2018’s Delicious in Dungeon, Volume 6 is the sixth tankōbon of Ryoko Kui’s secondary-universe comedic ecological fantasy manga. Originally published as Danjon Meshi, Delicious in Dungeon appears in Enterbrain’s Harta. Volume 6 was translated into English in 2018.
In this volume, Laios and his companions (half-elf mage Marcille, halfling security expert Chilchuck, and dwarf fighter Senshi) reunite with an old friend and meet brand-new friends as well.
While trying to find their way out of the dungeon, Team Laios encounters their former companion, Toshiro Nakamoto. Toshiro is accompanied by a retinue of talented companions, all women. A third group, led by Kabru, appears. A temporary alliance is discussed; conflict ensues.
A: Laios versus Kabru
Laios and friends have encountered Kabru and company before, or at least their comatose bodies. Team Kabru has a talent for total party kills. Laios and his friends found the bodies and removed the seeming treasure that had disabled Kabru and company. Laios and friends left; Team Kabru woke up and believed that they had been robbed of what they thought was a treasure.
While Kabru is a dud at monster-hunting, he believe he has a keen eye for people. He concludes that his first impressions of Team Laios were wrong. However, his second impressions are hardly more favorable.
B: Laios versus Toshiro
Believing that Toshiro (the guy with the team of women) is an old friend, Laios confides in the Eastern warrior all that has transpired regarding Laios’ sister Falin. Here Laios’ inability to read other people comes into play.
- Toshiro loathes the socially incompetent Laios but has been too polite to say anything.
- Toshiro is horrified and furious that Laios and company resorted to Dark Magic (and dragon meat) to resurrect Falin, with whom Toshiro was in love.
Scarcely have these unpleasant arguments died down when Falin appears. This is no happy reunion. Falin has a new, monstrous form with a new monstrous personality to match. To this new Falin, her brother and her old friends are strangers, impediments to her current quest. They need to be eliminated. Carnage follows.
A word about the art. The author/artist doesn’t take the easy course of using a few basic face templates. Readers, even readers whose eyesight is as bad as mine, will easily tell characters apart.
A minor side-quest not mentioned: the party is blindsided by shapeshifting monsters disguising themselves as members of the party. Each member having several duplicates, it falls to the sole party member whose identity can be easily established to sort doppleganger from friend. Of course, that task falls to socially oblivious Laios.
It turns out there is good reason that dark magic is frowned on and that Marcille’s bold choice to compensate for Falin’s mostly digested state by substituting dragon meat for human meat was a very bad idea. Physical material was not the only component that was mixed; Falin’s soul is now entwined with the dragon’s.
A plot detail that will matter down the line: one of Toshiro’s retinue, a cat girl named Izutsumi, attaches herself to Laios’ party. She hopes they will be able to cure her of her condition, which is much like Falin’s. Whether she can be cured is unclear; available evidence suggests she cannot. The implications for Falin are obvious.
It cannot be accidental that Laios and Kabru are such opposites:
- Laios is frank, incapable of reading social cues, violates norms when he thinks it necessary, and is remarkably informed about monsters.
- Kabru is extremely observant about people, habitually presents a misleadingly cheerful front, takes a very dim view of unconventional solutions, and has taken the cunning strategy of being ambushed and killed by monsters to new heights.
The pair would make excellent allies if they could stand each other.
Although the manga series as a whole is comedic, this particular volume is less funny than the previous volumes, filled as it is with upsetting revelations, furious arguments, and violent deaths. All of the chickens come home to roost. Tragic for the characters, who had no idea how much worse they were making things, but wonderful for readers, as it is clear it will take many volumes to unravel the mess that the characters created in the first five volumes.