This catgirl is more cat than girl.
Story/Art: Ryoko Kui
Translation: Taylor Engel
What They Say
Massive changes in the dungeon have drawn out new monsters for Laios and his party to take on – and taste! But the shift has attracted the attention of the western elves, whose intervention could spell further trouble not only for Laios, but also for everyone on the island! Facing the threat of the Lunatic Magician from within and the elves from without, the adventurers must rally as a team like never before, especially when forced to confront a beast straight out of Senshi’s nightmares!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
This is a massively important volume of Delicious in Dungeon. For a story that began as a jokey dungeon romp about eating monsters, it has truly thrown down the gauntlet for all fantasy manga that want to borrow the usual fantasy tropes. There isn’t a wasted chapter in this volume when it comes to advancing the plot, even while monsters are being eaten.
I love how Izutsumi is the concept of a catgirl taken to her logical conclusion. Most catgirls in anime and manga have ears and a tail and act like normal humans. Izutsumi is more cat than most. She is a messy, picker eater. She’s covered with fur and had no breasts to speak of. (Which is revealed a scene which is brilliant and hilarious, given Laios’ desire to learn all he can about monsters.) Izutsumi behaves in the way you’d expect a partially feral cat to behave, even lashing out and leaving a rent of claw scratches down Laios’ face at one point. Ones that aren’t simple comedy injuries, as the blood wells out in a realistic fashion.
Her behavior toward the group is honestly more than a little frustrating. She is so desperate to be fully free of her cat side but does nothing to restrict her cattish behavior. She’s lucky her traveling companions have the patience and kindness to put up with her as her actions nearly cause them some severe pain at one point.
Along with learning more about the newest member of the group, we learn about the mysterious past of Senshi and even a small bit about Chilchuck. Senshi’s past is both harrowing and sad, and also a tale of survival and trust. It comes intertwined with yet more revelations of monsters and how they behave.
Speaking of monsters… wow, this manga goes some places with that. How about eating a familiar? Or Laios milking a minotaur. Have you ever wanted to see minotaur tits? This is the book for you. Somehow Ryoko Kui keeps everything that would be pandering in the hands of another creator completely clinical and honestly, while at the same time giving us a lithe half-naked male elf and a chapter cover of Senshi is his underwear.
The most shocking chapters of his volume involve a trip to a kingdom trapped in time. The dark elf sorcerer (who we now know is male) created an eternal kingdom. The prince who lives there longs for freedom, the citizens trapped in a land of plenty that they can’t really enjoy. This is where we get a secondary hero quest for Laios, which combined with the arrival of the western elves signals a new direction for the story as a whole.
The past has come back to haunt the adventurers as they delve deeper into the unknown in the lost kingdom dungeon. Their new companion Izutsumi is proving to be an asset and a liability at the same time with her nearly feral behavior. Laios discovers that fate may have different ideas in store for him than that of a monster researcher. Senshi learns a bitter truth about what happened to his old companions. Lastly, the arrival of the western elves heralds a new time limit on their adventure. This is all on top of the usual food antics, some truly crazy revelations about monster anatomy. This series remains mana from heaven for fantasy manga fans.
Content Grade: A
Art Grade: A
Packaging Grade: B +
Text/Translation Grade: B +
Age Rating: Older Teen
Released By: Yen Press
Release Date: November 12, 2019
MSRP: $15.00 US / $19.50 CAN