The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter, Vol. 1

By Meguru Seto and Takehana Note. Released in Japan by Kodansha Lanove Books. Released in North America by Seven Seas. Translated by Tiva Haro. Adapted by Cae Hawksmoor.

As I was commenting on Twitter about reading this book, I kept calling it “trash”. And it really is. But wait, it’s not actually bad. In fact, you could do far worse than this kind of trash. But – it’s still trash. The lead is a stock light novel hero, the sort referred to these days as “Potato-kun”. He gathers together a group of young women, all gorgeous, all who are either already in love with him or fall for him almost instantly. His powers essentially rewrite reality to a certain extent, and aren’t powered by MP but rather LP, which means he can do more provided he gorges on delicious food, makes love to beautiful women, etc. It’s not actually an isekai (he’s the son of a baronet, and genuinely from this world), but isekais have happened here before, so there’s soy sauce and miso. I was expecting it to hit the plot/character beats that would cause me to groan and drop it in annoyance. But… it didn’t.

Our hero is Noir, and as I mentioned before he’s the son of a Baronet, which means he’s nobility but the lowest rung, meaning nobles don’t give him the time of day. He has a great ability where a voice in his head tells him the solution for any problem… but it gives him crippling pain to use. And the job he had lined up for adulthood was given to a higher noble’s son. All he has is his adoring busty childhood friend who clearly is in love with him but he hasn’t caught on to this. She discovers that the pain of using the skill is lessened by kissing, and this in turn leads him to a dungeon no one has found, and an adventurer who’s been trapped there for 200 years. From there, he’s ready to become an adventurer, go to Hero Academy, save the lives of cursed young ladies, and… yeah, you get the picture. This is trash.

So why is it good? It knows its boundaries, and knows when to push and when not to. For all that his skill is powered up by sexual acts, hugging, lap pillows, and the like usually suffice – the closest this gets to 18-rated is the instructor who decides to reward him by sitting on him. He gets a skill that is called ‘lucky pervert’, and after falling into his friend’s boobs and seeing an old lady’s panties, he quickly rewrites the skill so that it happens ‘very rarely, and never in a serious situation’. For a generic guy, he’s a bit smarter than most (still dense, of course). In one epilogue, he sees a bunch of kids bullying a boy for “hanging out with a girl”, and very quickly tears apart their logic – aside from mentioning Emma’s chest a lot, there’s little of the stock sexism we see in these books. Heck, there isn’t even any slavery (and it makes me sad that this is so rare I’m happy to note it). Even the little sister in love with him is restrained compared to others.

So basically, if you bought the book because you wanted it to be a nice, friendly OP fantasy with a lot of cute girls in a harem, this is a good book to buy. It hits all those buttons, and isn’t appalling. It’s also getting an anime soon, so you get in on the ground floor. It’s trash. Embrace that.