- Genre : Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Game, Romance
- Original Premiere : February 15, 2019
- US Theatrical Premiere : July 12, 2019
- Studio : J.C. Staff
Introduction to Story (No Spoilers)
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? revolves around the young adventurer Bell Cranel. The rookie dungeon crawler grew up dreaming of becoming a hero and saving the girl. He quickly finds out the job of an adventurer isn’t all that easy. You need to have the blessing of one of the gods that descended from heaven (giving up most of their powers) in order to have any hope of surviving the infinitely deep dungeon that has the infinite ability to produce monsters. The goddess that takes Bell under her wing and forms a familia (or family) with him is the impoverished goddess Hestia, the Greek goddess of the hearth and home. The Hestia familia, Bell and Hestia, eke out a living as he fights hard and nearly dies multiple times in the labyrinth under Orario while his goddess works part-time jobs to make enough money to equip and feed herself and Bell. After a rocky start, Bell begins to level up and prove he has what it takes to be one of the top-tier adventurers. Bell and Hestia’s adventures are filled with monsters and intrigue as they gain allies and a reputation as the plucky family striving for the top.
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Arrow of Orion Review (Spoilers)
The world of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is bigger than the city of Orario with its tower reaching to heaven and its dungeon leading to … well, you get the point. We get a hint that there is a greater world earlier in the series when Bell talks about growing up with his grandfather, who he doesn’t realize is the God Zeus, in a small cottage in the countryside. The novels go into this idea in more detail than the anime. We also learn that monsters do exist outside of the Orario Dungeon and that on occasions adventurers, with the guild’s permission, take up quests outside of the city walls.
The story is set after the original series and before the beginning of the upcoming second season, due in summer 2019. You also will not find this story in the novels; it’s an original. We get a brief introduction to the universe, a look at some monster slaying and a peek at the story of a fallen family. The gears shift quickly as we see Bell, Hestia, and Lili visiting a festival in the city. The rivalry of the Goddess Hestia and the supporter Lili is shown in good form as they vie for the oblivious Bell’s romantic attention. The mix is further stirred up when Ais Wallenstein, the sword princess, Bell’s crush, and her family member Lefiya show up. We get some great pouting action as Lefiya, in love with Ais, and the girls, in love with Bell, give dissatisfied looks as Ais and Bell do their own little version of flirting.
The plot is truly kicked off when Hermes, the god of messengers and mischief, announces he is running a contest in which the winner gets a fully paid vacation outside of the city walls. You just have to pull a spear from a stone. We know you know where this is going. Big, burley adventurers and even Ais fail, but short and scrawny Bell pulls the spear from the stone. The bigger surprise is when the sponsor of the trip shows up and is none other than the goddess Artemis. The second reveal is that, as you may have suspected, the vacation isn’t really a vacation but a quest to defeat a monster in an abandoned city a month’s travel by horse from Orario. The monster is only being kept at bay by the Hermes family and a seal restricting it to the city. Only the spear has the power to defeat the monster and only Bell can wield it.
Should you head to the theaters on July 12th to see Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Arrow of Orion? We would say yes. The film is a fun adventure romp with great animation revisiting a world and characters we love. We appreciate the colorful world created by author Fujino Omori and the way it has been brought to life onscreen by J.C. Staff.
1. The Hero’s Journey
The story may sound familiar but that is because it is following the classic hero’s journey arc. We can’t blame anyone who uses this time-honored plot arc for a story by adding their characters and settings to make it their own. Bell gets the chance to be not the adventurer but the hero he’s always dreamed of being, the one destined to save the girl.
2. Expanding the World
We covered this a bit in the intro, but the world outside the city and the dungeon is pretty much non-existent in the anime. We are now open to the idea the world holds other great cities, countries, and monsters. A real adventure happens when you push yourself past the boundaries you’re used to and expose yourself the risk of failure. You don’t have safe zones to retreat to outside of the dungeon. You have to fight or flee fast enough that the monster can’t catch you -- and most of the time you don’t have the chance to flee.
3. A Sword Fight with Grace
We get the chance to see Artemis fight. The goddess Artemis is a renowned warrior though she looks like a fragile girl. She charges headlong into battle and tears through monsters with her sword. The scene is extremely well animated, and we consider it a highlight of the film.
4. Comedy and Fanservice
The pacing of the comedy combined with the drama and fighting is pretty good. You don’t stay too serious too long and don’t have any awkward comedic moments in the more dramatic moments. We also get a few moments of fanservice in an obligatory hot springs scene in which sneaky Hermes and his male cohorts, excluding Bell, get punished for peeping.
1. The Classic Plot Arc
We mentioned before that the story follows a hero’s journey. The tried and true plot arc that has been used for the last 2000 years involving a call to adventure (pulling the spear from the stone), a road of trials (the combat on the road), a supreme ordeal (the first encounter with the beast with his friends), a stealing of resolve, a final challenge (Bell’s one-on-one with the monster) and then a return to the everyday world. So, if you are looking for a completely original plot this isn’t the film for you.
2. The New Character Empathy Arc
Some of us have trouble making a connection with new characters when they are injected into our already established ensemble. The character of Artemis is one of those characters. The first time we are introduced to her is in the movie and by the end, we want more. We are expected to develop an emotional attachment to this goddess. We are also expected to understand Bell’s devotion to her as well as feel the emotional impact of losing her at the end, and it falls a little flat. The audience just doesn’t get the chance to really form an attachment with this amazing character in the Greek Mythos. We’d have preferred to have her worked into the world of Orario as a recurring side character.
We really enjoyed Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?: Arrow of Orion. Yes, it's not a perfect movie. It’s not going to be up for the best picture Oscar, but the same can be said for most action movies. It's fun. The whole series of Is It Wrong to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? is a great retelling of mythology. We can laugh at Hestia’s antics as she tries to get Bell to see her as a woman and not his patron goddess. You can get excited when the music ramps up as the battle gets more intense. You can watch and be comforted in knowing that in the end none of the main characters will die because this is a side story. You simply need to sit down with a Coke and a bucket of popcorn and enjoy the ride.