Delicious in Dungeon: Cleaners/Dried With Sweet Sake
April 19, 2024 1:16 AM - Season 1, Episode 16 - Subscribe

After some observation, Chilchuck has figured out a pattern to the shifting of the floor's configuration, leading Team Touden to the exit - and to Teams Kabru and Shuro. However, the reunion between allies may not be a happy one when Shuro finds out what happened with Falin...

The episode starts off with Chilchuck pointing out that while Marcille was stoned, Laios was on a bad mana trip, and Senshi was pickling, he used the time to observe the changes in the dungeon, and he figured out that the shifts follow a pattern. There are also rules, like regions stay those regions (so a house remains a house, for example), and things like the winged lion statues don't change at all - meaning they can serve as waypoints. And with that, Chilchuck navigates the party through the maze, soon bringing them back to the house where they had rested after defeating the dragon. Though Chilchuck soon realizes that may have been a mistake, given that there was the blood trail, and that could encourage Laios and Marcille to choose to seek out Falin. But when Laios and Marcille notice something off, it turns out the blood trail is gone - but there remains a crack in one of the walls, from where the dragon had struck it during their fight.

Laios goes to inspect the hole, only for a spirit to pop up and tell him "the eye of the Mage approaches", which causes the tallman to fall back in terror. After spooking the rest of the party, Laios notes that since he first used magic, he's been seeing and hearing things, to which Marcille notes that's not a typical symptom of mana sickness - asking him for what he heard, he relays the message - and then they see the blood wyvern patrolling above. With that, Marcille grabs Chilchuck, and pushes him into the brick wall, with the rest of the party following...

...and then they pop out the other side, a bit gooey but none the worse for wear. Chilchuck asked what magic Marcille used, but it turns out the answer is "none" - instead, she took advantage of an odd element of the dungeon's ecosystem - "cleaners", small sluglike creatures that work to repair damage to the dungeon. Since the repair hadn't been complete, Marcille figured the wall wasn't fully cured, and thus was malleable, letting them pass through. Senshi notes that the critters, while mostly harmless, are a nuisance for him, as they like to try to "clean" his tent, eating at it. The presence of the cleaners helps explain why the blood trail was gone, but Chilchuck notes they should continue on before another change happens. So Team Touden continues on, and soon they find themselves at the stairs to the fourth floor - and to their path out.

With that, Laios and Senshi agree that it's time to do "that thing" - which Marcille takes as donning the frog suits, but was actually what they usually suggest - cook a meal (to Marcille's frustration after donning her frog suit. With that, Senshi takes an inventory of their food, using it to make a barley rice congee - something that hits the spot for the party. Senshi notes he used cleaner bricks that hadn't cured for the "bowls", and encourages Laios to take a taste...which winds up not going well for the tallman. But as they eat, they're soon attacked by the members of Team Shuro - mage Maizuru conjures a spider demon to cocoon Laios, while the oni warrior Tade restrains Senshi given her strength, and the tallman kunoichi Hien and Benichidori restrain Marcille and Chilchuck. They look ready to kill them, seeing them as threats - until Shuro enters, telling them to release Team Touden, as he knows them, freeing Laios with a single swing of his blade.

Laios' familiarity with Shuro (along with calling him that - a corruption of his actual name, Toshiro) has Team Shuro puzzled and confused, but Laios tries to convince Shuro to come eat - but sees not just Team Shuro, but Team Kabru as well - quite the crowd (which can be dangerous, as larger crowds can draw the attention of the Mad Mage more easily. Kabru introduces himself to Laios, but doesn't make any more moves - something that has Rin surprised. Kabru however notes that Laios' response to him - and the lack of guilt or subterfuge - has him wondering if there's more to what's going on, and so he wants to play this by ear to figure out what the deal really is. Besides, Team Touden's ability to survive this deep really intrigues the young tallman, and he'd like to know more.

