Sweetness & Lightning / Amaama to Inazuma (Vol. 1-7) by Gido Amagakure

I should probably start a tag set for “cooking and eating,” so that if I ever want to go back and look at just HOW MANY of these types of manga I’ve read, I can do it easily.

The back cover copy of Sweetness & Ligtning / Amaama to Inazuma reads thusly:

“Inuzuka Kohei is a teacher who has been caring for his little daughter, Tsumugi, on his own since his wife’s death. He isn’t good at cooking, so they’ve been eating packaged meals from the convenience store. A series of events lead him one evening to a restaurant run by the mother of one of his students, Kotori. Her mother isn’t there, but Kotori does her best to feed them both. It turns out that Kotori is often alone, since her parents are divorced and her mother is frequently not around. The three of them begin to meet and cook tasty food together.”

I read all the collected volumes (a.k.a. tankōbon) that my library had which takes the reader up to Volume 7, Chapter 34: “Favorites Lunch with Shumai.”

Mangakalot, which I linked to in the title above, has up to chapter 40, “Cool Milk Coffee Jelly,” which I’d guess to be another volume’s worth. Baka-Updates suggests there are 9 volumes available in Japan.

There is also a full season of the anime (12 episodes) available on Crunchyroll: http://www.crunchyroll.com/sweetness-lightning, which I haven’t watched yet, as I’m currently watching Elegant Yokai Apartment Life.

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As I have mentioned here before, I’m a sucker for slice-of-life stories, but particularly ones about cooking and single/widowed dads figuring out parenting.  So, the conceit of this manga was right up my alley.

Lately, too, I find I’ve been craving low-risk stories.

I don’t know what this craving is about, entirely–maybe growing older? Being emotionally drained by the awful of the Trump administration?  But, for whatever reason, I have been seeking out happy, easy, non-dramatic manga/anime.

I mean, the biggest drama in Sweetness & Lightning / Amaama to Inazuma so far has been about  Tsumugi’s sadness about her mom and fears of death and Hell.  Mostly it’s Dad trying to figure out how preschool works, getting along with the moms, and trying not to act untoward towards his student, Kotori.

Yeah… about that–the attraction between Kotori and Inuzuka is, so far, above board. I am a little worried this is going to go somewhere awkward, but, at least by volume 7, we’ve had several moment of of “I like him” / “I like spending time with her,” but nothing more romantic than that. In fact, at a sleepover school trip in one of the volumes, one of Kotori’s friends reminds her that it’s okay to like someone and not know what to do about it. That seems to be where they’re leaving the attraction, which is okay with me.

Least you think I’m a total hypocrite, I’m NOT entirely comfortable with teacher/student relationships in yaoi, either. I have read them, and I will read this.  As I’ve long said–hey, fantasies are fantasies, so I’m not gonna judge, even if that goes in this direction.  My one and only hard-no squick is incest, and I’ve even read several of those… so, you know.

That being said, I still will put in my vote that I hope that Sweetness & Lightning / Amaama to Inazuma sticks to the platonic vibe it seems to currently have going. I am cheered by the fact that this was published in the category of seinen, rather than say, shoujo, so there is hope for a non-romatic ending.

There sure are a lot of red faces, though.  I mean, maybe cooking just makes people flush?

And Inuzuki and Kotori go to some lengths not to be discovered being together too often…. which bodes ill. I do hope that this isn’t the kind of seinen that ends with sh*t hitting the fan and everyone’s lives ruined and no one happy. (Maybe I’m thinking of josei…)

Anyway, if you’re looking for something with good recipes and ZERO drama, I highly recommend this series.

Now I’m going to go back and hunt through my reviews to tag all the “cooking and eating” manga…..

I may be here a while.

 

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Not Simple by Ono Natsume

Ono-sensei has such a distinctive art style, it’s too bad that, most of the time, I find her jumpy storytelling hard to follow–the sole exception being House of Five Leaves, (although looking back at my review, I had some of the same problems with the writing there).

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At least, Not Simple is intentionally set up as a frame. It starts with….

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…the main character’s death.

The whole story is told as a ‘how did we get here?’ kind of tale.  I don’t necessarily hate that kind of set-up, but I find it more rewarding when it’s not so unrelentingly grim.

Ian (he’s an Australian) has a really terrible life. You know his life is sh*t, when one of his happiest moments is VISITING HIS SISTER–who is actually his biological mom–IN JAIL.

