Top 5 Girls In DanMachi

Tuesday's Top 5

I finally decided the girls in DanMachi really did deserve there own post.

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile you probably already know that I have a silly fondness for Bell from Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon. Whether it is from the first season of the anime or the light novels, I find his nice guy, hard working, character who knows when to really step things up in a fight quite delightful. But even with Bell being an adorable central character even I have to admit it is the girls in DanMachi that really do steal the show.

It is kind of impossible for me to just pick them from their appearance in the anime so some of these became more fleshed out in the light novels than the series. Still, I will avoid directly mentioning spoilers of any events beyond the first anime series.

Also, special shout-out to Welf. He’s an awesome character and kind of deserves to go on the list but I did decide to look at the girls of DanMachi today. Maybe I’ll do a list of my favourite male characters in the series at some point and I can assure you, Welf will be number one (provided I rule Bell out).


Give a shout out to your favourite girls in DanMachi in the comments.

Number 5: Eina

Eina Tulle - DanMachi

I feel a little bad making Eina number 5 on the list. She’s an awesome character that we meet early on. She works for the guild and supports Bell and is largely responsible for him not winding up dead fairly early in his dungeon crawling career. She cautions him, warns him of potential dangers, makes him memorise the layout and types of monsters he’ll be facing and helps him choose the correct equipment for the level he’s heading to.

While she clearly does have a crush on the Little Rookie, she remains professional and Bell views her more as a big sister character. Still, she’s essential to the story and her interactions with Bell are always interesting and that makes her one of the best girls in DanMachi.

Number 4: Freya

Freya - one of the girls in DanMachi
She also has an interesting grip on fashion.

Honestly, Freya should be higher on the list but her appearance in the anime so far has been really limited. Still, even before reading on, Freya was a character who intrigued me. Her few appearances were short but they had a big impact and it isn’t completely off-base to say that she’s really helping to shape Bell into the hero that he’s starting to become.

While she chooses to mostly manipulate from behind the scenes her actions were getting more bold in the series and she’s certainly continued to have a presence in the books. I would definitely love to see more of Freya.

Number 3: Ryu


Ryu is such a great character. She works with Syr at the bar that Bell regularly goes to and for the most part is just a fairly cold waitress. However her knowledge of the dungeon reveals a far more colourful past as does her level of observation and quick reflexes. By the time we see Ryu enter the dungeon it is a foregone conclusion that she’s going to be strong and she does not disappoint.

Number 2: Hestia


How could I do a list of awesome female characters from Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon without mentioning Hestia. The bright and exuberant goddess who works incredibly hard to support her small but important familia. Bell and Hestia are a fantastic duo and while they might both be looked down upon in the beginning, they aren’t going to back down as they fight for what they want to achieve.

Number 1: Lily


Lily is just a great character and a much needed one. While Hestia is at times observant, she’s also pretty flighty and being a god doesn’t give things the same weight a human might. Bell himself is pretty naive and overly trusting, so having someone like Lily by his side is essential.

That said, Bell met Lily when she was the one trying to take him for a ride and it was only through his stubborn kindness that she ultimately decided to actually team up with him. I loved Lily’s character arc and her role within the familia is absolutely imperative to their ongoing survival and financial security. She’s a lot of fun and exactly the kind of character Bell needed to have his back when entering the dungeon.

Well, that’s my list today but I’d love to know your favourite female characters in DanMachi. I know I didn’t include Ais. As much as she is vital to Bell’s growth and as a goal for him to achieve, I really find her a fairly dull character, but feel free to tell me why she’s amazing if you like her.

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Karandi James

DanMachi Series Review

is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon season 2 release date spoilers for danmachi e1436273064961

DanMachi Overview:

DanMachi is one of those rare fantasy anime that actually isn’t an isekai (though at times it feels like it should be).

In a fantasy world, Bell Cranel wants to be an adventurer and wants to meet the love of his life in a dungeon. With the divine blessing of his Goddess, Hestia, Bell is going to work hard to become strong, and let’s be honest, this is one of my favourite series ever.

DanMachi Review:

Alright, I avoided this anime when it first came out. The name “Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?” was kind of an instant turn-off and I just had this image of the most generic harem comedy in existence and wasn’t going to go near it.

No idea why I ended up watching the first episode of it, but I do know that I then watched the entire show in the space of an afternoon. For all that it isn’t a perfect series, it is a delightful bit of fun and highly addictive viewing.

DanMachi - Bell and Hestia

Is it generic fantasy? Definitely. You have dungeons and elves and minotaurs and you’ve got a whole pile of RPG elements thrown in with levelling up and stat scores and the like. It isn’t trying to break new ground in its world building but neither is it playing these things as a joke. While the feel of the show is light-hearted they’ve taken world-building seriously and the world you are presented with is a very functional setting for a story.

Do we have a harem? Not quite but pretty close. Bell does have a lot of admirers by the end but to actually describe this as a harem comedy would not do justice to either this or to harems because while there are certainly elements of harem here, that isn’t the main focus despite the title. There is one girl that Bell likes and he uses that like as a motivation to drive himself to get stronger.

While other characters flock around him and the usual comedy elements get thrown in, the story focuses very much on Bell developing as a character.

This is character development. Bell will definitely learn from this.

So what works about this show? The comedy is a little bit childish and over the top at times, but it generally works and is amusing. Hestia in particular can usually make me smile. But then again, the idea of a Goddess taking on part time jobs to buy her hero equipment (or even dinner in the early stages) is pretty amusing in and of itself.

Pretty much if you don’t crack a smile during the first episode then this show isn’t going to work for you because from a tone point of view it isn’t really going anywhere and they are only going to get more excessive in their efforts to make you laugh.

Bell Cranel works as a character. Okay, he’s a bit bland as a character (generic self-insert cliché) but the story allows for him to grow and actually begin to make decisions and choices and to start to find out who he is. And unlike so many other characters he doesn’t discover he is actually an ego-maniac. He discovers that he genuinely wants to have an adventure and to protect his friends and he derives great joy from his small (and not so small) successes.

