- Format: light novel
- Author: Meguru Seto
- Illustrator: Takehana Note
- Translator: T. Emerson
- Adaptation: Cae Hawksmoor
- Publisher: Seven Seas
The Hidden Dungeon Only I Can Enter‘s premise is two-fold. The first half is right there in the title – there’s a hidden dungeon, that only protagonist Noir Stardia can enter. The second half cranks the power fantasy up to 11: he has the near-unique ability to create, edit, and bestow magical skills on people and things, provided he has sufficient LP. And LP are earned from indulging his base desires.
This is not an 18+ novel, so said desires don’t go too far. Good food, hugs, kissing… nothing that requires removing or going under clothing. However, this is still probably enough to lose much of the reading audience. (The definition of LP is not given that I noticed, but I suspect it stands for “lust points”.)
The setting is a typical fantasy-world-with-a-stats-system. Noir is a member of an adventurer’s guild, as well as attending an academy for would-be heroes. In morning he attends classes with his childhood friend, Emma Brightness; in the afternoon they go on guild quests for money and rank points.
Being a fantasy light novel, Noir can’t help but acquire a harem on his adventures. He starts with Emma, but gains other members through his adventures in the book, including the guild receptionist. (And of course his little sister wants in too.)
The story arc of the first volume is about getting into the Hero Academy, and introducing his
harem fellow students, as well as an elf healer who wil join him on his future quests. So far there’s not much of an overall plot to the series, beyond Noir’s classroom and adventuring life.
The unique selling point to the series isn’t the Hidden Dungeon itself; it’s Noir’s skill creation and editing abilities. He can’t just win with power; he needs to “Get Creative” in order to succeed against his foes. The limitation on requiring LP helps keep this focuses, meaning we should continue to see unique (cheap) solutions to conflicts rather than Noir just making himself overpowered.
If there’s such a thing as “wholesome ecchi”, then Hidden Dungeon is it. The setting is cliché but I liked the characters, and Noir’s editing skills keep things interesting. This is not highbrow literature in the slightest; but I thought it was a quick, enjoyable read. ⭐⭐⭐⭐, Recommended for harem fans.