Ian’s life is so awful that he can be traumatized by bubblegum… and you don’t even really want to know why, and, yet, Ono-sensei tells you all about it. TWICE. (It involves sex work, when Ian is SUPER underage.)

Like much of what I’ve read so far of Ono-sensei’s other work, I spent the whole time waiting for things to get better, which was especially dumb with this one given its frame. I KNEW Ian was literally doomed to die as he’d lived–used by other people for their selfish gain (with a tragic twist of connectivity).

I guess I kept hoping for some kind of explicit relationship to form between Ian and his New York writer/reporter friend, Jim.  Jim is implied to be gay, and seems to have a on again/off again relationship with a (trans?) person named Alex. Jim follows Ian around because he says he wants to make Ian the subject of his new book, because the crap that happens to Ian is almost unbelievable it’s so awful.

For himself, Ian portrayed as ‘simple.’ Everyone who meets him remarks on how weird he is, and he rolls with situations that I suspect most people would react to by yelling “RED FLAG!  RED FLAG!” and running screaming in the other direction.

I’m not sure what the point of Not Simple is.  Because, the story seems to be: sh*t happens to Ian and then he dies.

It’s possible that Ono-sensei thought she was being more subtle with the sister-is-actually-mom-by-incest “mystery,” but that seemed clear to me the first time Ian suggests that he thinks maybe his sister is his mom. Even if the Ian/sister relationship supposed to be the point of the thing, it’s deeply unsatisfactory.  Ian, who made it his life’s quest to reconnect with his sister/mom is thwarted by the fact that, just before he arrives, she dies of pneumonia in jail–actually a complication of AIDS, which Ian also contracted (from the same man, as it happens).

I guess it’s not bad enough that Ian ends up shot to death by a mobster in a case of mistaken identity, but he was already dying of AIDS, given to him by his bio mother’s boyfriend who had been pimping him out at fourteen at the behest of his ‘adoptive’ mother (his father’s wife).

Just even writing that plot point out shows how ridiculous this thing is. The amount of preposterously AWFUL circumstances that have to connect to make this work are unreal (–I didn’t even get to how the “mistaken identity” is actually part of a whole contrived thing where this seemingly random girl wants Ian to pose as her boyfriend because her mob father is going to kill her actual boyfriend, only, it turns out? Random girl isn’t so random.  Her mom is a woman that Ian actually had one nice date with years ago and he’s come back to this particular diner, three years later, in order to meet up with the mom again…).

Slice-of-life, my a$$. This is tragic magic. What can go wrong, will go wrong, and it will all sh*t on Ian in some kind bastardization of “fate.”

Hmmmm, I guess I didn’t really enjoy this manga. It made me sad.

As a bonus, as far as I can tell (and Baka-Updates reports) no one has scanlated it.  You can, however, read a sneak-peak via Viz Media’s official site for the manga: https://www.viz.com/not-simple (looks like you have to have flashplayer to read it, though, so be warned.)

 

Gangsta:Cursed EP_Marco Adriano (Vol. 2) by Kohske / Syuhei Kamo

I had previously reviewed the first volume in this spin-off way back in August of 2015.  I finally got around to reading the second volume yesterday, because my library had them both.

Reading me made me miss the original something fierce.

I’m not convinced that’s a good thing.

But, I’m also not convinced that’s such a bad thing, either.

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The story continues to follow young Marco (aka Spaz) and his horrible gang of Second Destroyers as they slaughter their way through Ergastulum.

If we meet any interesting new Tags, they die within a matter of pages. I made the mistake of liking Chester (from volume 1, which I re-read) and rooting for him…. yeah, that ended badly.

 

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This seems to be an original doodle of Chester and Eva from Kohske’s Twitter.

 

Meanwhile, my theory that the Second Destroyers were brainwashed into their work proves false. Marco/Spaz was apparently just raised to hate Tags and believe that they’re evil.  Striker and his creepy girlfriend are just sociopaths. One of the other ones is doing it for the money, which given that they get a “tragic” backstory, we’re are supposed to be sympathetic towards? NOPE.

I had really been hoping to like this better this time around.

The only thing of interest, I suppose, is the contrived way in which Marco/Spaz and Connie meet for the first time.  Spaz stands around in a daze watching as his minder, Maverick, murders Connie’s parents (interestingly her dad looks almost exactly as I had pictured him when I wrote fan fic about him.) Apparently shaken by the fact that Connie’s parents are Normals whose only crime is helping the Tags, Marco breaks out of his murderous spell to save Connie.