The interactions between the gods and the gods and their families work really well. I feel a little hypocritical on this point because they do a great job of massacring mythology in this and I’ve certainly criticised other shows for this previously, however I didn’t feel annoyed by the way they presented the gods in this show.

They also didn’t try to shove their version of mythology down your throat. It was more they had god like characters who happen to have the names of gods you may or may not be familiar with and as a result you may or may not like the way they are represented. That said, the interactions are great.

Bell’s party that slowly forms is fantastic. Originally hiring a supporter (who comes with a lot of baggage) before recruiting a smith (who also comes with a lot of baggage), these additional characters really help to off-set Bell’s general blandness and inject new energy into the second half of the series.

Welf Crozzo (the smith) is one of my favourite characters and my only complaint would be his limited screen time given how late in the series he is introduced.


Then we have the dungeon exploration itself which is just pure fun. Whether the characters are picking off small fry or facing up against a floor boss, the combat is visually entertaining and hits just the right balance between being dramatic and being over the top. Bell’s battle against the minotaur is one I will continue to love forever.

It perfectly brought together the previous plot points (Bell being embarrassed when he was cornered by a minotaur and being unable to fight against it as well as his desire to protect), it allowed for some critical character development and a bit of a power-up in the process before we moved into the final arc, and it was an awesome fight to watch. I loved every minute of that fight.

The biggest flaw might be that the final fight sequence isn’t quite as exciting as it needs to be. Bigger enemy doesn’t necessarily make for a better fight and it actually felt like all the clever moves and strategies that we’d see previous got tossed out the window as the characters threw themselves at the giant blob of a villain (little bit sarcastic but you get the idea). 

Admittedly, it ends the way it needs to for Bell as a character, but as a viewer you gain little satisfaction. The Minotaur fight was a personal triumph for a character we’d grown to like and then this final fight was with a boss from nowhere and while it has its place it didn’t feel as rewarding. Worse though, it all just feels like a resting point for a continuation that has yet to come, though I guess we’ll see if it ever does (rumours say yes, but they’ve been wrong before – meanwhile I’ve well and truly read beyond this point in the light novels now and please give us another season).

Okay, I have to mention my other criticism which is the basic dress of every female character (even the armoured ones). Starting from Hestia on, they are not dressed for any practical purpose and while some of the male costumes aren’t any better there is at least a wider variety of clothes for males.


Is this show going to blow your mind and change the way you think? Probably not. What it should do is provide you with a few smiles, some exhilarating fight sequences, and a whole cast of cute and zany characters to chill out with for an afternoon. If that sounds appealing, pull up a chair and give it a watch.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

In Anime, Some Nice Protagonists Manage To Be Surprisingly Interesting


This week I’d like to examine the nice protagonist making a distinction between a protagonist whose main descriptor is being nice to those that are simply self-insert protagonists so common in the vast majority of harem comedies. No, the nice protagonist has the defining trait of being nice, but still has additional personality traits (underneath being nice all the time). They also are usually so nice that it would actually be impossible to self-insert into them because literally no-one is actually that nice (okay, gross exaggeration but why not).

Just like overpowered or complete jerk protagonists, nice protagonists cop their fair share of criticism. They’re boring, they’re unrealistic, they’re just allowing themselves to be walked all over, and –  probably the most fatal trait for a protagonist –  they’re completely forgettable.


For instance: Bell from Is It Wrong To Try and Pick Up Girl’s in a Dungeon? is a nice protagonist. He’s also adventurous, impatient, ambitious, a little bit lecherous, and a lot insecure. So being nice isn’t his only personality trait. But when you talk to people about this show they discuss Hestia, the fight scenes, the weapons, occasionally Loki, but they don’t mention Bell. Or if they do, they call him the Main Character because half the time they don’t remember his name.

Bell definitely suffers from Nice Protagonist forgettability at times.

Is Bell really a nice protagonist or is he cool?
Bell needs his own appreciation club and I nominate myself for president.

And it seems a bit harsh to not even remember Bell’s name. He has some incredible character development both in literal skills and in his focus and goals. He also gives us one of the most dramatic fight sequences I think I’ve ever watched and one where I genuinely cared if this nice character was actually going to make it through the fight. So much so in 2021 I gave this fight its very own article.


The common saying of nice guys finish last seems to apply here. Get anyone to list their favourite protagonists and the vast majority of them will not be nice guys. Instead we’ll see the bad-boy, the laid back and cunning hero, the shouting self-righteous types, as well as the hard-as-nails standard hero model. So why is it we don’t like nice protagonists?

And I already know people will argue, but we don’t dislike them. And that’s true to. That’s why they exist at all. Because they don’t cause people to dislike them. But, in the absence of a truly great story or supporting cast the nice protagonist will just slip off your radar without a second thought.

Which all of course raises the question of what is it about human nature that ‘nice’ is seen as such a dull descriptor of a person? I was watching a rom-com recently (not anime amazingly) where the girl had the choice of two guys and she was describing them to a friend. Mid-way through one description the friend made snorted and then said that she’d literally just fallen asleep. Why? Because the guy was nice. Apparently that’s a death sentence in a rom-com because at the end of the film the girl ended up with the other guy.

So, my question is: Who is your favourite ‘Nice’ protagonist?

Let’s give all the nice guys (and girls) a shout out.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Why Bell’s Minotaur Fight Is An Excellent Anime Moment

Dungeon Feature

Fight scenes are everywhere in anime but some stick with the viewer long after the closing credits. Here’s my favourite and why.

There are a lot of action anime and fight scenes that reviewers seem to have paid attention to over the years. However one of my favourites never seems to get a mention. So in this post I want to look at exactly why Bell’s minotaur fight is an excellent anime moment.

