With the much-anticipated season two set to premiere in a couple of weeks, Sentai Filmworks is bringing the first Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? movie, DanMachi: Arrow of the Orion to the West.
The show follows adventurer Bell Cranel, his patron goddess Hestia and the rest of his party, or “Familia”. As he explores the dungeon (a labyrinth below the city of Orario) and defeats monsters, Bell gains experience, levels up and learns skills—just like in any good RPG. The show also answers the question of how RPG characters know they’ve leveled up: their stats appear on their backs. It also spawned a side series, Sword Oratorio, which focuses on Ais Wallenstein and her compatriots in the Loki Familia.
The film takes place after the events of season one and SOO and starts with a spear. A spear that no one can lift except little ol’ level 2 Bell. What does he get for this? A quest from the goddess Artemis (who refers to him as “Orion”) to defeat a threat stronger than anything seen in the dungeon. Hestia, who dreams of being in a relationship with Bell, isn’t going to allow her Familia’s Captain to go off alone with her old friend, announces that she’s going with him. The rest of their party agrees to go along and adventure ensues.
The movie was enjoyable, if a bit predictable towards the end. The new characters fit in well and one of the movie’s strengths was how well Artemis was developed; her relationship with Hestia was my favorite part of the film and her interactions with Bell helped further his growth from season one. Hopefully, this character development will continue in season two and that this adventure won’t be ignored as the series goes on.
Like the series, AOTO is visually stunning. Action sequences flow well and characters are extremely expressive, especially Hestia and Bell. When the two of them finally discover the story’s twist, the shock is so evident on their faces that you feel for them.
Overall, it’s an excellent film that captures the spirit of the series. But, despite being a new standalone story, I would caution newcomers to the anime against starting here. There are callbacks to episodes of the show and it wastes no time introducing characters who’ve previously appeared. If you’re familiar with the franchise, go see it on the 23rd. If you’re not, watch season one and then go see it. 4/5 Bibles.