I ASK OF YOU, ARE YOU MY MAST--sorry, wrong series…

Long ago the gods, seeking excitement, sealed away their divine powers and came to live permanently among humans. They gave bits of their powers to certain chosen humans, who then became members of the gods’ ‘familias’ and were granted the ability to kill monsters. Cowardly Bell is the only ‘familia member’ of the goddess Hestia.

The gods and their familia members compete to explore deeper and deeper into an ancient, mysterious dungeon full of monsters and rumored treasures. Bell is a human known as an ‘adventurer,’ whose job is to explore the dungeon. However, because he has no other familia members to adventure with, he is not very successful. One day, he is rescued from a near-fatal monster attack by Aiz Wallenstein, one of the highest-level adventurers and a member of the Loki Familia. Bell, who has no interest in glory or treasure and only wants to pick up girls, quickly develops an obsession with Aiz.

The scenery is surprisingly pretty

Because he is the only member of her familia, Bell lives together with Hestia, a young-looking (yet large-chested), energetic, twin-tailed goddess. She performs a bizarrely sexual magic ritual that….prints out a sheet of paper with Bell’s video-game like stats on it. Bell is agile but otherwise weak, with no magic or skills to speak of.

Inspired by his encounter with Aiz, Bell begins to fight harder and more frequently, and his stats increase rapidly….as does Hestia’s jealousy. After Hestia storms off, Bell goes to eat at a pub, where he meets a waitress named Syr who also seems to have feelings for him. The Loki Familia, including Aiz, is also at the pub. A male warrior recounts the story of Aiz’s rescue of Bell, painting Bell as a pathetic wimp. He drunkenly asks Aiz if she would go out with Bell, and the eavesdropping Bell runs away in a panic – to the dungeon, where he begins killing monsters left and right, swearing that he will get stronger and someday be able to stand proudly beside Aiz.

Am I supposed to find Hestia cute? (Spoiler: I don’t.)

This show is a classic example of a premise/world that I would potentially enjoy watching…but the utterly unlikeable protagonist and harem-focused plot removes any interest I initially felt. The world of DanMachi (which, if you couldn’t tell from the overly long title, is based on a series of light novels) is beautifully designed, with lots of cool looking ruins and some interesting monsters. The idea of a mysterious dungeon full of treasure and traps is not necessarily original, but could make for a decent action/adventure show.

Unfortunately, DanMachi is not an action/adventure show. It’s a harem series, with obnoxious protagonist Bell’s only goal to ‘pick up a girl in a dungeon,’ thanks to some sexist advice he got from his late grandfather about how girls like to be protected. Over the course of a single episode, he interacts with three potential love interests – Aiz, Syr and Hestia – all of whom are implied to have crushes on him despite him not really doing much of anything. As the light novel series on which this show is based is still ongoing, I doubt that the anime will actually choose any of the love interests. I’m getting really bored of these shows where the question of “who will the protagonist choose” is dragged out over multiple installments and seasons as though it’s some kind of gripping conflict….which it usually isn’t.

Bell’s ‘character sheet’.

I was also somewhat bothered by just how young the goddesses look. Hestia and Loki are the youngest-looking females introduced so far, and neither of them wears much in the way of clothing. Hestia is especially bad, as she is the source of several fanservice scenes, including a magic ritual that basically involves her sitting on top of a shirtless Bell and wriggling around sensually. (The result of said ritual was one of the more amusing parts of the episode; however, as it basically ‘printed out’ a list of Bell’s stats as though he were a video game character).

This show didn’t have many good points, but there were a few. As I mentioned, the animation is decent, especially the scenery/backgrounds and the fight scenes with the monsters. It’s also surprisingly gory, with Bell spending the first several minutes literally covered in minotaur blood. The other members of the Loki Familia also seem like potentially interesting characters, especially the hot-blooded man who insulted Bell. However, there wasn’t enough to catch my interest, so I don’t think I’ll be watching any more of this show.

Out of 5 Dios:

dio 1/2

Why is Syr attracted to Bell? It’s not his face, that’s for sure…

Why are anime portrayals of Loki so uniformly terrible?

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