Talking with Shuro, Laios notes that they must have been caught in the maze, to which Laios notes that Chilchuck figured out the pattern, allowing them to reach the stairs - at which point the halffoot needles the tallman for his all-female retinue, to which he notes that they are just "family", but skilled at fighting. He apologizes for leaving the party, but with his thoughts on Falin, he wanted to get to her as fast as possible. He was surprised that Team Touden re-entered with such speed, noting it was reckless - to which Marcille responds that they were able to defeat the red dragon - a statement that shocks both Shuro and Kabru. The former grabs Laios, asking where Falin is...but his hunger and exhaustion finally get the better of the Eastern warrior, and he collapses at Laios' feet, with both Maizuru and Laios pushing him to take some time to eat and rest, as he's doing nobody any favors abusing himself like this. Laios even points out that they can use the time to go over what's happened - something that finally gets Shuro to agree to take a break, asking Maizuru to make a meal - something that has the mage over the moon to hear.

So now we get Maizuru directing the cooking, ordering most of Team Shuro to cook, though she assigns Asebi to protecting Shuro. Senshi says he'll start a cooking fire, while Laios notes that they should divide up to lessen the risk of being detected - which results in Maizuru telling Rin, Holm, and Marcille to set up a barrier to protect the parties. With that, Laios and Kabru lead Shuro off to the side to debrief, while Chilchuck tries to determine which of his party members is going to get themselves killed with their mouth, and determines that Senshi's the bigger risk, going to help with the cooking.

And so with that the parties get to work on their tasks, while Laios debriefs Shuro about how they recovered and resurrected Falin, but that she was kidnapped by the Mad Mage, and that they were heading to the surface to get support to go deeper to save Falin. Kabru then steps in to ask about how they knew that it was the Mad Mage - Laios, not being a complete idiot, realizes that he can't tell the truth as that would involve discussing Marcille's black magic and so tries to give Kabru a cryptic answer - one that it's clear he's not quite buying. However, Shuro asking about Laios' earlier meal results in Laios getting directed to talking about Dungeon Food which Kabru plays along with, not realizing how serious Laios is about this all. We also get a shot of the cleaners attacking Kensuke, whose form seems to be...changing, with a new decoration on the crossguard. I mean, it's not like that's something to worry about.

(Spoiler: That is very much something to worry about.)

Shuro asks if Falin was okay the last time Laios saw her, and notes that most of the hiding places on the floor are in orc territory - to which Laios notes that they have an agreement with the orcs, allowing them to travel safely, something that bothers Kabru as in his mind adventurers should be taking down orcs. That said, given that Falin is the captive of the Mad Mage, it's likely she's on a deeper floor, Laios surmises, which shocks Shuro, who asks why her. Realizing that he can't hide this from his former teammate, Laios asks for privacy, so he can tell Shuro about the details of Falin's ressurection.

Returning to the cooks, we find that - to Chilchuck's surprise - Maizuru and Senshi are actually getting along quite fine, as their views on cooking align well. The mage notes that she had always taken care of Shuro since he was a boy, and that her cooking seemed to be something that he always enjoyed, being a picky eater otherwise. She notes that his only "selfish" request was his asking them to help him save Falin, and so she laments how his heart has been stolen by a Northern girl. Maizuru notes that she can't let her emotions get involved, to which Senshi responds that her cooking is already infused with her emotions, which has her imagining what Shuro and Falin's son would look like (complete with a switch between Eastern and Western art styles.) And with that, her meal is ready - a very Japanese meal with onigiri, miso soup, broiled fish, and pickled veggies. Hurrying the meal (with a cup of tea) to Shuro, they find...the Eastern warrior enraged, and about to kill Laios, as he's learned the truth - that Marcille used forbidden magic to resurrect Falin, a violation of elven law which if outed would result in all of Team Touden finding themselves in very small prison cells. Laios tries to explain that they had no other options given the circumstances with how fragile Falin's link to the living world was, while Kabru finds all of this quite interesting indeed.

And in the distance, warped by the fell magic of the Mad Mage, Falin continues her cursed search, crying a tear of blood...
posted by NoxAeternum (11 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So, since this has come up, let's note the floors of the dungeon to better understand how it's laid out:

* Floor 1: The catacombs, this is a mix of the dungeon and the burial halls used by the village prior to all the dungeoneering. As such, it's a weird mix - as Marcille noted, it's a bit creepy seeing people hanging out and eating around graves.

* Floor 2: The treetops, this "floor" is made of basically "treehouses" built in the tops of the trees rising from the castle grounds. There's also some natural light here, as there are openings to the surface here as well.

