Foodie manga are such a strange sub-genre, and Dungeon Meshi / Delicious in Dungeon adds an even stranger dimension: fantasy food, like roast basilisk, complete with recipes.
Also, I also feel that if you’ve ever played a table-top RPG like Dungeons & Dragons, you’ll find a lot of humor in this manga.
Because, besides all the killing things and taking their stuff (or, in this case, eating them,) there are some funky rules of engagement that very much feel like the natural outcome of a world that is a living, functioning version of a dungeon.
When people die, our heroes just walk past them or make sure to set them somewhere highly visible, because there are roving bands of resurrectionists who will revive you for a fee. And, of course, you run into lots of other adventurers in this dungeon. Everyone is after the same basic treasure. All of this is dealt with both very matter-of-factly, and with tongue firmly planted in cheek.
Our heroes are no longer the run-of-the-mill treasure seekers they once were, they’re now actually after a fallen comrade that got eaten by a red dragon. She was the cleric of the party and sister to the fighter. In order to get back to her before she’s entirely digested (and therefor beyond resurrection), the party has forgone the usual provisions and have determined that they will eat whatever they can hunt and forage in the dungeon.
Along the way, they meet a dwarf who, conveniently, is a master of such things.
There really isn’t, as of volume 3, a whole lot of plot beyond “What will we eat today?” and I’m not sure I mind. I’m not sure there’s actually such a thing as a slice-of-life dungeon crawl, but, if there were, this would be what it would look like. We are in the early stages of the campaign, as it were, where we are getting to know each other and defeating monsters.
I have no idea if I care enough to read the rest. I only took out the first three from the library, but I suspect that, had I grabbed more, I would have read them as a matter of course, because they were there. The illustration and writing style are both pleasant enough, easy to digest (as it were!). The world building is probably my favorite part, however, and that’s not usually a recipe (ha! see what I did there!) for major investment from me.
It’s funny, it’s cute. It’s apparently a Manga Taishō award winner, so I mean it’s good?
On the other hand, I so still very much long to be enthused about the way that foodie manga heroes talk about their food…