Original Story: Fujino Omori
Character Design: Suzuhito Yasuda
Translation/Adaptation: Andrew Gaippe
What They Say:
Bell Cranel is just trying to find his way in the world. Of course, in his case, the “world” is an enormous dungeon filled with monsters, below a city run by gods and goddesses who have way too much time on their hands.
He’s got big dreams but not much more when a roll on the random encounter table brings him face-to-face with the girl of his dreams – but what does a beginning adventurer have to offer a brilliant swordswoman? And what if the lovely goddess who sponsors his solo adventuring gets jealous…?!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In the genre of Dungeons & Dragons and Diablo, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? takes up the premise of What If?
What if you find yourself exploring a monster infested maze and are cornered by something you cannot defeat. Do you: rush in sword swinging, cower in the fetal position & hope for a quick death or cry for mercy? But what if none of those happen and a beautiful coincidence smacks Fate upside the head? Do you plead for her thanks or run away drenched in blood hoping that you can meet her again?
If you are Bell Cranel, then you opt for the latter. However, you know that will never happen while being a Newbie and she is the best fighter in Orario! But, that never stopped him before and with his goddess Hestia at his side to encourage him (or is that discourage him), nothing will stop him now! Except maybe for a lack of confidence, skill, decent weapons … Nope! Nothing will stand in his way!
The title was the first clue that this would be an unexpected manga and the second is the approach of how the subject matter is breached. The drastic root in how to explore this quandary refreshingly uses comedy to drive the motion instead of the expected actions of slash, smash, wipe off blood, rinse & repeat of your typical dungeon crawler. And this is why the story is successful! By using laughter to drive the drama along, it makes the reader want to continue reading to see how the characters extricate themselves from their crazy situations.
The main characters of Hestia and Bell are the keys to the book. Although they are supposed to be goddess and patron, they often act like little sister and big brother. While she will do anything to help him, a clingy personality and intense jealousy towards ANY woman who looks at Bell makes the Loli-Boobs Goddess more hindrance than help. This relationship also undermines any hope in helping her follower to grow & catch up with the one he admires the most – Aiz. This is one triangle that will not end well.
While the artwork is the standard black & white, it is the crispness and artful use of shading that makes it stand out. Most books in this genre use overly dark tones to reflect the grittiness of the surroundings. But, since this a comedy, the direct gentleness of Yasuda’s line work helps to lighten otherwise grim situations and direct Omori’s lighthearted story.
If I did have a criticism for Dungeon, it would be in the translation department. The dialogue is well defined within the story, however, why does every sound effect need to be highlighted? Since they are obviously drawn into the art and you can clearly glean the contextual meaning of each one, why overdo it by telling us what each one means? One time should be enough since we can infer what future ones mean via situational cues. Why over do it and litter the page with unneeded text?
While the manga may be behind the simulcast, this book only covered the first two episodes, the extra information contained within helps to explain the world of Dungeon. Interesting tidbits and the opportunity to see how the artwork and story evolve into the anime makes this an interesting read. So, who wouldn’t want that?
Content Grade: A+
Art Grade: A+
Packaging Grade: A
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: May 19th, 2015