Having survived their run-in with the basilisk, Delicious in Dungeon (Dungeon Meshi) Episode 3, “Living Armor” finds our intrepid adventurers faced with a threat they cannot eat. Or can they? We also learn about Laios’ (Kentarô Kumagai) history with these monsters and the first time the adventurer was killed.
The series established an intriguing approach to its monsters last week with the basilisk. This week, it continues to flex its creativity towards the dungeon’s denizens with its take on Living Armor. Normally portrayed as a threat under external control, the approach to the iron-clad danger is far more interesting. Rather than leaning on magic as a crutch, Delicious in Dungeon Episode 3 goes the extra mile to ground the monsters in a more explainable light. This take allows the monsters to feel like living creatures that could function as part of a larger ecosystem. While establishing the new threat, it also fleshes out one of its star characters, Laois.
How the episode explores Laois’ character is twofold. First, we get to see one of the fighter’s first adventures into the dungeon via a flashback. This peek into the past lets the viewer get a fuller picture of Laois, while also establishing the base mannerisms of the new threat the party will soon be facing. This double duty allows a fairly short sequence to bring a lot of information. It also mixes a genuine danger with the visual comedy of the series well. As the lumbering armors approach the character’s old party, their disjointed movements and bloody handiwork create a solid intimidation factor for the monsters. This intimidation is broken when the threats are faced at the current time. As the party struggles, Marcille’s (Hiroshi Naka) exaggerated reactions cut much of the tension out of the moment.
The animation delivers both the threat and the farce of the episode skillfully. Marcille’s panic as she fires off spells to keep the encroaching enemies at bay plays out brilliantly. The art is brighter in these moments, helping to alleviate the danger so the comedy can thrive. When the threat is placed in front, the lighting shifts, helping to reestablish the mood. It can be subtle, but it helps separate the two tones that make up the narrative.
When the party clashes with the Living Armor in the present, we get the other side of Delicious in Dungeon Episode 3‘s look at Loais as a character. Separated from the rest of the party, Laois must use his wits to unravel the puzzle of how the Living Armor works. Up to this point, Loais has come across as a fairly dense character. His one-track mind mostly thinks only of how monsters taste. This moment showcases that he can manage intricate deductions in a pinch. The cool rational thinking the character displays under pressure elevates him as an asset to his group.
With the threat vanquished, Delicious in Dungeon Episode 3 takes its expected stop to let the party explore the cooking possibilities of their vanquished foes. This moment also allows for a bit of character growth as we see Senshi (Hiroshi Naka) unsure of how to proceed. Rather than have him manage another perfect dish, the show lets him create something good, but improvable. That his first attempts with a new ingredient wouldn’t land perfectly feels right. Senshi himself is pleased with the results, despite admitting they could be better. This gives the character a practical side to his cooking obsession.
Perhaps the most interesting element of this episode is the arrival of a new party member. While most don’t realize it, Loais has one of the creatures that make up the living armor on his person. With no clear clue what this new companion will bring to the group, it is nonetheless intriguing. Whether it will be a help or hindrance should be fun to discover.
With fun action, strong visual humor, and plenty of character exploration, Delicious in Dungeon Episode 3 sets a new standard for what the show can accomplish. The balance between its narrative elements and its cooking theme is getting better with each episode. Hopefully, the series can continue to improve as it moves forward.
Delicious in Dungeon Episode 3 is streaming now on Netflix, with new episodes airing every Thursday.
Delicious in Dungeon Episode 3
With fun action, strong visual humor, and plenty of character exploration, Delicious in Dungeon Episode 3 sets a new standard for what the show can accomplish.