made the volume start to drag. Volume 8 couldn’t be more different essentially presenting a series of vignettes focusing on the support cast as they go about their lives in the city of Orario. Sure, Bell is ever present in each of the stories and at times plays pivotal roles, but this volume really works on fleshing out that support cast that kind of got sidelined over the last few books and also fleshing out the city just that little bit more.

The back drop for all of these stories that holds them together is the invasion of Rakia driven by the god Ares. This means that Freya and Loki’s familia are spending a lot of time out of the city and fighting off the invaders and we’re reminded of this throughout but it isn’t really the main point.

Instead, we break from the war to see what Hestia familia is up with an initial focus on Mikoto who is trying to buy a gift for her previous god (and the one she will return to after a year). It’s a cute and funny story that has very little weight and yet really helps consolidate Mikoto’s character and role in the family. And any story that involves a deity having a cake thrown at them is going to be kind of amusing.

Is It Wrong to Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon Volume 8

Not outstaying its welcome, we transition to a story that looks at Lily (from Hestia familia) and Finn (leader of Loki familia). I will admit, this story kind of comes out of nowhere given we haven’t really got a sense of who Finn is previously and his sudden decision to propose marriage to Lily seems a little bit random, but at the same time this story does help to do some world building about the nature of the Prum’s which is an area that had previously more or less been ignored. It is also another chance to get Lily and Bell together and away from the rest of the familia which is something we haven’t seen really since Welf entered the picture so I really enjoyed this story.

Speaking of Welf, his story comes next and it is probably the most directly tied to the war going on outside the city (see the book didn’t forget its own set up). Turns out Welf left the Rakia kingdom and they kind of want him back given he can actual forge magical swords. There’s quite a story here and we learn more about Welf’s family and Rakia but all of that is overshadowed as we see more of Welf and his love for his former goddess, Hephaistos. It also comes with a what must be one of the most straight forward and probably embarrassing confession scenes ever and it is just delightful to read.

I’m not going to give any details about the next couple of stories because they certainly up the danger a bit more and end up being a bit more focused on the external threat but Eina, Syr, Hestia and Aiz all get a moment to shine as the story continues.

If I’m honest, I actually prefer this format of short stories told within the greater narrative over the drawn out confrontation offered in volume 7. Each story is fresh and energetic and none of them over stay their welcome. It is exactly what this series needed to re-energise things and I really had a lot of fun reading it.


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Karandi James

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Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in A Dungeon? Volume 7 Light Novel Review

After the fantastic conflict in volume 6 I had to wonder what they would do next. I’m not entirely sure I’m sold on this particular volume of Is it Wrong to Try to Pick UP Girls in a Dungeon, though I still had a lot of fun reading it.

Review:

If I’m totally honest I’m going to admit that Volume 7 is perhaps my least favourite of this series so far (admittedly when I’m writing this I’ve already read the next couple of volumes so I know the story picks up again). There are a couple of reasons why this particular volume didn’t really work for me but let’s start with what it is about.

Essentially we aren’t going dungeon crawling this time around, at least not much. Mostly this story is about Mikoto (now a member of Hestia familia) going into the pleasure quarter looking for someone she used to know and Bell and the others getting caught up in it because the pleasure quarter is run by the Ishtar Familia and apparently Ishtar is every bit as crazy for Bell (or at least crazy for getting into Freya’s business and messing with Bell seems like a good play at the time).

The end result is we spend a good chunk of the book with Bell being pursued through the Pleasure Quarter by a rampaging group of Amazons who want to violently have sex with him (he may or may not survive the process) and once he escapes he turns around and goes right back in because he wants to rescue the friend Mikoto was looking for in the first place.