While it might be argued that fight scenes are fairly prolific and most follow a fairly routine delivery method and so there is little variation other than the animation between one anime fight sequence and another, I find that for me there are a few key ingredients to making a fight sequence that I am both thrilled by while watching and it sticks with me long after the anime has finished airing.

For a fight scene to really stick the landing it does need to be technically proficient. Frantic cuts and messy effects all over the screen can’t hide lacklustre animation or characters who are going off model more often than not. However, there also needs to be a solid reason to care about the outcome of the fight and the character involved (and I don’t mean by pasting a last minute flashback in to try to suddenly elicit sympathy for an otherwise unpopular character right before they die).

Considering those two components, I’m drawn back again and again to season one of DanMachi (Is It Wrong To Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon) episode 8 which is appropriately titled ‘Argonaut’ and then depending on whether you view it on Crunchyroll or AnimeLab comes with the subtitles ‘wanting to be a hero’ (Crunchyroll) or ‘a hero’s aspiration’ (AnimeLab).

Incidentally if you haven’t watched episode 8 of DanMachi, I’m going to suggest that you go watch the episode first before reading the rest of this post because there will be spoilers for the fight below. That and it is just a really cool fight that kicks off around the 9 minute mark of the episode.

I’ve also discussed this fight previously as it topped my list of favourite fight sequences involving a blade of some sort. I get there are better sword fighters out there but this scene remains a personal favourite and I’m going to break down why this scene works so well for me.

fight danmachi2
Bell locked in deadly battle.

So why does the scene work?

For those who have watched DanMachi, you will know that the minotaur is a recurring enemy that Bell has to face off against. Now this isn’t a floor boss or a world destroying threat of any kind. For high level adventurers, like Ais and most of the Loki Familia, the minotaurs are just a nuisance that they kill off only to protect weaker adventurers when they venture onto the higher levels of the dungeons.

For Bell, the Minotaur represents a major failure for him on his journey to become a hero. In the very first episode of DanMachi we see Bell running in terror from a Minotaur that had evaded the Loki Familia and entered the upper levels of the dungeons where newer and less experienced adventurers were learning their craft.

He’s quickly cornered and is about to die when he is rescued by Ais. There’s trauma in this situation caused by Bell nearly losing his life before he’s accomplished his goal of becoming a hero, there’s hero worship as he sees his ideal in Ais’ cool and effective response to the threat, and there’s also general humiliation of needing to be rescued – which is further compounded later in the episode when the Loki Familia are having drinks and one of them recounts the story of the young adventurer who was pretty much covered in minotaur blood after being rescued.

Setting the stage for Bell’s minotaur fight.

While episode 8 is not a season finale and this isn’t the big-boss that Bell ultimately comes up against, bringing back a minotaur (not the same one obviously) for him to face off against when he’s a little bit stronger and yet still very inexperienced brings up a whole range of emotions and this fight has meaning for the character and for the audience.

DanMachi season 1 - episode 8 - Bell vs the Minotaur
Bell realising what is approaching him… not good.

These emotional stakes kick the sequence off as we hear the first rumbling footsteps of the Minotaur approaching Bell and his supporter Lily. It is very clear that Bell hasn’t overcome his earlier trauma involving the Minotaur given after turning to face the looming threat he freezes. It is Lily who makes the first move, diving to push Bell out of the way of the Minotaur’s opening strike and getting injured in the process.

Even then, we clearly see Bell’s fear in the first phase of this fight. He’s striking out blindly using magic and nearly obscuring his enemy to his own detriment more than once. Bell takes an early hit and his light armour is smashed leaving Bell with pretty much just his speed and agility and he’s wearing himself out fast between the injury taken from the hit and his own lack of control in the face of fear. If not for his desire to protect Lily, it is quite possible the fight would have ended fairly quickly and with the Minotaur being victorious.

However, after Lily runs away (at Bell’s behest) we enter the second stage of the fight (keep in mind this battle wraps up in the one episode so we’re not going the bloated shounen route of three episodes to power up a single attack here).

Bell vs Minotaur 2
Bell strikes back.

The second stage very much has Bell calming himself. He draws Hestia’s knife as well, takes a more controlled stance and we see him using the skills he’s learned in his short time training with Ais. His movements are definitely more purposeful now but he’s still barely avoiding blows that will crush him if they land. This stage really emphasises the size and power difference between the two with Bell getting pushed back as he blocks, low angle shots looking up at the Minotaur as it strikes down toward Bell, and even a number of foot stamps that Bell struggles to avoid.

Still, the audience can see how much Bell has grown in the first half of the season. While he’s still outclassed and outmatched here, he’s using everything he has to stave off death and land even small strikes against his opponent. And more importantly, while he’s still afraid, he’s not wanting to run. He’s looking for an opportunity and he’s holding on until he can find it.


That said, the fight is realistic in that eventually Bell misses his timing and is cut and then thrown. He’s down and if he wasn’t a protagonist in an action anime he’d probably be dead. It’s at that moment that the Loki Familia make their appearance and Ais moves between Bell and the Minotaur, ready to take down the threat.

For Bell, this is the worst possible outcome. To be rescued once again. To realise his own weakness once again. It is humiliating and it strikes at his own aspiration and desire. He enters the dungeon because he wants to be a hero. Heroes don’t lie on the ground while their idol rescues them from death. So by the power of grit and determination (which is almost as powerful as the power of friendship when it comes to writing anime plots) Bell gets back on his feet.

Bell's Minotaur Fight is an excellent anime moment
Uh oh – crazy eyes. Bell’s going for it now.

This clear link back to the opening scene, the demonstration of character growth, the purposeful motivation of the character for continuing this fight (personal stakes rather than some nebulous world-saving goal that could as easily be accomplished by another) all work together to give this fight real emotional weight. The fact that each stage is well choreographed to show exactly Bell’s mental state just elevates the entire sequence to something that, for those invested in the series, becomes impossible to look away from.

Truly an excellent anime moment.

