Six years ago, the first season of the anime adaptation of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? began airing. From there the series exploded in popularity, resulting in a franchise that’s made up of numerous light novels, manga, games and more. Now the TV anime returns with a second season which promises to bring us even more grand adventures.
As we reunite with protagonist Bell Cranel, news has just broken of him achieving another level-up after defeating a floor boss at the end of Season 1. All the other Familia have their eye on the boy and when the Apollo Familia set their sights on claiming him for themselves, Hestia Familia gets dragged into a War Game…
This War Game ends up being a siege challenge, with members of Apollo Familia occupying a castle and Hestia Familia having to capture it for themselves. With such a big Familia, Apollo has a clear advantage here but Hestia isn’t prepared to give up Bell and sets to work finding a way to overcome this seemingly impossible battle.
This season of DanMachi adapts three light novels: the first being the War Game arc, the second revolving around a new character and the third taken from a short story collection. The second storyline, in particular, is a real favourite of mine since it introduces us to Haruhime, a girl held captive in the pleasure quarter.
Haruhime is friends with Mikoto, a newcomer to Bell’s adventuring party and once Bell learns of Haruhime’s situation, he can’t help but wish to save her. This desire will pit him against the powerful Amazoness who rule this part of town, but even so, a hero can’t leave a girl in pain. Especially not one who loves storybook heroes just as much as Bell does and wishes to be rescued.
As someone who loves the DanMachi series, I was excited to see these books adapted into anime and ultimately studio J.C Staff has done a good job with it. The only disappointment for me is that they chose to skip the majority of the short stories in Volume 8 (which the last arc comes from) and having seen Season 3 I know they don’t cover them there either. It’s not like these tales are essential to the series, but they do offer a great deal of character development that we’re otherwise missing out on.
That said, this season is good for offering a lot of character growth for Lili and finally deals with her past where she belonged to Soma Familia. Her storyline is a powerful one and it’s great to see her growing out of her fears and relying on those around her. She’s a supporter Bell would be completely lost without.
If you’ve been following the anime up until now then you’ve likely seen or heard of the Arrow of the Orion film which came out in Japan before Season 2’s debut. The film is thematically a very good lead-in to what’s happening in this season, so I highly recommend checking it out if you haven’t already. You can learn more about it in my review here.
As previously mentioned, this anime adaptation has been handled by J.C Staff, who also worked on Season 1, the spin-off series Sword Oratoria and the movie. All of the cast return to their roles, but admittedly I find the quality isn’t as good as in the previous anime. This is because the movie was in production at the same time and the team was seemingly spread thin (evidenced by a return to form in Season 3!).
The most obvious decrease in quality is obvious in the animation where the fights often feel rushed and aren’t as captivating as they were in Season 1, even though in the books these are excellent battles. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s bad, but I do think it will be disappointing for anyone coming from watching anything else in the franchise.
However, animation aside both composer Keiji Inai (Outbreak Company, Heavy Object, Btooom!) and the voice actors all do a wonderful job. Of course, my personal favourite is Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (Kirito in Sword Art Online, Soma Yukihiria in Food Wars!) in the role of Bell, but I was also fond of Ryouta Oosaka (Zen Wisteria in Snow White with the Red Hair, Ryouta Watari in Your Lie in April) who plays Apollo. It’s not often that Oosaka finds himself in the role of a villain, but he gives Apollo the perfect amount of menace and evil that fans of the series would expect.
With regard to the music, it seems as though a lot of the compositions have been reused from the previous season, but there are some new tracks in there that are nice to hear. As always, Inai has a good sense of what fits the series and gives it his all in providing some wonderful music. The opening theme for the series is “Hello to Dream” by Yuki Iguchi (who also handled the previous opening), while the ending theme is “Sayakana Shukusai” by Sora tob sakana. Both tracks fit DanMachi well but aren’t particularly memorable away from the show.
DanMachi Season 2 comes to the UK thanks to MVM Entertainment and is available on both Blu-ray and DVD. The Blu-ray is a collector’s edition that includes art cards and a 60-page booklet. Both sets contain all 12 episodes of the show with their English dub and Japanese audio as well as an OVA episode and on-disc extras include trailers and clean OP/ED videos.
Overall, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? II gives us more of the characters we know and love in new thrilling adventures. Although the production isn’t as good as previous anime projects, this won’t stop anyone from wanting to see the challenges Bell finds himself up against.