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Dungeon Meshi (Delicious in Dungeon) – 09

Dungeon Meshi is a series that sneaks up on you.  It can slip a few whoppers past you if you’re not paying attention, because it’s often whimsical and seems very episodic.  But it builds on itself, a web created strand by strand, and not much happens that doesn’t happen for a reason.  In that sense this was quite an important episode, I think.  I had no idea when I was reading the chapters, but there were a number of times I would look back on these events and remember them as the first time some or other story element was introduced.

That adventurer making a comment about grilling meat at the end of Episode 8 may have seemed familiar, and for good reason.  We’ve seen her before – she’s Namari (Miki Akira), the dwarf who used to be part of the Laios party but left when they woke up broke back on the surface.  She’s signed on with a pair of gnome scholars, Mr. Tansu (the legendary Inoue Kazuhiko) and Mrs. Tansu (as yet silent).  They’re accompanied by twins Kiki (Hasegawa Ikumi) and Kaka (Takahashi Ryounosuke), a pair of human bodyguards, and the lot of them are on an expedition as the Tansu research ancient spells.

It’s immediately clear that some bad blood exists between Marcille (feeble as she is) and Namari over the latter’s decision to leave the party rather than try and save Falin.  Laios immediately asks if either of the Tansu are healers, and he is – but he declines to heal Marcille for free.  That’s just not how the dungeon works.  Tansu declares that he can talk his way past the undine, his race having a long history (he says) of peaceful co-existence with spirits.  He’s wrong – this is one pissed undine – and uses Namari as a human dwarven shield to protect himself from its wroth.

Resurrection is a thing here, we knew that already of course, but this is a fascinating look at how it works in Dungeon Meshi mythology.  In the first place, Senshi is resolutely agin’ it.  It’s “unnatural”, he declares, and he’s visibly creeped out watching Tansu resurrect Namari.  Tansu then goes on to educate Laios as to why he’s wrong about this and Senshi is right.  Resurrection is only possible in the dungeon, he says, because of a strange magic that binds the soul of everyone who enters it to their body.  It can’t leave, even in death.  In effect, Tansu says, death doesn’t even exist in the dungeon.

That’s soon proved yet again, after Laios volunteers himself and Senshi to accompany the gnomes as payment for Marcille’s healing.  They quickly run afoul of a tentacles, which is pretty much what is sounds like – though it’s notable that its arms inject a paralyzing toxin into whatever it captures.  That’s Kiki for starters, and as the beast is too high for their swords and axes to reach it Laios borrows Senshi’s helmet and lets himself be captured.  He manages to free up Kiki’s crossbow before he loses the ability to move, and Namari uses it to kill the tentacles.  Kiki is dead(ish), Laios in pretty beat up, and Senshi’s hand is frozen around a dismembered tentacle.

That service (it’s clear the Tansu have affection for the twins) is enough to get Marcille healed.  But there’s a fundamental problem here, in that she may be physically healed but her magic is still tapped out.  With the undine blocking the path forward and unlikely to calm down for a week, and the Tansu party about to return to the service, Chilchuck pushes Laios to have them take Marcille with them.  But that would leave Laios, Senshi, and Chilchuck to face the red dragon with no means of even dinging it.  Marcille begs Namari to go with them but Chil explains the complicated rules of adventurer society which make that effectively impossible.  The only solution Marcille can think of?  Replenish her magic by drinking the undine.

Easier said than done, but it’s Namari who hits on the one possible means of defeating the undine – Senshi’s pot.  It appears to be made of an adamantine metal highly prized for weapons, and in fact he reveals that it was made from a shield.  Odd duck of a dwarf he is Senshi has no interest in mining or smithing, but with the pot and its lid he and Laios might manage to trap the undine (though Namari correctly guesses that Laios isn’t strong enough to restrain it).  She winds up helping, they do manage to capture and lobsterize it (never do that, it’s incredibly cruel), and Marcille cooks up a delicious magic-restoring stew with Senshi’s help.

There’s one more especially interesting moment here, and it comes when Namari – who refuses Mr. Tansu’s offer to switch back to the Laios team – tells Chilchuck she expected him to be the first to bail on Laios.  He hasn’t, he tells her, because he was paid in advance – which proves rather a disillusioning development for Marcille.  He tells her rather smugly that “Folks who claim they don’t need anything in return are the least trustworthy of all”.  That sums up Chilchuck’s approach to life pretty succinctly, and part of why he’s going to prove to be one of the most fascinating characters in the series.

The post Dungeon Meshi (Delicious in Dungeon) – 09 appeared first on Lost in Anime.

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