DanMachi Series

Anime Hajime Review: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? II

More from the DanMachi series:

Original Run: July 13, 2019 - September 28, 2018
Number of Episodes: 12
Genre: Action, Adventure, Fantasy
Based on the Series Created By: Fujino Omori and
Suzuhito Yasuda

***Warning, the following may contain spoilers for Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? II. Reader discretion is advised.***

Series Synopsis

Welcome back to the bustling city of Orario. Here the gods of legend have come down from heaven, and they have built great Familias to their names. Or, at least, most of them have. The Hestia Familia is headed by the goddess Hestia (voiced by Inori Minase), and the sole member of her house is the adventurer Bell Crane (voiced by Yoshitsugu Matsuoka).

For a long time, it has only been Hestia and Bell. Recently, though, the Hestia Familia has started earning a bit of a reputation. Bell, despite still being a novice, has shocked all Orario with his rapid rise through the adventuring ranks.

Not too long ago, Bell would face Orario’s fabled, and dangerous, Dungeon alone. Now, he can rely on his loyal party members to have his back.

However, in a town filled with egos and divine power, drawing too much attention can bring forth a whole set of troubles.

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Series Positives

A small part of me believed Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? II (DanMachi II) would never come. Between season one and season two, four years passed, and in that time, we got a side story, Sword Oratoria (which I didn’t like), and a movie, Arrow of Orion (which I haven’t yet seen). To tell you the truth, when I heard DanMachi II would be airing during the 2019 summer season, it took me by surprise.

Don’t get me wrong, DanMachi I was a good show. Scratch that. It was a very good show. However, this series was nowhere near the same level of memorability as say Attack on Titan or One Punch Man. Unlike those two, which could afford to wait four years to release their respective second chapters, DanMachi II probably should have come out, at least, two years earlier than it did.

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I will bring this point up later on in the review, but it is central to understanding this series as it is at the time of this post going live; the season finished up just six days before. Perhaps in the future, since marathoning is a thing, the long gap between one and two won’t matter; and it will become even less relevant with the release of DanMachi III, which, as of October 2019, is scheduled for the 2020 summer season.

Let’s try to forget all that for the moment, and ask: How was DanMachi II?

The simple answer, it was pretty good. On the whole, it was entertaining, amusing, occasionally quite exciting, and all-around solid. Where this season succeeded was the same place its predecessor, the spin-off Sword Oratoria, failed. The characters of DanMachi proper were better.

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You could argue how that is possible since many of the same characters in DanMachi were also in Sword Oratoria. Trust me, DanMachi II would have been a lot more challenging to keep track of had I not seen the spin-off. Regardless, the main characters of Sword Oratoria remained supporting characters in DanMachi; minus Ais Wallenstein (voiced by Saori Oonoshi), who did well in both series. It was in the background, not the foreground that Sword Oratoria’s cast found its strength.

As for DanMachi, Bell, Hestia, and the rest of their group, they were far more interesting. Or, more to the point, they were more likable. Bell, in particular, was someone you find yourself rooting for when he ends up in perilous situations that were, typically, not his fault. Still, when he was the aggressor, Bell’s actions were never unfounded. He always fought for someone or something important to him, and he would go up against opponents who were legitimate threats to him and his friends.

And that right there was the key to DanMachi II’s power. This season had strong villains who allowed the heroes to look more heroic. Also, DanMachi II was a good example of showcasing why the terms “villain” and “antagonist” are not synonymous by default.

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An antagonist is only an obstacle standing in the way of the protagonist. They are not necessarily evil, but for whatever reason, they are preventing our hero’s forward progression. In DanMachi II, there were several of these characters. When introduced, they were on the opposing side to Bell and the Hestia Familia. Afterward, though, those same opponents became reliable comrades and allies with no hard feelings. Bell only faced-off against these characters because of the circumstances of the situation.

