What do you get when you cross dungeon adventures and food manga? You get Delicious in Dungeon, where we find our troupe of adventurers on a mission to save their lost team member while figuring out how to survive on the food that the dungeon provides. When young adventurer Laios and his company are attacked and soundly thrashed by a dragon deep in a dungeon, the party loses all its money and provisions. They're eager to get right back to it, but there's just one problem: if they set out with no food or coin to speak of, they're sure to eat it on the way! But Laios comes up with a brilliant idea: "Let's eat the monsters!" Slimes, basilisks, mimics, and even dragons...none are safe from the appetites of these dungeon-crawling gourmands!
Source: Yen Press
God, this really does make me smile. It's such a pleasant manga. And the premise is so basic and yet so original, so natural. While exploring a dungeon, a group of adventurers cook and eat the monsters they defeat along the way. This is, of course, not normal behavior and we are consistently reminded of that fact from the reactions of Marcille and others. Laios had always wanted to try eating monsters, but had held femself back. Now though, they have no other choice since they are flat broke yet still need to explore the depths of the dungeon to retrieve the ingested corpse of a fallen comrade so they can resurrect fem before fe is completely digested by the dragon that ate fem. The initial party consists of the human Laios, the halfling Chilchuck, the elf Marcille, and the dwarf Senshi. They met Senshi recently--fe's been living inside of the dungeon and eating off its ecosystem for years. Later in the manga, a beastkin named Izutsumi joins their party. Each of these main characters and many of the "side" characters (like Kabru) are really well written. I feel like they're actual people, but more importantly, I genuinely enjoy them and find each one of them vital to my enjoyment of the manga as a whole. It's really cool seeing the ecology of the dungeon, and having the biology and mechanics of how things work actually delved into. And as the series goes on, the way that dungeons are formed and are maintained is further detailed. As the various ecosystems and motives and histories come together, it all paints a picture which actually seems sensible. By that I mean that it doesn't feel like the author was just coming up with bullshit explanations just to create encounters or something. I also really like how they include the recipes for their various meals. I would say that the first portion of the manga (up to chapter 28) probably focuses more on the ecology and cooking, and the latter portion starts getting more into the meat of the story itself (showing characters' backstories, following plotlines of people outside the primary party, having more serious stakes behind their actions). [Reviewed at chapter 63]
In the sea of degenericness that is fantasy/dungeon-crawl, this gem sticks out because it caters' to those who want something different from the run of the mill fantasy while exploring the familiar by having the group be chronically destitute and resorting to foraging/hunting; the characters feel like a D&D party, the art style helps to convey the weirdness of the potential food and different sapiens inhabiting the world, and the story is just an all-around good time, so if you have the time then I'd suggest reading this.
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