When you combine the smart narrative choices with solid visual work and direction, and toss in a beautifully thought out sound design, moving from the ominous footsteps, to the sword scraping, to the slow build-up until we get to Bell’s battle song essentially by the final stage of the fight as well as the ringing sounds of the blades, the breath and roar of the Minotaur and Bell’s own thoughts and movements, you get a sequence that really carries the viewer into the moment. And what a moment it is.

The final phase of this fight is one where the Loki Familia stand in for the audience, watching this rookie adventurer taking on a superior foe and actually getting the upper-hand. They are awe-struck and mesmerised even as they see the flaws in Bell’s assault, they respect the effort and that even as the fight progresses he’s finding new strength.

At the close of the battle, as Bell stands completely drained of magic and energy, there’s a real sense that something amazing has occurred and the audience cheers for Bell even as we too want to know what has changed with his status after that momentous feat.

Everything about this fight works for those invested in the series and even for those who go in without liking the character or much knowledge of the story, will definitely find that there’s a real thrill in watching this fight. That’s why even after so many other anime and so many anime fight sequences, I always remember DanMachi and Bell vs the Minotaur. This is one fight that deserves to be remembered and is a truly excellent anime moment.

Images in this article from:

  • Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon. Dir. Y Yamakawa. J.C. Staff. 2015

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Contrary To The Title (Is It Wrong to Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon), The Girls Seem To Be Doing the Picking

Girls DanMachi

Maybe that’s why it is called “Is It Wrong to TRY to pick up Girls In A Dungeon?”

Three seasons in and so far our protagonist Bell Cranel has managed to assemble himself quite the harem – even if he’s more or less acting oblivious to the attention of the girls around him. With the exception of Welf (his trusty blacksmith) and the occasional attention from male gods, almost every character who really interacts with Bell on any kind of regular basis is female.

Not bad for a character who in early episodes couldn’t even speak around his hero, Ais Wallenstein. However, realistically Bell didn’t actually pick any of these girls up. Almost all (outside of Haruhime who was rescued in season 2) most definitely went out of their way to pick Bell up.

How many characters try to pick up Bell in Is It Wrong To Try to pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?

Starting from his goddess, Bell has been the one getting picked up. In Hestia’s case, it was more like she came across a discarded kitten and took a liking to him. We find out that Hestia set her sights on Bell when she saw him getting rejected from joining other familia’s on arriving in the city. Hestia, being something of an outcast herself, empathised with his plight and reached out to him, making him the starting point of her familia.

Of course she also aggressively pursues a more romantic relationship despite Bell’s frequent protests that she’s his goddess. But Hestia isn’t the only goddess in Is It Wrong to Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon who has her eyes on Bell as Freya has been watching over Bell’s growth since his arrival in the city.

Hestia reiterates her goal of having Bell in her familia - DanMachi
Hestia knows that with Bell you have got to be direct.

When you throw Apollo’s unwanted attention in season 2 and Hermes ongoing surveillance into the mix, you do have to wonder just what it is about Bell that is getting all these celestial beings so interested and there’s definitely a few points in his favour that Hermes reveals in dribs and drabs as the story progresses.

However Bell’s popularity isn’t limited to the divine.

After saving his life in the dungeon, Ais takes an interest in the white haired adventurer.

Whether it is seeking him out to apologise, teaching him to fight, or helping out when Bell’s goddess is kidnapped, for someone from a familia that isn’t exactly on friendly terms with Bell’s goddess, Ais finds a lot of reasons to stick around. Even in season 3, where certain choices drive a wedge between Ais and Bell, ultimately the power of being the protagonist kicks back in. But again, it is Ais reaching out to Bell.

Despite Bell’s clear infatuation with Ais, he sees himself as too far beneath her to actually make any kind of move. He certainly isn’t trying to pick her up. Just being in the same vicinity as her is kind of enough for him.

Then we have Lili, the tsundere supporter who joins Bell early on his adventures into the dungeon. Again, she approached him. She offered her services as a supporter and to accompany him, and she did so with the absolute desire to rip him off and ultimately leave him for dead in the dungeon. While Bell being a genuinely nice human being, and a little bit of a sucker, ultimately won her over, Lili is again the one making all the approaches.

Lili and Hestia exchanging words - not an uncommon event - DanMachi
Lili knows you most definitely have to speak your mind.

Syr as well at first approaches Bell with some reasonably underhanded motives. Working at the tavern she approaches Bell to get a promise that he’ll dine there (bringing money to the business). She later uses him to help with chores around the business. While Syr does genuinely seem to like Bell, making him lunch baskets and taking him with her as she visits places that are important to her, Syr is most definitely calling the shots.

Throw in Eina from the guild, Mikoto, Lyon, and an overzealous Amazon and Bell’s got every type of girl hanging around him and perfectly happy to risk their life if he needs it.

Which kind of makes you wonder just what is going on here. I mean, Bell is cute and all but the sheer amount of female attention is a little crazy.

Bell being attacked by an Amazon - Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon
Not just one goddess – this is the kind of attention Bell doesn’t need.

Then again, it is all kind of business as usual for a male power fantasy story. Bell’s on a quest to become stronger and in the process he, in some way or another, saves the characters around him. Some of them he saves from physical harm but a lot of them he is saving simply by being a decent human being. Though, where DanMachi moves away from standard power fantasy is in Bell’s basic appearance and physique, even his mannerisms. This is not Ichigo who will call someone out on their BS (Bleach) but rather a protagonist who seems relatively cute and harmless – just don’t pick a fight with his familia.

Whether they are infatuated with his drive, his growth, his power, his bashfulness, or his genuinely polite demeaner, each of the girls has a reason for hanging around. Individually they are all reasonable enough though it is the excessive number that pushes this into the realm of fantasy and the sense that this is all just escapism. A sense that is only reinforced by numerous sequences of the main female cast bathing, including a hot-springs in the dungeon sequence.