We also discover that the Second Destroyers use drugs to boost their ability to fight Tags/Twilights.  I presume that, in the next several volumes, the connection between them and Monroe, another “super-human” Celebre-user.

Baka-Updates seems to think there are at least five volumes of Gangsta: Cursed available in Japan and it looks like volume three is due out in English this October.

Will I read it?  Apparently, I will–even though I’m extremely disinterested in all the blood and gore, which is what seems to make up 9/10 of this story.  The thing that happened to me when I read both of these volumes is that I remembered just how awesome I found the world of Gangsta. (which I still wish they’d have named Benriya, saying you’re a fan of “Gangsta” is just so…. embarrassing.) In fact, I ended up staying up half the night re-reading all the fic, thinking “OMG, I love Nicolas Brown so hard.”

And I still do.

So I guess if the side effect of reading this gore-fest is that I remember that I love Gangsta., I guess that’s a positive, at least.

As I said in my previous review of the first few chapters of this, I do wish that Kohske-sensei had wanted to write about the things I wanted to know more about, like the mystery that is Veronica, but at least we’re seeing a bit more of the Guild in this one. However, I still sort of feel like Marco is a cool character whose expanded backstory is actually making me like him LESS than I did in the original.

C’est la vie.  Milage may vary.

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More from Kohske-sensei’s Twitter. What I love about her art?  You don’t have to see more than this to KNOW that this is Nic.

Oreimo / Ore no Imōto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai by Tsukasa Fushimi / Hiro Kanzaki (Vol. 1)

Who decides which manga my library gets? Are they COMPLETELY perverted????

Okay, so there I am in the backroom.  The library I’m at is fairly busy, but, at the moment, there’s a lull.  Once again, I hunt around the back room for any manga that hasn’t been shelved yet that has a volume 1.  What do I find?  Oreimo, a.k.a. My Little Sister Can’t Be This Cute / Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai or often, simply Ore no Imouto 

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Are you as afraid as I am about what this is about?  Yeah, well, you’d be right.

What we have here is onii-chan, Kyōsuke Kōsaka, a self-proclaimed normal seventeen year old boy, who happens to think his younger sister is super-duper hot. He tells us early on, “If someone told you she was a magazine model, you wouldn’t doubt it.”

His imoutou (younger sister) is Kirino, with whom he’s had a barely functional relationship for several years running.  They hardly speak to each other.

One day, however,  Kyōsuke runs into Kirino in the hallway of their house. Like, literally, they crash, and her purse spilled out.  She gives him the usual disdainful: “Don’t touch my stuff” scoops up all her belongings and runs off.

Kyōsuke later finds a DVD of a magical girl anime. He’s kind of a dope and can’t figure out who it would belong to (really? You found it in the hallway almost IMMEDIATELY after running into your sister!!)–because no one in their household is into that stuff.  There ain’t no otaku here, damn it!

It gets weirder when he opens up the case–ostensibly to look for a name that might indicate who it belongs to–and discovers that the disc does not match the case. In fact, the disc is an eroge, an erotic game.

Weirder yet, it’s a game in which younger sisters seduce an older brother.

Uh-oh.

Look, incest is a kink.  I get that. You are always, ALWAYS welcome to your kinks in my house.  I’m not going to kink-shame you. What you get up to in your own head is your business.

But, personally, this is not for me.  I kept reading the manga for a while because, I kept thinking…. are they really going to go there?  At first it seems like maybe not.  The younger sister, Kirino seems to be far more into pursing the girls in the game because they are so, so very moe and kawaii.

But then there’s all that blushing that goes on between Kirino and Kyōsuke, and that scene where she crawls up his body with her boobies practically hanging out and drawn lovely, perfectly framed for the male-gaze.

Yeah, nope. For me, that was all she wrote.

Peace out.*

 

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* SPOILER ALERT: Since I didn’t finish this one, I did a little research into it.  I was curious to know if I was wrong about where this was headed. I’m not.  Apparently,  Oreimo is based on a light novel and there is an anime.  The Interwebs tells me that the OVA makes it pretty clear that the siblings are a romantic couple at the end in some kind of happily ever after (?)

Gangsta. 44 by Kosuke

The latest Gangsta. chapter came out yesterday.

I read it twice, but I still feel like maybe I’m missing something that might have been explained in the spin-off, Gangsta.:Cursed, which I admittedly gave up reading because it was so bloody (and I was having a hard time finding a scanlation of it. Looks like I could buy it on Amazon now. I may have to.)

