DanMachi (Is It Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon?) is an action-fantasy anime following Bell Cranel as he works to make a name for his Goddess' Familia and catch the attention of the girl of his dreams by fighting his way through the dangers of the Dungeon.
Honestly, from reading the synopsis, I imagined something very different. Perhaps more interesting than this turned out to be. I came in skeptical. With my luck of the draw in anime lately, I was pretty sure I wouldn't like this one as much as everyone who hyped it up did. And I didn't, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
Why did I think it would be bad? A few points: Lots of busty anime girls falling over this one guy; He looked like the type to miraculously win every big fight set before him; He was voiced by Yoshitsugu Matsuoka, who has repeatedly played Mary-Sue characters that I have not been fond of (Kirito in SAO, and Sora in No Game No Life).
These simple facts kept me away from this anime for a while, but I had to give it a chance first. And I was somewhat surprised at how 'not completely awful' it was for all these details.
To start, Bell Cranel, while something of a Mary-Sue, is actually a bit clumsy, somewhat stupid, and even humble. He's kind of adorable at some points, I just wish I'd felt more for him. But he turned out to be nothing like what I would've expected out of the action-fantasy anime I've watched lately. A good surprise to find.
Liliruca Arde is a likable female character, as is Aiz Wallenstein. Just likable. I didn't really love any characters in this show, but I didn't really hate them either.
A fair few of them have interesting backstories, but, at the same time, I was bored.
The music itself was fine, didn't really capture my attention. The voices are all really good, a fairly star-filled cast, with some talented newbies in there as well. Lots of interesting sound effects for the creature voices, though.
The setting is odd. A cool enough mix of many different cultures, with designs that are okay, not truly remarkable in most cases. The rules of the world, though... It's all really game-like, for no reason. They use all the gaming terms like 'drop item', and measure the strength of the adventurers through 'Levels' and 'Statuses'. Not a bad thing, I'm sure they thought it was pretty creative. I'm not fond of it myself, though. I was miffed with it throughout the series.
I won't say the story was entirely without heart, but I wasn't feeling it. Between Bell being a Mary-Sue that everyone loved, and the girls all using the moments of angst to show how much they love him, I just wasn't getting into it. Sure, Bell earned some of the admiration he got, but I lose interest with these stupid and unnecessary harem details that everyone wants to use lately.
The adventure was good. The friendship was there, even if it formed a little too quickly. Lots of stuff went much too quickly in this series, really. Especially the final battle. Completely lackluster.
In conclusion, I didn't hate it, but it was terribly boring, and a lot of the stuff that they should've done was passed right over. I didn't have high expectations for it to begin with, so that helped me out. But, I wasn't really fond of being right this time.