Bell and his friends (or Familia) have been working on fulfilling extra quests in the Dungeon of Orario in order to purchase a very expensive dress for their patron deity, Hestia, to wear to the Holy Night Festival. A member of the Familia, Haruhime, does not venture out of their home base often due to reasons explained in a different series set in the same universe, so Bell escorts her during the Festival so she can enjoy herself while feeling safe. While enjoying the scenery, they meet Tarvi, a mysterious stranger new to town who is also enjoying the Festival activities. It seems she is also trying to avoid some soldiers, so Haruhime convinces Bell that they need to help their new friend avoid being caught.
Tarvi and Haruhime have much in common and quickly become fast friends and we learn that Tarvi is from a small country outside of Orario called Beltane. When the truth comes out about the soldiers and their relationship to Tarvi, Bell and Haruhime join forces with them to keep both girls safe and out of trouble. Unfortunately, that is not easy when they’re trying to impress each other instead of paying attention.
This series could be read on its own without any knowledge of the original manga or anime; however, I would not recommend purchasing only this series since it is a spin-off. This first volume does include explanations of key terms such as “Familia,” “Deities,” and “Status” in between chapters or in exposition text boxes. All of the previous character development and relationship establishment is not explained in this volume. Some of it is alluded to if deemed important to explain the plot of this spin-off. As someone who has watched the four anime seasons and read a few of the spin-off manga, I had no problem following the relationship dynamics and personality traits of characters like Hestia, who has a super obvious crush on Bell, and Bell, who is oblivious to any female interest in him despite the name of the main series. I don’t think new readers to the world would be as enamored if they didn’t have this outside information.
For readers who are familiar with the world and established characters, this story introduces a new country and a new character who befriends Haruhime quickly. This spin-off looks like it might spotlight Haruhime a bit more and give her some room for growth and development on page, but that could change in the following volumes now that the new additions have been introduced. Tarvi is an interesting addition to the world and brings a new perspective from a country outside of Orario. I would recommend this series to libraries that cater to teen readers that enjoy the main Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Series. Please note that this series is also rated Older Teen by the publisher due to kidnapping with the goal of sexual assault and violence. No sexual assault takes place on page in the first volume.
Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Memoria Freese, Holy Night Traumerei Vol. 01
By Fujino Omori
Art by Yu Shiomura
Yen Press, 2023
Publisher Age Rating: Older Teen
Related media: Game to Comic
NFNT Age Recommendation: Older Teen (16-18)