5 out of 5
Ryoko Kui has been doing an excellent job of nudging the incredibly charming Delicious in Dungeon toward impressive world- and character-building, while slowly and carefully bumping up the stakes of things along the way. That work very much pays off here, as Laios and his crew finally confront the Red Dragon which they believe has consumed Falin. And yet, it’s not like the humor and carefree nature of the storytelling is set aside, making for a miraculous – and seemingly conflicting – tone in which you’re nervously reading / watching our heroes take on impressive dangers, but also totally comfortable in the immersion, and joyful to be by these characters’ sides. I suppose it’s trust Kui has relatively quickly earned, and by playing straight with us – the Dungeon’s rules feel consistent; the emotions displayed and the way comedy is applied have a similar regularity – they can do this magic act of bouncing between cutesy cooking chapters, and then a 6-part tale in which we’re hunting a dragon.
I’d questioned Kui’s abilities with some larger scale frenetic stuff before, but everything works here: we really feel the geography of the Orc town in which the showdown happens, and the scale difference between dragon and humans / elves / etc. is well represented. We also get the chance to dig even deeper into some of the magic and dungeon logistics, which only adds to the world-building strengths of the series.