Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in A Dungeon Light Novel Volume 5 Review

At long last I have reached the end of the first season of the anime. This was kind of exciting as it meant the next volume would be new material. But first I have to answer the question of whether the danger and excitement of Bell and his party getting trapped in the dungeon before the over-sized boss fight was actually as interesting as it was in the anime. Clearly spoilers for both the novel and the anime below.

  • Volume 1 thoughts here.
  • Volume 2 thoughts here.
  • Volume 3 thoughts here.
  • Volume 4 thoughts here.

Review:

Firstly, this sequence of events, Bell, Welf and Lily getting caught in the middle levels of the dungeon after a ‘pass parade’ was pretty tense in the anime but never quite reached the exciting heights of Bell facing off against a Minotaur by himself. It was a case where bigger wasn’t better and while watching a lone adventurer face off against a monster that had previously nearly killed him was a truly thrilling battle, seeing the ongoing wearing down of the party before the lull of the ‘safe’ level before finally getting another sensational boss fight that just seemed to drag on too long just never quite captured the same spirit. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the ending to the anime and the anime in general, but I was curious to see how this book would read because it wasn’t something I was overly interested in revisiting.

But I’ll take that back now that I’ve read it.

Right from the start of this book, the writing works hard to make us view Bell’s party as still being young, inexperienced and in over their heads. There might be three of them and they might have had some successes, but they are very much sinking before the first chapter is even done. The sense of claustrophobia and desperation comes through loud and clearly and the reader is genuinely carried along with this tone for a fair while despite the book jumping perspectives to fill us in on the events going on outside of the dungeon. Despite knowing the fate of these characters, at least from this adventure, I was still genuinely concerned for their well-being at times and that made me really happy as I was drawn into this book.

The other thing I really liked is that Hestia and Hermes both get a lot more time here than the anime gave them. While Hermes character is still a bit of an enigma (as he is supposed to be), there’s a bit more insight into his character and purpose that is clearly setting up future events. Hestia as well is given a bit more to do than simply be the hysterical goddess and her decision to go into the dungeon feels a bit more genuine here than in the anime where it just seemed like a whim. Likewise, Lyu is given a lot more depth and time and while in the anime she was a character I was aware of and she played a pivotal role in this sequence of events, I never really thought much about her. After reading this book, I actually see her in a far more positive light and I’m a lot more interested in her.

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

I actually went back and watched the final two episodes of the anime again after reading this and I realise just how important Lyu is and yet it was something that prior to reading the source I just never really paid attention to. Yet she’s quite a wonderful character and one that I hope gets further development in this series.

However, and there had to be a however coming, the final fight itself drags. It dragged in the anime as well because just making a boss big doesn’t make it particularly scary or interesting. It barely moved in the anime and while attacks inflicted massive damage, it was hardly a dynamic or interesting battle. Tragically reading it doesn’t make it all that much better. While the characters come out a bit better and there is more attention paid to the contributions of Lyu, Asfi, and Mikoto, nothing changes the fact that ultimately this fight takes too long to wrap up and while it is a great moment for Bell as an adventurer, it can’t rival the Minotaur fight that we’ve already read.

But I do recommend reading the source for this one. If you at all enjoyed the anime, reading these five volumes has just added so many small details to the rich world that already existed. Plus, reliving some of those great moments in the anime from a slightly different perspective has been quite fun. Now however I am eager to read material that I haven’t seen the anime for and I’m looking forward to what comes next. Never fear, the last sale I went on a bit of a blitz with this series and I have quite a few volumes ready to read and go.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this book or the anime. Please leave me a comment below but try not to spoil the light novels for me because I’m definitely reading on.


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Karandi James

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The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar Episode 9: Seeking The Truth

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 9

This week we spend most of our time in the modern world with Mitsuki (Yuuto’s childhood friend/crush) as she tries to figure out where he actually is in history. Wondering why it is episode 9 before this happens, but why not?

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 9

One of the reasons I ended up following along with this show (other than the absence of obvious competition for my attention this season) was because I was interested in the time shift aspect. It is set up as such a standard harem/isekai story except it seemed that the protagonist was in the past rather than a different world. Then of course we have characters running around with seemingly magic powers and I couldn’t help but wonder where they were going with this.

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Turns out Ragnarok isn’t in the title just because someone thought it sounded cool. Seems they intended to actually take a look at some of the Norse myths they’ve kind of referenced even if they are stepping outside of the original stories (you know because stories don’t always stay the same over time so the actual events are allowed to be a bit different). It’s actually a reasonably clever premise and a fairly solid setting for the story. Where I would criticise it is that its taken 9 episodes to even explain this much and a lot of what has happened in the meantime hasn’t really felt like it has contributed a great deal toward some mythological battle between gods.

