There’s something that’s been bothering for a while—almost three months. A tiny gnat buzzing in my brain, reminding me there’s something left unfinished. Something that needs to be dealt with. And that something…is my Danmachi fan fiction.
It’s not the story itself that I have a problem with. No, that anime pitch was pure gold. The major fault I found in my post relates to the format itself, the established brand I created, and the internationally beloved series that is From Bad Anime Comes Good Inspiration. In this completely unscheduled series of blog posts, I write about the glaring flaws and redeemable aspects that make up what I typically deem as “not great” shows. Bad anime often inspires me because it triggers the arrogant bastard in my head that thinks he can do better, and so I decide to write a different path for which these stories could’ve taken and probably would’ve been better off for it.
But alas, I feel I have failed at my last attempt at such hypothetical writing because I neglected to fully explain the aspects of the show that I deemed worth changing. Breaking the harem gold standard of having the main protagonist be a puritanical virgin boy beta-male was the only thing I really touched on, and while that was probably my biggest problem with the show, that’s something that can be applied to almost all harems. So, it wouldn’t have been particularly innovative to simply say this harem anime would be better if the protagonist actually got with someone.
Thing is, I had a lot more in mind when I penned this alternate storyline, and it’s going to forever haunt me (or at least be minorly annoying until I forget about it) if I don’t at least try and push my key points across—the specific aspects of the show that I set out to fix. So, here’s my addendum, perhaps even consider it a commentary on my previous work. Feel free to disreagard this if you haven’t read or didn’t care for From Bad Anime Comes Good Inspiration Vol. 4 (A.K.A Danmachi Erotic Fan Fiction). This is just something I feel the need to do before I move on with my life.
The first thing to acknowledge about my post is that it’s mislabeled. My Danmachi piece is not a “fan fiction”, for I am not a fan of the show, nor its characters, nor its world. Quite frankly, I dislike Danmachi a whole lot. There’s very little that’s unique about it, and for the most part, everything is executed in fairly mediocre fashion. From the mundane fighting choreography to underutilized plot conceits, this show is plain unimpressive all around. Honestly, it still baffles me as to how and why I came up with such an idea for a show that I could barely find a glimmer of potential in.
Anyway, as I said before I started rambling about how much I dislike this series, my post was not a “fan fiction”. It wasn’t even an alternate route. It was a complete overhaul, from start to finish. The characters barely resemble their canonical personalities, because those personalities were hackneyed and uninteresting—and my versions hopefully aren’t.
The one who needed the most reworking, of course, was Bell. As I touched on before, he really checks off all the markers of the harem fantasy protagonist that we all have come to expect. He’s a wholesome, virginal, bashful, overly-truthful, all-around nice guy that starts off weak but has so much potential inside him, that all the ladies swoon over due to either him saving them once, or finding admiration in one of his fairly banal character traits. This character could do no wrong, and so I thought it’d be fun to turn him into a character that does plenty of wrong—a philandering weasel with a traumatic past that goes around using and deceiving people to try and fill the void within himself. Rather than being put on a pedestal by all these beautiful girls, he would now be held in contempt by them.
The second thing I wanted to fix about the show, and honestly the thing I’m most proud of, is making the show’s title actually make sense. Is It Wrong to Pick up Girls in a Dungeon?—when does the show ever truly beg this question? “Is it wrong…” implies a sense of moral ambiguity, which is a theme rarely explored in the show. Furthermore, no females get anywhere close to being “picked up”, both in a broad setting, but also specifically “in a dungeon”. And so, I took it upon myself to come up with a scenario that would actually fit this otherwise context-less title—by making Bell a filthy debaucher that uses questionable methods to pick up women. By taking advantage of girl-adventurers who find themselves in vulnerable positions facing the dangers within a dungeon, this narrative certainly begs the question of its title.
My third goal that I had in mind when writing my Danmachi fan fic (but not really a fan fic) was to actually use the Greek mythology of which the show likes to base its characters names off of. The Danmachi anime liked to utilize a Greek naming scheme for the locales and mystic aspects of the show as well, but the way they did it struck me as purely unintentional. Not a clever allusion to be had, at least in my observation. Because of this, I thought of a couple of ways to better utilize the Greek roots that the show just lazily references. For example, Hestia being pretty much the same, lust-filled character from the anime, except now with a reason behind it: a rebellious spirit born from the repressive expectations of her being a virgin goddess—as is her archetype from tradition. Also, there was that Oedipus thing…which I hadn’t noticed when initially wrote it, but now realize that also fits into the whole “Greek mythology” thing, so yay? Or whoops?
Finally, I thought it’d be nice for the story to have a distinct goal. I know, Bell wants to become stronger and get to Ais Wallensteins’s level, but that isn’t much for a narrative to go on considering it gives us no idea of a timeline, nor an end plan. There’s also no villain that steps out of the shadows, just some naked chick that released that gorilla into the city, I think? Like, what was her deal? Did anyone even interact with her ever during the first season? I don’t know…anyway, there should be an actual goal, and because there’s that tower that’s supposed to represent the main dungeon, I figured it’d be nice for Bell to have a reason to climb it.
And that’s it. Phew. Glad I got that off my chest. Now I don’t have to think about Danmachi anymore…except season two is coming out…so I’ll probably see it a lot on Twitter and the front page of Crunchyroll and such…I guess there’s no escaping it…
…Thanks for reading.
P.S. I’ve been posting super infrequently again and I’m sorry. As you may know, I hate excuses and rarely ever give them…but continuously apologizing without any change in sight is worse. I hoping to get back into regular posting by summer, but right now I must admit I’ve got my hands full with far too many commitments. I’m hoping I can share some of the fruits of these commitments with, but until then, I’ll probably be posting infrequently until my semester is over. Sorry if you’ve been starving for more my amazing writing (ha), but you’ll have to bear with me just a little longer. Thanks for your patience.