Delicious in Dungeon: Giant Frogs/Aboveground
April 7, 2024 11:45 AM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Refreshed physically, emotionally, and manawise, Team Touden begins the descent to the castle town - and to their confrontation with the red dragon. Unfortunately, the path downward will not be an easy one, with the stairwell down full of dangers. Meanwhile, Tansu reports his findings to the (nominal) head of the island, while Namari looks to see if by some miracle Falin's corpse has made it back for revival. One thing is clear - things are coming to a head, in several ways...

So, this episode is a bit of a breather, and does some more world building that's going to be important for the next major arc of the series. Which is good, because we're almost to this cour's fireworks factory.

The episode starts with Team Touden reaching the stairwell closest to the abandoned orc settlement - given that the orcs abandoned it because of the red dragon, it makes sense that this should be a good point to start looking for said scaly problem. The problem is that the stairwell is lined with a number of tentacles - though different from the prior ones we saw last episode. Marcille wonders if the orcs pulled a fast one, but Laios notes that it's logical for them to not want an easy path to their doorstep, especially given their relations with the rest of the island folk. Chilchuck then warns her to not get too close to the walls - the tentacles have managed to grow into them as well - a matter that makes his life as a lockpick exceedingly difficult, placing them right under mimics in his list of dungeon annoyances.

Progress in cutting the tentacles is slow going, making the party - Laios in particular - wonder how the orcs traversed the stairs. With that, the answer makes itself known in the form of a giant frog that lives symbiotically with the tentacles - and uses its tongue to snatch Kensuke, dropping it into the depths. It doesn't live long enough to regret that, courtesy of Marcille's penchant for solving problems with explosions, but another frog snatches her beloved staff Ambrosia in the same manner. Another frog has Senshi's ax, and while they fight, Chiclchuck notices a fouled trap aimed at the frog - and realizes the frogs' skins make them immune to the tentacles. Wrapping his hands in frog skin, he pulls on the befouling tentacle - but the frog, realizing either the threat or his size, releases the ax to chomp on the halffoot. This, however, winds up being a fatal miscalculation, as the frog's swallowing turns out to be just enough additional strength to unfoul the trap - and put a bolt right through the frog's noggin.

With the frogs dealt with, Senshi, Laios, and Chilchuck promptly begin making use of the frogs down to the ribbit - with the former making lunch of tentacle pasta with sauteed frog meat, while the latter two skin them to use it to make suits to traverse the stairs. Needless to say, the diligence the rest of the party throws themselves into the task leaves Marcille exasperated and frustrated - but with Laios appealing to her love of kawaii, they manage to get her into the suit, and with that the trip down the stairs is uneventful (and delicious!) At the bottom, the two are reunited with their weapons, and the party now finds themselves in the castle town. Finding the abandoned orc settlement, they realize the truth of their flight from the red dragon - but Marcille has a bigger problem, as the frog skin has glued itself to her, thanks to no time to cure it.

We now switch back to Team Floke, returning to the surface via a magical portal using a painting in the Floke's home. Namari finds herself getting ill crossing through (a result of dwarves having highly sensitive inner ears - think of it like carsickness but worse), and Tansu has his children show Namari to the guest room while he heads out to give his report. Meeting with the island's lord, he reports that the dungeon is getting more dangerous - the higher floors are stripped of valuables, those floors are becoming bases for criminals, and orcs are beginning to raid the higher floors. We get a bit of fantastic racism as the two comment on the dwarven proclivity for mining negatively, and we learn about a war between elves and dwarves, with the latter having fled to places like the island they're on, and blaming them for the growth of the dungeon (which isn't true, and Tansu pushes back on this.) Tansu then talks about the circles he was sent to investigate, noting that they're elven in origin, by a single known creator, and haven't been touched - it's clear they're the work of the Mad Mage himself, and it's likely that they're an elf (which we know from Laios' encouter back in the painting.) The lord reports that the elves have sent a missive to surrender the dungeon, to which Tansu responds angrily, noting the elves had handed the island over. He also notes that the elves are not seeking material wealth, but the arcane secrets of the dungeon - and that they can use that as leverage with them. And with that, wheels begin to turn...

We now pivot back to Namari, waking in surprise in the guest room, with Kiki coming in to check on her, as well as pay her fee - along with a retainer for service, showing that Tansu took her words to heart. With that, the Floke siblings head out with her on some errands - specifically, she's heading to the temple near the dungeon, which thanks to it's proximity has become a retrieval point for the corpses of adventurers. She has come to see if Falin was recovered, but thanks to the difference between tallman and dwarven adolescence her guess on her age is wildly off. The staffer reports that Falin's body had not been recovered, which leaves her disheartened - and worried for her former teammates.

