Random Lists: 5 Favorite Cooking Shows

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Is this relevant?

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.

Rin finishes the food

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.

Patron is surprised to find raw fish on the menu

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.

Saber enjoys the water

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)

Isekai Izakaya Review: The most important beer in the other world

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Questioning whether the food is good

I’ve always been a sucker for a cooking show, and this one’s a pretty light one. Split across 24 half-length episodes, this series follows a Japanese bar named Izakaya Nobu, which is connected to another world. Together, the two Japanese characters work to serve a range of customers coming from a completely different culture. It’s a premise very similar to the series Isekai Shokudou, so it’s hard not to compare the two.

Tactical retreat is important

I do think that this series does a lot to distinguish itself. From an adaptation standpoint, each episode ends with a return to the real world. A short segment after the credits will feature either a local bar somewhere in Japan or a recipe related to the main dish in the episode. Anime food is fun to watch and all, but seeing real-world food can be pretty appetizing.

The girl is hard to please

While Isekai Shokudou brought with it a wide set of characters, each with vastly different backgrounds, Isekai Izakaya is probably a bit more focused. The series tends to focus more on how the restaurant fits into the society of the other world, and the characters are all local to a particular part of that world. As such, many characters recur, which builds a stronger sense of community within the series.

Wondering about the elder

Additionally, the setting of Isekai Izakaya has more of a Western medieval atmosphere, as opposed to the clear fantasy setting of its counterpart. As a result, I think the series loses out on the clear “other world” feeling when it’s introducing its characters, but the issues that the main characters face feel a lot more relatable as a result. I suppose it’s a matter of preference.

Confusion

Overall, I personally think that it’s unfortunate that this series aired so soon after Isekai Shokudou, since I think that show takes the same concept and does a better job. That being said, this series has a lot of things going for it, and tends to be more inspiring from a practical standpoint. Many of the items in the show are standard Japanese food, but the episodes end with fun variations that brought new ideas for experimentation in the kitchen.

Overall Score: 7/10

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi Review: Saving the spirit world with food

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Aoi is taken as a bride

In general, I’m naturally fascinated by show that explore folklore, because I tend to see it as a gateway into the thoughts of older generations. Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi is kind of an odd case, though. I never felt particularly impressed by the series while I was watching it (until the very end). If you look at the posts I wrote while the show was airing, there was a common theme that I didn’t think the show was “right” for me, and I stick with that evaluation. I think I was always going to compare this show to Konohana Kitan, a similar show that I greatly enjoyed.

Aoi is shown the contract

The main character, Aoi Tsubaki, is a student with the ability to see ayakashi. After her grandfather dies, an oni appears before her and tells her that she is to be his wife in compensation for a debt incurred by her late grandfather. Aoi naturally refuses, stating instead that she will create a restaurant to pay off the debt. Right off the bat, I think that this is a bit of a strange premise, and it ultimately serves as a bad running joke to justify the plot in my eyes.

Aoi is not amused

Part of what I think the series does well is treating the various ayakashi as “effectively human”, each having their own set of concerns and goals. It’s as if the series is approaching it with the idea that “we’re all the same”, which isn’t necessarily a bad approach. It makes the heartwarming moments work well, and I think the show feels a bit more grounded as a result.

Aoi isn't sure where to go

The reason I say that this doesn’t appeal specifically for me is that I typically enjoy seeing how shows “interpret” older folk tales. This puts the focus on the stories themselves, and I think it explores what the people who created the stories might have been thinking at the time. Instead, Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi is almost more like a show about a typical “human” setting, and the characters just happen to be ayakashi.

A mysterious mask from Aoi's past

This series also has a weird problem at the halfway point. In the main story of the series, Aoi’s husband-to-be runs a spirit world inn, and Aoi typically befriends the various characters with her cooking ability. However, there’s a point in the story where it almost resets itself, putting Aoi in a new inn with a completely different set of characters to befriend in practically the same way. It’s a jarring shift that I still think is awkwardly placed. As a result, I think the series ends up with more characters than it can reasonably keep track of, as well.

