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  For a billion years, the world of Tenkai has known nothing but peace, thanks to the power and benevolence of its gods and goddess. The numerous races that live on the planet enjoy an existence free from suffering, war, and disease, offering praise to their heavenly hosts with tribute and celebration. For the gods, however, all is not sunshine and roses; in that billion year time span, they have grown restless and bored.

Some of the gods have willingly chosen to live among the people and take an active role in the merriment that celebrates their existence. To entertain themselves, they created a large dungeon deep underground in the city of Orario, which has created a healthy economy for suppliers and weapons crafters. Comprised of multiple levels, each teeming with increasingly difficult monsters, the gods sponsor adventurers to do battle against creatures in their names. Many gods command dozens of powerful warriors under their banners in groups known as Familias, and imbue their “children” with blessings that make them more effective in battle. This, in turn, allows them to earn more money, keeping their immortal sponsors in the luxuriant lifestyle to which they’ve become accustomed.

The deities that watch over their flocks are representative of the 1%, so rich that even extreme elegance no longer holds much thrill. In addition to the major pantheon, there are lesser beings who are not as popular as their immortal brothers and sisters, and therefore struggle to support themselves financially. Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? follows Bell Cranel, the lone follower of an adorable goddess named Hestia, whose costume helped to launch a thousand doujinshi. After getting in over his head in a dungeon, Bell is saved at the last minute by the beautiful Aiz Wallensteinsan, a powerful warrior who slices up a giant minotaur as if it were a tender pot roast. Motivated by his crush on Aiz, Bell strives to become a much stronger adventurer to win her attention and affection. Yet the idleness and self-absorbedness of the gods get in the way of Bell’s quest, as does the jealousy of his own sponsor.

Named after the gamut of figures found in Norse, Greek, and Roman myths, the gods are eager to heap praise on their mightiest servants and turn up their noses at everyone else. Hestia clearly doesn’t fit in, and she is routinely made the butt of cosmic jokes. The other gods laugh at her need to work part time, as well as the fact that Bell is her only follower. Some of the female goddesses are jealous of her ample bosom, all the more prominent because of her fashion choice to wear a blue ribbon around her upper body, making her breasts seem more pronounced. Thankfully, that is the extent of the volume’s sex appeal. The majority of the story is spent following Bell as he tries to grow strong enough to impress Aiz while becoming more familiar with the world and his place in it.

I really liked Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon?, and not because it’s another entry for my list of Manga With Long And Elaborate Titles. Although Bell suffers from the silliness and romantic advances of his goddess, the characters have great chemistry together. I’d rather see them get together instead of Bell with Aiz, who doesn’t have much presence in this volume. Instead, the book takes the time to introduce the reader to the unique world of Tenkai and its eponymous dungeon, modeled after those found in old school role-playing video games.

Packed with action and laughs, Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon? is a fun read. Bell’s quest for love is a great spin for a manga that feels similar to other stories that gamify the process of hunting monsters, like Log Horizon and Sword Art Online. The comedy and its characters definitely help to set it apart from the rest.

Is It Wrong To Try To Pick Up Girls In A Dungeon?, vol. 1
by Fujino Omori
Art by Kunieda, Suzuhito Yasuda
ISBN: 9780316302173
Yen Press, 2015
Publisher Age Rating: Teen

  • Allen

    | He/Him Past Reviewer

    Allen Kesinger is a Reference Librarian at the Newport Beach Public Library in California. He maintains the graphic novel collections at the library, having established an Adult collection to compliment the YA materials. When not reading graphic novels, he fills his time with other nerdy pursuits including video games, Legos and steampunk.

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