Manga of the Month: Wakako-zake

Wakako-zake by Chie Shinkyu

Wakako is a young office worker who understands the pure pleasure of a good bite to eat and good drink to go alongside it. Usually that means popping in an eatery after work, but even at home or at a wedding, Wakako has her food priorities straight.

Short chapters pack a lot of punch with lovingly detailed food shots and Wakako’s wide-eyed face that is made for good reactions. A contented “PSHEWWW” often escapes her lips as she enjoys her meal.

From the simple pleasures of fried chicken and rolled omlette, to the exotic treasures of monkfish foie gras and grilled turban shell, Wakako appreciates all ends of the culinary spectrum.

Often depicted alone, but not lonely, Wakako not only takes great pleasure from eating food but also feels no shame in it. Whether you read a chapter now and then or a whole book at once, you’ll be uttering  a happy “PSHEWWW” yourself.



Manga of the Month: Restaurant to Another World

Restaurant to Another World (異世界食堂 ) by Takaaki Kugatsu

hisui_icon_4040_round It only makes sense that there would be demand for anime and manga centered around food. With the sheer diversity of topics that manga touches upon and considering how much eating is just a fundamental part of being a human, it would be bizarre if there were not some manga about food. And make no mistake there have been plenty of series about food and cooking from Mister Ajikko to Ristorante Paradiso. Some are extremely mundane like Sweetness and Lightning but you also have the crazy over the top antics of Yakitate!! Japan. You even have the ultra-macho Iron Wok Jan as well as the soft and gentle Yumeiro Patissiere. But recently I feel there has been an increase in the number of food-related manga being adapted into anime. Our recent New Shows for Older Fans panel had four food-based shows on the list and Crunchyroll recently started a Cooking With Anime column.  So cooking manga has always been around but it has gotten a bit of a bump thanks to some higher profile anime.

Therefore I wanted to talk a bit about Restaurant to Another World this month. I feel it is an exciting mixture of many of the extremes of food manga. It is fairly fantastical while still feeling pretty grounded. A nice medium between the poles of Oishinbo and Toriko. The base of an Iyashikei series like Bartender with the fantasy spice of Delicious in Dungeon.

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Manga of the Month: Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru (And Yet the Town Moves)
(それでも町は廻っている) by Masakazu Ishiguro

hisui_icon_4040 Kate and I were just talking about the fact that Crunchyroll manga site is probably the greatest boon for the Manga of the Month that has ever existed. It has a wide selection of lesser known manga that you can easily recommended with minimal financial  cost while talking about titles that are getting legitimate release. Theoretically  you can also do that with Weekly Shonen Jump but Jump titles are almost universally (with a few exceptions) the series that need the least amount of hype. Plus with titles like Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches (which you should be reading) there is a lot to recommend. So I should start with Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru.

Soredemo Machi wa Mawatteiru is plucky fighter who keeps getting knocked down but gets up again in the English manga scene. It has always been a series that has been a long shot. Quirky comedies are never the best-selling genre for manga in the United States outside of a very select few exceptions. So when JManga picked up the manga for the site it was just a part of the off-kilter nature of their lineup. But sadly JManga shut down it was  unfortunate but not that unexpected. While Soredemo was one of the most popular titles on the site it seems as if destined to be one of those series that got a brief time in the sun but little more than that. Then almost out of nowhere it seems that Soredemo has risen from the ashes like a phoenix. It is available legitimately once again on Crunchyroll manga and is even being simulpubed.

That is a comeback kid story.

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