Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is a light novel series that has inspired several seasons of anime as well as manga adaptations and spin-off material. Today I’m here to review the latest manga spin-off to make it to the West: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Memoria Freese Volume 1. Does it delight? Let’s find out!
Readers might be familiar with the name Memoria Freese already, as it’s the subtitle for the DanMachi mobile game and this manga is an adaptation of one of the limited-time story events that ran in the game. In this story, Bell and the members of Hestia Familia have been busy preparing for the Holy Night Festival (which looks very similar to Christmas) and doing odd jobs to save up for a special dress for Hestia.
Once that’s accomplished, the gang goes out to celebrate the festivities, but it’s not long before they run into a mysterious girl called Tarvi who’s out of place in the city of Orario. For one thing, she has antlers on her head and she’s clearly not an Adventurer here to tackle the Dungeon. Worse still, Tarvi has found herself in trouble and is being pursued by some would-be captors! Naturally, Bell isn’t about to leave a girl alone to face trouble all on her own, so he vows to protect her while showing her around the festival.
Bell and Familia member Haruhime quickly grow attached to Tarvi and by the end of the night, a budding friendship is blooming between the three. So much so that they don’t want to say goodbye to their new friend, but all good things must come to an end, particularly when it’s revealed that Tarvi is someone of important standing back in her own country. All they can do before their parting is make memories that will stay with each of them forever.
Although there are four chapters included here in Volume 1 of Memoria Freese, the story doesn’t get very far. So much time is spent on the initial meeting with Tarvi and then going around the festival that by the time you reach the end of the book it feels as though it’s only just getting out of the set-up. Of course, if you’re someone who’s played the game or is a committed DanMachi fan this is unlikely to cause you problems as you’ll certainly be on the hook for more either way.
If you’re a newcomer to the franchise, then I will say this is not a good introduction to it. There are some info boxes explaining who the characters are and covering key locations, but I think you’d still find yourself confused. And if you are an existing fan of the franchise you will want to hold off reading this until around Volume 7 of the original light novels or Season 2 of the anime adaptation. It’s difficult to pin the timeline down exactly, but at the very least it’s after Haruhime’s introduction.
Memoria Freese’s story has been handled by the video game team as opposed to original creator Fujino Omori, but despite that, it seems like something the author would write for the main series which works in its favour. It may not hit similar heights by the end, but we’re off to a good start.
Artwork for this manga adaption has been handled by Yu Shiomura who has a couple of other series under their belt in Japan, but this serves as their English debut. The art is detailed and Shiomura does a good job of capturing the cast and the action scenes. Certainly, this doesn’t look out of place alongside other DanMachi manga and I think Shiomura has done a great job of depicting the charm of Bell and his companions.
What will be interesting to see going forward is whether this manga only adapts the Holy Night Traumerei event or if it’ll stick around to cover other stories told in the game. At the time of writing, there are two more volumes available in Japan, but both of these appear to be a part of this arc so it’s too early to say what will happen afterwards.
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Memoria Freese Volume 1 comes to the West thanks to Yen Press and has been translated by Dale Delucia with lettering by Carolina Hernandez. Delucia also works on the English light novel releases, which means all the names and terminology here are consistent, with no issues to note. This release includes several colour pages at the beginning and a short story written by author Fujino Omori, so certainly plenty for fans of the franchise to enjoy.
As previously mentioned this series is ongoing in Japan with three volumes currently available. In English Yen Press has Volume 2 scheduled for a release in December with no date currently listed for #3. Taking it slow with this one, although understandable, given how little is out overseas right now.
Overall, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Memoria Freese Volume 1 gets this video game adaptation off to a solid start. While it’s not newcomer friendly and is aimed more at a seasoned fan of the franchise, there’s certainly plenty to enjoy here if you fit within that category.
Our review copy from Yen Press was supplied by Diamond Book Distributors UK.