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).

welf

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

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

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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

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.


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

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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.

dungeon-cast

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.

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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


Is it Wrong to try to Pick Up girls in a Dungeon? Light Novel Book 1 Review: A Fun Adventure That Might Kill You

dungeon1a

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon Light Novel Overview:

Previously I’d watched the anime of Is It Wrong to Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon and I absolutely loved it. I’ve been hesitant to try the light novel given I’ve already seen the story, but after enjoying Grimgar of Fantasy and Ash I gave it a go.

For those unfamiliar, the story of Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon mostly follows Bell Cranell who has travelled to Orario after the death of his grandfather to become an adventurer in the labyrinth known as dungeon. His motives aren’t exactly the best however. Bell had a great fondness for his grandfather’s stories and the part that really stood out to him was how the hero always saves the girl and then gets surrounded by a harem. Bell is quick to learn there is more to exploring a dungeon than finding a girl.

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon Light Novel Review:

I’m going to avoid comparing this to the anime as much as possible so I’m going to get the major point that hit me while reading this out of the way and then simply focus on the book. Aiz actually has a personality afterall. While the anime left her pretty blank and dull in the early stages, the book actually makes me interested in her from her first scene. What a novel idea. I honestly don’t know how that got lost in the adaptation process but it was definitely a loss.

Okay, onto reviewing the book as a book. As I venture further into reading light novels there are certain patterns that I am definitely picking up. One thing that is a little bit odd is that they seem to have no concern about shifting perspective. While more than half of this story is in first person from Bell’s perspective, the rest of the story (and it is a significant proportion) is in third person and jumps from allowing the reader insight into Hesita’s thoughts as well as Freya’s, Aiz’s, Eina’s, Hephaistos’ and probably other character that I’ve forgotten.

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

While at times it is jarring because sometimes it is a few lines into a new section before the current perspective is clear, it does help to round out the support cast and their motives (certainly if we waited for Bell to notice anything we’d be waiting a very long time, and he’s also not involved in every scene). However, I have to wonder if the consistency of the story might have been better served by leaving Bell’s parts in third person as well. There seems no reason for us to hear it in first person when third person has worked fine to convey the feelings and thoughts of other characters.



Outside of the weird perspective jumps, the writing in this is pretty good comparatively with the other light novels I’ve read. It isn’t exactly going to challenge the great literary minds of the ages, but it flows well and is quite descriptive.

This is kind of important given there’s a lot of information and world building in this first book as the way adventurers level up is explained, as is how monsters spawn in the dungeon, as is the nature of the dungeon, and how the gods came along and started making familias. There’s a lot of information coming at the reader throughout this and if the writing hadn’t had a generally fun and easy style it probably would have become tedious quite quickly.

dungeon1a

As to the story, it was pretty good. Bell is a very likeable character. He’s a bit of a dork, but he’s hardworking and nice. His odd motive aside, he really is someone you want to get behind and they do an excellent job during the climax of the book (monsterphilia incident for people who watched the anime) at making you genuinely worry about his safety. I won’t lie: I cheered while reading at the end.

Bell’s relationships with the other characters are crucial to making this story work and not just become another generic harem story, and for the most part these are fairly successful. Bell and Hestia have quite the complex and yet amusing relationship with Hestia being extremely attached to Bell. However, this relationship isn’t one in name only. It is one that causes both characters to act at various times and you can see the genuine connection that they have which is something many harem stories miss as they go through the motions of having characters proclaim love but don’t seem motivated by that emotion to do anything more than pout and cling.

What makes this more interesting is Bell can’t see Hestia as a romantic interest because to him she is first and foremost a goddess. This isn’t the random she’s a year older, she’s my sister, she’s interested in someone else block a lot of other protagonists might face. This is a genuine emotional hurdle Bell would have to overcome if anything was ever to come of this relationship in future volumes. Meanwhile, he does love Hestia fiercely. She is his goddess and his family and he acts in accordance with this motive. Kind of refreshing really.

Meanwhile, the object of Bell’s very immature affections, Aiz, is at the moment beyond his reach in his view. Again, this one is clearly established through the use of the level system and Bell and Aiz’s levels are worlds apart. Furthermore, they aren’t in the same familia which apparently also can lead to issues so Hestia and Eina both kind of discourage his pursuit of that relationship. Interestingly, though Aiz and Bell hear about each other fairly often they have no direct interactions outside of the opening sequence where Aiz saves Bell in the dungeon and he runs away.

Now, there is the issue of Bell’s protagonist plot armour. His unique ‘skill’ literally helps him get stronger just by willing himself to become stronger. It doesn’t happen instantly and it isn’t as though he doesn’t work, but his progress is ridiculously fast. Also, despite a couple of very dangerous situations, which are actually written with some good tension, ultimately Bell comes out fairly unscathed. He doesn’t even lose a finger or break a bone.

So while the situation in the moment might seem dangerous, logically as the reader you more or less know he’s going to be just fine. For some people, this factor is going to be the one that kills the story because while I was pretty invested in the fights and found them pretty exciting, I know some people find the knowledge that the main character will be okay a bit of a buzz kill.