* Floor 3: The castle proper, this "floor" winds up consisting of the main keep and turrets (which serve as the transfer point between the second and third floors.) Given that this portion of the dungeon was designed for habitation, it's become a natural place for individuals who are unable or unwilling to live on the surface to set up shop, though it's not without threat.

* Floor 4: The flooded castle grounds, this is where the lake is, and is the first floor that parties genuinely need a mage to traverse safely, as they need to reach the wall turrets to descend.

* Floor 5: The castle town, which is dangerous more because a) the orcs have claimed portions for their territory given that it has housing and access to supplies, and b) that the terrain shifts due to the power of the Mad Mage. The red dragon was not native to this floor, but was driven onto it thanks to the geas put on it by the dungeon's lord.

* Floor 6: Not much is known about this floor yet - this is the floor where Team Touden encountered the red dragon in their first failed encounter.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:55 AM on April 19 [3 favorites]

The cleaners are interesting. They're a reset button come to life. They're also the gut flora of the entire dungeon.

Also, they make good trenchers. Note that despite his appraisal, the last time we see it Laios has eaten about a third of it.

Laios gets a lot of grief for his people skills, but you can see why he's generally liked anyway. Here he's quick to credit Chuck for figuring out the shifting dungeon.

What was Maizuru worried that Asebi was going to add to the food?

If there's one lesson to take away from this series, it's eat well and get a good night's sleep

I like how Kabru is written. He doesn't instantly understand what's going on, but he constantly thinks about possibilities. He didn't figure out the treasure monsters, but here he considers that the treasure might have been some kind of trap.

In the sub, Shuro refers to his retinue as "retainers," which makes more sense.

Laios says the orcs aren't a problem, and Kabru immediately asks what they taste like 😁
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:15 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]

I should be in bed, but something just clicked in my head. Tade observes that Senshi's horns are merely helmet decorations, which is part of her party's realization that Our Heroes aren't monsters after all.

She has actual horns.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:35 PM on April 19 [1 favorite]

I like how Kabru is written. He doesn't instantly understand what's going on, but he constantly thinks about possibilities. He didn't figure out the treasure monsters, but here he considers that the treasure might have been some kind of trap.

The whole thing with Kabru is that he was trained to have the skills he has, which is meant to help drive home why the Boat Elves arriving is Serious Business. That said, he's pretty aware he has gaps in his skills, hence why he wants to learn how Laios is able to fight so effectively in the dungeon.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:17 PM on April 19

Whhhhhhhhy was there a spoiler in the info text above the cut ?

posted by Faintdreams at 4:51 PM on April 20 [1 favorite]

There are also rules, like regions stay those regions (so a house remains a house, for example)

In a bit of foreshadowing, when they first set up camp on this level (ep. 10, IIRC) Chuck mentioned that it was kind of concerning that the house had an inordinate number of bathrooms.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:41 PM on April 20

Swamp Jawn's commentary is out. See what Senshi panty shot they didn't include!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:20 AM on April 22 [1 favorite]

I love how more and more characters just get poured on. One thing that is great about the comics is being able to just pause and LOOK at all these characters at any time, because Kui's characters and art are just so amazing.

It's probably good that the intro animation for this production run tries to ground the four central characters in the viewers mind among the swirl of other new and new-ish faces.
posted by fleacircus at 9:48 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]

It's probably good that the intro animation for this production run tries to ground the four central characters in the viewers mind among the swirl of other new and new-ish faces.

Kui did a matrix of Team Touden as the various races (from top to bottom: Laios, Marcille, Chilchuck, Senshi, Izutsumi; from left to right: tallman, elf, halffoot, dwarf, gnome - portraits with the polka dot background are the character's "proper" race.) It's a testament to her skill that each variant looks distinct and yet you can tell who they're supposed to be.

(And yes, the fact that human and elf Marcille don't look that different is a plot point.)
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:18 AM on April 26 [1 favorite]

Dried With Sweet Sake

A literal translation of Mirinboshi, the method used to prepare the fish in An Eastern Meal.
posted by zamboni at 8:15 PM on May 24

The whole thing with Kabru

And yes, the fact that human and elf Marcille don't look that different is a plot point.)

OK, I’m going to wait until I’m caught up to start reading these posts again. Didn’t realize it was spoilers included.
posted by zamboni at 8:20 PM on May 24

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