Delicious In Dungeon Episode 8: Breaking Rules



If you want to be memorable, if you want to leave your mark on something, maybe a series like Delicious In Dungeon, you’ve got to be willing to break a few rules. Change up the character models, play with the tone and feeling, things like that. Yonemori Yuuki, Gun’Yasu Shunpei, and Satou Akihiro don’t even understand the concept of “rules” with this episode. Forget the restrictive and refined styled of the early episodes, forget “adhering” to anything- this is their episode, and they’ll be damned if they don’t make viewers aware of that idea.

I had talked in an earlier Tumblr post about my interest in this younger trio of staff members, and they really did deliver on everything I was hoping for them to. Yuuki boarded for an episode of Do It Yourself!! that did a lot to hone in on Purin’s isolation and separation from the people around her, and Yuuki brought a lot of that expertise and ability to today’s episode. It was really a match made in heaven in that sense, as the episode opens with Marcille and Falin finding themselves isolated in their own ways. With Marcille, you see that with physical distance in two different ways, for example.

I wouldn’t quite say that it’s “subtle” examples, but I think that Yuuki gets their point across thoroughly and effectively, really highlighting the less outspoken parts of Marcille’s character. In that sense, you really get a grasp that while superiority and ability have created a bit of a complex within Marcille, she still does value the people around her in her own way. With Falin however, that understanding does a complete 180. Though, that change in personality is almost entirely afforded by magic rather than Falin. But, the way that Marcille views magic, and how Falin interacts with and uses magic make it a far more earnest and valuable connection than you might think.

But it takes a while to get there, as initially Marcille discounts Falin’s approach to making a dungeonium. So, even though Marcille saved Falin from tripping and breaking her dungeonium, Yuuki decides to show the wide gap that exists between the pair currently, highlighting it by drawing Marcille closer to the group of girls that have been fawning over her (read as: her magic) so far. It’s very subtle, but incredibly well done work in regards to visualizing a relationship.

Though, all notion of subtlety goes out the window once they reveal the results of their dungeoniums. Marcille of course does better than all those other girls in the class, but Falin stuns Marcille when instead of her fire being put out, it turns into a massive column of fire. Here we get to see the first true colors of Marcille as a mage, and we get to see Yuuki and co really let loose with the episode. Yes the impact frames and animation prior to this cut were phenomenal, but I really wanted to hone in how soft and Little Witch Academia the models turned in this sequence. Such a stark contrast to earlier cuts in the episode, and the animation just screams Trigger. The way that Marcille hangs on certain moments but then flies through other pieces of her movement, it’s such a satisfying and fun style that Trigger’s cultivated.

Following that though is the real meat and potatoes (raspberries and grill meat? Like the episode title?) of the episode though- both in terms of character development for Marcille and Falin, but also in world building. Falin reveals the secret behind the roaring success of her dungeonium- dirt from a real dungeon. The sequence of Falin leading Marcille to the core of the dungeon is wonderfully done. It’s very whimsical and energetic, matching Falin’s character, but it’s also very aware of how up tight and “by the books” that Marcille tends to be. I think what I enjoyed most about this sequence was how it was able to bring Falin and Marcille closer through solely visuals. At times the pair have that distance between them solely due to the nature of Falin leading Marcille, but once Falin settles into enjoying the dungeon and wandering around it, we see the pair far closer together and interacting much more. To that end, I really love how well Yuuki is able to balance up close shots of the pair versus those that provide size and scale to the dungeon.

The real icing on the cake with these interactions though is Yuuki’s use of perspective and height between Falin and Marcille. In earlier images I showed how Yuuki used Marcille’s perspective and height to separate her from the rest of the girls in her class, and you see a similar thing happen here with Falin. Marcille is still looking down towards her, separated by understanding and sheer personality. However, once Falin exposes the secret of dungeons to Marcille, that perspective shifts. In order to become Falin’s friend, Marcille lowers her eye level to Falin’s, intentionally placing herself on the same level after coming down from her high horse. It’s a really great moment that Yuuki’s able to introduce into the episode, and just a great culmination of a bit of a backstory for Marcille (and Falin). I loved this little flashback in the manga, and I really feel like Yuuki’s been able to level it up in every meaningful fashion.

Also, for anime onlies, this sequence was really outstanding from a story perspective. Incredible work from Ryoko Kui to introduce a proper magical theory for the existence of Dungeons, and how it relates to natural ecosystems which Senshi has talked about. Even further, I was really blown away by how much this added to the dynamic of Laios’ party, as well as Marcille’s character. Suddenly, it makes her complaints and issues with Laios and Senshi far more hypocritical, and really exposes how Marcille views her own interests and desires. It really draws her closer to Laios in that sense, making her opposition to him all the more interesting. Really great work for such a fun and light little background story.