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That said, I was happy the story is finally addressing the premise it set us up with, even if they segue through girls comparing breast sizes because that’s a universal no matter what time period we’re in, at least according to anime.

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100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams Episode 9: What If Wonderland Were A Modern City?

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams - Kihel

The concept is raised as the Princess and the two Princes find their way into a modern city-scape but we very quickly abandon this line of questioning as the characters find themselves onto a rooftop garden and from there it is all pretty standard antics for an episode focusing on Alice in Wonderland style tropes.

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams - Cheshire Cat

I’ve mentioned before that episodes and stories based on Alice in Wonderland are very hit and miss, and a lot of the issue is they rely on you just accepting weird stuff is going to happen because ‘wonderland’. This episode of 100 Sleeping Princes isn’t an exception. While the idea of a wonderland in a world of mostly pre-industrialised countries being a city full of skyscrapers most definitely could have potentially been interesting, nothing was done with this in the end and other than Avi getting some coughs and the momentary fun of watching him freak out in the elevator, this somewhat unique setting was horrendously underutilised before it got scrapped by a time reversing watch reverted the city to a forest.

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams Episode 9
That’s what they all say.

Similarly, the characters we meet in this place are all caricatures of Alice in Wonderland characters and in the brief screen time they get they don’t do much to break the mould or make themselves in any way memorable. About the only point of interest is the black butterfly is in wonderland and joins that party for tea dropping a few hints about Setiq before disappearing again.

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And that’s where this feels like filler. We’ve more or less established that Kihel’s story is the only one this anime actually cares about. We’ve never addressed who the Princess is or what she was doing before she appeared in this world. She doesn’t even ask if there’s a way to go back. She’s just kind of existing for us to follow along with. Avi, despite initially suggesting he was going to return to his kingdom, has just strapped in for the ride. He has no actual story of his own that we’re aware of (and barely any personality). So Kihel’s story and finding Setiq has more or less become the only goal and other than a few minor titbits, this episode contributes nothing toward that.

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 9: The Good, The Bad, and The Protagonist

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 9 - Group hug

I kind of mentioned this in my post about anime angels and demons, but there are a lot of demon characters out there in anime that are portrayed as the lesser of two poor choices (if not actually the good guy). How Not To Summon a Demon Lord does one better with the paladins seeming like psychos, the actual demon lord an unknown boogeyman type character, and Diablo, the self-proclaimed demon lord, the character we’re supposed to rally behind.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 9 - Saddler

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord continues to introduce new characters even at episode 9 and I’m not entirely sure we needed that. There’s already a fairly rich cast and a clear set up for a final so Saddler coming in at this stage as the overly righteous Paladin didn’t really seem necessary. Whatever role he might be intended to play as an antagonist could easily have been fulfilled by Galford, but given how Saddler ends up this episode I’m not even sure if we’re supposed to count him as a reoccurring character or whether he was a villain of the week.

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There’s another sequence early in this episode where Diablo reaffirms that not everything is just like the game when Rem is teaching Shera how to summon. They are using a stone Diablo has never seen before and he certainly seems to be wondering just how the game and this world are related given the number of similarities but these ongoing discrepancies keep stacking up. Outside of that though, the whole summoning sequence just felt like down time and I’m not sure we gained all that much from the sequence.

How Not To Summon a Demon Lord Episode 9 - Shera

Of course this show needed its dose of fan-service and this week we get that in the form of Shera and Rem taking a bath in a stream. There’s a particularly uncomfortable moment where Rem is doing something to Shera’s boobs that defies physics and common sense, however the sequence is fortunately brief before what’s-her-name the fallen shows up. Here Diablo is presented with a choice. He can trust the fallen and learn the spell to unseal the demon lord inside of Rem or he can decline her offer. Admittedly, he wants the demon lord out of Rem, but his confidence that he can definitely beat the demon lord seems a little mis-placed after he has realised not everything is just like the game.

How Not to Summon A Demon Lord Episode 9 Shera
The magic of anime hair, and sparkles.

Still, for what this show is, it remains remarkably fun to watch. I’m looking forward to what will happen next week with Rem and the spell and I have so far pretty much enjoyed most of what this show has on offer. The bits that miss their mark for me aren’t enough to detract from some of the strengths this anime has on display with its characters and ongoing plot.

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The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar Episode 8: Create School, Create School Bullying

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 8

I don’t know if I’m impressed or annoyed that they managed to shove a school bullying subplot into a harem isekai story, but either way, this episode is mostly down time with a few minor plot points sprinkled through to ensure you can’t just skip it.

