Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? III
Episode 4

by Rebecca Silverman,

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Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? III ?

Although The Merchant of Venice is not my favorite of Shakespeare's plays, the Xenos arc of Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? always brings it to mind. It probably says something about both the universal qualities of Shakespeare's works and the thought put into Fujino Ōmori's series that Shylock's speech from Act 3, Scene 1 can find just as much relevance here as it can in experiences of real-world hatred and prejudice: “If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?”

Shylock may be talking about the anti-Semitism that he experiences every day, but in the world of DanMachi, it's not so different from what the Xenos, monsters capable of speech and emotions, face at the hands of humans. We saw that with Wiene when she ventured out of Hearthstone and was attacked because no one could bring themselves to see that she was saving a child instead of attacking her. That spoke volumes about what those blinded by preconceptions are likely to do to the Xenos, but that doesn't stop them from still yearning for the surface. In fact, we learn this week that it's what Ouranos has been working towards for many years now. Fels has certainly been carrying out their god's wishes as someone who can go back and forth between the Dungeon and Orario, but Ouranos has also enlisted Ganesha to try and change attitudes about monsters – it turns out that the whole Monsterphilia festival was created with that goal in mind. Whether or not Ganesha has told any of his familia members its hidden purpose is another question – I'm inclined to think not, given Wiene's reception in town – but both Ouranos and the Xenos have been working a long time to try to make this happen.

The question then becomes whether or not Ikelos and his followers (or any other particularly shady familias) have been working for the exact opposite reason in the shadows. Ikelos Familia, headed by the Greek god of nightmares, doesn't have much reason right now beyond “we suck and we're evil” to be anti-Xenos, but given the deep-seated prejudices against monsters, they may not actually need one. They're like the kids you show your amazing Lego project to only to see them take a baseball bat to it – they want to wreck it just because they can. Ikelos Familia, led by Dix, right now seem like the sort of people who enjoy the status quo because it gives them power over someone else; they feel better than the Xenos because through some accident of birth they're human and the Xenos are not. Hermes and Ouranos, at least, don't think this is a good enough reason to wish for someone's destruction. But can we count on the other gods and their familias being on their side?

That brings up the interesting question of why the Xenos seem so human. Lyd, the lizardman who was so thrilled to see Bell last week, says that he remembers seeing a sunset on the surface, although he's never done so in his current existence. That seems to suggest that in another life he did see sunsets – which would imply that he wasn't always a lizardman. Are the Xenos adventurers who died in the Dungeon and were reborn as monsters? That might imply that the Dungeon isn't the monsters' “mother” in a strictly physical sense – what if the Dungeon wanted to give the dead another chance and this is it? She couldn't bring them back as humans because she's strictly in charge of the Dungeon, but that doesn't mean that she's unkind or disinterested. If true, it would certainly shake things up even more than the Xenos already have, but it also could have implications for people like Lyu, who lost her whole familia within the Dungeon's depths.

There's a lot to deal with before we ever get to that point, though. Wiene and her fellow Xenos are in a lot of trouble, having fallen into Ikelos Familia's trap, and Hestia Familia has a lot to mull over before they can even think about going back down. If they decide to stand on the Xenos' side (and let's face it, if it's the opposite of where Dix is standing, it's probably the right choice), they might paint targets on their backs again, and after the mess with Ishtar and Apollo, they may not be ready for that. But none of them, even the acerbic Lili, is going to just let someone be slaughtered because of who they are, and that seems to be what Ouranos is really counting on.

There's one more question in that speech of Shylock's that I quoted before: “And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?” Lyd, Rei, and Wiene might not, but as Bell proved when he rescued Haruhime, he's not going to let those he cares about go down without a fight.


Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? III is currently streaming on Crunchyroll and HIDIVE.

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