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The chapter opens up with a crowd of Twilights demanding entrance to the Guild. The Guild has closed its doors, however. The only interesting thing about this scene is that we discover that normally a Twilight can buy the protection of the Guild.  When told to move along, one of the women in the crowd says, “Come on, let us in. We have money.”  Someone else complains that they are “the paying customers here” and that the Guild should fire its “useless commodities” to free up room.

This confuses me as to how the Guild works. To be fair, my only previous sense of it is that they kind of act like the military police for the Twilight population, as well as the “regulatory body” in that they are the ones (I think!) that issue tags and class designation.

Then we flash to a series of what I believe are Worick’s memories, possibly triggered by the presence of a fly. Or maybe the fly is just a dramatic/thematic image.

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I love the blood trail on the floor leading to the desk

The scene then shifts to Big Mama’s, where the girls are complaining about not being able to hear something (I’m not sure what) and Worick is standing in the background, looking grim, listening to reports on Marco, aka Spas. Just hearing about Marco, Worick gets a memory flash of Connie.

Mama must have the same thought because she suggests that they (the Destroyers?) are “tying up loose ends” from the Second Destroyer gang from 15 years ago using that woman as bait, she continues, suggesting that Tag-hating Uranos wasn’t officially involved, but she happens to know that the plan was to leave Spas at large with the hopes that he’d switch sides again.

Worick laughs at this idea saying, “That’s a huge miscalculation on your people’s part.”

As he’s saying this we get a series of images in current time of one-armed Connie and Bareta in the fight.  We also seem to get a panel of the fly’s legs, and I’m not sure what that’s supposed to signify–maybe that this whole thing is rotten? Or that there’s nothing left but death and decay?

The next several panels are the fight between Marcos and Striker. Striker continues to be gross and Marcos continues to tell the Destroyers to f*ck off.  It looks to me like Marcos gets a second wind and maybe actually takes out the rape-y lady (Bereta).

We get a couple of silent panels that are clearly intended to be meaningful that I think work better if you’re up on the spin-off.  Through the clearing smoke, we get an image of Marco rushing Striker. Then in grayed-out flashback we get what I assume is Striker’s memory of Marco/Spas leaving, and Striker reaching out a hand to him, as though to try to stop him or beg him to stay.

Next we get Connie struggling to her feet in real-time, shouting something not articulated, and then a grayed flashback to her (I assume) standing in a warehouse as a young girl, possibly when first reaching out to Marco, because she reaches for him now. This reach seems to be a symbol between them, since she did it earlier in this chapter, right before Marco got his second wind.

Then we get a full page spread of their hands clasping, which seems to be in real-time as those are the gloves Marco is currently wearing.

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After this line, which I believe is Marco speaking, saying that the only thing left of “that thing” (meaning Spas) is Marco Adriano, we flash to Worick continuing, “who is utterly worthless,” by which I assume he means to Uranos’s cause, because Worick insists that Marco won’t return to those guys ever.

I’m going line by line here because this plan of Uranos’ literally makes no sense.

To be fair, I only read the first chapter of the Marco spin-off, but I can tell you that from what I read? Spas’ life was grim af. Why on EARTH would anyone want to go back to that kind of living where you kill women and children for sport? Also, only a moron would think that Marco is just screwing around with Connie, she was WEARING HIS RING around her neck.

Also, why is Marco such a hot commodity? He’s not a Tag, he’s one of the superhuman normals, who, if I remember this correctly, have Twilight superpowers without the drawbacks (some better form of Celebre? That part is a little lost to me, but I do remember that the surprise is that Monroe has this, too, and has some kind of mind control ability associated with it, since he could control Delico to shoot Yang in the back, and something weird happened a LOOOOONG time back involving Worick and Monroe’s “smell,” anyone else remember that? It was shortly after Striker was introduced.)

And, maybe that’s it? Maybe Uranos and Monroe were/are counting on whatever brainwashing Marco had at the start to kick back in?  But again, what for? What does having Marco gain them, except possibly a full cadre of Destroyers?

Because then we shift to Loretta Cristiano, whom we discover is the figure collapsed on the desk (I had initially thought it was Worick). She’s calling the Guild head, Paulkee, and apologizing for the delay but telling her that “the person our organization was trusted with managing” Marco/Spas will be terminated / disposed of.

Which leaves me feeling super confused again.

Let me see if I understand what’s going down with Marco.  Somehow, Uranos and Monroe thought hurting Connie would make Marco return to the Destroyers and that was something they WANTED?

