2015’s Delicious in Dungeon, Vol. 2 is the second tankōbon of Ryoko Kui’s secondary-universe fantasy comedy manga. Originally published as Danjon Meshi, Delicious in Dungeon appears in Enterbrain's Harta magazine. Volume 2 was translated into English in 2017.
Falin has been eaten by a red dragon—but she can be resurrected if her remains are retrieved before they are digested1. Falin’s brother Laios and his allies Chilchuck and Marcille have headed back into the dungeon to recover the remains. They didn’t wait to properly resupply, which would seem to be suicidal overconfidence. It’s not, because the party includes a new recruit: Senshi, who is a chef. He can butcher and cook defeated monsters.
While Laios is impressively well informed about monsters (and just as impressively ill-informed about other people), he doesn’t know much about eating monsters. He thinks he knows, but he bases his convictions on a misleading tome that is farrago of lies. As are so many occult publications.
Shenshi, on the other hand, has been killing, butchering, and cooking monsters for years. Guess how eager Laios will be to listen to Shenshi.
The other adventurers, Chilchuck and Marcille, do not share Shenshi and Laios’ enthusiasm for monster steaks. Once they get hungry enough to eat a monster or two, they still don’t want to think about where their food comes from. They very much do not want to listen to Shenshi go on and on about the gory details of his profession.
The chef is experienced but he does have a few blind spots, blind spots that could get him eaten by a monster he mistakenly takes for a friend. Or they might get the entire party murdered by orcs.
The party does not get killed by orcs. In fact, they have an interesting conversation with the orcs that will no doubt pay off in a few volumes. However, everyone close to the party does get killed by orcs (I think this includes the unarmed waitstaff of the restaurant the party is in). The orcs see this as sensible preemptive retaliation: the other races cannot massacre the orcs if the orcs kill them first.
This manga is very plainly inspired by D&D or something D&D-adjacent. Delicious features the D&D stock races: human (called tallmen), elf, half-elf, dwarf, halflings (called half-foots), and so on. Character occupations are also familiar: Laios is a tallman fighter, Marcille a half-elf mage, Chilchuck a half-foot thief and so on. However, whereas classic D&D forces specialization, that’s not the case in this setting. Shenshi is a dwarf whose core skills are hunting, farming, and cooking. Bathing is not one of his skills.
While Delicious in Dungeon’s art is not as spectacular as Witch Hat Atelier’s, very few manga reach that standard. The art is competent and sufficient to need. (The artist can draw more than four standard faces, which is typical of some mediocre manga art.)
This volume is early in the series. It therefore must invest a lot time introducing the setting and its inhabitants. I found the setting an enjoyable parody but one does not have to have played RPGs to enjoy the characters and their interplay.
The author is clearly having fun working out the details and while the focus at this stage is mainly on humor, I know from reading ahead the author has more ambitious goals in mind. In any case, this volume is a sufficient and enjoyable read. Although you might not want to read it on an empty stomach.
1: Falin’s last act before being eaten was to teleport her brother and the rest of the party out of the dungeon.