Now we’ve watched Bell evading capture before. First when he was trying to keep Hestia safe when the monsters escaped Monsterphilia and he spent a great deal of time running and trying to hide. Then we saw a more complex chase with other adventurers from Apollo Familia in book 6. That chase sequence was great to read and felt really intense. This time it all just seems kind of lame. Sure the Amazons are incredibly high levelled adventurers and they are tough and determined to catch their prey, but I just couldn’t really bring myself to care mostly because it seemed unlikely that after six books Bell was actually going to be ravaged by an Amazon. I’d sooner believe a monster killing him off then him actually getting it on with a girl at this point.

Then there is the sheer length of this volume. Now, I have no issue with reading longer stories, however this one didn’t feel like it needed all those extra pages. What it felt like was bloat. As though instead of editing out all those moments that maybe sounded cool individually but added little, they all just got left in. To be honest, if this story had been told in perhaps half the length it probably would have been a much tighter and more enjoyable read.

So is there anything good about this volume?

DanMachi7b

Of course there is. We’re still getting to spend time with Bell and Hestia and the slowly growing Hestia Familia. These characters are awesome and while the focus was more on Bell and Mikoto than the other familia members, they were doing a fairly solid job.

I also like that Freya, Hermes and the other gods all seem that little bit more aggressive in their interference with Bell in this volume. There’s been a lot of string pulling from the shadows in prior volumes but this one brings Freya Familia out into the streets and on a rampage to wipe out the Ishtar Familia. It starts to lend weight to all those warnings about feuds between families that have been given throughout the previous books but with the exception of Hestia’s fight with Apollo we hadn’t really seen a lot of this.

While this isn’t the best book in the series by a long shot, it does do some essential world building, there’s some important character moments including the introduction of a new character who is going to stick around, and there’s a fairly decent climax. Despite its length, the writing style remains fairly familiar and this is an easy read that just kind of pushes you forward from page to page. Overall, it is fun to read so while there are plenty of minor issues I might take with the story I didn’t dislike it.


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Karandi James

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Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in A Dungeon? Light Novel Volume 6 Review

Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon Volume 6

If I thought volume 5 was fun as it fleshed out characters and gave us a wonderful fight in the dungeon for Bell and his novice party, Volume 6 seems determined to really show us something special with a lot of plot points coming to a head.

Review:

It turns out that Bell isn’t just popular with the girls around him as this volume sees our young adventurer grab the unwanted attention of Apollo. However, unlike so many other characters, Apollo doesn’t seem happy just to look on and wait and he plays dirty to get what he wants. After a series of fairly interesting events a war game is declared between Hestia and Apollo and their families, only Hestia’s family still only consists of Bell so they are going to need to call in a lot of favours.

I really loved this book. Partly that was because this is the first book in the series where I hadn’t watched an anime adaptation of the events already so it was all pretty novel and interesting. But the other part of it is that this book just consolidates so much about the world. We don’t go dungeon crawling so much in this one as the focus is entirely on the politics of Orario and the way familias and gods interact.

It’s a fairly explosive confrontation with open battle in the streets at one point and various families moving together and gods and humans scheming for their own advantage. In the midst of this chaos we finally get a conclusion to Lilly’s time in the Soma family and we see very much how strongly Hestia feels about keeping her familia, such as it is, together.

Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon volume 6 chapter 5

There were some very nice touches along the way including the fact that Hestia and Loki do not get along. While your first thought when Bell was in trouble might have been that Aiz would come to his rescue, that is complete impossible given the situation. So while she gives him a fair spartan training session leading into the war game, Aiz is limited to spectator once the fight begins.

Instead Bell ends up with aid from a number of characters we’ve met along the way but in this they are really stepping up because the only way to help is to leave their own families and join with Hestia familia. It’s a big ask but we can see how much of an impact the Little Rookie has had on others as they come together.

By the time the war game rolls around you kind of suspect the outcome though there’s still a lot of wondering how Bell is going to pull it off. The results are fantastic to read to say the least.

Volume 6 was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed spending some time with Bell outside of the dungeon. Looking forward to the next stage of the journey for Hestia and her suddenly larger familia.


