I haven’t written a lot these past few weeks and there is a good reason for that. The server My friends and I use to stream anime from has bought the farm and we are still in the process of setting up a new one and transferring all the storage. This has seen some challenges of its own, so until that’s all fixed I am limited to whatever I have on my shelve and the handful of shows on Netflix and Crunchyroll that aren’t region-locked. A tricky problem indeed, but one that inspires experimentation.
Delicious in Dungeon is a manga that I picked up at Dutch Comic Con simply because the cover art was absolutely hilarious to me. Now that my access to anime has been cut off, I figured this was a good time to start reading it and share my first impressions.
So the story is set in this really video game-like fantasy world where the entire economy seems to revolve around adventurers and their perilous journeys into the massive, nearby dungeon. We follow a group of six, brave adventurers as they battle with a mighty dragon in the depths of this dungeon. However, this party has been going without food for a while and their exhaustion leads to them losing the fight, whereupon the priest of the party teleports her comrades away and is promptly eaten.
When the group wakes up outside the dungeon they find that two of their friends quickly left the guild and now they are down to Laios the warrior, Marcille the Elven mage, and Chilchuck the halfling sneaky-dude. With no finances to buy food and hire new members, Laios comes up with a new idea: the party will forego buying food, head straight back into the dungeon, and eat the local monsters instead. They are overheard by Senshi, a dwarf who loves to cook monsters, and quickly wind up recruiting him as they set out to (hopefully) revive their eaten party member before she is entirely digested.
The story is lighthearted and comical, which matches the fantasy setting that feels more fit for a video game than a serious fantasy story. Dead people can be easily resurrected, the dungeon has all sorts of themed floors with traps that never stop working, and the monsters that are encountered (and promptly eaten) are all fun takes on familiar creatures like basilisks, living armor, slimes, and man-eating plants. At the same time, I was surprised how much effort was put into the little details that make this gamey setting entertaining. Especially Laios is kind of a monster fanatic and starts up all sorts ramblings about the lore and mysteries of the creatures they encounter, often weirding out his companions.
Turning the monsters into food is a gimmick, but it’s a darn good one that the writer Ryuko Kui put a lot of effort into. The entire cooking process is narrated and accompanied by full-page pictures displaying the meal, along with an ingredients list. This first book chronicles the first few floors of the dungeon and mostly revolves around the all-important question of whether or not you can somehow eat living armor. I was having fun reading through it and the book benefits from the nice art-style and superb character designs. Especially Senshi cracks me up with his beady eyes.
I do worry that maybe the joke grows stale over time and this first book hasn’t quite convinced me that the characters can carry the story. They are funny and have a few stories going on, like Marcille feeling like she is of no use to the party and Laios’ quest to save the party’s priest, who is also his sister. I am curious enough to give volume 2 a try and do honestly hope the story manages to develop its setting and characters further. If you are into fantasy yourself, particularly the more traditional, D&D stuff, then this book is sure to give you a few laughs.
With all that said, please do let me know if you enjoy this type of content. We reviewed Yotsuba&! here previously and I am still figuring out if I want to do more manga content.