This post was written by Dark_Sage. He is Dark_Sage.
In my Spring 2015 preview, I said that DanMachi would suck cuz the manga was boredom incarnate. Rather than admitting that I was wrong, I am going to painstakingly detail out how Japan failed to adapt the series properly, by making it legitimately entertaining instead.
Anime vs Manga – Timeline’d
Everything here applies for episodes 2 and 3 as well, but I think you’ll get the point with episode 1 alone. I’ll be going play-by-play here, so I expect the writing style shift might throw some of you off. Ganbarre with it though, cuz I’m way too lazy to rewrite it for a different format.
Manga (chapters 1-3):
Bell is rescued by Aiz.
The narration takes place in a generic, harem, power-trip fantasy of Bell’s.
Bell wakes up to Hestia on him, remarks that she’s cute, then freaks the fuck out and leaves the room — the only piece of her character that we’re introduced to here is her attraction to Bell.
Flashback to Bell running up to Eina, asking about Aiz.
After getting her “profile”, Bell gets lectured.
Bell goes on his way and meets up with Syr, who foists off food upon him because he’s cute or something.
With lunch in his tummy, Bell goes badass mode on a bunch of mobs and picks up loot like a (mid-)boss. Some more monsters come and he picks up motivation by thinking he’ll win Aiz from it.
Hestia is finally fucking introduced as a character, but for the most part spends her time being whiny.
Hestia reads Bell’s status off to him, then decides she needs to cry more.
Bell goes to the inn, cuz he wants to collect more pokemon women for his self-insert harem. There, Wolf-kun makes fun of Bell and Bell runs out of the bar, angry.
Because the author wants to sell more copies to middle school boys, Bell runs to a dungeon and murders the shit out of fucking everything cuz he’s just so cool.
Bell returns home after beating the shit out of everything, glaring at Hestia like a wifebeater after his third shot.
Fabulous relationship, fabulous end to the chapter.
Anime (episode 1):
Bell rescued is by Aiz.
Still bloody, Bell runs up to Eina, asking about Aiz, but the villagers all think he’s a fucking loser.
Bell gets lectured, but appears legitimately flustered, and Eina gets more range than just “I’m so worried about Male Protagonist A.”
Hestia is introduced, as a character rather than an accessory.
She pouts, Bell indulges her, cute ensues. He’s clearly fucking loyal to her, and they have an already developed relationship that’s fucking kawaii to the max.
I mean, just watch this and tell me it didn’t make you uguu:
Bell goes on his way and meets up with Syr, who foists off food upon him because she’s very clearly looking to flirt till she hits pay dirt.
Bell picks up monster drops like a fucking mook, cuz the bills gotta be paid.
Some monsters come and Bell gets scared before getting #tricked by his delusions.
Bell returns home (somehow victorious), Hestia reads his status off to him, then decides she needs a smoke after finishing with her boy toy.
Bell goes to the inn, cuz he owes Syr her money. There, Wolf-kun makes fun of Bell and Bell runs out of the bar, crying. ;_;
Bell runs to a dungeon and reflects on his own weakness.
Bell returns home, victorious, and makes me cry.
Pretty sharp contrast to that manga ending, huh?
Even if the anime adaptation kept the cardboard personalities of the manga characters, it would still be objectively superior. If you paid attention to the timelines, pretty much every happened in the anime that happened in the manga, except it was arranged more sensibly. In terms of pure pacing, the anime settled on the most interesting parts and skipped over the boring shit — managing to build a world that the manga never really was capable of.
Look, I’m not saying that a series can’t have a badass male protagonist or a weak female lead. What I am saying is that characters are more interesting when they’re more than just one-tone tropes. And that’s why, for example:
Would this be the case if we got an adaptation that was “faithful” to the manga? Pretty sure in that scenario, only >reddit has enough shit taste to be getting off to her. Hats off to J.C Staff for going all-in on quality for once.
By taking an objective look at the quality of the manga, it’s clear that no sane human could have made the prediction that an anime adaptation would be enjoyable. As such, I was de facto correct in saying “Nothing in Dungeon is unique, nothing is interesting, and nothing matters about it.” Note that I’m only clarifying the middle statement here since those other two still apply to the anime.