Meanwhile, the Guild and the Cristiano gangs have some OTHER connection to Marco (well, we know the Cristiano one, he was basically her bodyguard/mentor/father-figure,) which involved an agreement that would somehow self-destruct/sniper Marco if he gets out of hand?

Okay, I get Cristiano’s stake in Marco, but why the f*ck is the Guild involved?

Marco is not a Twilight. He’s a super-human. Granted, I have long suspected that the Destroyers are part of a government sponsored/initiated program to eradicate the Twilight ‘problem.’  I feel like a government connection was pretty strongly hinted at in the first chapter of Gangsta.:Cursed, and as soon as the Destroyers first showed up in this.  So, perhaps the Guild is keeping an eye on Marco, because they believe he could be turned back to his wicked ways?  Maybe Cristiano looks so depressed because she thinks she’s lost him and now must destroy him?

I guess I could buy that if the idea is supposed to be that Monroe and Uranos think that Marco has some kind of brainwashed trigger built in to his programming that guarantees he’ll switch sides, no matter what.  I’m still not sure why they want that, unless they really feel that Marco + the Destroyers can wipe out all of the Twilights. To be fair, we have certainly seen evidence that the Destroyers are good at this particularly nasty job. They came damn close to taking out Nic (and they got Doug — *sobs*)  But, what we haven’t seen is what would happen if someone like Paulkee or her lover, Ginger, who are at least S/0 class goes up against these supped-up humans.

It also doesn’t entirely explain why the Guild has closed its doors to the Twilight population of Ergastulum.  Unless, Paulkee has decided that she’s only going to protect those who can protect her interests? (But what ARE her interests if not the Twilights of Ergastulum?)  Anyway, seems to me like a dumb strategy. I’d personally take all comers, even whatever’s below D class, with the idea that there’s strength in numbers.

I suspect, as I said above and throughout, I would probably understand why Marco is the lynchpin here if I’d been keeping up with Cursed.

Scum’s Wish/Kuzu no Honkai by Yokoyari Mengo

Sometimes I confuse ‘seinen‘ for josei because both deal with mature subjects, but it seems pretty obvious to me that Scum’s Wish/Kuzu no Honkai was written with a male audience in mind.

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Yokoyari-sensei knows what boys want: boys want girls who are sexually available, but emotionally distant.

The set-up goes like this: Awaya Mugi and Yasuraoka Hanabi are, to everyone at their high school, the perfect couple.  Each harbors a secret, however. They’re in love with someone else, someone unattainable.  For Mugi, it’s the music teacher at school.  Hanabi wants her ‘onii-chan’ who is thankfully not ACTUALLY her older brother, but someone who functions that way (he might be a step-brother, I’m not 100% clear on that.)  Onii-chan is also a teacher at the high school, who happens to have a huge crush on the music teacher.  Mugi and Hanabi decide to date each other based on their mutual sexual frustration.

As the song says, “If you can’t be with the one you love; honey, love the one you’re with.”

Maybe I’m sexist, but this is where everything starts to feel like a big dude wish fulfillment thing to me, because Scum’s Wish get’s pretty darned explicit.  Whenever the two of them are frustrated over the romance between the objects of their affection, a lot of sexy times ensue. Mugi claims he won’t have sex with Hanabi at one point, but there’s an under-the-covers hand job that happens, so I guess by ‘sex’ he means the traditional tab a into slot b thing. (If that’s the only definition of sex, then as a lesbian, I’m a virgin. And, maybe you think I am, but over here we just call that being a “gold star lesbian.”)

Speaking of lesbians, the story get complicated because there’s all sorts of unrequited love flying around including Ebato (Eci-chan) Sanae, Hanabi’s very best girlfriend who really wants to be a girlfriend of the romantic, rather than platonic, variety.  She was my favorite character, of course.

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D’uh! YOU!!!

Of course, when this question comes up, Hanabi instantly guesses that the answer is “yes,” but never figures it’s her.  So, of course, her next suggestion is, “Let’s have a sleepover!” ostensibly to talk boys, but of course this is torturous for Eci-chan and she ends up kissing Hanabi… who gets a LOT of action for someone not into anyone other than her onii-chan.

But, even this lesbian affair seems to have the male-gaze written all over it. Eci-chan really just wants to get into Hanabi’s pants at any cost, even her self-esteem, because she offers herself as a female version of a sex toy, since she’s found out that Hanabi isn’t all that into Mugi.

