A few seasons past, I started a podcast with my incredibly handsome friends Owningmatt and the equally handsome GeneralTofu about anime and, specifically at the time, what all shows we were watching. If you’ve seen it (which is quite literally one person besides ourselves so congratulations to you, dedicated fan of a very small anime blog), you might have caught a thirty minute discussion (read: accidental rant) surrounding a show that had come out during the spring 2015 season of anime called Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru noha Machigatteiru darou ka or otherwise known as Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? It’s probably an easy guess that this anime was based off of a light novel series with a name that long, and while I haven’t read the source material, the show itself is interesting.
The idea of Dungeon is to take your typical MMORPG anime storyline but make it based in an actual fantasy realm instead of a game. Inside of this realm, heroes fight dangerous monsters in ever more difficult levels of a dungeon most likely constructed by the same architect behind the Wayside School building (shout out to Scholastic Book Fairs). As they explore, heroes collect gems that litter the different levels. These gems are found inside monsters, with the larger and more powerful gems residing in higher level monsters and more dangerous floors of the dungeon. The heroes use these as a sort of currency by exchanging them for money and resources that they need to continue to take on more and more difficult challenges. Heroes are sponsored by various gods and goddesses who form a higher social class and rely on their heroes’ worship and gem collection in order to grow their power. In exchange, the gods and goddesses give the heroes special powers as well as use their own abilities to assist in the exploration of the dungeon.
The interesting aspects of this show come from the fact that this entire universe is based around the difficult floors of the dungeon that the heroes face. Currency, sports, jobs, etc. are all centered around either the heroes who go into the dungeon or assisting the higher class of gods and goddesses with their daily lives. Even most of the powers the gods exhibit are centered around helping the heroes, with some gods being legendary armor and weapon smiths and others holding monopolies on wine and food trade. There are even jobs surrounding support classes for the hero. Some people are hired to do management and consultation for the heroes, while others are hired to collect gems and hold the different heroes’ items while they fight, sharing a percentage of the profits found.
This show had a lot of potential and though it didn’t live up to it, being a bit run-of-the-mill, sans the very elaborate and creative structure of the world and setting, it was a fun ride. However, the extent of my thirty minute discussion during the podcast was actually not about the plot or setting of Dungeon but on a very central theme that the series explored: The idea of chivalry. Specifically, the idea of courtly love that was spawned by chivalry.