2020’s Delicious in Dungeon, Volume 9 is the ninth tankōbon in Ryoko Kui’s secondary-world fantasy manga series. Originally published as Danjon Meshi, Delicious in Dungeonappears in Enterbrain’s Harta. Volume 9 was translated into English in 2021.
As Laios and his companions (half-elf mage Marcille, halfling security expert Chilchuck, dwarf fighter Senshi, and new party member cat-beastkin ninja Izutsumi) explore even deeper into the dungeon, random encounters facilitate informative flashbacks as well as giving Izutsumi a chance to show off a truly unique ability. Meanwhile, Team Laios’ frenemy Kabru has problems of his own.
Plotline Laios: Laios and crew encounter succubi. No single person can resist them. Even large groups are hard-pressed to overcome the tempting visions cast by the succubi. Despite determination and experience, the adventurers fall one by one … save for Izutsumi, who has an unexpected immunity to such enticements for reasons that are only clear in retrospect.
Plotline Kabru: the Canaries are a team of elves dispatched to deal with the dungeon through whatever means are necessary. Kabru has been doing his best to manage their expectations. Separated from the rest of the Canaries, accompanied only by the Canaries’ leader Captain Mithru, Kabru becomes aware that Mithru has a debilitating, life-threatening condition, one which Kabru will now have to manage for the elf.
The captain is not above the temptations and distractions of mortal flesh because of his iron will. He ignores them because poor life choices years before left Mithru incapable of feeling almost any want. Useful when resisting temptation but less useful when it comes to eating or even relieving himself. Without a minder, the elf would soon perish from pure indifference. Kabru must be that minder until the Canaries can find them.
Plotline Laios meets plotline Kabru: while comatose, Laois made psychic contact with … something. The Winged Lion assures Laois that it is an ally, that if it and Laois’ group can make common cause, they can between them vanquish the Lunatic Magician and rescue Laois’ transformed sister Falin. Mithru could warn Laois not to trust supposed allies… if Mithru could work up the will to care enough.
There is less ecological wackiness in this volume than there is in previous volumes, although there is one amusing factoid: succubi are basically mosquitos with a cunning method of luring in victims.
Because short-lived mortals tend to focus on the short term1, the elves do not trust them to reject immediate gratification to prevent long-term costs. Thus, the elves depend mainly on security by obscurity. This series provides a demonstration of some of the failure modes of this method, not least of which is that brilliant researchers like Marcille may become curious as to why certain fields are obfuscated and then delve into that which should not be delved into.
Another consequence is that poor Laios is set up by ignorance to be duped into siding with an entity who is probably not only not trustworthy but quite possibly a bigger bad than the Lunatic Magician. Only the fact this is a comedy series promises something other than a terrible fate for the characters in this series. As it is, I find it hard not to archive-binge the series to see how exactly the crew avoids fates worse than death.
1: It may also be that the elves don’t care to dwell on decisions they may or may not have made regarding fields of magic now forbidden in the name of the greater good.