Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Arrow of the Orion Review: A Stellar Adventure

Fujino Omori and Suzuhito Yasuda's Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? light novel series (also popularly known as "DanMachi") made big waves with its anime debut in 2015. But it's been a long time since we've seen the anime, and the franchise has been relatively quiet since then outside of light novel releases. But that's all changed in 2019. With a new season coming this summer, DanMachi also surprised with a new film too.

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Arrow of Orion is an action-packed reunion with all of your favorites. It gives you that peculiar, joyous feeling of seeing all of your friends in school after the summer break.

Taking place after the events of the first season and Sword Oratoria side series, Arrow of the Orion sees the dungeon under Orario being stirred by a mysterious dark entity. When Bell Cranel finds that he's able to wield a mysterious spear that fell from the sky, he's thrust into a new danger as the goddess Artemis recruits him to defeat that dark entity. Dubbing him her "Orion," this new quest takes him outside of Orario and challenges his desire to be a hero as it's soon clear that Artemis isn't exactly how Goddess Hestia remembers.

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(Photo: Sentai Filmworks)

One thing that's going to be immediately apparent, unfortunately, is this film will not serve as a great entry point to the franchise overall. It's a self-contained story, but there's a slight barrier to entry as there's no re-introduction to the series' world and characters. It's a film for fans, so it rewards those who have kept up with the franchise or can remember the events of the first season from years ago. But in that same breath, the fact that there's no hand holding leaves so much room for fantastic character development.

Thankfully, Arrow of the Orion capitalizes on this potential and explores new sides of Bell and Hestia. The insertion of Artemis into their dynamic introduces a far more emotionally resonant narrative than you'd suspect. It seems like it's going to be a love triangle initially, but soon evolves to incorporate other elements of their history and personality. For example, you find out more of Hestia's past in the world of gods as she discusses her relationship with Artemis.

The film also challenges Bell in a new way as it becomes more of an emotional struggle for the character. Making use of the growth Bell went through in the first season in which he stopped seeking out strength for the wrong reason, this film forces him to grow emotionally as he previously did physically. It's a more complicated issue that can't be solved by simple action.

Speaking of action, the action scenes are certainly fulfilling in the film. As gorgeously animated as fans of the franchise have come to know, characters move with a pleasant and stylish fluidity. Expressions are beautifully drawn, and the design of new characters like Artemis are notable without completely standing out from the already established aesthetic. The CG can be a bit wonky at times, but it's not egregious enough to completely take you out of things. But even when it does, there's a shifted focus to the emotional core of the plot.

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Arrow of the Orion is, as the title might suggest, a film experience made for fans of the series. It's a stellar new adventure showing other facets of the characters we've come to know and love, but one that will feel unfamiliar to those not in the Familia.

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Rating: 4 out of 5

Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? Arrow of the Orion will be screening in theaters on July 23rd in its original Japanese with English subtitles.