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 8

Let’s start with the actual plot. Felicia’s brother who was rejected as the patriarch of the Wolf Clan isn’t exactly giving up his revenge and we start and end the episode with him. Admittedly, the first scene seems to be recap and fan-service, but they do throw in the point that Felicia was the one who summoned Yuuto to this world and I don’t recall if we were supposed to already know that bit of information. They also remind us that Yuuto reacted strangely to the magic thrown around last week. The final sequence is a bit more ominous with the Church/Empire guy approaching the older brother and seemingly orchestrating an alliance between the Panther Clan and the Lightning Clan to bring down the Wolf Clan. Given both Panther and Lightning gave Yuuto trouble on their own, it seems a little worrying if those two get together (then again, with the egos of the leaders involved I’m not sure cooperation is really in their nature).

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 8

However, that is all for plot. The rest of the episode is filled with comments about it being cold to justify making a kotatsu, checking in on Yuuto’s whole school idea and realising that making a school makes for school drama, and lastly Yuuto making gifts for some of the harem because apparently their birthdays are coming up. it isn’t exactly riveting viewing nor is it terrible. It just kind of is and then the episode fortunately ends on a more plot driven note.

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I will point out that Yuuto thoroughly deserved getting slapped in this scene.

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100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams Episode 8: It’s All About Kihel

We seem to be closing in on the mysteries around Kihel’s missing memories. What I can’t figure out is whether this is going to be resolved next week or whether this is actually going to be an arc that takes us to the end of the series. Either way, it doesn’t seem like the anime is interested in dealing with its premise with the Princess appearing from another world as she doesn’t seem even vaguely concerned about that.

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams

As an episode, this one was pretty dull with the main characters spending the entirety sitting beside a lake and talking or sleeping. However it did fill in a substantial amount about Kihel’s background and set up a fairly compelling oncoming confrontation and we finally got a bit more insight into Setiq so it isn’t as though this time was wasted. They could have found a better way to integrate this into some kind of story, but I guess 100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams has long since proven it isn’t really all that sophisticated in how it rolls out its plot.

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams Episode 8

This episode does its job in that it leaves the audience feeling like they are getting closer to something while leaving us with a huge number of questions which will make us watch on. What it doesn’t really do is deliver any of this in an engaging way, unless talking and flash backs are your thing. And that’s literally all there is to this episode so I’ll just leave it here.

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How Not To Summon A Demon Lord Episode 8: Is It Not A Game?

Diablo is given reason to question whether or not he really is in the game world yet again as several events this episode make him reconsider how safe he is and how things actually work. It’s a wonderful reminder that despite being overpowered Diablo is still incredibly vulnerable and it leads to a fantastic fight this week.

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This week we see the resolution of the fight with Shera’s brother but it turns out that he isn’t going to be hanging around all that long. After a fight between Diablo and the summoned hydra the Prince runs for it and Diablo doesn’t kill him because Shera begs him not to. That doesn’t play at all into the plans of the Lord who sent Diablo after the prince in the first place and so the real ‘villain’ of the week will raise his sword in a fairly spectacular fight as we finally get someone who can more or less keep up in a fight against our overpowered demon lord.

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I wasn’t overly surprised that Galford showed up here as I pointed out in episode 5 that his introduction made no sense unless it was set up for something:

Maybe they just want this guy known so that later when he does something important it doesn’t feel like a last minute add in?

Still, I wasn’t expecting this interesting a fight during this episode and I wasn’t expecting a single opponent to be this challenging for Diablo. However, given he just took out an elf army, rescued a Princess, and defeated a hydra, we can probably forgive him for being a little under the weather when it comes time to fight the local lord.

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What was less spectacular was that Rem and Shera were more or less shunted off to the side to clutch their hands and be all hopeful that Diablo would win. While it is clear that they aren’t in Diablo’s league, they really deserve better as characters than to be spectators coming in after the fact to mourn in Shera’s case or heal the remaining elves in Rem’s.

Now, after a wonderfully plot driven episode they did need to dive into what can only be described as a fan-service fuelled scene as Sylvie first gives him alcohol and then gets mistaken for a body pillow. While the scene isn’t as graphic as earlier scenes with Shera have been, there’s really no other reason for it other than a fan-service finish.

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Yona of the Dawn Volume 1 Manga Review: The Story Begins

This is a manga I’ve been recommended endlessly and I’ve actually really wanted to give it a go because the anime just kind of left me wanting the rest of the story. That said, there’s a long way to go before I get to anything new so how does volume 1 go at making me want to read on?

Anime Review: Akatsuki no Yona

Review:

Shoujo isn’t really my style and while there are a handful of romances near and dear to my heart, it isn’t exactly a genre I go out of my way to track down. Yona of the Dawn as an anime I found interesting, but I’ve never been the die-hard fan so many have become and in terms of red-headed heroines I would have taken Shirayuki over Yona any day. The reason for this I outlined quite clearly in my anime review. The story wasn’t finished. What we got was a very long introduction into what seemed like an amazing tale and then we never found out where it went. That kind of soured m overall enjoyment of it as it all just felt incomplete.

