At a mere 30,000 yen per month, you have signed a contract to rent a 2LDK apartment (an apartment with 2 rooms, a bathroom and a common area used as a Living Room, a Dining Room and a Kitchen) in Tachikawa City (立川市, Tachikawa-shi), Tokyo. Does it sound too good to be true? Maybe there are rumors of ghosts in the area? No, but goblins and slimes have been known to appear…wait, hold on…
My Room Has Become a Dungeon’s Rest Area (僕の部屋がダンジョンの休憩所になってしまった件Boku No Heya Ga Danjon no Kyūkeisho Ni Natte Shimatta Ken) is a web novel and manga written by Tougoku Fudou (東国不動). The story is about Toru Suzuki, a 21-year old part-time cook, who discovers that his newly rented apartment becomes connected to a classic fantasy-style dungeon by night via the front door. When this happens, he can still get back to modern-day Tokyo using the balcony. Naturally, Tooru then dreams of becoming a heroic adventurer – the dream of many an otaku (a young person obsessed with certain pop culture at the cost of their social skills).
After gathering a few supplies, Toru braves the dungeon for the first time…only to immediately find a young girl wearing armor sobbing in terror on the floor. He manages to take her back to his apartment, where he introduces the girl to some of the conveniences of the modern world such as the shower, the washing machine and cola. Toru introduces himself as a sage who has taken refuge in the dungeon to live a hermit’s life and the girl introduces herself as Aria “Ria” Eldrax, an adventurer and former knight. They are soon joined by Shizuru, the white slime, and Deeto, a high elf sorceress. Toru gradually learns more about the dungeon and uses its rules and modern technology to level up quickly as an adventurer while Ria, Deeto and Shizuru get to experience what modern-day Japan has to offer.
Toru Suzuki (鈴木 透, Suzuki Toru), a male 21-year old human who works part-time as a chef at a family restaurant. His hobbies include collecting figurines of female anime characters and female cosplay costumes. After learning how to access his character status screen from Ria, Toru learns that he has two unique traits as an adventurer: no occupation (i.e. fighter, thief, magician) and no maximum level. This means that, given time and opportunity, Toru could become powerful in every way and learn every learnable skill in the dungeon’s fantasy world. Toru also has the passive Language Understanding skill, which allows him to understand the fantasy world’s spoken languages by magically translating words that he hears within his own mind. Curiously, the Japanese language is the language of monsters (i.e. goblins, orcs) in the fantasy world!
Aria “Ria” Eldrax, a female 18-year old human adventurer and former knight. She was the first person from the fantasy world to meet Toru and she is known as “The Nosy Knight” due to being a stickler for the rules, whether they are for good health or etiquette. Ria was the last head of the Eldrax family, a minor noble family that served as knight commanders of the higher-ranked Katja family. The last descendant of the Katja family was the 16-year old Monica Katja, who could not inherit the Katja title of Count due to being a woman (Ria only became head of her family due to having no brothers and the fact that her family had little political power to speak of). Before her marriage to a Duke, Monica gifted Ria with a Katja heirloom weapon – a sword made of pure mythril.
After Monica’s marriage, the Katja family officially came to an end, resulting in Ria losing her status as a knight. Deciding that she could not give up her loyalty to the now-extinct Katja family, Ria decided to become an adventurer to earn money to provide for the orphans still living in the former Katja fiefdom. She joined Klein, a swordsman, and Barney, a mage, to form an adventuring party with them despite the unsavory rumors surrounding the two men. During an excursion into the dangerous, yet lucrative, fifth floor of the dungeon, an encounter with a small horde of goblins left Klein weaponless (Ria allows him to temporarily use her sword), Barney exhausted and Ria poisoned. Partially at Ria’s own naïve insistence and partially due to their own selfishness, Klein and Barney abandon Ria to reach the surface alone, with Klein keeping Ria’s treasured sword. Toru found Ria a short while later…
Shizuru, a genderless, sentient white slime. Toru finds it in the dungeon room just outside his apartment’s front door. The white slime soon develops a genuine liking for Toru, who decides to call it Shizuru. Apparently, white slimes are friendly creatures that often establish relationships with humans and take the form of their masters’ loved ones. However, they were frequently exploited by the more selfish humans, which eventually resulted in the white slimes retreating to places where humans feared to tread, such as dungeons. Because of this, white slimes are generally thought to be extinct. As a white slime, Shizuru can perfectly mimic almost anything by either sight or touch, allowing it to mimic living creatures, clothes and objects. It can also learn quickly and copy the memories of others, allowing Shizuru to perfectly mimic specific people and use their skills by itself. With these abilities, Shizuru was able to perfectly mimic Toru and take his place at work once, having memorized the restaurant’s recipes beforehand.
Deeto Macaron, a female 221-year old high elf sorceress. She is a powerful adventurer who prefers to work alone. While she is something of a tease, Deeto also gets irritated rather easily. She is also a worldly, knowledgeable person and easily deduced that Toru is not the sage that he claimed to be. Still, she stays with Toru as a friend, for it was he who helped her fight off a giant centipede that almost killed her in the dungeon. Deeto also told Toru about the Dungeon Master, the ruler of the dungeon who lives in its deepest level. If Toru were to become the new Dungeon Master, then he would become virtually immortal (he’d be ageless but not invulnerable).
I have read 18 chapters of the manga so far but there isn’t much plot development aside from Toru’s current goal of level grinding in order to gain enough power to survive the dungeon just outside his apartment! In the meantime, he also has to keep living his life in modern-day Tokyo while living with three people from a fantasy world. It’s more of a “slice of life” story. What makes this story interesting is that it demonstrates how important rest and recovery is when you are fighting for your very life inside a dungeon where everything is trying to kill you. When Toru first met Ria, she was on the verge of death, poisoned and unable to move while not knowing what horrible fate may befall her, including being attacked by goblins or worse. Can you imagine being tied up on the floor, helpless and dying, while knowing that everything around you is just waiting for the right moment to kill you? Not a pleasant idea, right?
Rest is something we all take for granted, seeing it as something that we use to take away the stress of daily life. Every day, we all do things that we don’t particularly want to do such as attending school, doing homework, doing jobs to earn money, taking care of children and ensuring that our homes are clean and supplied. But many people underestimate just how stress could really affect one’s health, physical and mental, if enough of it is built up over time. While doing tasks for others is important for our lives, the thing to do sometimes is take a step back and enjoy some of the little things life has to offer like eating a delicious meal, reading a book or playing a video game. Talking to someone you trust about your problems can help you feel a little better even if it doesn’t actually solve the problems.
The way modern appliances and food are shown throughout the story also serves as a reminder to us about how good life can be for people living in the modern world. In today’s world, we all feel the constant social pressure to succeed in life but if we didn’t live in today’s world, what would we have instead? Can you imagine what it’s like to hand-wash your clothes, fetching water from a well or even going without a proper sewer system? That’s just a hint of what life is like in the medieval-style world that most fantasy stories take place in. It’s really easy to forget such things when it’s part of everyday life. That’s why I am grateful every day for the easier life our technology has given us!
There are times when rest is needed before moving on.