I think the other problem I have is with this is the “bad apple,” (that’s her chapter’s title), the music teacher, Minagawa Akane. Her entire chapter is devoted to showing the reader that Akane will sleep with anyone because she has an almost sexually-motivated desire to play people. She especially likes stealing men from other women, which is why she’s working Hanabi’s onii-chan.

Is that gross or sex positive?  Currently, for me, that feels kind of gross.

Like my sense is that the women in this manga are getting kind of a short shrift.  I’m not sure how I feel about it.  There’s something, like I said, that puts me off a bit, yet, I have to admit that I read all 15 chapters available at MangaReader in one sitting.  So… there is a kind of soap opera appeal to it all.

Maybe I should go watch the 12 episode anime or the live-action show?  I guess the anime is available on KissAnime.  You can watch the live action on YouTube.

Oishinbo by Tetsu Karina / Akira Hanasaki

Cover art of Oishinbo: Japanese Cuisine

Food! Glorious food!

There are so many manga about food, and Oishinbo: Japanese Cuisine (January 20, 2009; à la Carte volume 20) and Oishinbo: Ramen & Gyoza (May 19, 2009; à la Carte volume 2) are only a couple (–and the only two in this seven volume series that my library had.)

As I read them, I had to wonder: what is the appeal of reading about people appreciating good food?

This is a phenomenon true of things like The British Baking Show and The Iron Chef and a whole slue of cooking competition shows, too, and I’m not sure I entirely understand it. I APPRECIATE it, because I always end up getting deeply sucked into these things, but I’m really not sure what it is about them that makes them at all compelling.

Is it because food is so universal?

We all have to eat.  Most of us, even those of us with unrefined taste, would love to eat delicious food, prepared by experts.

Certainly, for me, reading about Japanese food as a Westerner has the extra layer of getting to learn new things about stuff I’m deeply curious about.  (To be fair, that’s the appeal of any slice-of-life for me.)

Plus, most of these food-centric manga also provide some kind of story in the background.  Even if it’s the kind of gentle concerns of regular life, like you find in What Did You Eat Yesterday?/Kinou Nani Tabeta. Obviously, there are high-drama food-centric manga, too, like Toriko and Food Wars!

Oishinbo is more in the vein of What Did You Eat Yesterday? in that it follows the day-to-day adventures of two food critics/food experts, Shiro Yamaoka and his partner, Yūko Kurita, particularly as they try to gather ideas for a feature article on the “Ultimate Menu.”

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There’s not a lot to spoil in these manga.  They really mostly are about two food critics that work a prominent food guide, going about their business, eating a lot of food, and discussing it.  There are mini-arcs that involve little dramas, like the two twin sisters who married two twin brothers who used to run a ramen shop together until they were awarded a third star and began to argue about who deserved credit for the upgrade. Their fight became so acrimonious that one of the brothers opened up a shop across the street both claiming to be the “original,” and they’re destroying the remains of their customer base by always arguing in the streets.  Shiro sweeps in and discovers that actually their ramen is terrible separately, but amazing together.

A very special ramen episode!

I also really liked the story where a hapless friend of Shiro’s has finally found the girl of his dream.  The problem? She comes from a fancy, upperclass family and he knows nothing of fine dining.  He begs Shiro and Yūko to double-date with him, so he doesn’t flub it.

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As you can see, the art style is very clunky and old-fashioned.

Shiro gets his friend through the meal, but the pressure of it all breaks him. At the end of the meal he shouts, “No! This is dishonest! I’m not this kind of person, I’m just a simple ramen and rice guy! I can’t do this fancy stuff!”  Yūko suggests that if this was so dishonest, maybe they’d better try again at a place he feels comfortable.  So, a few days later he takes them to a hole-in-the-wall for an amazing meal of simple fare.  The love interest has never been to a place like this because all her paramours think she needs the fancy stuff, and so she makes her love confession, and everyone lives happily ever after eating the authentic food of their social class!

There’s an overarching story of the deep rivalry between Shiro and his father, who is a master of all arts (calligraphy, pottery) and also famous for his culinary genius.  Shiro is forever being corrected in the proper Japanese way of doing things, and dad is always being surprised by Shiro’s clever, foodie innovations (though he won’t admit it.)

Alas, none of these volumes are available on-line anywhere I could find; Baka-Updates implies no one is scanlating them.  Otherwise, I would recommend them if you’re interested in food and liked What Did You Eat Yesterday? but wanted a tiny bit more “action” to the plot. If you’re super-curious, you can download a sample chapter of it from its official site on Viz Media. (And of course, they’ll let you buy it right there, if you decide you like it!)

Cover image of Oishinbo