That issue isn’t solved by reading volume one of the manga and I knew I was committing to a far more long term project when I decided to try this manga but I don’t think I was prepared for how little would be covered in this first volume.

We meet Yona, Hak and her father and all three of these characters are as interesting as they came off in the anime and their relationship is interesting to see in action before Su Won comes along and pretty much crushes Yona’s world in an instant. It’s great to read and visually this manga is really quite gorgeous to look at, one of the few times I actually think I prefer the visuals here to the anime as there is a real richness to the detail in so many of the panels that seemed lacking in the anime.

Yona2

However, the first volume ends and we’ve barely seen Yona and Hak escape the palace and they haven’t even really gone anywhere yet. This pacing may very well kill my enthusiasm for finding out what lies beyond the end of the anime if it continues this slowly. Then again, it isn’t as though the book feels empty.

The anime did an excellent job of bringing these characters to life, but like with the visuals, there’s just a little something extra in the manga. A more nuanced approach to each character that makes them feel a little more real and a little more grounded, and all and all it was quite the pleasure to read.

If I had any disappointment it would be the book ended and I kind of felt I hadn’t got very far into a story I really do want to reach the end of at some point. Of course, if I’d read this without knowing the anime, I’d probably be equally disappointed in the heroine. She doesn’t come off looking all that great in this volume. And while I know that she is going to undertake a fairly wonderful tranformative journey, this starting point might have seriously put me off if I hadn’t gone in with the knowledge that this weak Princess was going to grow.

Hak on the other-hand comes off as a great character from the word go and Su Won remains a character I am endlessly intrigued by. I’m really hoping future volumes flesh out both of these characters more than the anime ever did as I really am keen to know more about them.

That said, I should thank everyone who has pushed this title at me as to be honest I’m pretty sure I will love reading forward. I have the second volume already though I haven’t read it quite yet (I have quite the stack of reviews to get through first of other books I’ve read), and depending on how that goes I might try to get two or three more volumes covered by the end of the year, but again, I’ll see how it goes.

I’d love to know your thoughts on this manga but please don’t spoil future volumes for me as while I’ve read heaps about this story already I’m trying really hard to take each volume as it comes.


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The Master of Ragnarok & Blesser of Einherjar Episode 7: They Finally Explain

It’s taken seven episodes, but they finally tell us how Yuuto becoming the Patriarch of the Wolf Clan came about, and it wasn’t exactly universally accepted. It might have been nice to have had more build up to this, but we get a reasonably  decent episode out of it.

The Master of Ragnarok Episode 7

Like everything else in this series, the back story is explained fairly basically, it is kind of full of holes because the details are incredibly thin, and it leads to pretty predictable results, but there’s still something kind of interesting about it. This week we finally see how Yuuto became the Patriarch and we also see the reaction of the guy who thought he was going to become the Patriarch (Felicia’s brother just for some added fun). He takes it well; assuming drawing a sword and trying to kill Yuuto is your idea of taking it well, and the former Patriarch ends up dying.

Skip back to the present time and we see that there is a new clan making moves and they are using iron tipped arrows and cavalry (seems someone learned a thing or two from Yuuto). Turns out older brother’s particular skill is copying technology (and Yuuto thinks he’s cheating). Short on time, Yuuto now needs to figure out a new strategy to deal with the new threat.

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And with the exception of the girls’ outfits, there’s no fan service in sight as this episode actually spends almost the whole run time on actual plot and character. Now if only the plot and characters had any depth we might even say this was approaching decent.


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100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams Episode 7: This Was Not A Well Thought Out Plan

If we forget for a moment that other than Avi none of these princes are sleeping and that the dream eaters no seem to be some sort of controlled minions, I still have to ask what the villain actually thought was going to happen this week. That was one terribly planned out kidnapping.

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While the general fairy tale nature of this story continues to be one of its more positive traits, everything else is kind of just doing what it does. The butterfly finally took form this week mostly to taunt the characters but giving the villain a voice in the action actually made it worse. Whether he was mocking the Princess or teasing the Princes, he came off like a silly child and as soon as Frost showed up he bailed. About the only noteworthy part of this character’s appearance is that he was clearly controlling the dream eaters which just makes you wonder what they actually are anyway.

100 Sleeping Princes and the Kingdom of Dreams Episode 7

This part two does quite a reasonable job of dealing with the three brothers and we see Frost and Graysia kind of come to an understanding of sorts, but it is at the expense of anything of note happening to our main cast. you could argue that Graysia was only kidnapped because of the Princess, but if we just remove the Princess, Avi and Kihel from the story, we could more or less run the same plot with Graysia getting trapped and Frost having to search for him and ultimately save him. It is never a good sign when the main cast can be utterly removed from events without altering them in any way of note.

However, this story came to a close and the trio have headed off again so I guess we’ll meet yet another kingdom and Prince next week.

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