2017’s Delicious in Dungeon, Vol. 5 is the fifth tankōbon for Ryoko Kui’s secondary universe comedic ecological fantasy manga. Originally published as Danjon Meshi, Delicious in Dungeon appears in Enterbrain’s Harta. Volume 5 was translated into English in 2018.
Despite the long odds against success, Laios and his companions (half-elf mage Marcille, halfling security expert Chilchuck, and dwarf fighter Senshi) tracked down and defeated the red dragon that ate Laios’ sister Falin. Having retrieved the bits of Falin as yet undigested, Marcille has resurrected Falin. Victory all round, which may lead some readers to wonder why the series did not end with volume 4, rather than continuing for at least eight more volumes.
As Laios and company discover, there are some unforeseen complications.
To begin with, something is clearly wrong with Falin. Unlike other resurrectees, who appear to suffer few side-effects from (sometimes frequent) death and revivification, Falin is withdrawn and silent. Perhaps it is due to the trauma of being eaten alive or maybe it has something to do with the fact that, having so little of Falin to work with, Marcille incorporated flesh from the dead dragon into the resurrected body.
Were that not enough, an undocumented feature of killing the red dragon is that doing so is an unparalleled way to get the attention of the Lunatic Magician. The Lunatic Magician controls the vast dungeon; some of the creatures within it are dearer to the Lunatic Magician than others, creatures such as the red dragon. The Magician senses that the pet has died, investigates, and decides to revenge the dragon. It is of course easy to find Laios’ party in the dungeon.
Most dungeon parties would have died at this juncture. But Marcille is well versed in certain dark arts and is able to fend off the Lunatic Magician’s deadly attacks. Having little in the way of patience, the Lunatic Magician uses control of the buildings of the dungeon to drop most of the characters through the floor into a sealed chamber — with the exception of poor Falin.
Of course, it does not take the adventurers long to free themselves. But once again they find themselves short on supplies and without Falin. Laois is determined to begin the hunt anew. Chilchuck is certain that if the party doesn’t get some rest and rehabilitation, continued hunt is tantamount to suicide.
In fact, there is more danger than Chilchuck comprehends. Some volumes ago, Laois’ group rescued Kabru’s delving party. Circumstances left Kabru and company with the false impression that they had been victimized by Laois’ group. Now, the two groups are on a collision course.
To be honest, the inter-party conflict will likely work itself out. Kabru is to people skills what Laois is to monsters: able to arrive at a comprehensive and correct assessment of people and their behavior based on very few clues. He can be misled, true, but as a very unfortunate group of bandits discover shortly before their collective deaths, he rapidly reassesses the situation if there’s evidence that he was previously incorrect. The ability to admit mistakes is a very useful skill1.
The party discovers (once it is too late to do anything about it) that the orcs who provided the group with directions to the red dragon knew that that the Lunatic Magician is especially fond of the red dragon. They knew that attacking the dragon would draw Lunatic Magician’s attention. They declined to share that information. Those wacky orcs!
Speaking of the red dragon, the Lunatic Magician does not appear to be fully aware that the dragon is dead. Instead, the Lunatic Magician addresses befuddled Falin as though she were the dragon. This is the sort of minor detail I am sure means nothing and does not foreshadow future problems due to the fact that Falin is mostly transformed dragon meat wrapped around a human skeleton.
This volume isn’t a reset, sending the group back to their beginning. It’s clearly an escalation of stakes: whereas the dragon was a powerful brute, the Lunatic Magician is a powerful adept, armed with magic that Marcille can’t match and absolute control over the layout of the dungeon. This seems like a pretty major jump in the problems facing the adventurers.
I wonder … this volume is less than half way through the series; could it be that even greater threats await further down the road?
To my regret, there were fewer cooking scenes in this volume, also fewer explorations of dungeon ecologies. I blame the Lunatic Magician for dominating page space.
Despite the air of foreboding regarding Falin’s current status, and the rather alarming development in which various characters express their feeling (specifically, those pertaining to not wanting to see friends die), this volume is still somewhat comedic, as were previous volumes. In any case, I enjoy the characters and want to see their future adventures.
1: Even if it does not work out, Kabru and party are not nearly as adept at combat or as well informed about the dungeon as is Laios’ party. One of their recurring achievements is total party kills. Good thing that resurrection magic works so well within the dungeon. Most of the time.