Author: Fujino Omori
Illustrator: Suzuhito Yasuda
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Bell Cranel came to the big city of Orario for slightly different reasons that most people. True, he wants to be an adventurer, gaining skills, renown, riches, and all the other glittering things that come with the role. But even more, he wants to use that status to win the hearts of fair maidens–maybe even saving them from the monsters in the dungeon under the city! Not only a questionable mindset, this might prove more than a little impossible, since Bell’s just a beginner . . . although he’s growing at unprecedented rates. Of course, his quest to pick up girls might go better if he were to pay attention to the cute girls around him who are already totally in like with him instead of daydreaming. But that’s Bell for you, ever the adorable airhead.
I generally love light novels, and let’s face it, how can you not be interested in a story with a title like Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? I definitely did enjoy this light novel, although perhaps not as much as the title would suggest. In many ways, it’s a fairly typical shounen mild harem sort of story . . . unlikely boy, attractive girls (several), a little skin but not too much. What really stood out about this story in particular is its quest to make the quirks you see in video games real in Bell’s world. The gods give statuses and skills, there’s a dungeon where adventurers fight monsters with magical jewels inside, and diverse peoples (humans, gods, dwarves, elves, etc.) live together in relative harmony. I like the concept, but I think too much time was spent on the technicalities. Having said that, I think the story worked itself around the technicalities beautifully. The presence and enigmatic personality of the goddess Hestia in Bell’s life, in particular, transformed this from a text on “how Orario works” to a vibrant, exciting tale. My only other complaint is that grammatically, the book was sometimes confusing: different sections were written in different voices, sometimes there were seeming inconsistencies. I think some of that was nuance that was lost in translation, but still, it was somewhat confusing. On the whole though, if you enjoy light novels, fantasies, or books with video-game-like settings, I think Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? would be a fun choice.