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It feels odd for me to say, but I do think I’m the type of person who gravitates towards cooking shows in anime. I don’t think I’m the best cook in the world, but I do like to try out new recipes. I also have a clear preference for Asian cuisine. I can’t imagine where that comes from.
I say this mostly because my sister has told me in the past that she doesn’t have as much of an interest for food in anime because it doesn’t look appetizing. So, I feel like my interest has to come from somewhere entirely different. But that’s mostly a tangent. The real point of this post is to go over some of my favorite cooking shows, so let’s get to that.
5. Isekai Izakaya Nobu
I feel like it’s unfair to put this show together with Isekai Shokudou because they’re so similar. However, I will say that this series gives the audience a lot more of the cooking aspect than its counterpart. Small segments at the end of some episodes go over home-cooked versions of the featured dish for the episode, giving viewers something to try themselves. It’s also a fun show if you want to watch people freak out about beer. Otherwise, the dishes featured in this show are fairly typical for Japanese bar food.
4. Emiya-san Chi no Kyou no Gohan
I’ve always found myself on the fence with the Fate series, but I can confidently say that I loved this show. Set in a more peaceful version of the Grail War, this series brings together all of the familiar faces from the story you know and portrays them instead as a series of acquaintances who collectively enjoy Shirou Emiya’s cooking. The show also makes it pretty clear when to start taking notes, because a very distinction song starts playing whenever the cooking intensifies.
3. Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi*
I’ve already written a review for this series, so I won’t rehash it too much. Like many of the other shows on this list, this series explores food in the context of a different world. This time, the inhabitants are many of the yokai from Japanese folklore. Unlike other shows from the list, this series has more of a story progression to it, with the main character Aoi effectively saving the world with her cooking. It’s a bit dramatic for my taste, but the series as a whole is fun. The dishes featured in this show tend to be more on the fancy side, though.
2. Isekai Shokudou (Restaurant to Another World)
This is another show that I’ve reviewed. I clearly have a type. I enjoyed this series for putting together the intriguing setting of a fantasy world together with a humble restaurant. It puts forward a truly diverse range of personalities, which gives itself an excuse to feature a similarly diverse range of dishes. Also, it adds in some Western influence to the dishes to make them a lot more interesting.
1. Amaama to Inazuma (Sweetness and Lightning)
This show feels like it really does it all. A cooking show isn’t where I would expect to find a story about a widower attempting to raise his daughter alone or a lovesick high school girl trying to make sense of her feelings. I enjoyed watching the characters grow as a makeshift family through a simple love for cooking.
On top of that, the series had the perfect pretense to explore a vast array of recipes while simultaneously keeping them simple. Because the main character, Kyouhei Inuzuka, was learning how to cook from the ground up, the recipes needed to be understandable for him. And Tsumugi gave the series range by just being a child who requested dishes based on pure whim.
Honorable Mention: Uchimusume (I’d love to count it, but it’s still airing)