[From June Issue 2015]
Is it Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon?
In Japan, “light novels” are a literary genre. Written for young people in a light and easy style, many use cartoonish images on their covers and in their illustrations. This manga adaptation of a novel won the first prize in the new work category at the “These light novels are great! 2014” Awards. It’s been serialized in Young GanGan magazine since 2013 and four volumes of the series have been published so far.
Set in a dungeon similar to those found in video games, it’s the story of a boy who wants to toughen up. The dungeon is a maze divided into several levels in which all kinds of ferocious monsters appear. Those who venture into the dungeon obtain “fairy stones” by killing monsters.
“Gods,” “elves,” and “prums” (a tribe of dwarfs), live alongside “humans” in Ororio, a megalopolis built above the dungeon. The main character Bell CRANEL is a typical human in that he is pursuing wealth and women in the dungeon. He is not an accomplished adventurer, but he dreams of impressing cute girls by killing monsters in front of them.
One day, seeking an encounter with a woman, Bell sets off on an adventure and ascends to the level above. There, he’s attacked by the Minotaur, but is saved by a girl called Ais WALLENSTEIN. Bell falls in love with the beautiful Ais, who has long blond hair and golden colored pupils, and hopes to become as tough as she is.
All adventurers are members of “Familia,” each of which is centered round a deity. Each deity grants its adventurers powers to fight monsters with and is sustained by the fairy stones that the adventurers bring back. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship and Bell believes that by joining a Familia one becomes part of the deity’s family.
Bell’s Familia is led by the goddess Hestia, and he is the only member. They have difficulties making ends meet and Hestia works part time, even though she’s a goddess. Moreover, she gets heavily in debt after asking a friend to make a weapon that only Bell can use. As a result, she has two part time jobs. She cares so much for Bell that she even forgets her divine pride and hopes to one day become his lover.
As his love deepens for Ais, Bell’s skill as an adventurer improves. Because he’s genuine and kind, it’s not only Hestia who gives him a helping hand, but also other women he encounters. The goddess Freya takes a fancy to him and attempts to lure him away from Hestia. As he matures, even Ais begins to care about Bell.
The attraction of this story is not only in seeing how this boy becomes a man by battling monsters, but also how each awkward romance develops.