Back to the castle town and Team Touden, they set out to explore and get the lay of the land, walking past a number of statues of a winged lion in various poses as they do (hmm, wonder if that's meaningful.) Unsurprisingly, a place this magically charged is exceedingly spooky, and the team (especially Marcille) are on edge, feeling like there are...eyes upon them. Finding the main stockpiles of the abandoned settlement, Senshi uses some of the flour there to make bread again, while Laios makes a horrific discovery - a number of corpses of the orc's wargs, smoking - it's clear the red dragon is awake and actively hunting, which is bad news, as it means it's also digesting faster. Marcille reacts in terror, but Laios calms her down as they discuss strategy for dealing with the dragon - their old strategies relied on having three frontliners backed by Marcille - but that's not an option this time. Laios notes that there's a weak point on the dragon's neck - all it's a matter of is connecting. Looking over the structure of the town, they plan to bait it into a trap where they will literally drop a skybridge on its head, making it vulnerable. And with that, the team plots out their strategy, finding the best location to drive the dragon to - though Laios notes its behavior is quite aberrant. Returning to camp, they find Senshi cooking - as he notes, dragonslaying's work you don't do on an empty belly, something that the rest can agree with from hard won experience. But with bread and some other supplies, Senshi has the makings for giant frog katsu - a hearty meal to prepare for what comes. Team Touden digs into an absolutely wonderful meal - and Laios thanks his party heartfully for all they've done...and then the floor begins to shake.

The red dragon has returned, and the time for preparations is over.
posted by NoxAeternum (5 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
So, since this has come up (and will be a major plot point later), let's take a note of the main "races" in the series:

Halffoot: light and nimble, they tend to excel in delicate work (hence why many serve as lockpicks for adventuring parties.) They're also the race with the shortest lifespans - 50-60 years, and are considered adults at 14. (This is why Laios asks Chilchuck if he should call him "sir" when he finds out he's 27 - as he's actually in his middle age.) Mikbell on Team Kabru is a little younger in his early 20s.

Tallman: The series' version of humans, they tend to be in adventuring terms "all-rounders", a fact that Laios finds depressingly boring. Namari does note that they do tend to make excellent physical performers (with no small amount of envy in that assessment.) Lifespan is 60-80 years, with adulthood reached at about 18 (again, they're humans.) Laios is in his mid 20s as is Rin, while Falin is in her early 20s as is Kabru. The Floke siblings are a bit younger, just reaching the end of their second decade.

Dwarf: Short and stocky with significant strength, many have affinity for ores and smithing (though not all - Senshi being Exhibit A there.) Lifespan is around 200 years, with adulthood reached at about 40-50 years - hence why Namari, who is a young adult at ~60 years old, had trouble telling Falin's approximate age. Dia, on Team Kabru is a little younger in her 50s, and Senshi is a proper dwarven adult at ~120 years old.

Gnome: About the same height as dwarves, but not as stocky or strong, but with a greater affinity for magic, in particular summoning magic with spirits. Lifespan is around 250 years with adulthood at 50 years, making Tansu's dungeoneering impressive as he's ~200 years old. In comparison, Team Kabru's summoner Holm is a young gnomish adult in his 70s.

Elf: The longest lived and most magically adept of the races, this has led to...friction. Lots and lots of friction between them and the other races. (This is less of a plot point and more a plot splatter.) Lifespan is ~500 years, with adulthood at 50-100 years. Unfortunately, none of the elves we've met so far (all three of them) are...normal, and that difference is a pretty major plot point, so no age listings for them.

Once again, Swamp Jawn has a breakdown of the episode for those curious about the animation and adaption aspects.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:15 PM on April 7

It took me a while to get on the same wavelength of this show (especially compared to frieren, which clicked immediately), but it was right around here that I got onboard. It’s been solid episodic content, I like checking in every week during my lunch break.
posted by WedgedPiano at 7:58 PM on April 7

So how *did* the orcs get through the tentacle passage? Frog suits seem unlikely. Or were they indeed messing with our party and had another pass?

After Marcille gets frog-suited, everyone gives her encouraging compliments. Laios' contribution is that her ears gives her a realistic frog silhouette :)

There was a mention a few episodes ago I forgot to point out, but the term 'human' in this world encompasses Elves, Gnomes, Tallmen, and Half-foots. Demi-humans include Kobolds (the dog-like one in Kabru's party) and gets kind of murky at the edges (as we've seen with the mermaids.)

The Elves and Gnomes are considered 'the Long Lived Races,' but also butt heads a lot (they have different approaches to magic, for one.) It's interesting that Tanu is advising a human against the machinations of Elves.

It took me a while to get on the same wavelength of this show

Yeah, I read the first volume of the manga and thought it a cute idea, but didn't feel the need to read any more until the anime started airing. I was pretty surprised where it went from there.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:57 PM on April 7

I was pretty surprised where it went from there.

The next four episodes are when the series goes from "cute gimmick D&D based series" to "...and this is when the DM took the gloves off."
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:59 AM on April 8 [4 favorites]

Not sure if I said it before, but I really love this early run of episodes; I love how they all somehow manage to tie back into cooking together and eating together. Maybe it's like leftover Tampopo love.
posted by fleacircus at 11:32 PM on April 9

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