Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is an interestingly named light novel that Yen Press have just started releasing under their Yen ON imprint. It would be fair to say that going into the series I really wasn’t expecting a great deal, more than anything I wanted to give the series a chance before the anime is aired later this year. However what I found from reading the novel left me pleasantly surprised and now somehow I’m eagerly awaiting more of this story.
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? follows the story of Bell Cranel, a country boy who has set his sights on becoming an adventurer and riding to the rescue of some damsel in distress and live a happy life surrounded by pretty girls and riches. Is this a completely misguided reason to become an adventurer and explore the dungeon below Orario? Definitely, but after a near fatel experience Bell realises this as well which leads to a more fulfilling and interesting story.
Lets straighten a few things out about our plot first: Many years ago many gods and goddess’ came down to earth to interact with the humans and form Familia. Each Familia is led by one god or goddess and has a range of different adventurer in their group. Familia bestow the power to be able to adventure onto the humans, or children of their Familia, and update their stats daily. Bell belongs to a Familia led by Hestia, who currently only has Bell in her Familia which means the two must work hard together to make enough money to keep themselves fed. Things will look up eventually though, right?
Each adventurer can level up from level 1 to 5. Each of their stats, Strength, Defense, Utility, Agility and Magic has ten different level ranks that change as the stat strengthens. An adventurer can only level up and benefit from the stat changes once the Familia have worked it out for them. Adventurers can also have a number of different abilities, however so far the series hasn’t explained too much about these.
The town of Orario sets atop a massive dungeon that descends below the town for who knows how many floors. Different monsters are born on each floor of the dungeon and generally stick to where they’re born, however you do get the odd one wandering through a floor it shouldn’t be. The dungeon is where most of us story takes place as it’s where Adventurer go to increase their strength and defeat monsters for Magic Stones and for drop items which can then be traded for money. It’s in this dungeon that we are introduced to Bell for the first time as he’s being chased by a super high level monster, about to die, and is saved by a much stronger adventurer.
The adventurer in question is Aiz Wallenstein, a famous adventurer said to have killed over 1000 monsters. After being saved by her Bell vows to get stronger and reach her level, after overhearing the Familia Aiz belongs to making fun of him for being so weak. The truth is this series has a lot of heart and what starts off as Bell being a bit of an idiot 14-year-old quickly advances into a deeper and more meaningful story of him wanting to become stronger, not just for himself but for Hestia too.
A lot of this volume is spent setting up the world and characters, as most first volumes do, but along the way we get to know enough of Bell’s character that you’ll steadily start feeling for him. Frightened for his safety when he gets in over his head, yet rooting for him when he faces a tough silverback wolf hunting him and Hestia. The volume doesn’t really end on a cliffhanger of any sort and while the story has set up a bit of a mystery in its time that’s not a massive draw either, yet I still sat at the end wanting more of this adventure. I want to see Bell grow and I want to explore more of the world he’s in. I want to hear more about the grandfather who told him stories of strong adventurers (and gave him the whole idea of being a knight in shining armour to some damsel…).
Yes, Bell certainly learns that it’s probably not wise to pick up girls in a dungeon, but I’ve learnt that picking up Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? was a very correct decision. The plot and world overall have a great deal to offer and the characters are extremely likeable and able to put a smile on your face throughout. It’s the start of a good series and with six more books currently out in Japan and waiting to be brought over, I think I’m going to enjoy my time in Orario.