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Delicious in Dungeon, Volume 3: 08/08/19
Delicious in Dungeon, Volume 3 by Ryoko Kui continues with the struggle to cross the water level. Characters who died in the volume 2 are revived long enough to show new ways of dying in the dungeon. Interestingly they are briefly ahead of the protagonists, suggesting that time and space might be more variable in the dungeon that anyone knows.
But mostly, volume 3 is about our group doggedly making their across this endless floor of water. There are sirens and kelpie to ignore. But their full time dungeon resident notices something off with the floor. There are too few mid-range creatures suggesting that the environment has fallen out of balance.
Turns out there is an apex predator on the level who is eating more than the floor can provide. It's making the survivors more dangerous than they should be and throwing the entire floor's mojo off.
While they do end up making a variety of meals on this floor, the bigger question for this book is on the very nature of the dungeon as a biome — with each level being its own environment. How do the dungeon crawlers play into this balance? Are they a key ingredient or are they are potentially as destructive as the kraken?
Like the previous volumes, this one does fit into the road narrative spectrum, albeit as an outlier. The group is still working as a family (33), a coherent group of people who care for each other. Their final destination in this book is another piece of the cursed and buried city (00). Their route across water and vines is the dungeon's version of the cornfield/tkaronto (FF). Put all together, volume three is a family crossing a tkaronto to reach a buried city (3300FF).
Looking at the previous two, we have a progression from CC00CC (siblings to the buried city by way of the maze), to 33CCCC (family through the maze to uhoria), to now 3300FF (family to the city via the tkaronto). The key point is that the dungeon has become safer as the travelers have become a more coherent group who cares about the outcomes of all the individuals.
I have up through volume 6 on hand. The manga is on going, and is up to volume 8 in Japan.