English Dub Season Review: Delicious in Dungeon Season One

Overview (Spoilers Below):

Dungeons, dragons… and delicious monster stew?!  Adventurers foray into a cursed buried kingdom to save their friend, cooking up a storm along the way.

Our Take:

Delicious in Dungeon is an anime adaptation of a manga series written and illustrated by Ryoko Kui.  It is directed by Yoshihiro Miyajima, with Kimiko Ueno writing the script.  The series is produced by Trigger, the company behind other shows like Kill la Kill, Space Patrol Luluco, Little Witch Academia, and SSSS.Gridman.  Naoki Takeda handed the character designs, while Yasunori Mitsuda and Shunsuke Tsuchiya composed the music.  For the first half, the opening theme song, “Sleep Walking Orchestra,” is performed by Bump of Chicken, and Ryokuoushoku Shakai sings the ending theme, “Party!!”.  For the second half, Sumika performed the opening theme song “Unmei” (“Destiny”), while Regal Lily performed the ending theme song “Kirakira no Hai” (“Glittering Ashes”). 

Whenever you embark on a journey inside a dungeon, it’s always crucial to stock up on everything you need to confront any monsters lying ahead.  Those include weapons, first aid, and the most important thing of all, food.  But what if you couldn’t afford the latter from the surface due to the lack of money?  This latest anime offers that solution, but not in the way we expected.  Delicious in Dungeon showcases what happens if the monsters we seek to destroy actually have some nutritional value.  It may sound ridiculous regarding their threat levels, but you may be surprised at how well they taste once they’re cooked.  However, the true test is how delectable the execution is in terms of its appetizing concept.

Delicious in Dungeon is another anime that immediately caught my attention due to the animation studio behind it.  The concept of eating monsters in a Dungeons and Dragons-like realm also did enough to pique my interest, but the fact that Trigger is involved in bringing the manga to life was an immediate turn-on.  Since my experience with Little Witch Academia in 2017, I’ve strongly supported Trigger’s heavily stylized presentation.  It may look cheap or cartoony at times, but it quickly compensates with its irresistible colors and action sequences.  So, there’s no doubt I was excited to see how Trigger would translate the manga from a decade ago to the screen for Netflix.  Interesting fact: this is the third Trigger project to be released as a Netflix series, following Little Witch Academia and BNA: Brand New Animal.  So far, the only ones from Trigger I liked the most were Little Witch Academia and Hiroyuki Imaishi’s Promare.  However, I have a reason to believe that might change before the year concludes after watching Delicious in Dungeon.

Delicious in Dungeon offers precisely what you would expect from a dungeon-exploring narrative and any other projects from Trigger.  It has fantasy action, over-the-top comedy, vicious monsters, and surprisingly delectable cuisines from the dungeon creatures.  This ambitious mixture would’ve made for a tiring experience after the first few episodes, especially since the season consists of two cours, or twenty-four episodes, whichever you prefer.  Instead, it winds up being the opposite.  It provides a refreshing take on the dungeon exploration plot device that’s compelling in its narrative and hilariously fun in its humor and action.  Additionally, it’s somehow educational in its cooking sections from Senshi (SungWon Cho), with just enough expedition for the dungeon’s lore to make it more fun than actual cooking.

While there were times when the later episodes showed signs of repetition and padding in their narratives, the show doesn’t come close to being boring.  Amid the cooking adventures and comedy, Delicious in Dungeon often explores its main characters via flashbacks and expeditions to make them more fleshed out.  While Laios and his team are primarily memorable through their comedic moments, resulting in some online memes, the depth provides a reason to root for their survival.  One recent example that stuck with me happened near the end when Senshi revealed his traumatic past, which made him well-experienced with the dungeon and its monsters.  Besides that, it mostly shows the characters’ relationships with Falin (Lisa Reimold), emphasizing their desire to rescue her from the red dragon and later the “Mad Mage” named Sissel (Rebeka Thomas).  These moments add to the drama that was surprisingly more interwoven with its comedy than ham-fisted.

However, what really got my attention was the cast for the English dub.  There were a few notable actors from other English dubbed anime in the lineup, but there were also a few from projects I’m familiar with the most.  Laios is voiced by Damien Haas, who I read appeared to be part of Smosh.  Marcille’s voice actor is Emily Rudd, best known for her role as Nami from the live-action One Piece series on Netflix.  Of course, for all you Lackadaisy fans, the series also has SungWon Cho and Lisa Reimold, who voiced Mordecai Heller and Ivy Pepper in the acclaimed indie animated short film.  This is one of the most impressive lineups I’ve seen in an anime, let alone one from Netflix.  However, the actors’ performances are the only things that matter, and they were fortunately entertaining enough to recommend this version.  

Finally, we have the animation from Trigger.  Unsurprisingly, the presentation was superb in translating a manga’s character designs and settings to the screen.  For the comedy, the visual gags were filled with non-stop hilarity and silliness, especially with the characters’ eccentric expressions and reactions, mainly Marcille.  A few of those moments may not live up to the rest, but the humor retains its flavor through its refreshing approach to the dungeon-crawling narrative.  The animation also excelled in its action scenes, showcasing Trigger’s renowned talent for creating visually stunning sequences that bring a refreshing energy to every action set piece. The stylistic flair adds to the tension, making the scenes truly captivating, even if some are played for laughs.

Overall, Delicious in Dungeon is a delectable dungeon-crawling meal that’ll satisfy every anime fan’s hunger.  Its repetition and padding may sour some of the viewers’ taste buds, but the series never got to the point where it loses its flavor.  The first season’s narrative benefited from a perfect blend of comedy and action, but it’s the character moments that elevate the show’s taste to divine levels.  Along with its superb animation style and amusing voice cast, the series is delicious enough to continue Trigger’s winning streak and get me excited for its upcoming second course.