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Dungeon People Volume 1 Review

Publisher Summary


An unexplored dungeon, filled with monsters and traps. An expert thief, searching for her lost father. When Clay delves into the dungeon deeper than any adventurer has ever gone, she is offered a job by the dungeon’s caretaker! Now, instead of exploring, Clay must learn how to interview new monsters, set traps and position slimes around the dungeon. Will this new career path bring her any closer to finding her father?


Story & Art by Sui Hutami


Translation: Deniz Amasya

Lettering: Rina Maga

Proofreading: Krista Grandy


I purchased Volume 1 of Dungeon People personally with my own funds for the intent of writing this review.


 

Background


Dungeon People was serialized in Futabasha's Web Comic Action website on June 19th, 2020. The series is currently ongoing with four volumes total volumes.


Seven Seas announced they acquired the acquired the English license on their Wonder Wednesday License Announcement Event on November 10th, 2021 and released Volume 1 July 19th, 2022


On August 16th, 2023, it was announced that Dungeon People will be receiving an TV Anime Adaptation


 

Review:

Far from the capital, we're introduced to the town of Antomulrag, named after a traveler who stumbled upon a dungeon that has little to no documentation in its records. Adventurers soon began to settle in and vowed to explore to figure out the dungeon's secrets. Which leads us to a brief flashback sequence in which we're introduced to our main character, Clay, a member of the thieves guild who's training with her father on the basics of surviving in a dungeon. As the flashback ends, we learn that Clay's father disappeared into the dungeon with little to no trace. In this interpretation of the dungeon, it is divided up into levels, where each level has your standard monsters, loot to find, and a final guardian to beat before moving on to the next level.


We follow Clay, who makes quick work of this dungeon with ease, until she comes across and eventually meets the guardian of the floor. A minotaur-eqsue creature with a giant battle axe that could cause some serious damage with one swing. With her father's training, Clay engages the guardian in a very intense battle sequence.


At the peak of the fight, the minotaur swings his battle axe at Clay; she swiftly dodges as the axe hits the wall, and a giant dust storm fills the room. But as everything settles down, a room that appears behind the wall? I didn't know the wall could break! That's Wild! But it wasn't clay who said that; it was the minotaur, who all of a sudden could speak in a language clay could understand. What's going on here?


Shortly after, we see someone dressed in all white open the door and apologize to Clay as she assesses the situation at hand. After a brief comedic exchange between the minotaur and the girl in all white, she leads Clay into a guestroom, where she introduces herself as Bellehera Langdas, the administrator of the dungeon.



Bellehera explains to Clay that she's recently found herself needing help running the dungeon, and she believes Clay's  skills are up to the task. While Clay is confused by the situation, she thinks she can learn more about her father's whereabouts with this new information, but isn't entirely sure. So she wagers a bet against Bellehera, and if she wins, she'll go home. But if she loses, she'll work in the dungeon. A brief loss later, Clay is now the newest employee of this dungeon, which introduces us to the world of Dungeon People.



While its art is simplistic, Dungeon People excels at providing a really in-depth explanation of how a dungeon operates and what steps are needed to maintain the dungeon. For example, our Clay gets the opportunity to meet a group of monsters that's managed by a ghost named Kreuzer, comprised of three skeletons, and we get to witness a dungeon encounter from the perspective of the monster, which is a welcome change.



Every chapter in this volume follows this cycle, where we're introduced to a different aspect of the dungeon and watch Clay try to understand the information that's presented. I personally like this as it helps Dungeon People's world building and has led me to ask questions about who manages the loot you find in chests. What do the monster interviews look like?as the manga introduces iitscast of side characters.


While I appreciate the time the manga takes to build the world and establish its rules , it's pacing feels too slow. It's probably a nitpick, but the sense of urgency to "find" Clay's dad through chapters 2–6 got put on the backburner and was never brought up again until chapter 7. I think it would help if we got some nuggets of information about her dad, as Clay is going through the routines of maintaining the dungeon, talking to her new monster coworkers, etc.


 

Final Thoughts


The depth and world-building that's presented in this manga will appeal to those looking for a different take on a dungeon crawling story. However, the balance between the urgency to "find" Clay's dad and maintaining the dungeon is a bit wonky with these first few chapters leaning towards the latter compared to the former (which, depending on who you are, might make the pacing feel slow). But until last chapter introduced some interesting questions about Clay's father which made me want to pick up volume 2.


Verdict: Buy it


Dungeon People Volume 1 from Seven Seas is now available at all Retailers.

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