Then, there were villains who were looking to cause harm. These characters were arrogant, full of themselves, they had notions of superiority (and that is not including the actual gods). When Bell fought these people, it was far more exciting since there was something on the line.

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A good example of both types of characters taking on Bell at the same time was when the Apollo Familia challenged the Hestia Familia to a War Game. Here, the villains were the god Apollo (voiced by Ryota Osaka) and his commander. The antagonists were Apollo’s commander’s lieutenants.

The lieutenants, being loyal members of their Familia, gave everything they could give when fighting Bell. The lieutenants knew that the odds against their opponent were wildly unfair, but nevertheless, they had to do their duty. They weren’t vile, rude, or even disrespectful to the Hestia Familia, and since they were doing precisely what Bell would have done had the roles been reversed, they remained likable.

Apollo, on the other hand, was a huge dick, and it was incredibly satisfying when he got bitched slapped to oblivion.

DanMachi II has an interesting world to its name, and fortunately, it also has plenty of outstanding characters to fill it. From heroes to bad guys, when this series decides to tell a story, there are people to make everything vastly more exciting. Too bad that means there needs to be a story.

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Series Negatives

I don’t want you to think DanMachi II’s biggest problem was the four-year gap between it and season one. Although that does have a role to play, it is only the most blatant concern.

To be blunt, the story of DanMachi II did not warrant such a long delay.

It would seem season two was a staging ground to launch season three. There was minimal forward progression in this installment. The only advancement of note was the fact the Hestia Familia got a little bit bigger. However, that was only in an official sense. Season one did all of the work to make what happened here a reality.

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Let’s consider a possibility for a moment. This possibility relies on two assumptions.

  1. Season three is indeed on the way.
  2. Season three will push the DanMachi story forward.

Now, while I say these are assumptions, the truth is, if even one of those points doesn’t come to fruition, that would mean a whole lot more is wrong with this series.

The possibility in question is someone marathoning DanMachi from beginning to its eventual end, which does include the future season three. As we all know, when we are marathoning a show, episodes and seasons release dates are not important. Before us is the entire story. For DanMachi, when you hit the segment consisting of season two, it is going to be a lull. For twelve episodes, not much is going to happen. I would even go so far as to say most of this installment will come off as irrelevant. It will appear to be padding before we get to the real meat of the narrative.

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But there is another problem too. As it stands, there isn’t much in the way of direction for DanMachi. There is no goal for this story to steer to. What exactly is there to anticipate in a season three? If it’s only enjoying the company of this cast of characters, that would be fine, if this were a slice-of-life anime. DanMachi is not that. It is a fantasy-adventure with a narrative, and that narrative is currently in limbo.

Compare this ending to the ending of Attack on Titan Season 2. Looking back on it, Attack on Titan 2 was, itself, preparation for what would come in season three. Therefore, it wasn’t dissimilar to DanMachi II. The difference is, after Attack on Titan 2, the story had moved closer to where it was trying to go. The forward progression was there. If you marathon Attack on Titan, it’s going to feel like one long narrative, but it is also going to feel like a narrative that has a purpose in mind.

That doesn’t exist with DanMachi II. If chapter three never comes, there will be no real loss because nothing is attaching me to this series’ story. There are anime with great characters I would love to see again, and DanMachi’s are not that high of a priority.

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Final Thoughts

Supposedly we will be doing this again this time next year (around October 2020).

We’ve had to wait four years to get even this much, what is twelve more months?

That does sound pessimistic, and that really isn’t fair to this season. This wasn’t bad; far from it. This series does have strong elements, mainly, its characters. I may not have anything to look forward to with this story, but that doesn’t mean I’m over it.

I am definitely anticipating chapter three.

For the time being, Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? II has earned a recommendation.

But these are just my thoughts. What are yours? Have you seen this show? How would you advise Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? II? Leave a comment down below because I would love to hear what you have to say.

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For Anime Hajime, I’m LofZOdyssey, and I’ll see you next time.

More From the DanMachi Series

Anime Hajime Review: Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? III

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