Content Warning: consistent cishet male oriented fanservice, incestual overtones, unsolicited body modification, sexual themes
What’s it about? Noir Stardia is the third son of a baronet. Looked down upon by most fellow nobles, Noir is cheated out of his job at the library and instead chooses to attend adventurer school. To brush up his skills, he goes to train in a dungeon he discovers a few miles out of town and discovers Olivia Servant, a 200+ year old adventurer, trapped inside. He learns the key to becoming powerful is getting rich, eating good food and getting sexually pleasured.
You can describe The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter in a number of ways. Horny, yes; stereotypical, sure; even boring. You can’t, however, call it a bog-standard isekai no matter how much the execution reeks of it.
You’ve got numerical “life points” (basically skill points) and video game menus floating on the screen. Noir is your resident “nice guy that all the girls like for some reason” protagonist. He can quantify danger and health by concentrating in order to see stats like levels and life points, and he just accepts this as a regular part of reality not at all derived from video game mechanics from another world.
Of course, this is just one absurdity to ruminate on among many in Hidden Dungeon. Noir’s characterization is confusing at best, as he casually deadpans his hatred for his father, but neither this rift in their relationship nor his deadpan character are brought up again for the rest of the episode. He is otherwise a bland everyman with normal sensibilities.
Noir’s sister, however, is far more consistent in characterization. She is wholly devoted to wanting to be… close to her brother, to say the least.
And then we’re introduced to Emma—Noir’s childhood friend—’s chest, and I guess the rest of her in the shot after that. Emma proposes that she and Noir make out to give him the energy to use his special skill: “Great Sage,” a skill that will answer any question he may ask. And so they do—graphically. Yet this show also has nowhere enough budget to
hire anyone who has ever french kissed before draw a competent steamy kiss scene; so like, that was also just kinda awkward more than anything.
Kissing aside, Emma’s honkers really are the star of the show. I think they get more development and change in the 24 minutes I watched than any other character, including Emma herself. Noir asks his childhood friend out in order to get some hot hugging action going and replenish his life points, and he immediately thanks her by reducing the size of her hushpuppies; because you know, girls will constantly whine to their best dude friend that their tits are too big. (She later has Noir turn them back into her original sized honkaroonies)
The fanservice is constant and exhausting. From the quick panty flashes to the long and plentiful shots of boobs and butts on both Emma and Olivia throughout the entire episode, the show seems to be more a commercial for marshmallows than anything.
I think the biggest drawback to “Hidden Dungeon’s” narrative style is how it’s bluntly horny, but the story itself is relatively unsexy. Noir just wants to get stronger and find secure employment as an adventurer to live out his boring Wonder Bread life with his best friend/girlfriend. He’s a potato, but not outright lewd or an awful person. But the camera is overtly voyeuristic and Noir’s primary method of recharging his ability to use his skills is hugging his little sister and making out with his girlfriend. It’s wedging in this constant undercurrent of sleaze that smells a little funky, like you just Febreezed your dorm room after hearing your parents are visiting.
Perhaps the one bright spot in the show is Olivia, Noir’s “totally super-awesome adventurer” master. While Olivia is essentially made into a sort of exposition narration machine by the very fact she’s literally chained to the dungeon and unable to physically move in anyway, she is still the only person with any kind of attitude in this show, and that attitude is “pure gremlin.”
I hope she’s freed one day and brings forth a reign of terror.
But Olivia can do that on her own time, because am I seriously going to devote an additional 40+ minutes watching this show to give it a 3 ep. test? … You all know my taste in anime, so yeah, you’re right, I’ll probably be livetweeting this every week.
And yes, since you stuck with me to the end here so I’ll do the joke: “So, is the dungeon her vagina?”
Anyway, now that I’m spent, it’s time to wise up and have my own Great Sage moment reflecting on what I wrote here. (Did you know Peter Grill and the Philosopher’s Time is a sex joke? “Sage Time” or “Philosopher’s Time” is the moment of clearheadedness one gets after sex. Now you know Japanese sex terminology!)