In “Is It Wrong to Try and Pick Up Girls In a Dungeon?” the main character Bell’s largest driving force is to catch up in strength to the girl that saves him in the first episode. He forms a crush and due to this quickly begins to get stronger, and stronger. How can we apply what we learned from Bell to our own lives?
The series takes place inside a world called Orario wherein gods and goddesses have given up their powers in order to live among the humans. However, they can grant special abilities to humans that wish to become ‘adventurers’. Those adventurers become what is called familiars to a god or goddess, and form a sort of house or family–almost like a faction. The neat thing about this world is that it’s set up exactly like a dungeon adventure game (think Diablo). The farther into the dungeon you go, the harder the monsters are and the more jewels you can collect (money you can make). It also has a skill rating system for these adventurers that improves as they gain experience exploring and defeating monsters in the dungeon.
Our hero’s initial desire to become an adventurer is very typical for a young male teen–to have an encounter with a female in the dungeon. However, his fantasy is flipped on its head when he becomes a damsel in distress and is saved by a girl he develops instant feelings for. Our hero Bell, due to his strong feelings for Aiz Wallenstein and his desire to get closer to her, rapidly develops, becoming stronger and stronger. The more he focuses on his goal the stronger he gets, but also the more help he receives from those around him. The interesting thing here is that from a flash back we know that Bell had already wanted to become an adventurer and become strong. His grandfather was one and he wanted to follow in his footsteps. However, it was not until the introduction of the girl that his abilities and strength truly started to show. The ultimate desire for Bell has not changed, but a focus has been added: a passionate drive to succeed. It is the additions of this drive that ultimately gets him towards his goal. It reminds me of a quote from Paul “Bear” Bryan “It’s not the will to win that matters—everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.”
We find this across hero stories, and especially in shounen anime. I think there is something to learn from these stories. They are all telling us how to get what we want. Firstly, it is to have something to strive for, so the number one thing is to have a goal. Secondly, find that thing that gives you the drive and the passion to go after your goal, whether that is a girl, like in Bell’s case, or whatever it is. Naruto’s drive was to be recognized by his village, but his goal was to be Hokage (the village leader for those who have not seen or read that story). So look at your own life, what in your life makes you want to be better? Just thinking about it makes you want to get up and act. Don’t be embarrassed by it, even if it is as something as small as trying to impress someone from the opposite sex, for great strength and growth can come from anywhere.
Finally, you need a #$%@ load of hard work. Bell uses his desire to catch up to Aiz Wallenstein to go into the dungeon every day, grinding to make himself better. Although in real life we don’t get an indicator of when we “level up” (be nice if we did), we still do. Whenever you started doing something that was really hard and it became easier later on, you have improved your skills; when those major life changing moments that shift your perspective happen, you’ve leveled up. This can be a life changing perspective. When faced with a difficult task look at it as a hero in the stories you love to watch and play, as a task to grow from and get “stronger”. The difference for us in the real world compared to games and anime is that we also have it within us to slide downwards, and “level down”, which is why we must always be moving forward and working towards something, using whatever we can that will drive us to our goal. So, think hard about what you want, and select your ultimate goal. Now find that which will drive you to act, and then work your butt off till you get what you want! Happy adventuring, everybody. Maybe your own life changing encounter is right around the corner!