The DanMachi girls having a bath - pure fanservice
Yep, episode 1 of season 3 and they hit the fanservice button – definitely back into DanMachi.

While Bell initially wanted to meet a girl in the dungeon, and did in fact meet Ais in the dungeon, he isn’t really trying to pick them up. He doesn’t need to. Although, he does not have a really big mansion with lots of spare rooms. I wonder how big his harem might get before the story draws to a close.

Images used in article from:

  • Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? III. Dir. H. Tachibana. J. C. Staff. 2020.
  • DanMachi 2nd Season. Dir. T Hideki. J.C. Staff. 2019.
  • DanMachi. Dir. Y Yamakawa. J.C. Staff. 2015.

Thank-you for reading 100 Word Anime.
Join the discussion in the comments.
Karandi James

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Season 3 Series Review

DanMachi Season 3 Review

This Season of Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon Bell Comes Face-To-Face With The Downside of Fame.

Ever since the first season of Is It Wrong To Try To Pick up Girls in a Dungeon? won me over with its charm and adventurous spirit, not to mention one of the coolest fight sequences ever when we saw the young adventurer Bell, I’ve had a soft spot for the franchise despite the ridiculous name that ultimately doesn’t really have much connection with the events in the series outside of Bell’s initial reason for becoming an adventurer.

I’ve soaked up the story through the first season of the anime and then through the light novels. While season two of the anime was a little less on the thrilling side, it didn’t dent my overall enthusiasm for Bell and his familia as well as the other characters who were starting to feel like old friends.

Some spoilers in the review.

And so season 3 begins with Bell in the dungeon and through a series of events saving a monster girl. There’s nothing overly surprising about Bell playing the white knight and being unable to resist a girl in distress (it is how most of his fan club has formed around him) however there’s definitely a moral quandary involved this time around that forms the central issue of the whole series and fundamentally makes viewers take another look at the world building of the story.

The monster girl can speak and has awareness, including memories that seem to be her former life. Imagine being an adventurer in this world and realising that all the monsters you’ve been busily slaughtering in order to gain money and levels might one day remember and be aware of all that had gone before.

Bell and Weine meet - Season 3 Episode 1 of DanMachi
What’s a boy to do when confronted with a helpless monster girl?

I will admit, I loved this particular arc in the light novels. Before things had always been very much black and white. Monsters were bad and adventurers hunted them. The villains Bell has faced off again were largely deluded, crazy or greed driven so there was seldom any reason to really wonder about who was in the right. It meant that Bell could stay this naïve child playing at being a hero and safely blush as people praised him for his actions.

Season 3 brings us a hard dose of reality as Bell has to first overcome his own feelings about the idea of monsters who are able to think and reason, then has to deal with those who are praying on them, and finally turns most of the city against him when he stands between other adventurers and the monsters. Fame definitely has its downsides as when Bell falls from being the toast of the town he falls hard and there are more than a few people happy to see the hero brought down to earth.

I think pacing is where season 3 really shines. While there are some things I am going to criticise about this season, the three phases of the journey are really nicely paced with each taking about 4 episodes of the 12. It meant easy bingeing as I could watch 4 episodes, come to a reasonable pause point and contemplate my thoughts, before charging onto the next section.

I’m not sure how this would go week to week as each part of the story would stretch over a month and maybe that would make it feel like it was dragging, but now that the show has finished airing that isn’t really a drama anyway.

Bell shakes hands with the monsters - DanMachi Season 3 Episode 4
Bell’s choices come with tough consequences in this series.

There’s a lot to like about the story as we see Bell growing up, the Hestia family having to pull even tighter together, and we get more of a glimpse at the way the gods of this world manipulate their children.

Hermes in particular steps up his brand of interference with Bell. While at times he has made himself out to be an observer, Hermes remains someone who has a clear agenda with Bell firmly in his sights. There are also appearances and reactions from most of the gods and characters we’ve encountered in prior seasons which kind of helps feel like the story is progressing and building on the events that have previously occurred.

However, the visuals are at times about as subtle as a brick to the face. Various events in the story force Bell to choose a different path to Ais (who has been his idol since she saved his life in the very first episode). It is kind of a necessary step in order for Bell to grow up and to stop just being that love sick kid, however the distance between Ais and Bell isn’t just emotional as the visuals place them further and further apart throughout the series. While it gets the points across, it feels a little on the clumsy and obvious side.

Of course, the visuals in this season as a whole felt a little underwhelming. From the OP which is largely made up of stills to the general feeling that there just isn’t a lot of movement in this world, while the city and dungeon remain essentially the same as they did in prior seasons, there’s a sense of them being lifeless here. In the sporadic fight sequences throughout the season they do capture some of the energy of prior seasons but even the final fight sequence relies on more stylised art rather than letting us see the action for what it is.

When comparing that fight to the sequences in season one, there’s really no comparison. Season 3 comes up poorly.

Though, it isn’t exactly a deal breaker. The characters more than carry the season and the introduction of the Xenos (the talking monsters) opens up a range of possibilities for future conflicts and narrative possibilities. Bell’s development over the course of the series was much needed as it really was time for him to step things up if he was actually going to be a hero rather than going through heroic motions.

The clear throw back to his old fear (not going to spoil it for those who haven’t watched) gives this arc a sense of purpose and ultimately will leave fans of the franchise pretty satisfied with where this season ends things even if there are still some questions leaving plenty of room for another instalment.

Bell really does hate to lost - DanMachi Season 3 Episode 11
Bell is down but not out.

Ultimately I really enjoyed watching season 3 of Is It Wrong to Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? I like spending time with Bell, and watching him grow over the course of the series was very satisfying. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the visuals for the Xenos, I enjoyed their introduction into the world. I might have liked the fight sequences to have been a little more exciting, but these are petty niggles. What I got was a story that was well adapted from the source and fun and entertaining. Fingers crossed we’ll get a season 4 to continue the journey.

