Ryōko Kui’s Delicious in Dungeon (Japanese: ダンジョン飯, Hepburn: Danjon Meshi ) is a Japanese fantasy comedy manga series. The series is published in Enterbrain's Harta magazine. 2015’s Volume One collects the first seven chapters.
Laios’ tired and hungry crew of dungeon-delving adventurers make the mistake of challenging a red dragon living deep in the catacombs of a vast underground complex. Laios’ sister Falin manages to teleport most of the party to safety, at the cost of her own life.
All is not lost. If Laios and his allies can make their way back to where they confronted the dragon and defeat the dragon before it has finished digesting Falin, she can be resurrected.
There are one or two minor complications.
Two members immediately abandon the party, believing efforts to save Falin are doomed. This leaves Laios with only halfling locksmith Chilchuck and elven spellcaster Marcille. Extreme caution will be necessary: the dragon kicked the party’s collective ass the first time round and the urgency of the mission means there’s no time to resupply.
What others see as impediment, human swordsman Laios sees as an opportunity. Laios has always been curious about the taste of monster meat. As there’s been no opportunity to buy food, he proposes that the party simply eat the bodies of their fallen foes. This bold proposal does not meet universal approval—Marcille, for one, is unhappy—but Laios is firm.
Joined by dwarf Shenshi—less for his combat prowess than for his long experience cooking monster meat—the group begins to retrace their steps. The first few levels will be easy enough for an experienced party like the one that Laios leads … but after that?
This isn’t a world where people dungeon crawl on spec. They want to know that there’s a treasure. In this case, years ago a wizened figure staggered out of the subterranean labyrinth and promised the wealth of the lost Golden Kingdom to anyone who could defeat the magician deep within the complex. Having delivered his message, the unfortunate man collapsed into dust. Although the Golden Kingdom is as yet out of reach, the efforts to discover it have created a healthy adventure-based economy in the upper levels of the dungeon.
One would not be surprised to discover that the author owns a well-used bag of polyhedral dice or a stack of worn copies of various table top roleplaying game manuals. In fact, this is a perfectly stock RPG setting, save that the author has become interested in an oft-overlooked detail. What are people eating as they carve their way down deeper into the world?
In volume one, at least, nothing the adventurers kill and eat is intelligent. That’s probably for the best. I am sure neither Chilchuck nor Marcille would eat people. I am not as sure Shenshi would turn down a nicely roasted elf and … who can say whether there is anything that Laios would not at least sample?
Delicious in Dungeon is one-part D&D-style comedy in the manner of The Order of the Stick and Orconomics , and one-part food porn. Each meal is lavishly described, as is the process of acquiring the necessary ingredients. I admit I’ve never wondered what it would be like if Julia Child had been a wandering adventurer but if you have, this manga suggests some of the possibilities.
The art brings to mind old dungeon crawls but is miles better than the illustrations that filled olden-time RPGs and RPG magazines.
Delicious in Dungeon is amusing enough but I am not sure if the premise can sustain an ongoing series. Nevertheless, it appears to have done just that. More installments are no doubt in my future.