It’s Never Wrong to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon

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.

Danmachi (Season 1): ++

2 feminists think The Game is only about negging

  1. Congratulations on sometimes sex! DanMachi ranged from “meh” to “pretty good” for me. I personally call it a “low budget Drauga no Tou”. Between the two, Drauga more, but this one wasn’t bad. The gimmicks around the main character and even the title make sense once you get to the end of first season, which was nice. I felt the reveal tied it all together rather neatly. A manga about dungeon crawling that has interesting RPG elements is Dungeon Meshi. On a scale of Grimgar to Konosuba, I’d say it leans closer to Grimgar. There are several goofy moments, but it definitely takes it’s gimmicks seriously. If Dungeon Meshi ever gets an anime, I would probably rank them as Dungeon Meshi, Drauga no Tou, and DanMachi. I enjoyed Grimgar a lot, but it didn’t go anywhere. I loved how visceral they made struggling and fighting to survive seem, but the anime seemed to contemplate its navel for most of its run, and we never got to explore too much else about the world. KonoSuba had me from the start. I could watch a 10-12 episode run of the show every season or every other season until the material is done like I’m doing with HeroAca. Also, I wish I was able to participate in the Shin Sekai Yori post; it is another on my list of favorites of all time. And now, before I completely dive into my favorite anime/manga of all time, I shall end it here.

    • RPG anime have become the new sports anime. I like them each individually, but there are so many shows with so many common elements that it’s hard to choose which to pick up and which to ignore. Word of mouth goes a long way. I’ll give DanMeshi a shot if it gets animated.

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