Dungeons are some of the most fun things to explore in anime. A good chunk of shows, especially in the fantasy genre, include some type of dungeon. Sometimes it’s a place to discover hidden treasure and other times it’s a place to fight your way through in order to defeat an unspeakable evil. To put it simply, dungeons provide a prime and simple setting for characters to explore and journey through. Now, most people associate dungeons with something underground, but as you will see on this list, dungeons like to be towers too. Several dungeons in this list take place in towers that the characters must climb and conquer. Go figure. Now without further ado, let’s dive into the top 10 dungeon anime.
10. Kono Subarashii Sekai ni Shukufuku wo! 2
- Episodes: 10
- Aired: Jan. 2017 – Mar. 2017
KonoSuba 2 continues to follow the wacky adventures of our team of heroes. Immediately, the show starts off with Kazuma and the gang under scrutiny for causing so much damage to the city. From there, the characters continue to strut their stuff and continuously make matters worse.
It was only a small part, which is why this is #10, but Kazuma and Darkness do return to Keele’s dungeon to explore in depth what’s brining about the explosive dolls that are threatening the town. Though it’s only one episode, it’s a pretty epic one as Kazuma and the group end up taking on Vanir, one the Devil King’s commanders.
- Episodes: 26
- Aired: Apr. 2002 – Sep. 2002
This dungeon anime followed the story of Tsukasa, who suddenly wakes up in an MMORPG game called “The World” and is experiencing amnesia to boot. Adding to the player’s list of troubles is the fact that Tsukasa cannot log out of the virtual world. In hopes of figuring out an answer to this mystery, Tsukasa becomes allies with an interesting cast of characters and delves deep into the game.
.hack//Sign was the anime that brought MMORPG-like anime to the limelight back in 2002. It showed off how exciting and interesting a virtual fantasy world could be. It proved that in creating such a world, people were more able to jump into the story as it related to their experiences. Portraying the dungeon crawling aspect on an episodic basis kept people interested.
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Jul. 2015 – Sep. 2015
Overlord begins the moment the popular MMORPG Yggdrasil ends. Essentially, our main character is a top-level player who decided to remain online until the game’s servers go down. However, at the appointed hour, the world is still there, the NPCs have become more human, and he can’t log out.
Overlord is a unique dungeon anime, because the dungeon is basically the home of the main character. You see, Momoonga is an undead lich king, who basically has control over the dark realm of this world. Due to his status, he lives in the heart of one massive dungeon and plans out how to ensure the safety of his realm and subjects from that seat. In other words, the whole idea of the dungeon is slightly flipped on its head. It is still something that is explored, but it is not something that needs to be conquered as much as protected.
7. Druaga no Tou: The Aegis of Uruk (Tower of Druaga: The Aegis of Uruk)
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2008 – Jun. 2008
The Tower of Druaga takes place in a world where every few years there is the “Summer of Anu,” where the forces of evil are at their weakest. Over time, humanity has consistently mounted attacks against the inhabitants of the tower and set up fortifications, as they make their way higher to the root of evil. Well, that time of year has come again and soldiers and adventurers are daring the levels once more.
This dungeon anime has a lot in common with Sword Art Online. The dungeon comes along with the simple fact that the main cast of characters must climb through the different areas of a tower to reach a final boss. What’s particularly nice about the layout in Tower of Druaga is the fact that the cast must traverse unique environments. Rather than simply going through the same dreary setting, the characters find themselves crossing through massive, ornament halls to frozen and tight corridors.
6. Log Horizon
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct. 2013 – Mar. 2014
One upping Sword Art Online, Log Horizon throws 30,000 gamers into a fantasy world where they are unable to log out of. One of the players is Shiroe, a veteran of the game, who is actually excited to explore this new life.
Log Horizon is one of those anime that a lot more people need to get into. It’s a solid anime for people who love to watch tacticians at work. Shiroe is an absolute genius and it is immensely fun to watch him with his team tackle new areas and figure out through diplomacy the best way to
5. No Game No Life
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Apr. 2014 – Jun. 2014
No Game No Life follows the adventures of Shiro and Sora into the world of Disboard. In this world, every single thing, whether it’s a minor scuffle or the fate of a country, is decided through a high-stakes game. Now Shiro and Sora are legendary gamers in the normal world and the fun of the show is seeing how far they can make it in a world that is built to their strengths.
