New Anime

Dungeon Meshi (Delicious in Dungeon) – 20

Ah, Dungeon Meshi. It occurs to me not for the first time that this series is as much as anything a chronicle of a social experiment. What would happen if five weirdos were thrown together in a dungeon and forced to rely on each other to survive? At heart that’s what this series is as much as anything. Each member of the party has a bushel of quirks that drive the others crazy. They get on each other’s nerves constantly. They appear to be an overall badly mismatched group of incompatibles. Yet somehow, it kind of works.

As entertainment of course, it totally works. Dungeon Meshi has action and an intricate mythology and even horror. But at heart it’s just observation – watching this quintet and listening in on their endlessly amusing verbal sparring. It is a quintet now, with Izutsumi joining the team. And she changes the dynamic (which was already pretty great) in ways which I consider to be all positive. She’s like all the others – nothing remotely like the others in the party. Five adventurers, five races, five  completely contrasting personalities. It’s genius in its simplicity.

Fresh with a tweaked OP adding Izutsumi, the now five-strong party is right back into the storm, literally. As a blizzard rages they keep pushing forward, eventually making their way to where they left their gear. It’s been ransacked, but apparently by beasts – only the food (and Marcille’s soap) has been taken. Izutsumi tries to take a little bit for herself, but the sharp-eyed Chilchuck catches her in the act. The catgirl makes a very unkind remark about half-foots – that they got their name because so many of their kind had half their foot chopped off for stealing (this information is neither confirmed nor denied by Chilchuck) and the pair of them are squarely off on the wrong foot, half or no.

I’ll say now that of all the relationships in Dungeon Meshi, Chil and Izutsumi is my favorite dynamic. I won’t go into details now for obvious reasons but they’re a really fascinating pair. And it’s the half-foot who seems most in tune with why the catgirl is so discomfited in her new situation. He repairs a pack for her to use, and lets her know that he understands what it’s like to feel the newbie and an outsider. They even team up to take out an ice golem which takes them by surprise while they’re defrosting a fish. Chilchuck finds its core and reveals its location with his arrow, and Izutsumi – who proves herself to be extremely formidable in a scrap – does the rest.

Izutsumi is a handful, no question about it. She’s prone to scratch the face of anyone who crosses her, she has absolutely no table (or any other, for that matter) manners, and – most problematic of all in context – she’s an extremely picky eater (resemblances to specific household pets is not coincidental). Senshi has to scold her not to eat before everyone is at the table, like the good dad he is. And both Marcille and Laios have a go at her expressed unwillingness to eat monster meat (which Marcille will come to regret).

Because Izutsumi is theoretically a monster herself, Laios has to be blindfolded when the group have a steam to warm up (the temptation would be too much for him). After an encounter with a group of dire wolves, Izuttsumi has her arm broken by the bite of one of the beasts – after she’d bolted, leaving the others to fend for themselves (Marcille saves her anyway). To say the catgiirl is a work in progress socially would be an understatement – she’s a scouring pad coated in Ajax. But in narrative terms, in this group her role is the irritant in the oyster.

The dire wolves, by the way, were after something called a “Barometz“. And this very weird thing – among the weirdest in a series full of them – is based on a real legend. The Barometz – better known as the “Vegetable Lamb of Tartary” – is a mythical plant from Central Asia that supposedly grew a lamb as its fruit. The lamb would be “born”, connected to the plant by an umbilical cord, and forage the area around the rooted plant. When it ran out of grass and shrubs, both it and the plant would die. Unsurprisingly no one ever found evidence the Barometz actually existed, and it’s so strange one wonders how even the legend came into existence. But it’s definitely one of the grossest things Senshi has ever cooked (even if it eventually looked pretty delicious).

The post Dungeon Meshi (Delicious in Dungeon) – 20 appeared first on Lost in Anime.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.