Images used for review from: Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? III. Dir. H. Tachibana. J. C. Staff. 2020.

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Karandi James

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in A Dungeon Season 2 Anime Series Review

DanMachi Season 2 Series Review
Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon - starts with energy.

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon Season 2 Gives Us A Season of Set Up

I’ve made no disguise of my love for this franchise. Beginning with the original season of the anime after a long delay I ended up reading the light novels and falling in love with the world and characters all over again. However the spin-off series, Sword Oratoria kind of bored me to the point where I dropped the anime and then finally a second anime season of DanMachi was announced.

After a four year gap there was always the question of whether season 2 could match the excitement of season 1 and I faced the added issue of knowing where the story went because I’d read ahead in the novels. I’m usually not looking at an anime based on already knowing the story so it changes my views a little bit.


Fortunately Irina was also up for some more Dungeon fun and so the two of reviewed this series weekly. Probably a good thing because a lot of what I saw and felt was because I’d experienced the books and knew where things were going or bits about characters that just isn’t in the anime. It made me look at the anime and what the anime was doing rather than what I already expected it to do. However, none of that changes the main problem with this second season.

The main problem is that a lot of what happens is about the characters facing more or less throw-away characters while background information is set up for future story arcs. The same thing happened in the books only when reading at least I can read it quick and move on to the next book. Here we’ve gotten to the end of Is It Wrong to Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon season 2 and it still feels like we’re waiting for it to get started.


But, a lot of the charm of the original series came from the characters themselves and in that respect Bell is still a charming and optimistic protagonist surrounded by some great support characters who bounce well off of one another.

While season 2 has little actual dungeon based adventure it makes up for it by having Bell expand his knowledge of the other familias, the gods, and the city itself. This world building is crucial for future developments and more importantly something that helps expand the world of DanMachi to more than just brown dungeon walls.

The first arc of season 2 has the Hestia familia getting challenged to a war game for contrived reasons by the god Apollo. This actually was a really cool opening arc though would have been more impressive if Apollo had been given any characterisation outside of ‘be mean to the protagonists’. Still, watching Bell’s friends rally to his side and seeing his familia growing before the small group of them take on the much larger family was pretty thrilling. Unfortunately this arc was also the highlight of season 2 and it was more or less all over by episode 4.


The story then transitions to a focus on Mikoto entering the red light district in search of a friend. Naturally Bell gets involved and they find the friend but she’s part of the Ishtar familia. Then of course Ishtar decides she wants Bell (what is it with Bell and goddesses). Following on from this we get various chase sequences, learn of a nasty ritual and then have a confrontation between multiple familias. It was one of my least favourite arcs in the books and seeing it brought to anime didn’t really make it much better. The new characters aren’t overly interesting and Ishtar is also a pretty one-note antagonist.


There’s some final moments in the season with an army attacking the city and again there’s some good world building going on which will lay a solid foundation for future stories but to be honest this really did feel like that slower middle episode of a trilogy. Which is weird given it is just another set of stories in the same world as season one and yet here for whatever reason the threats never quite click and we don’t get anything anywhere near as impressive as the fight with the Minotaur from season 1.

What remains solid are the supporting characters. Hestia, Welf and Lily, now joined by Mikoto make for an excellent back-up team for Bell. Hermes gets far more screen time in season 2 and his presence permeates all three arcs and it is often fun trying to guess what he is up to and what he is plotting. He’s one of those fun, ambiguous characters and I kind of hope he never changes.


Overall, Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon Season 2 is watchable enough and continues the story of Bell and his familia. However, by and large all it really made me want is the next season where all the little bits of information we’ve been learning start coming into play. That and I really just want to see Bell back in the dungeon again as it feels like despite the dungeon being part of the title season 2 spent far too long outside of it. Splitting these arcs up might have helped interspersing more dungeon antics in between and it could have been quite fun to watch, however it is what it is.


I still think those who enjoyed the first season will enjoy being reunited with this story. It could have been better but it also could have been a lot worse.

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Images from: DanMachi 2nd Season. Dir. T Hideki. J.C. Staff. 2019.

DanMachi Review Season 2 Episode 12 – The Love of a Goddess

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Episode 12 is kind of relaxing to watch and while the fact that any tension about Hestia getting kidnapped more or less evaporates doesn’t really seem to matter (or at least it didn’t really bother me). Mostly I just enjoyed the characters enjoying village life and honestly, Bell and Hestia are just too cute. What did you think Irina?

 Well it was obviously not my sort of episode as it focused on tones and themes I just don’t connect with much. Also I really liked the fact that Ares was shaping up to be a different character so I was pretty disappointed that last episode seemed to have been a red herring. This episode felt more true to those harem roots you mentioned. It was well paced and kept the narrative flow in line. A well crafted episode  and one that makes a lot of sense as a season ender.

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The episode starts with Bell nursing Hestia in bed and it is super adorable. Not long after she wakes up and while Ais has scouted around to check for signs of pursuit we’re largely not concerned about Ares or anything that happened last week. Instead, Bell is going to help prepare for the festival. While this doesn’t do great things for the story it does give the characters some quiet time to reflect and we also get a bit more world building when we learn that the villagers worship the black dragon’s scales and Bell has to wonder about whether all monsters are just monsters or not. While this doesn’t go anywhere right now it is going to become pretty important in the next part of the story so there’s something to look forward to in a new season of DanMachi.

They have been foreshadowing that black dragon pretty heavily. Sounds exciting! I do like DanMachi when there’s adventuring involved. The dungeon episodes were always my favourite ones. I’m looking forward to getting back to it.


In addition to Bell and Hestia this episode also deals with the mayor of the village who is dying. He used to be an adventurer but his goddess was killed and returned to heaven leaving him alone. There’s some nice moments when he is talking to Bell and encouraging him not to have regrets and Hestia also gets to shine as she allows him to have hope before the end. About the only problem I had with this particular story was the granddaughter didn’t really get to do much and the episode didn’t focus on her feelings about his passing. It would have been nice for her to have had a moment or two given the story bothered to introduce her at all.