As a dungeon anime, No Game No Life is a particularly interesting one. Not only do the characters find themselves in dungeon settings at a rather consistent basis, but the visual display of these dungeons is something amazing. Whether the duo is exploring the Eastern Federation or the king’s hidden library, there is always that feeling of awe and danger that makes dungeons so appealing.
4. Hai to Gensou no Gringar
- Episodes: 12
- Aired: Jan. 2016 – Mar. 2016
Hai to Gensou no Gringar brings us into a mysterious fantasy world, where the inhabitants don’t really know how they got there. However, the show doesn’t focus too much on finding out what brought them to this world, but how these people must go about surviving in that world. That’s what one group of five newbies are trying to do as they struggle to defeat the simplest of monsters. However, safety first as any monster can easily kill you.
The first main arc of Hai to Gensou no Grimgar occurs above ground in the open and really doesn’t have any affiliation with a dungeon. There are ruins though, and the battles are pretty good. Nonetheless, it’s during the second main arc when our group goes into the mines, an effective dungeon with multiple levels and a monstrous boss. The episodes that follow the group into this area are intense. Constantly you’ll be wondering if a character you love might die, as the group accidentally gets into a situation way over their heads.
3. Sword Art Online
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Jul. 2012 – Dec. 2012
Sword Art Online is one of those series that everyone has seen or at least heard about. It follows the gamer Kirito into a virtual fantasy world, one that only 10,000 people can currently play. Well, he, along with everyone else, gets trapped in this fantasy world, and will only be let out upon beating the game. Fun stuff, especially as the show sneakily (not really) gives itself a nice little harem structure to boot.
The entirety of the first season is practically spent within a dungeon. That’s because to beat the game, the players must conquer the bosses within the tower by climbing its levels. Though the show does have moments outside of the tower, a good portion is spent inside the tower, in particular, three epic boss fights. By the second season, there’s also a little bit of dungeon crawling as Kirito explores essentially all the different environments of this new virtual world.
2. Magi: The Labyrinth of Magic
- Episodes: 25
- Aired: Oct. 2012 – Mar. 2013
In this dungeon anime, we are thrown into a world where intricate dungeons suddenly appeared. In these dungeons one may be able to attain mass wealth and fame if they figure out a way to properly navigate the dangers of this labyrinth and reach the djinn at the center. Achieving the djinn essentially marks a person as a candidate for becoming the king. In Magi we particularly follow Alibaba and Aladdin as the two set off into the world.
The dungeons in Magi are particularly awesome. First off, they are filled with dangerous traps that can quite easily kill off a character. The very first dungeon claims a couple souls, which does a nice job setting up the tone for the rest of the season. Second off, the way the characters navigate these deadly settings allows for a lot of characterization. Watching the way Alibaba manages to make his way through a dungeon shows his careful and intellectual nature. His mannerisms while taking on a dungeon versus the methods that Jamil use set up a massive contrast. By doing this, Magi is able to really dive into the characters’ mindsets.
1. Dungeon ni Deai wo Motomeru no wa Machigatteiru Darou ka
- Episodes: 13
- Aired: Apr. 2015 – Jun. 2015
This dungeon anime puts us into a world where gods and goddesses roam the streets and build up factions for various reasons. Generally, the faction has something in common with the god’s personality. At the very beginning of the story, we are given a goddess without a follower and a human without a faction. Well, Hestia (goddess) and Bell (human) meet up and immediately become an inseparable duo.
The title says it all. Is it wrong to try and pick up girls in a Dungeon? Putting the ethics aside of that question, a good portion of this anime deals with the exploration of a labyrinth, known as the “Dungeon”. It’s here that a large part of the show takes place in and in general there is a lot of good fighting going on in this dungeon. Not only does it act as a perfect place to show off Bell’s growing talent, but presents a massive and threatening world that one must be careful in. Quite consistently, we are shown that one misstep can lead to death.
Dungeons are a pretty inherent factor to anime as they can easily capture two extremely important elements to a story. The first is that they can act as the household of evil and give our heroes something to fight against. The second is that they act as a visual counterpoint to the main city, as the color scheme darkens and can either take on a more dull or gothic look. Generally every anime has these components, but using a dungeon is probably one of the easiest ways to include such aspects That said, are there any dungeon anime you think should be on this list?