What doesn't kill you will only be tastier!
Title: Delicious in Dungeon (Dungeon Meshi)
Genre: Food, Adventure
Publisher: Kadokawa Corporation Enterbrain (JP), Yen Press (US)
Creator: Ryoko Kui
Translator: Taylor Engel
Original Release Date: May 23rd, 2017
Purchase at: Amazon, RightStuf, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million
A review copy was provided by Yen Press.
I’m not sure if food manga has been experiencing a popularity boom in Japan lately or if simply more of them have been getting licensed in the US. Whatever the case may be we seem to have gotten our strangest food manga yet: a food manga following a group of adventurers in a dungeon tracking a dragon.
Funny enough this isn’t an isekai story (one where the main character falls into another world from our own, another popular story-telling convention nowadays) but that makes for a nice “change of pace” for readers who were getting bored by those stories. Delicious in Dungeon’s premise here is simple: Laios was part of an adventuring band that was attacked by a dragon. Laios and a few others managed to escape but his sister Falin was eaten by the dragon. Death seems to operate with fuzzier rules in this world and Laios is determined to go rescue his sister from the dragon’s stomach before the dragon digests her.
After being wiped out by the dragon however, his group is pretty poor and Laios reckons that well, if they simply forage and hunt creatures in the dungeon along the way they can save some money along the way! So it’s time to take one for the team, or rather, make the team take one for you since he’s been itching to try and eat everything in the dungeon for years and his friends Marcille and Chilchuck really aren’t so sure about this. But once they’re in they’ve got no other choice! Thankfully they run into another dungeon food aficionado, Senshi, and this (culinary) adventure is up and running!
I do cook and I do enjoy food manga but Delicious in Dungeon is the first food manga that has made me really want to try out the character’s cooking. Part of it is probably due to my own preferences (most cooking manga focus on fluffier, more complicated foods that aren’t my taste) and part of it is probably because of the sheer unavailability of Huge Scorpion And Walking Mushroom Hot Pot and Man-Eating Plant Tart. Forget going to other anime-themed cafes, a Delicious in Dungeon cafe is one I’d want to visit in Tokyo!
The story truly manages to be charming as the four main characters have such different approaches to eating dungeon critters. From Laios’ suspect enthusiasm to Marcille’s hesitation each time, it’s easy to sympathize with all of them at different points. Sure it’s easy to be weirded out when Laios is trying to figure out if Living Armor is edible (it’s not, right?) but on the other hand, come on guys, even man-eating plants are only plants, they’ll taste fine! One does have to wonder how fast these adventurers are progressing through the dungeon — they are on a time limit to save Falin after all. I’ll be sure to check in with them in volume two and see what delicacies are on the menu next.