And now, we can finally get to the best part of the episode: the Undine fight. My god this was incredible. All the different character models, the quality of animation, Yuuki’s boards. It was truly on a different level as an experience. My favorite piece from it absolutely remains how Yuuki is able to drag that isolation and separation into Marcille’s fight with the magical creature though. Falin is shown to be a beacon of light and safety to Falin, and even though Laios is Falin’s brother, she doesn’t feel the same around him. That results in all these very wide and empty shots with Marcille forced to be on her own. It really shows how much of a rock Falin is in the lives of those close to her. Also, I really liked the use of faceless characters here from Yuuki. It’s not as strong a usage as some other storyboarders out there, but I definitely think that Yuuki thoughtfully made use of it in the episode.

Arguably, the aspect of this sequence that I was surprised I really liked was the soundtrack. A lot of times OSTs can just be background noise to present a sort of feeling for a sequence, but the music-slash-sound here worked wonders. It was incredibly strong in providing a sense of tension and fear while Marcille fought the Undine, so much so that it really caught me off guard- in a good way, of course.

Honestly, the whole Undine sequence is something that I could rave about for ages. There’s so much amazing work to it on all fronts- starting with Yuuki, and working all the way down to the very last animators for the fight. It’s an incredible testament to Trigger as a studio, and the incredible personality and pedigree that they command. I honestly wish we could see more of this in modern anime. The freelance economy and the total lack of value that studios have for their staff makes it hard to cultivate a strong style like Trigger’s in the modern age. Thankfully, Trigger remains a paragon of that ideal, and presents it in incredible fashion with series like Delicious In Dungeon.

Anyways, it wouldn’t be a Delicious In Dungeon Episode without food, right?

It’s kind of crazy how quickly you take for granted the quality of the food in this series. You just think “oh, it’s more food” or “huh, that’s a pretty interesting meal”. It feels a little disrespectful to the incredible and consistent work that’s been on display since the first episode. Regardless, the food does remain amazing to look at, and I enjoyed how Yuuki approached the ordeal. The use of perspective, and the continued separation of not just Falin, but of the entire party was really fun. Sticking Senshi in his own panel as he explains each cut of meat, stuffing Chilchuck and Laios together as the food reviewers in another, and then leaving the barely responsive Marcille to munch on her dinner by herself was very fun.

Delicious In Dungeon had sort of become a series that I wondered about a great deal each week. Mostly along the lines of “I wonder if this episode will be like X episode”. Similarly, one of the first things that I remember chatting about with BlueDash was how restrained the initial episodes of Delicious In Dungeon felt. This episode proved all those worries, thoughts, and conversations worthless. Trigger has caught their stride as we dive deeper into this dungeon, and every week is serving to remind me that this is Trigger we’re talking about- there’s no way I’d ever feel let down by their work.

3 responses to “Delicious In Dungeon Episode 8: Breaking Rules”

  1. a25 Avatar

    Not sure if this is the kind of comment is okay here, but I’d just like to say, you’re one of my favourite anime related writers since I discovered you on tumblr, and I’m really enjoying the new blog format. I was interested in the animation process before, but never worked up the motivation to delve as deeply into the inner workings of the medium I love. Reading your Dungeon Meshi reviews especially, I’ve been wondering if you could explain the difference between storyboarding and layouts in terms of how they appear in the episode itself? I have basic knowledge of both but I have trouble with them in practice. In addition, how do you figure out what good animation direction is (as in, how do you figure out that parts are good because of good corrections etc., if I’m understanding it correctly?)

    1. Piro Avatar

      First of all, thank you so much for the kind words! It’s always so great hearing about people that enjoy what Animehouse has to offer!

      Anyways, storyboards are a bit of an interesting thing to try and explain. They’re effectively a blueprint but don’t quite define everything in terms of how an episode presents itself. The very basic idea of a storyboard is to provide character blocking and flow for the key animators. Detail rarely exist when storyboarding as you’re really just providing a visual script. That means that animators are free to work within its bounds so long as the storyboarder and/or director (and other high level staff) agree with any changes made- which is why you can sometimes tell animators apart based on the personality of their work. So to bring it back, storyboards are just a visual guide that are used to define the overall flow and style of the episode, but animation and personal touches can still exist.

      Good animation direction is an interesting one to try and explain haha. I’m tempted to say that it just means “good character models” but it’s much deeper than that. An AD’s goal is to keep characters “on model” for the most part, to make them look consistent throughout the episode and in every cut. However, when you get to the higher end of animation direction, and the more creative and open studios, their role tends to shift. It becomes more about expressing feeling and flow than just accuracy. They’ll be able to inject their own, or the studio’s, style into their corrections and the character models, and have far more freedom with how they express a character. My favorite example is probably Chilchuck in recent episodes. The ADs have really done great work to bring out that more grubby and standoffish personality that you see in moments like when he was opening that final treasure chest in episode 6. As for actually judging corrections… that’s sort of a black box. Unless you get a side by side of the genga and an ADs corrections, you can’t really say what’s corrected and what’s not. However, there are people out there that have dedicated themselves to understanding the nuances of certain ADs to the point that they can tell what they’ve corrected on an episode. But I’d still circle back to AD work being very vague at the personal level, but easily noticeable and understandable at a large scale, especially with studios like Trigger.

      1. a25 Avatar

        Thank you for the clarification; it helps.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.