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Karandi James

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Arifureta: From Commonplace to World’s Strongest Light Novel Review – I Dare You To Call the Protagonist Overpowered

Arifureta Volume 1 Cover

This one a novel I picked up off a recommendation from the Book Depository when there happened to be a sale and I had 10% off. I hadn’t heard of the title or read anything about it. As a result, it ended up fairly low in my read pile and I passed over it a number of times before I finally decided one day to start it over a long weekend. Well, a day and some eye strain later I’d devoured it, but was it actually any good?

Review:

Look, if you have an issue with isekai stories, stories where the weak guy suddenly becomes an unstoppable killing machine, or stories that insist on making the vampire girl look like a pre-teen and finding any excuse for her not to be wearing clothes, right now you already know that this book isn’t going to work for you. This book definitely ticks off pretty much any trope you want to throw at the isekai genre and it does it with a smug sense of ‘look what I did’. Yet that is what probably works in the book’s best interest. It doesn’t try to hide its genre or shy away from it. It isn’t ashamed to be exactly what it was trying to be and as a result this is a story full of excitement, danger, slightly uncomfortable moments when turning a page and finding a fairly unclothed vampire girl staring at me, and generally a lot of fun.

So what is Arifureta about?

Essentially Hajime is your standard protagonist for these kinds of stories. He’s an otaku who likes to sleep during class and doesn’t have many friends. Then his entire class get summoned into a fantasy world where they are tasked with saving it. And they all have powers, only Hajime’s is considered pretty lame and useless and he ends up being beaten up by some of his own classmates.

So far, so standard, and only some fairly decent writing managed to get me into this story. It isn’t exceptional, but considering some of quality of writing in some of the light novels I’ve read in the last year, it is perfectly readable and occasionally there’s some very nice description thrown in amongst what seems to be a fairly hefty exposition dump setting up the scenario.

Despite that, the story manages to draw you in as the students deal with some fairly real challenges with suddenly gaining power but having no training or actual skills and dealing with a world most of them thought only existed in stories or games. There’s a lot going on with the political situation of the world and plenty of what is happening in these pages is set up that could potentially be very interesting further down the line though remains fairly underused in this volume.

Page 106 is where it all just decides its had enough of the play nice with the class where the biggest issues involve avoiding being bullied. Hajime is literally tossed under a bus by one of his own classmates in a misguided fit of jealousy while the teens are training in a dungeon and the next thing he knows he’s sent plummeting to the very bottom level far below where anyone even realised the dungeon reached. It’s a pretty tragic event and one that isn’t over.

See the next 250 or so pages deal very much with Hajime climbing his way back out of the dungeon. There are impossibly tough monsters around every corner and our protagonist is not getting off unscathed. I may have warned you earlier about the nudity, but here’s a warning about the violence. In a very early monster encounter Hajime has his arm torn off and eaten. No joke and no get out of jail free card for the kiddo. He’s just traumatised and it takes him a fair while to do anything after that event. However, it is a magic based world so at least he doesn’t die and he does find the mean to begin rebuilding himself into the nastiest thing to ever crawl out of a dungeon.

Arifureta Volume 1b

And that’s where this book does distinguish itself quite well. Other than the occasional flashes to what the rest of the class are up to, we spend the rest of this adventure watching Hajime fight for his life and develop the tools he’s going to need to become a seriously overpowered hero. In the process he’s going to lose most of what made him human. Some things are ripped from him (like his arm) but others are things he willingly discards in a quest to become something that can survive in this world.

In that, his meeting with Yue becomes pivotal because it was possible Hajime would become something totally unrecognisable and relatable but the vampire girl manages to reawaken some of the humanity inside of him. The dynamic between the pair might be awkward at times but it was most definitely an essential development in this journey.

Overall, there’s a lot of fun to be had in this adventure and it clearly isn’t done with volume 1. There’s ridiculous amounts of world and lore still to explore and the characters have clear goals to continue to work towards. While this is hardly the best thing ever written it was incredibly bingeable and I most definitely added the next book to my wish list as soon as I finished this one.


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Karandi James

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