Tag Archives: Suzuhito Yasuda

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, Vol. 1

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?, Vol. 1

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.

 

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Durarara!!: Saika Arc

Story: Ryohgo Narita/Character Design: Suzuhito Yasuda/Art: Akiyo Satorigi

A slasher is terrorizing the streets of Ikebukuro, appearing in the night with blood-red eyes yet with no other distinguishing features. Around the same time, a troll going by the tag “Saika” begins haunting the online chatrooms, maniacally raving about love and slashing . . . and Shizuo Hiwejima. All these odd and troubling occurrences catch the attention of the black rider–particularly as they involve her friend–and Celty’s investigations turn up even more interesting stories of a demon blade–also going by the name of Saika–that appeared in Shinjuku about a decade before. Now she has to figure out the connections . . . before someone actually gets killed!

What a super-cool, fun manga! The Saika Arc of this manga follows immediately after the first four volumes, titled simply Durarara!!. This arc consists of three volumes and covers the same story as Narita’s second light novel. The manga adaptation is extremely well done. The art is vivid and active, and the characterizations are brilliant. I love this story’s characters: Durarara!! is full of unusual people with unique perspectives on life, and it doesn’t devote itself to just one character. It’s really neat to see the development of the connections between all the individuals who initially appear completely unrelated. Actually, the Saika Arc tends to focus primarily on Anri, Celty, and Shizuo, and it’s great to see the development in these characters. And pretty much everyone else is mixed in at some point anyhow. One last note: I love the humor that’s randomly mixed in, particularly in the parts where Shizuo goes nuts (then is distracted by ramen) and where Celty and Shinra are alone together (their relationship is weird/cute). Durarara!!: Saika Arc is a great manga for anyone who likes a solid, varied story with plenty of action and mystery with some fantasy elements thrown into the mix for fun.

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Durarara!! (Manga)

DRRRStory: Ryohgo Narita/Character Design: Suzuhito Yasuda/Art: Akiyo Satorigi

My rating: 4.5 of 5

Welcome to Ikebukuro, home of crazy otakus, sketchy doctors, sketchier business dealings, information brokers, urban legends . . . and now home to Mikado Ryuugamine. Mikado–just moved in from the suburbs that the urging of his friend Kida–is rapidly immersed in the excitement of the city. And underlying that excitement is the ubiquitous whisper of the rumored color gang “Dollars.”

This manga adaptation of Ryoho Narita’s light novel, Durarara!!, is incredible! The story is dynamic and multi-faceted, the characters are credible and interesting, and the art captures the dynamism of the story with style. I would definitely recommend this manga.

Note: There are currently four volumes of the manga available in English, which covers the story through the end of Narita’s first light novel. (By the way, Narita has favorable words to say of the manga.) It sounds like there won’t be any more manga volumes for now, but I’m holding out hope that they will continue the manga sometime in the future.

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