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Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? IV Part 1 Complete Collection Blu-ray Anime Review

8 min read
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? IV is off to a solid start here and while it has its big moments, I think it does its best work when it just enjoys the quieter material.

It’s time to go deeper and harder into the dungeon.

What They Say:
How low can someone go in the mammoth Dungeon of Orario and still return? With Bell recovering from his last fight, the Hestia Familia receives a mission that they can’t refuse: traveling deeper into the Dungeon than they ever have before! Fortunately, missions are what friends are for, and Hestia manages to borrow a few of the Miach and Takemikazuchi Familias’ heaviest hitters. Unfortunately, no one listens to Cassandra’s warnings once again and things immediately start to go wrong. Now the team is split, Ryu’s accused of a horrible crime, and Bell charges ahead to try clearing her name as everyone races to the lower floors.

The Review:
The audio presentation for this series brings us the original Japanese language track in stereo as well as the newly created English language dub done up the same, both of which are encoded with the lossless DTS-HD MA codec. The series is one that works a good balance with its action and dialogue as we get some fun and creative things with monsters and the dungeons as well as a few bits and bobs here and there outside of the dungeon. These action pieces aren’t big and exciting for the most part but they get better as it progresses and they work the forward soundstage well to make for some solid pieces that keep you engaged. The show works its dialogue side in a similar manner where there’s some good placement as needed and overall it moves across the forward soundstage without a problem. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and we didn’t have any problems with dropouts or distortions during regular playback.

Originally airing in 2022, the transfer for this TV series is presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.78:1 in 1080p using the AVC codec. The twelve episodes are spread across two discs with nine on the first and three on the second. Animated by JC Staff, the show has a really nice look and feel about it with some very fluid action sequences to be had. The color tone, in particular, works well throughout as there are some very vibrant pieces but also a good sense of earthiness attached to the detailed backgrounds that make this feel like a lived-in world. The character animation is solid throughout with no problems and the high-motion pieces are free of breakup or other noise-related issues. The series in general is one that definitely looks a few steps above average and it pays off with a clean and pristine kind of encoding here that brings it to life wonderfully.

The packaging design for this release brings us a standard-sized Blu-ray case with two discs inside against the interior walls with no hinges involved. Working from the same design as the previous seasons, the front cover works the standard key visual that we had for the season which is a fun one this time around as it goes for something bright with our two leads in freefall but set against both the bright blue sky and the green of the earth below. The last season had a darker cover and that didn’t work anywhere near as well. The back cover works the same white background with good framing to break out the extensive premise, some decent if small shots from the show, and the extras available that also list out the episode and disc count. The production credits are easy to read and the technical grid covers the design of the release in a clean and easy-to-read form. No show-related inserts are included nor is there a reversible cover.

The menus for this release stick to the kind of simple but appealing approach from the cover with the white background dominating the static pieces. The left side features the navigation that uses the same framing as the cover artwork in a good way that makes it easy to read but also with a bit of creativity about it. The rest is given over to character artwork where the character artwork is similarly framed, giving our leads some nice time together. It’s bright and colorful there in a really neat way even with all the white around it. Menu navigation is a breeze and it looks great both as a top-level menu and as a pop-up menu.

The extras for this release are kept simple as we get just the clean versions of the opening and closing sequences along with some of the episode previews for the episodes on this set.

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
With the first season out in 2015, it was a long wait until the second season hit in 2019. That was shorter for the third season as it showed up in the fall of 2020 which saw on home video toward the end of 2021. Now, two years later, we’re back in this world with the first half of the fourth season and that has it still fairly fresh in my mind than it was between the first two seasons. It also doesn’t hurt that we get a recap episode and while that may frustrate some fans that just want to get to the good stuff, they can be really useful for expanding your audience that could jump right in here. This property and its popularity continue to grow and that’s a definite plus as it’s certainly fun and there are plenty of novels to draw from for material with them still ongoing. The show hits that lightly silly fantasy format that’s definitely appealing to a lot of audiences while the fanservice elements add just that extra little bit of fun.

With this being a two-cour season and the first cour here, we get a pretty solid run once you get past the recap episode – which was useful. Giving the characters a chance to recover and engage with each other, the town, and some of the general growth that we’ve seen, having Hestia also move up in rank helps a lot too as she’s a Level 4 now. The opening episode of the season gets us into things in a good way where the Familia has an actual assignment given to them and it comes with working through more of the lower levels which is an important area of growth for most everyone. It’s tied to the idea that for there to be peace there has to be a clearing and conquest of the deepest of levels and that hangs in the background as everyone, for the most part, wants peace. But it’s a hard road to get there and they’ve all seen loss and danger over the years in going into the world of dungeons. It’s a solid setup to things and just going through the reconnect with the characters and getting kitted out for the expedition is nicely done.

The first half of the cour works well in delivering a lot of what people enjoy about the show in that we get the gang, now down to the twenty-fifth level, going through their exploration and learning more about various dungeons and what’s involved there. But there’s also an array of monsters to deal with and some creative moments in how they all work together. A lot of quiet material is naturally mixed in to balance out the high-quality action moments but those are often a lot of fun, with such simple things as equipment checks and breaking bread together while enjoying the strange beauty of these dungeons. But the action delivers as well too, such as getting to see how Bell comes up with a neat attack with Hestia to deal with one of the more problematic moments with the Moss Huge that absorbs magic. Giving it a special name for the attack is so anime, but it’s another good bonding moment for both Bell and Hestia.

A lot of the season is short on big sweeping story material but that’s not a bad thing and somewhat expected with a two-cour project. We get some solid progress down the floors for the group and it’s good to see how everyone is getting better at it while still having their moments. There are a lot of good smaller moments of interactions, such as Bell doing the hard work of actually listening and talking with people they come across and are with in order to understand situations better. Some of this works well in figuring out what’s going on toward the end of the cour with the Juggernaut monster and how some inter-Familia problems have made this a lot worse for everyone overall. Getting stories taking place across a couple of different levels and focusing on the smaller moments of growth and how everyone works together in a group is important stuff especially since some of those have experienced real danger and issues with other Familia that have attacked them. The show lets us enjoy a lot of simple times with everyone so that most of the cast gets some attention and nudges of growth but also to ensure that the action side of the show (and the fanservice) is very present as well.

In Summary:
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? IV is off to a solid start here and while it has its big moments, I think it does its best work when it just enjoys the quieter material. There’s a lot of beauty in watching the group camp out at different times and configurations and simply being a part of the dungeon and the world. It’s a small thing but the reality is that the bulk of such adventures is quiet and without incidents and letting the characters talk and provide a bit of exposition makes them all more interesting and accessible. The fun of the creatures they face, some of the weirdness of the dungeons, and the way they work together to overcome challenges is the other big part that is done well here. A lot of the supporting cast gets their time in the spotlight and I like that the show hasn’t felt like the Hestia Show that it was in the beginning of its run. Good stuff overall here and sets up for a solid back half to come.

Japanese DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English DTS-HD MA 2.0 Language, English Subtitles, Clean Opening, Clean Closing, Web Previews

Content Grade: B
Audio Grade: B+
Video Grade: A-
Packaging Grade: B+
Menu Grade: B
Extras Grade: B-

Released By: Sentai Filmworks
Release Date: November 21st, 2023
MSRP: $69.98
Running Time: 300 Minutes
Video Encoding: 1080p AVC
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Widescreen

Review Equipment:
Sony KDL70R550A 70″ LED 1080P HDTV, Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray player via HDMI set to 1080p, Onkyo TX-SR605 Receiver and Panasonic SB-TP20S Multi-Channel Speaker System With 100-Watt Subwoofer.