Is It Just Me, or Did "Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? III" Really Suck?


I love $OVERLY_LONG_LIGHT_NOVEL_NAME, or DanMachi for short (although I've never called it that), at least the first two seasons, anyway. I find the adventures of Bell Cranel and the Hestia Familia, and think that's Bell's amazing strength is powered by his admiration for his rival/mentor Ais Wallenstein is a really interesting motivator. Sadly, Liaris Freese and other the RPG mechanics of the story quickly take a backseat as the story progresses, but let's not get sidetracked. I'm here to talk about how the third season of the show really took a nosedive. Suffice to say, I will be discussing the show in full, so beware of spoilers. You can watch the whole thing for free on VRV anyway, so come back when you're ready.

My three main issues with season three are as follows:

Pointless Plot (and Lackluster Character Development)

The season spends a good chunk of its time making the viewer sympathize with the intelligent monsters it introduces, especially Wiene. The show then gives Bell and the viewer a proper introduction to Uranus, who the viewer has seen glimpses of throughout the show and is led to believe is a big deal. He gives Bell the task of introducing the monsters to society, which sounds pretty awesome. If I had known this season was going to be 12 episodes long, I would've said there wouldn't have been enough time to do this properly. Anyway, these plans are hampered by the Ikelos familia, whom cause Wiene to rampage across Orario; in trying to stop her without killing her, Bell destroys his reputation among the people of Orario. Ultimately, Uranus' plans are called off and the Hesia familia and partner familias need to create a big stink to bring the monsters back to the dungeon. Bell's reputation is ultimately salvaged by him getting into a fight with the reincarnation of the minotaur he almost dies to in the first episode of the show, which he ultimately loses.

As you can see, nothing f**king happens! The only thing that happens is that makes a "visible" effect on the world is the defeat of the underground Ikemos familia, whose existence is introduced and concluded in the same season. Bell actually walks away with having to say goodbye to friends he only just made, feels pathetic because of his fight with the minotaur, almost loses his relationship with Ais because they can't see eye-to-eye on intelligent monsters, and almost has his insanely strong reputation as the "little rookie" forever tarnished. After the monsters go back underground, life in Orario continues as normal without the monsters and Bell goes back to wanting to train with Ais in order to become stronger. No character changes, neither does the world, and Uranus's plans are completely foiled. I get no indication that anything relevant this season will be relevant the next. Since the majority of the characters introduced during the season disappear by the end of it, I could probably skip over season three and never know I did. If that isn't bad episodic storytelling, I don't know what is.

Pointless Villains

The main plot of the show can be basically summarized like this:

The Ikemos familia is one of the most interesting points of the show but is forced to share runtime with the heroes undoing the work they did to complete their assignment from Uranus. Dix, his inherited obsession with finishing the construction of one of the dungeon's floors are really interesting, and his use of torture as a coping mechanism are all really interesting, and he and his gang are so cartoonishly evil that the viewer quickly learns to love to hate them. Sadly, even though Dix and Bell have a pretty sick fight that is both physically and psychologically taxing, the plans of the familia are quickly foiled once the Hestia familia gets involved, with Dix dying four episodes after being introduced and the rest of his crew slowly dying and dispersing in later episodes. The show spends a third of its runtime getting you to care about Dix, more than the monsters (2 episodes), but it isn't enough for it to be significant. After Dix's death and Weine's subsequent rampage, the story awkwardly transitions to the Hestia familia getting flak for protecting a monster, and then awkwardly transitions to a rest-of-season escort mission. The story missteps after losing Dix; I suddenly found myself caring less about the safety of the monsters and quickly lost hope that they would find any acceptance topside.

Pointless Hatred

I was shouting at my phone screen when it was revealed that Hermes was willing to force the monsters to commit suicide in order to protect the reputation of Bell during the final episode. I always knew that Hermes was a tad devious and, like literally every other god in the story, had plans for Bell sitting on the back burner, but I never thought he would stoop to being a jacka**. Hermes isn't properly punished for his actions at all, either, with him simply getting a whack in the head by Hestia at the end of the episode. I love Hermes, as the heavily reminds me of Naruto's Jiraiya--both are wisecracks mentoring young men with amazing potential and have no issue with occasionally being horny on main--so it's a damn shame they did my boy like this. I don't know why this was a part of the story, as it's introduced so late that it's effectively meaningless, and only serves to make me hate one of my favorite characters. The strangest thing though is that Bell seemingly holds no ill will towards Hermes for his actions, which is odd as Bell invested heavily into improving and protecting the quality of life for the monsters.

Well, that's about it. I've had these feelings bottled up within me for a few months now, and since no one on MAL seemingly reflected my opinion, I thought it might be worth my time to write about it. See ya in 2022 when season four airs, and let's all collectively pray it doesn't suck!