Is everyone sick of isekai-adjacent fantasy animes yet? I’m not and it’s time to take a look at The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter.
Now by isekai-adjacent, it’s not accurate to call a series isekai when it doesn’t involve otherworldly transportation or reincarnation. Even so, many series have adopted the same clichés of the isekai genre and simply ignored the requirement of a displaced protagonist. While technically “fantasy”, it feels more apt to call them isekai or isekai-adjacent since they follow similar conventions.
While light on the action and sparse worldbuilding, The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter compensates for it by leaning heavily into fanservice; and by heavily I mean every plot-point of the series is about rationalizing it.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing and the presence of fan-service alone isn’t enough to make or break a show.
The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter
Studios: Okuruto Noboru
Publishers: DMM Music
Director: Kenta Oonishi
Premiere: January 9, 2021
The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter follows the ambitious adventures of a young man named Noir. He’s born into a poor Baronet family and constantly diminished by his noble peers.
After being forced from his position as a librarian due to the leverage of a viscount, he sets his sights on the Hero Academy to become a warrior of note within the kingdom. However it will be tougher than he can manage unless he can become stronger.
During his coming of age where young men and women are granted “Skills”, Noir’s skill is called “Great Sage”. His skill can answer almost any question down to specifics, however it’s at the cost of experiencing excruciating headaches.
Going back to how most things are meant to rationalize fanservice, his buxom childhood friend Emma (who of course, has feelings for him) tells Noir an anecdote; she read where the sage Marlin who also possessed the Great Sage skill, was able to soothe his headaches with kisses from his wives. Of course they immediately put this theory to the test and Noir uses the opportunity to ask the Sage for a way to become stronger.
The Great Sage directs Noir to a “Hidden Dungeon”; and inside the hidden dungeon is the trapped adventurer Olivia Servant who over 200 years ago was trapped in the dungeon by magical chains; with no way to escape she calls out to Noir and grants her skills unto him.
Her unique skill set includes three skills that interact with one another for to achieve limitless potential. “LP Conversion” allows the skill holder to use “Life Points” to achieve effects with her other skills; Life Points are gained by engaging in hedonistic activities and chief among them are lustful indulgences (more reason for fanservice).
“Get Creative” is the main skill he receives, which allows him to spend Life Points to create and edit skills, this is where most of Noir’s reason for amassing LP comes from and it gives him the potential to face powerful opponents. Lastly he gets “Bestow” which simply allows him to bestow and edit the skills of other people.
Thus, Noir’s power is tied to how much LP he can amass and use effectively. So Noir effectively is stronger the more lecherous things he does and thankfully Emma is more than willing to assist him.
Noir also catches the attention of Lola, a receptionist at the adventurer guild Odin. Lola seems to have some actual feelings for Noir but she’s more direct and shamelessly attracted to Noir’s potential power.
There’s a third girl who seems to join his harem; but by the end of the third episode she has only appeared in the opening. Nonetheless, Noir is more than happy to get Life Points from Emma, Lola, and even his sister with a brother complex.
So the fact of the matter is that The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter focuses on Noir’s Life Point-centric abilities and how he gains points. Nibbling on Emma’s ear, getting a lap pillow from his sister, getting a teacher at the Hero Academy to rub her backside on his crotch, every little bit helps.
As such, the show is shamelessly about fanservice. Special attention is given to Emma’s chest while Lola and others give Noir constant attention. None of this is a bad thing and it’s hard to criticize the show since the fanservice is the point; rather it’s praiseworthy that The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter manages to be both erotic and interesting.
Although it’s interesting insofar as isekai-adjacent series go. Those who dislike or are tired of isekai as a genre will likely disagree that the plot is interesting, but fans of the genre will recognize the story clichés and be comforted and excited at Noir’s potential.
The art in the series is incredibly inconsistent. No expense is spared when detailing the jostling of Emma’s chest as she chases after Noir; but at the same time enemies are cut and defeated with quick flashes or even worse: spells and skills that require little to no movement on the part of the caster.
In one scene Emma fights an enemy and most of the damage she does is via a skill that shoots blades of wind from her daggers. Rather than swing her daggers to perform this feat, she simply keeps her arms up and crossed as if she were guarding and the blades simply manifest.
The character designs are cute however, and some art is gorgeous. Without providing spoilers, the physical manifestation of a curse as a clock with an spike erupting from it is given a lot of detail to make it appear ominous.
For better or worse though, all the art attention went once again into the show’s fanservice.
Pyramid Dai Gyakuten by Spira Spica is the show’s opening theme and captures the light-hearted feeling of the show perfectly. It’s an upbeat tune without a lot of obstructive instrumentation.
Nemophila by Coala Mode is the show’s ending theme and manages to have even quieter instruments than the opening, making it a vocal heavy song. The vocals in the ending theme are much more clear and the longer notes suit the more subdued tone of the song.
Ultimately, The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter is a fairly standard isekai-adjacent series. The protagonist is given an overpowered ability and is able to stand up to people who would otherwise belittle him and protect the people important to him. The series doesn’t offer much new that other isekai-adjacent series don’t already.
It’s fun, not that deep, and manages to straddle a fine line between fanservice and straight up erotica. Fans of isekai might not enjoy the lack of worldbuilding but in exchange those who like fanservice irrespective of genre won’t want to miss this series.