Review: ‘Delicious in Dungeon’ Volume 1
Delicious in Dungeon
by Ryoko Kui
Yen Press, $15.00
Rated T for Teen
This mashup of a fantasy dungeon crawl and a food manga transcends both genres to make something unique, entertaining, and quite funny.
The fighter Laios leads a young thief and a magic-using elf on a quest, trying to overcome the various monsters and threats inside a sprawling dungeon. On their previous attempt, his sister was eaten by a dragon, but if they can find her quickly enough, they can resurrect her.
Unfortunately, their limited resources means they can’t afford the usual provisions. In order to make up for their inability to buy food, they decide to take the unusual step of foraging for their nourishment. The equivalent here of “living off the land” means eating the different mystical creatures that attack them. Luckily, they run into a dwarf who’s spent a decade eating monsters and who joins their party to educate them.
The comedy comes in how seriously the characters take the food preparation, whether it’s hot pot with bits of giant walking mushroom or an omelet made with basilisk eggs. Each chapter features a creature showdown and a dish made once they’re defeated. One particularly amusing installment has the dwarf using traps with giant blades and boiling oil to chop meat and cook tempura.
Both the fantasy setting, with all the expected elements, and the dishes, twists on familiar meals, are drawn in detail, creating a more realistic feel that makes the adventure fun to follow along. The characters also have interesting debates about where to draw the line in what they’re willing to eat. Their mentor points out important lessons that translate outside the dungeon, such as the need to balance the nutrients one consumes or how to season food to make it more pleasant.
You don’t have to be a gamer to enjoy this humorous adventure, although it helps if you like learning more about fantastic creatures and various ways to cook food while traveling. The book ends with a set of bonus comics, one-pagers with more jokes about the monster from each previous chapter.
Johanna Draper Carlson has been reviewing comics for over 20 years. She manages ComicsWorthReading.com, the longest-running independent review site online that covers all genres of comic books, graphic novels, and manga. She has an MA in popular culture, studying online fandom, and was previously, among many other things, webmaster for DC Comics. She lives in Madison, Wisconsin.
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