5 out of 5
We’ve crossed the line: Delicious in Dungeon is now operating in that special Golden Kamuy territory that manages to balance a serious character narrative with excellent action, and suddenly hilarious moment. Kui’s strip certainly has its completely own flavor, though, still very much married to its cooking manga roots and a light-hearted tone, but this is the kind of backhanded world-building that so, so many comics dream of, and that DiD has provided amidst lots of slapstick and lots of recipes. It’s also baffling that I’d previously knocked Ryoko for struggling with some more complex choreography, when the artist is now swinging through incredibly complicated setups – multiple clones of characters in one scene – and huge changes in scale – a battle with harpies – and making it all look gorgeous, and readable. We shuffle in a handful of newish characters into this volume, as Laios crew fully mingles with Kabru’s / Shuro’s, but they arrive fully formed and distinct; meanwhile, we’re averaging a new monster a chapter or so, and organically driving our characters deeper into the dungeon, now trying to determine Falin’s ultimate fate.
A chapter in which the team has to do battle in Marcille’s nightmares is a new highwater mark in storytelling: Kui dives into exploring Marcille’s motivations without it coming across as forced “depth;” I was truly amazed at how the writer peels through her thoughts one by one, very much working with the true-to-life concept – that media tends to skip over – that our feelings can’t often just be boiled down to one or two phrases.
And of course it ends with all the friends laughing together, even while they prepare for the next floor down.