For me though, this was a fun read. It had excitement, danger, dungeon exploration, the forging of unique and powerful weapons, great character relationships being established, and a lot of growth potential as there’s a lot going on in the world that might be expanded upon in later books. All and all, I’m really glad I decided to pick this one up and I’m looking forward to when I can get the second book.

And for those wondering it is available on the book depository.


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


Up Close with Hestia

danmachi bell and hestia

She’s the feisty goddess who looked long and hard before choosing Bell to become a part of her familia. Fiercely loyal but also not really one to plan ahead, Hestia has a lot more going for her as a character than you might think from her generic loli appearance. Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon would definitely not be the same without Hestia.

hestia1

When we first meet Hestia she seems as generic as they come. She’s the loli/little sister type character who is way too fixated on the boy she lives with and very hands on. She crawls into his blanket and sulks when she doesn’t get her way. With her bouncing breasts taking centre stage in a lot of her screen time, and even other gods mocking her for being so small accept in her boobs, it would be very easy to dismiss Hestia as a one note character that we’ve all seen before.

hestia2

That however overlooks a lot of Hestia’s most wonderful character traits. Her genuine affection for Bell, whether that of a goddess or something more not withstanding, she’s fiercely protective of her familia (which in the anime initially consists of only Bell). Hestia may be largely powerless in the mortal world but she still isn’t going to let those she deems a danger near him. And yet, her jealousy and protectiveness doesn’t make her stupid. When Lily comes along, despite Hestia not trusting her initially and those misgivings turn out to be true, once Lily commits to following Bell, Hestia accepts the logic in Bell having assistance in the dungeon. She may not like it but she does what is right for Bell’s protection.

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This willingness to compromise her own position in order to protect Bell is a reoccurring theme and something that sets Hestia apart from other possessive characters who put their own needs first at almost all times. Hestia incurs a massive debt to another goddess early on in order to buy Bell a knife that will guard him in the dungeon. However, rather than using the money earned by Bell in the dungeon to pay for it, Hestia takes on a range of part-time jobs and continues to work to pay the debt herself.

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However, the surest sign of Hestia’s feelings and her strength as a character, as well as her impulsive nature, is her decision to enter the dungeon after Bell and his party don’t return. Despite being a goddess she is completely helpless in the dungeon and she knows it. She knows she can’t do any good, she knows that her presence won’t change anything, and yet she cannot simply sit and wait for Bell to return. Then, when push comes to shove and Hestia sees Bell in real danger she breaks a significant taboo and unleashes her power within the dungeon.

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While Hestia definitely falls in with a lot of generic tropes she is very much her own character and she is fun and delightful. Her love for her familia is admirable and the effort she goes to in order to protect them is extraordinary. I can’t wait to see more of Hestia in the upcoming second season as I love her in the books.


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


February OWLS Blog Tour – Bell Adores His Goddess

OWLS Image

Welcome to my OWLS post for February (full schedule of OWLS posts here). In February, we will be exploring love and romance. The word selected is “adore” because it has two main connotations: to be loved and respected or to feel worshipped. We will analyse characters that give us a feeling of admiration and explain why we love those characters. We will also be exploring different forms of love (familial, friendship, and even self-love) and how those types of love influence our lives.

Bell Adores His Goddess

Bell and Hestia - Is It Wrong to Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon (DanMachi)

It won’t be much of a surprise to regular readers to know that I adore DanMachi. I avoided watching the anime for so long because the full name, Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon, seemed too stupid for words and like it would be either an idiotic comedic harem anime or something really sleazy. I’m really glad I finally watched it and I’m really glad that while waiting for the often promised but yet to be delivered season two that I got into reading the light novels, because the characters here are very worth it.

While there are definitely harem elements at play and we could throw the words love and adore around between a lot of the characters there are two specific relationships I want to look at in this post. The first is Bell and Aiz, which is kind of a catalyst for growth and one where the word admiration is probably far more fitting than adore. The second is Bell and Hestia, where the word adore is the absolute perfect fit.

Is it wrong to try to pick up girls in a dungeon Volume 6
Why haven’t we gotten to this in the anime?

Starting with Bell and Aiz, we kind of have to go right back to the very beginning of both the anime and the books. Bell is a rookie adventurer who enters the dungeon alone only this day he gets chased by a Minotaur that is on a floor far higher than it should be because it managed to get away from Aiz and her party on a lower floor. There is no way for Bell at his level to even try to fight it and ultimately he gets cornered and believes he is going to die. That’s where Aiz turns up, slays the beast, and in the process covers Bell in blood.

For Aiz, this is a moment of regret because she feels responsible for letting the Minotaur go in the first place, but also because she doesn’t get a chance to apologise to Bell before he scampers off (something that becomes something of a pattern). Bell on the other hand feels intensely embarrassed that he needed to be saved given he wants to be a hero, but more than that, he is inspired. He has found his goal. Someone so much stronger than him. The person he wants to catch up to no matter what.