I did like how unperturbed Hestia was by his death. Taking it in stride as everyone else cried. This was a nice illustration of the fact that Hestia has seen so much death that it’s simply become a part of life. Nothing to be all that concerned about. It also reminded me of the distance between gods and humans. I’m with Bell, it’s ridiculous to expect an actual relationship with one. You’d just end up as a favoured pet, if you’re lucky!


But Hestia sure was impressive in the moment. Possibly the most impressive she’s been all season!

The festival itself was more or less what you would expect from a village festival. Best moment of course goes to Hestia demanding that Bell ask her to dance the way he asked Ais way back when they went to Apollo’s ball. It is a nice full circle for the story to turn and definitely managed to make things feel a bit more linked given this season has felt a little bit all over the place.


Before we get to the end of the episode and the journey home, Hestia and Bell have an actual talk about the different life-spans of mortals and gods. Hestia is definitely sugar coating but I loved it when she told Bell that she’d find him again no matter how long it took. It might not be realistic but it is adorable and sweet.

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Well Bell is her child. It’s the sort of thing you tell children. What’s the point of making him feel worse?


And then the season ended. A third season has been announced and the teaser we got at the end of this episode was enough to make me excited, though I’m pretty sure people who don’t know what is coming won’t get why this is so exciting. Honestly, this second season has been a bit of a mixed bag but I still love the characters here and there were definitely more than enough fun moments. What are your final thoughts Irina?

I preferred the first season myself. There were some good episodes this season too of course but I just liked the tone and rhythm of the first season better. I also liked Bell and Hestia’s interactions and relationship a lot more in season 1 where they spent a lot more time alone together.


To me, this season felt like it was trying to get to something. I’m not saying it right. All the mini arcs felt rushed and I couldn’t quite get the connection I wanted to the new characters or the events. I feel like half the stories in there could have been a season to themselves. I don’t know if they skip over a lot of stuff in the novels as well or if this was just out of necessity to fit in the 12 episode span but often times I would find that the set up was great and I was ready to get the adventure started and BAM we’re off to the next thing. I hope next season will have a single overarching story line.

That I’ll have to agree with. It would be nice to spend more time on an idea rather than running straight to the next thing. Still, I think as long as Bell and Hestia show up, most of us will end up happy enough.

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Irina and Karandi

Irina 2020

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Images from: DanMachi 2nd Season. Dir. T Hideki. J.C. Staff. 2019.

DanMachi Review Season 2 Episode 11 – Chasing Hestia

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Bell’s most notable character trait, outside of his hero complex, is his absolute cluelessness when it comes to girls, particularly Hestia so this week’s initial complication comes as no surprise. What is a little surprising is that DanMachi is diving into a new plot with only two episodes to deal with it. I wonder how that’s going to go?

They’ve been pretty good at wrapping up the mini-arcs fairly quickly. I think most plots this season were resolved in roughly 3 or 4 episodes so I’m not too worried.

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The episode started more or less as I expected it to as they wrapped up the issue with Haruhime, however there seems like a lot of loose ends here. Like they don’t address the fact that there was a conflict in the city and the pleasure quarter was burned down. Nor does anyone mention the death/disappearance of a goddess. It is almost like other than Haruhime joining Hestia familia the events of the previous arc just aren’t going to be dealt with which is kind of a shame.

And we still don’t have a backstory for Haruhime. Maybe I’m the only one who’s interested in that. I don’t know why I keep going back to it. You know when someone starts telling you something then goes, nevermind before getting to their thought and then you just can’t think of anything else until they tell you. The Haruhme thing is like that for me. But yeah – they really should mention all the death and destruction and all. Two reasonably well known familias have gone down in like a month… 


Then again, why deal with the world building and resolving the previous conflict when we can put Haruhime in a maid costume and contrive a situation for Hestia to blow her stack. Admittedly, I really like Hestia, even when she’s throwing a temper tantrum, but it just feels like we skipped some important elements and I really don’t feel like we have time enough to deal with the conflict we’re being plunged into.

Ok, now you’re starting to sound like me. This is a little eerie.


I actually don’t know why anyone was surprised by Bell’s answer to Hestia when asked how he’d react to a goddess confessing their love. It is such a typical Bell response in terms of how he views and treats the gods in general. I do get why Hestia was annoyed by it, but the rest of the familia should have expected it.

I get why she was annoyed but like you, I don’t know what else she expected. They’ve gone through this a few times now, she should know what a precious little bunny he is. I figured she would have thrown her usual huff then gone on as always. I would really like to know what Hestia sees in Bell. Not in the sense that no one could like Bell just wondering what exactly Hestia likes since she arguably knows him best. I would like to think it’s more than the fact that he was her only follower for some time. 


Of course, this episode introduces an external threat to the city of Orario in the form of Ares and the army from another kingdom. Unfortunately, this threat isn’t one we can take all that seriously as Ares, despite being a god of war, is more or less played for laughs and manages to kidnap Hestia only through a series of ridiculous events and happenstance rather than good planning. I feel kind of sorry for the Prince who is serving him and I wonder how Ares has managed not to be killed by his own people up until now.

You know, when the episode started I thought for a second I had accidentally started an old Grandcrest episode. There was something about the look of it that just reminded me of that show so much.

I like doofuses so I’m looking forward to seeing what Ares can do. What I really like about him is that he is completely different in personality from all the gods we’ve seen so far. It’s a nice change.


Stupid plan or not, we do at least get an opportunity to see Ais in action again and watch Bell try to save his goddess. Seeing Ais, Hestia and Bell coming together here feels really nostalgic as these characters really haven’t been together much in this second season.

I’m sorry, please don’t be mad at me, but I think Ais is super boring. I have nothing against her. She seems like a nice girl. I would go for a drink with her in real life but I would invite Loki so that there is some conversation. Considering Bell can have his pick of absolutely anyone, I really don’t know why Ais. Other than the fact that she’s the hottest main character that is.

