5 out of 5
Falin’s been found – end of adventure, right?
And then it all goes to hell! While one might criticize a story for setting up a goalpost – rescue a character – and then moving the post once you’re there, the last part of the Red Dragon arc feels, in no way, like such a sleight, but rather like an intense Ante Up on everything we’ve been seeing / reading thus far. This works in a further rewarding fashion, something that informs rereads, as it definitely builds off of world-building details Kui has been adding along the way, the little beats that have expanded Delicious in Dungeon’s dungeon lore without sacrificing the charming, food-obsessed core of the story.
Volume 5 integrates on this even further by circling back around, for a few chapters, to deal with the other adventure party we’ve seen on occasion – and which Laios’ crew set up for revival on the watery (I believe) fourth floor – and gives them a really fascinating motivation for finding Laios, something much more human and multi-dimensional than one might expect from characters somewhat being set up as adversaries.
We then reconnect with Laios’ team, realizing they need to return to the surface to get their bearings once more before continuing on their newly expanded quest, but faced with further complexities regarding the dungeon before being able to do so.
This whole while, we’re still getting cooking tutorials, still getting to laugh out loud at Kui’s fantastic humor timing, and continuing to fall for the cast we’re learning more and more about, in addition to the cast expanding. And for some minor criticisms I’d had regarding Kui’s ability to choreograph some more complicated moments, there are big and small scale happenings all throughout this volume which look fantastic, every beat clear and hitting its intended emotion.