About two years ago, I took a “sick” day for the first time in my life to travel three hours in each direction to interview for a job I ultimately didn’t get. But the day was memorable for a bigger reason. During the train ride, I read the entirety of The Game by Neil Strauss (++). Although it’s not the best book I’ve ever read (the last third of it was kind of pointless), it’s been by far the most personally influential. (It should be noted that most books suck and even the good ones inspire me to do absolutely nothing.)
I distinctly remembered seeing The Game in a bookstore several years ago and taking it as seriously as “bang local sluts tonight!” spam. Since then I’d heard a few passing recommendations for it and decided to give it a chance.
The Game chronicles the author’s transformation from an “average frustrated chump” into one of the world’s top pickup artists. Somehow this book took the most tired sales pitch of all time—”Do this and you’ll have more sex!”—and made it convincing. I was also surprised by its positivity. While the book does describe a few sleazy gimmicks, it’s core message is that self-confidence, determination, commitment, and overall lifestyle improvement will get you farther than good looks, a high income, or scripted pickup lines. I’ve adopted some of the advice in this book, in addition to reading some Japan-specific materials, and my sex life over the past two years has gone from nonexistent to occasional.
I’ve developed a lot of respect for guys who are willing and able to hit on girls wherever they want and regardless of who’s watching. The street? Sure. A mall? Go for it. So why not a dungeon?
“Is It Wrong to Try to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon?” (hereinafter “Danmachi”) isn’t nearly as comedically centered as the title suggests. That’s a good thing. I was late to the party because I’d assumed Danmachi was a fluff piece that couldn’t outperform its title. Fortunately, it takes itself seriously in all the right ways. On the scale from Grimgar to Konosuba, it’s whimsy level is right in the middle. It jerks you around with harem hijinx, then slaps you straight with well-conceived fantasy mechanics and powerful drama. It’s well-deserving of a second season.