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Be warned: this is going to be one of those articles where I get down on my hands and knees and beg you to watch a show. If you have not watched Delicious in Dungeon, I have only one question: why? It’s one of the best anime airing right now, and one of the best of the year in general.

Do you enjoy epic tales of adventuring parties? Are you a fantasy lover, a DND dweeb, or have you ever once looked at some Pokémon and thought, “Do you think I could cook that?” If so, this is the anime for you. This is, in fact, the anime for everyone. I have not seen a single person who hasn’t enjoyed this show, and if I can help it, you will join that list shortly.

Delicious In Dungeon is a twist on a classic tale

Delicious in Dungeon takes the classic tale of adventurers exploring a dungeon and puts it through a unique lens: ecology. The Netflix series follows a party of four adventurers traveling into an ancient dungeon to rescue their friend. After failing to defeat the dragon on their quest to raid the dungeon, Laios Touden the Tallman (human) swordsman, Chilchuck Tims the halfling locksmith, and Marcille Donato the elven spellcaster have to start their journey all over again to rescue Laios’ sister Falin from the belly of the beast. Literally. Falin was swallowed by the dragon, and they need to save her before she’s fully digested.

Our group of wandering heroes quickly run into a problem. They’re broke. Like, so broke. They can’t even afford food for their journey. That’s when they meet a dwarf named Senshi, who suggests they try something he’s been doing for years. The adventuring party needs to start eating monsters.

Delicious in Dungeon season 1
Chilchuck, Marcille, Laois and Senshi in Delicious in Dungeon (Netflix)

Thus begins the world’s freakiest cooking show, and it is absolutely fantastic. Have you ever wondered how to turn a mimic chest into a hearty meal? Or how to eat living amour? Even if you haven’t, you will be soon. In fact, you’ll mourn that these monsters aren’t real because they look delicious. I can never play Dungeons and Dragons again without trying to sauté every creature that crosses my path in butter.

While the beginning of Delicious in Dungeon is essentially the Food Network Channel for weirdos, AKA Laios and Senshi, there’s a lot of heart to it. Delicious in Dungeon is an incredibly loving look at food, community, and living off the land. It stresses the importance of nourishing yourself and the people you love. It even touches on how food can unite enemies, since we all need to eat.

Many people say this show helped to heal their relationship with food, and it’s easy to see why. After you hear Senshi reiterate the importance of caring for your body and nourishing your spirit for the tenth time (it never gets old), you really start to internalize it.

And, of course, it stresses the importance of respecting your ecosystem. The dungeon itself is a main character in Dungeon Meshi. Our main party lives, breathes, and eats it. This is not a dungeon you can simply raid and pillage, you need to give back to it so that it can continue to give to you. It is one of the most unique perspectives on a setting like this that I have seen.

All of this is the most basic level of Delicious in Dungeon. The wonderful thing about this show is that it takes a simple idea, “What if we explored dungeon parties through the lens of food,” and pushes it to the extreme. You will get your relaxing friendship cooking show, you also get something much darker.

It’s about eating what’s eating at you. It’s about love as an act of consumption, and all the delightful body horror that comes with that. Furthermore, it’s about the unfolding mystery of this ancient dungeon and the horrors it holds. It is, occasionally, about cannibalism. No corner of world building is left unexplored, from the delightful to the grotesque.

Most importantly, all of this still centers around the power of friendship, and the bonds of our lovable cast of characters.

Tasty meals, and the power of friendship

If there’s one thing that will sell me on a show, it’s a cast of characters that all have something deeply wrong with them. Good news, there is not a single member of the main cast of Delicious in Dungeon that I do not thoroughly adore.

Delicious in Dungeon season 1
Chilchuck, Marcille, Laois, and Senshi in Delicious in Dungeon (Netflix)

We have Laios, a swordsman obsessed with monsters who will not stop jumping at the opportunity to eat whatever gross creature comes his way. There’s Marcille, a spell caster obsessed with magical research and building her own dungeon. There’s Senshi, who’s kind of like if the world’s nicest Ron Swanson was obsessed with feeding the “youngins” and cooking hearty meals. Then there’s Chilchuck, a rogue who just wants to be paid fair wages for his work and not die. He’s not really obsessed with anything, but he is passionate about unions.

Each of these characters has their own unique charms that blend wonderfully together as a group. They are all mixes of recognizable tropes and wonderful originality. Watching the first few episodes of Delicious in Dungeon is a speedrun of getting overly attached to a friend group and their eating habits. And, of course, this is animated by Studio Trigger, so it’s all tied together with some incredible character animation.

That’s just the main party for the first chunk of the show. There are plenty of fascinating side characters and later additions to the party that are all equally lovably weird. My personal favorites are Falin and Kabru. The charm of “World’s Sleepiest Mistake of God” lady and “Sherlock but for dungeon psychology” man cannot be overstated.

The heart of Delicious in Dungeon is the complex ties of love and friendship that bind these characters together. There is endless delight in watching the unfolding relationships between all the characters. I cannot remember the last show where I got attached to characters so swiftly, and I am begging you to give yourself the opportunity to get attached to them too.

The animation of Ryoko Kui’s work by Studio Trigger looks amazing

The thing that ties all the splendor of Delicious in Dungeon together is the animation. Mangaka Ryoko Kui’s art style comes to life in the hands of Studio Trigger. Studio Trigger was the best choice of studio to make this show; their grasp of visual comedy and action remains unmatched. They manage to capture both the hilarity and the occasional horror of Delicious in Dungeon perfectly.

Delicious in Dungeon season 1
Marcille, Chilchuck, Laois, and Senshi in Delicious in Dungeon (Netflix)

Every character looks great and moves fluidly. The action scenes pack a punch. The cooking sequences are drool-worthy. The monsters all look incredibly cool. The two OPs, silly as they are, are wonderfully done. The show’s animation is beautiful wrapping paper on an already stellar storyline.

It’s great to see such a talented illustrator’s work come to life in animation. It’s very satisfying to see how the animators have made the intricately drawn monsters of the manga move around your screen. The visuals are what sell you on the monsters. They’re what make Laios’ love of them infectious. You can’t help but be fascinated by these creatures and this ecosystem when they are so interesting to look at.

And of course, the cooking sequences are delightfully kitschy and fun. They’re little how-to guides for recipes we will never make, no matter how much I would like to. Truly, no anime has ever made me want to get up and cook like this before, not even the ones specifically about cooking. No anime has made me want to go out into the woods and forage like this. I am now, more than ever before, incredibly passionate about making well-balanced home-cooked meals.

Satisfy that craving with Delicious in Dungeon on Netflix

This show is truly a delight. I cannot recommend catching up with it before it finishes its last few episodes in a few weeks time enough. I hope you are ready for a narrative feast. You can check out season one of Delicious in Dungeon on Netflix!  Will you be watching? What do you think? Let us know on social media @mycosmiccircus or in The Cosmic Circus Discord!

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