Bell and Aiz - DanMachi

While he declares that it is love, nothing in the story after this point really suggests romance between the pair. At times they have a mentor/student relationship, at others they have distance because they are in different familia and serve different gods, Bell continues to admire Aiz and aims to get stronger… okay, he also continues to be intensely embarrassed around her which might suggest he continues to hold a crush. Aiz also continues to be fairly observant of Bell and when he takes actions she doesn’t approve of she feels disappointed, so maybe there will be love between them.

However, as the title of the anime initially suggested, Bell sees Aiz as a goal rather than a person. Not so much that he wants to own her (which would be the sleazy version of the story that we fortunately didn’t get), but more as someone he wants to stand equal to. Their relationship remains defined by Bell’s admiration and almost hero worship of Aiz. It is hard then to see how they will move beyond this point to a romantic relationship, assuming of course that either one actually wants that development in the future.

DanMachi OVA
Cheating a little as this image is from the OVA.

But, Hestia, the goddess in Bell’s life very clearly wants a more romantic relationship with Bell. She flaunts herself in their home, she clings to him, she is openly jealous when other girls get near, and she drags him out on a date around the town. In the light novels, she continues to have him go with her at various times on ‘dates’ and she continues to be very protective of him and who gets near him (even more so than in the anime). However, she also trusts Bell to make the right decision and supports him even when some of his decisions will have consequences for the family (big consequences at times). Hestia very much loves Bell and wants him to see her the same way.

And there is the problem. Because Bell genuinely adores his goddess, but he can only see her as a goddess, not a woman and certainly not a romantic interest. More than anyone else, Bell would lay down his life to protect Hestia, would fight for her, would do anything to make her happy, but to him she is the goddess. She’s the centre of his family, the one who took him in when he was rejected elsewhere, and the one who gave him the blessing that allowed him to pursue his dream of becoming a hero.

DanMachi Bell and Hestia (Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon)

Where Aiz and Bell would have a lot to overcome before they could become a genuinely romantic possibility, with Bell and Hestia it seems nearly impossible given the way Bell views Hestia. I genuinely love the two characters and their interactions, but I have to admit I feel a little sorry for Hestia as she tries to have Bell see her as a woman and not just a goddess (that seems a little like a downgrade but it would be an important step if anything were to develop between them).

It is the complexity of these relationships, and the relationships Bell forms with the rest of the members of his familia, that keep Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon a remarkably interesting story despite following more or less the usual tropes. I really hope that second anime season does eventuate because reading the books there is so much great stuff still coming and I’d love to watch it someday.

DanMachi - characters

If you missed it, check out YumDeku’s OWLS post from yesterday and be sure to check out Dale’s post tomorrow. The full schedule for the month is here.

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Is It Wrong To Expect a Hot Spring in a Dungeon – DanMachi OVA Review

DanMachi OVA

This one barely needs reviewing really because to be perfectly honest between what people already know of the DanMachi (Is it Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon) series and the title, it kind of tells you everything you need to know. This OVA was released on HiDive and I was happy enough to return to watching Bell and his friends given I’ve been reading the light novels and feel like I’ve been waiting forever for a second season of the anime, but even I didn’t have high expectations going in. Simply put, it was obvious from the beginning that this is strictly filler and won’t be advancing the plot in any meaningful way. I did have some minor expectations that it might fill in some of the character development I’ve come across in the light novels that wasn’t present in the original series, but sadly that is lacking as well. Still, if you are a fan of DanMachi then you’ll probably know more or less what to expect here; just keep in mind the title is not lying.

DanMachi OVA

We catch up with the characters directly after the events in the series where Bell has just slain Goliath and they are making their way out of the dungeon. After the usual Lily and Hestia antics fighting over Bell (wait, you guys know you are still in the Dungeon right and should be paying attention) they are attacked and in the process Hestia ends up finding a new tunnel which leads to a hot spring (because anime).

Now we all know DanMachi has never been afraid of fan service and so behold Hermes preparation of swimsuits for the girls to change into, including one too small for Hestia that eventually snaps while trying to dress and an ‘improvised’ version is constructed. I will point out that while lingering shots of the girls (and guys at times) and various camera angles are simply blatant pandering to fans, but the banter going on between the characters as they relax and unwind from their adventure is genuinely enjoyable. The chemistry between the group is pretty solid and if you like the show then you already like these characters and so listening to them here will be a genuinely good time.

DanMachi OVA

Of course though, they are in the dungeon and DanMachi is aware that fan service is not its only selling point. Introducing monster fish that use the hot spring to pray on adventurers for a few minutes of exciting action toward the end works well enough to let Bell do the hero thing, and I’m only going to vaguely mention the whole water suddenly melting their swimsuits off but somehow not dissolving Lily’s back pack when she drops it in the water at the end. Basically, whether you are into this show for the girls, the action, or the character interactions, this OVA actually delivers on all 3 and about the only thing it doesn’t do is deal with the overall plot (and no one ever really expects and OVA to do that).

DanMachi OVA

This is not your introduction to the series though and will make little to no sense if you aren’t familiar with the world and the characters. Even for fans of the series, this is decidedly something that can be ignored. But, if you are in the mood for twenty minutes more of Bell and Hestia, then its worth a shot.


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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