Yep, Ais on her own is pretty boring. There’s a reason I didn’t like the spin-off. She works as the love interest that is out of reach but that is all.

Naturally we end the episode on a cliff hanger. I’m just not sure that this is bringing us enough of a build up to really make the final episode of this season overly satisfying. It all feels a little rushed and cobbled together. How did you find it Irina?

It feels different. It’s not just some god deciding the want Bell for themselves so I do appreciate the novelty. Yeah the build up is a little thin but I don’t know where it’s going to go from here so there’s at least a lot of possibilities.

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Irina and Karandi

Irina 2020

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Images from: DanMachi 2nd Season. Dir. T Hideki. J.C. Staff. 2019.

DanMachi Review Season 2 Episode 10 – The Last Hero

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Right, I’m starting with an apology for this post being hopelessly late and even with the delay it is still going to be a little shorter than normal. Irina has been incredibly patient as I’ve been unable to keep up with posting during this latest round of sickness, though hopefully now I can start getting back up to speed.

And on the note, DanMachi gave us a very nice episode to watch this week. I have a few issues with the way things play out here, but these were issues I had with the light novel in this particular section, so honestly I’m pretty happy with how the anime has covered it. What did you think of the episode, Irina?

 OK, it’s been a few days so I may be mushing the last two episodes together but I remember it as an action packed jamboree. Also, I think I may be getting a crush on Takemikazuchi so that fact that we got to see him a little means it was aces in my book!

laughing rini e1563485535219

The episode starts with Freya’s familia moving in on Ishtar and if we thought the amazons were bad news they’ve got nothing on Freya’s children as they are pretty much razing the pleasure quarter. While the episode doesn’t linger on this, it is our first real glimpse at just how powerful Freya’s familia actually is.

And a good set up. I find that a lot of the gods sort of overlap each other. The ones we don’t see that much that is. A powerful but mysterious goddess who is unusually taken by Bell is sort of the default “other” god archetype for DanMachi but by keeping Freya both a little extreme and shrouded in enigma, it makes her way more interesting than the norm. At least to me.  This episode made me want to know more and that’s a good thing.


Of course, we need to focus in on Bell who has made the decision not to abandon Haruhime. Just breaking the killing stone isn’t enough. He wants her released but Phryne isn’t going for it. A fight between Bell and Phryne was kind of inevitable, though I find the way this story goes out of its way to not have Bell directly take down any human opponents to be a little bit dissatisfying. I know they want Bell to be the hero, but the narrative never forces him to get his hands dirty and that kind of feels like the author just liked the character a little too much.

I’m with you on that one.

Not that Phryne’s end is actually a problem. Seeing her grovel pathetically before shoving her foot clean into her mouth was pretty satisfying. It just feels like Bell’s being protected by the plot a little too much.


I don’t know if it was like this in the books or are they just streamlining Bell’s success for the sake of run time? That’s something that happens a lot in adaptation so I wouldn’t be surprised if this entire episode was originally way more challenging for Bell than it seemed onscreen.

Though on the note of things that feel a little less than satisfying, Welf and Lily really don’t get to do anything here. There’s a brief moment where they get in a scuffle but that is resolved almost instantly and other than the recovery of Mikoto there’s almost nothing to their story in this episode.

One of the things that bugs me personally about this season is that we really don’t get any development for Welf. We got a bit for Lily and I was really happy about that. But I was so psyched to see that Welf was joining the main cast this season and it still feels like he’s a very secondary supporting character so far. This said, there are a lot of characters in DanMachi, I understand if they decide to wait another season to give Welf his turn. To be fair, we hardly got to see Hestia this season as well but at least we had already gotten to know her from the previous season.

Bell would like Welf and Lily to get more screen time as well.

Hermes on the other hand continues to get the best bombshells to drop in the story. For a character who has limited screen time he really does steal the best revelations and shows up just in time for the most exciting moments. It fits well with his character and it means when he’s moving about you kind of anticipate something happening. Still, it would have been nice if he’d answered the question of how much he’d planned this whole scenario out because to be honest it all works out very conveniently for Bell, and for Hermes when all is said and done.

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Hermes is a troll mastermind character so I would expect things to go his way most of the time. And her is a supporting character so personal conflict isn’t quite as important for him. But I would like to see Bell outright fail just once. We learn a lot from our failures and it would be a great chance for character growth,


Which leaves us with Freya, who is one scary lady and I still don’t know why Ishtar thought she could take her on. I mean, no competition at all. I’m not sure the episode gave enough weight to Ishtar’s demise, though it was pretty and sparkly, but it definitely left me wanting to see more of Freya.

From their respective mythologies, I would have expected Ishtar to be way more powerful than Freya. I mean Freya is a very important and powerful goddess in her own right but Ishtar’s influence spans so many civilizations and she was a supreme divinity while Freya is usually overshadowed by her husband Odr/Odin.


This episode did what it needed, the pace moved well enough, characters came to logical ends and events resolved themselves enough though with still enough loose ends that it doesn’t feel all wrapped up. Basically it all works perfectly fine. I’m not sure this has in anyway reached the excitement of season one or even the winning of the war game earlier this season, which is a small problem for an episode so near the end of the series, but honestly, this arc just never quite managed to get there, even though it did bring some important bits of information and world building into the story.


The episode was nice, the only thing missing for me was how Haruhime got herself involved with Ishtar in the first place. Honestly I’m burning with curiosity. How did a kind and reserved little fox like that, with a good and loving family around her get herself into this type of trouble. Why didn’t she seek out the Takemikazuchi familia?  It sounds like it would be a great story and I don’t know why they won’t share it with us… I guess every lady needs her secrets.

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Irina and Karandi

Irina 2020

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Images from: DanMachi 2nd Season. Dir. T Hideki. J.C. Staff. 2019.