Dungeon Dive: Aim for the Deepest Level

Alt title: Isekai Meikyuu no Saishinbu wo Mezasou

Vol: 4+; Ch: 29+
2019 - ?
3.63 out of 5 from 435 votes
Rank #22,411
Dungeon Dive: Aim for the Deepest Level

One moment Kanami is visiting his sick little sister in the hospital, and the next thing he knows, he wakes up in a dark corridor full of cutthroat warriors and bloodthirsty monsters. Kanami quickly learns that he is in the “labyrinth,” a deadly 100-floor dungeon in a fantasy world–and for those able to reach the deepest level, a wish will be granted. Kanami seems to have received magic powers and a special unnamed skill that kicks in whenever he is overwhelmed, which helps him stabilize but has a disturbing effect on his emotions and mind. After attracting the attention of a mysterious girl, Kanami may have the power he needs to return home to his ailing sister…but at what price?

Source: Seven Seas

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Quite a few of the isekai manga which I've read will just lean on the tropes and cliches for the initial worldbuilding and the protagonist's acceptance to being thrust into a new world and that can be kinda boring. So I appreciated the fact that this manga put actual effort into the initial exposition--making it feel fresh--and also how, even though it wanted to have the protagonist quickly adapt to the new situation (as most isekai stories do), it didn't just hand-wave it away and instead turned the nullification of the protagonist's panic into an ongoing plotpoint and a long-term mystery (where we readers are now asking "what's the question mark ability and will anything negative happen if the Confusion condition gets too high?" and other such questions which serve as an additional hook to keep us invested in reading). I appreciated the attempts at showing growth within the relationships and with the characters' personalities. It's not necessarily the most impressive character studies or anything like that, but it does feel like actual effort was put into having the characters react in human ways and have understandable motives. In many ways, this is just another fighting harem manga where a single male protagonist will be surrounded by tons of female allies, but it hasn't been grating in its fan service or its attempt at pandering as of yet. The panels feel very dynamic. I also like the shading techniques and usage of silhouettes. It uses both black-on-white silhouettes and white-on-black silhouettes and several variations on how they're done. Related to that, I noticed there will often be zoomed out shots with something silhouetted in the central focal point of the panel. There's a loose feel to the art. I very much enjoyed the fight scene against Tida and thought that both the way things were drawn and the general choreography created for a very intense and engaging fight.  The main reason I'm rating this manga as an 8/10 instead of a 9/10 is because I think its forward momentum is somewhat lacking. By which I mean that--even though it's had some engaging arcs and storylines up to this point--it doesn't really feel like it has very good long-term goals or a solid trajectory. And this is honestly just a gut feeling impression that isn't really based on anything objective. 'Cause this manga does have some long-term goals and, on paper, those long-terms goals are completely fine, so I'm not even sure why I have this impression (but I do). [Reviewed at chapter 21]

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