Retrospective Recap: Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka – The Premise, Setting and Power Systems

The Iconic Toothbrush Boob Ribbon that Put Danmachi on the Radar

So, a random person popped onto Discord and asked if we knew about any anime sites that did recaps for shows that had received an additional season. Well, I suppose Wikipedia exists. However, the details are formally written that it’s hard to feel excited. And because their synopses are mostly brief overviews, sometimes they can miss some nuanced details that are rather important. So you know what? I thought it would be a really good idea to start up a retrospective recap column. Given how much time can elapse between the release of a first season and its follow up – something to the tune of 7-8 years when considering Railgun S and Railgun T, and given my recent struggles with Oregairu S3, I reckoned that many people would really appreciate a write-up refreshing people on shows and their specific details.

I won’t be able to provide the same sort of length or quality Stilts whipped up for his Kyoukai Senjou no Horizon mega retrospectives, mainly since I won’t be going through the whole series episode by episode. That said, the aim is pretty simple. To get people up to speed before sequels air so that they will be less confused going in. Especially if they don’t have the time to rewatch stuff.

Disclaimer: I have not seen the Arrow of Orion movie and will not be referencing it in this post.

Premise

During the golden age of adventurers, Zeus and Hera were leaders of the strongest Familias. They decided to undertake Grand Quests involving three infamous monsters that escaped to the surface – Behemoth, Leviathan and the Black Dragon. They successfully defeated Behemoth and Leviathan. But were utterly vanquished by the Black Dragon. And so ended the golden age of adventurers.

The One Eyed Black Dragon

Bell Cranel is a 14 year old boy who grew up in a rural mountain village, listening to stories about gods and heroes from his beloved grandfather. As such, he aspires to become one of these legendary heroes – and makes his way over to the adventurer’s town of Orario after his grandfather passes away, hoping to make his dreams come true. A combination of bad luck and overestimating his own capabilities causes Bell to have a close run-in with death when he encounters the Minotaur during his labyrinth exploration. Fortunately, he is saved by Aiz Wallenstein – the renown Sword Princess who is considered to be on of the top three adventurers in Orario.

Daydreaming of Aiz

When he encounters her at an inn, Bell is initially delighted. But this quickly turns to shame and anguish when Aiz’s fellow Familia member, Bete, humiliates him for being a weakling that needed to be saved. Despairing at the unimaginable gulf between a nameless rookie like himself and a top adventurer, yet burning with intense love towards his saviour, Bell develops the skill Liaris Freese- which allows him to exponentially level up and maximise his attributes provided his feelings towards Aiz remain steadfast, as he tirelessly strives to reach her level.

Bell Realises How Weak He Is

To become a hero, Bell will first need to join a Familia – guilds formed by gods or goddesses who provide protection and impart blessings to their followers. Truth be told, none of the gods are interested about taking in an utter noob who lacks any sort of credentials. So he ends up being rejected by every single one. But a similarly struggling goddess called BHestia, who failed to find anyone interested in joining her familia, feels a kindred spirit in Bell and enlists him to join – a proposal he happily accepts.

Hestia and Bell

From singlehandedly overcoming the minotaur, and fending off obsession from other deities and defeating their chosen Captains (Hyakinthos from the Apollo Familia and Phryne from the Ishtar Familia) to protect himself and Hestia, to helping his dear friends overcome the shackles on their respective destinies – Welf Crozzo’s mental block with magic swords and rescuing Haruhime from prostitution, Bell has exponentially risen beyond his weak beginnings. And while he isn’t the finished product where it concerns elite adventurers, he has come extremely far and looks set to carve out a legacy of his own – accruing a healthy following of infatuated girls along the way. Worryingly, there’s a cabal of shady forces at work in the undercurrent of Orario who clearly seem to have dubious motives. Also the most dangerous goddess – Freya – has her eyes set on him. What will the future hold for Bell, the Hestia Familia and the adventurer’s town of Orario?

Setting and Power Systems

Orario is famed for having a Dungeon Labyrinth – which is located underneath tower Babel. In the past, monsters would emerge from dungeons to threaten the populace and heroes fought against them with the aid of divine Spirits. But once the gods descended upon the lower world, they began bestowing Falna – special blessings of empowerment – to help the heroes in their fight. These gods and goddesses are not allowed to use the full extent of their powers – also known as Arcanum – within the mortal realm. These gods and goddesses are perpetually bored and live for mischief and excitement – which is why they come down to the surface because mortals and their mortal whims bring them boundless joy. And will throw together events like War Games – which they ravenously spectate with glee. As third parties, they will even turn a relatively blind eye to transgressions if it leads to an entertaining outcome.

Oraria during the Day

However, when certain rules are broken or when a god or goddess physically perishes, they do not die and return to the heavens in a brilliant flash of light. But are never allowed back down. When they’re in the mortal realm, gods and goddesses form Familias – guilds comprising of adventurers are supporters who swear fealty to their respective deities. Different familias can have different functions. Some are focused on adventuring in the dungeons, while others focus on crafting weapons, creating herbal medicines, running brothels, etc. Each Familia is given a rank which determines the tax rates they have to pay – predicated on the number of members and total level count.

Ishtar returns to the Heavens

In this world, people can kill monster or defeat enemies in combat to gain experience, which go towards levelling up. And they even have a status on their backs showing off their attributes and skills – which only their god or goddess are privy to. Attributes can be raised through excelia gained from training and battles. Where 999 is the standard maximum within the given system, another reason why Bell is special alongside his faster levelling is the fact he can exceed the 999 cap on attributes. So it’s similar to a JRPG. Those blessed by the gods or goddesses falna can also manifest special skills. In addition to Liaris Freese, Bell also possesses Argonaut (a charge-up skill which empowers) and Ox Slayer (a buff against bull type monsters). His Familia member, Welf Crozzo, possesses a skill which allows him to create and enhance magic swords. The recently rescued Haruhime can level boost a single target. These are all really useful – be it for direct combat or supportive utility. And it always adds a nice dimension or flair to any battles in Danmachi.

Hestia Checks on Bell’s Status

Expectations

I’ve heard that the upcoming season of Danmachi will be the best one yet. To be honest, I’m pretty skeptical given how it’s becoming clearer and clearer that Hestia won’t be the end girl – with Bell gently rejecting her sincere confession of love, because Aiz is his one and only. JC Staff also didn’t impress me with their adaptation of the second cour, with no fights to rival the epic Minotaur finale that made me fall in love with the franchise. However, there are plenty of implied mysteries I’d love to see resolved. So I will be excited to stick around and see what Freya’s plotting, what the masked man under the city is trying to do, as well as who that mysterious creature teased at the end of last season truly is. Plus any scenes featuring Eiyuu Ganbou never fails to get me hyped up.

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