Aoi probes for answers

Along with that, there’s always this weird sense that Aoi’s only special because she can reasonably make human food. In a world where everyone can use magic, it seems like being somewhat ordinary gives her a suitable power of her own. That being said, I thought that the series was generally pretty solid. As I mentioned before, it has strong character focus that is handled well. It also happens to have some of my favorite music in its airing seasons, which was surprising for me.

Overall Score: 7/10

Random Impressions Summer 2018 (Week 6): Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi, Shichisei no Subaru

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Time for some random. I haven’t talked about these shows in a while.

Kakuriyo no Yadomeshi Episode 20

I haven’t really talked too much about this series because it has maintained a general status of being “okay”. The emotional stories don’t really hit particularly hard, but they’re not particularly bad. The series itself just kind of goes through a bunch of character stories. In all, I think my opinion of this series has been mired by poor expectations.

I don’t get the sense of what Aoi contributes to the hidden realm other than being someone who can cook food from the apparent realm. This series is effectively a tale of the problems you can solve with cooking. And like I’ve said, it’s not really a bad thing…just not what I was looking for.

Well, I guess they’re making progress.

The one part I thought was weird was that the second half of the series has seemed like a kind of “reset” on Aoi. I think the series plays to its strengths by introducing a new set of characters for Aoi to befriend, but it feels a bit too much like a repeat.

Shichisei no Subaru Episode 5

I’ve generally avoided talking about this series too often because I haven’t really been enjoying it. I can understand that the characters have drifted apart from losing Asahi, but it’s still not fun watching them act like jerks throughout the entire series.

You know, three guilds banded together to kidnap Asahi, and I still have no idea why. They keep talking about her Sense, but that can’t be the only reason, right? It’s not like she has to use it for their benefit if they “obtain” her. I feel like this could have been set up better. I want to know why Asahi randomly became a MacGuffin.

So, does the game want Subaru to get back together or something? Maybe I made the mistake of stopping one episode before the explanation or something…

The Rest of the Season

It’s a well-established fact that I tend to watch too many series every season. Here’s my opinion of some of the shows that haven’t been appearing on my blog regularly (side note: I’m going to try to use my Twitter account to talk about these shows more regularly…if you’re interested).

[HorribleSubs] Hibike! Euphonium - 06 [720p].mkv_snapshot_17.37_[2015.05.14_19.32.08]

Hibike Euphonium

This is a show that I’m really upset that I didn’t continue covering. As a former band student (from my high school days), I feel like I could speak a lot to what’s being said in this show, but I had my usual aversion to covering slice of life shows, so I decided against it (also, I jumped on the bandwagon pretty late because I never expected to be watching this show). It’s actually very easy for someone like me to relate to this show, being that I was someone who was similarly participating in the school’s concert band pretty halfheartedly like the main character Kumiko. It’s interesting to see the other side.

I was never very emotionally invested in competitive band because I decided that it wasn’t where I wanted to put my effort, but Kumiko seems to be going in the opposite direction…though to be fair, it’s starting to look like it’s mostly fueled by peer pressure. A specific part of the series that I wanted to talk about that I haven’t seen mentioned much elsewhere is the choosing of instruments. Hazuki’s experience with choosing tuba for as simple a reason as just having the mouthpiece seems somewhat appropriate. I only chose percussion because my school’s band didn’t have enough people in that section and I couldn’t decide. I also want to mention (though it’s not really important) that my school’s band only had auditions to determine placements (and it actually wasn’t biased towards more senior members). Anyone could join the competitive band, but the director did kick some people out for not having proper motivation.

Shokugeki no Soma – Not really all too much to say here. This series has actually been fairly faithful to the manga (though the foodgasm adaptations are arguably a bit overboard).

Ore Monogatari – Surprisingly, this one’s not bad. It’s goofy enough that I’m not bored even if not that much stuff is going on. That being said, I’m pretty sure this can’t last long. Confession happening too early means they either have to fill the space with excess drama or get creative…