Among the many Japanese artworks, the anime seems to be one of their more popular creations. These anime illustrations usually come from a manga and their storylines range from basic to more complex ideas. A storyline that doesn’t seem to get old for the Japanese is the cooking scene. There have been anime made in the 90’s about cooking or about how a kid eventually became the best chef in all of Japan. Until this day, they create new cooking anime that find ways to present this storyline in fresh perspectives.
Japanese Anime about Cooking Released from the late 80’s to 90’s
There could be many reasons why people find the anime created in the late 80’s to 90’s something worth watching. Some of these anime pioneered the innovation and creativeness of the newer anime that you see on television nowadays. These things are also nice to watch because they are based on a much older time and when a certain anime is set in a specific period in the past, you can almost be sure that what you will see is exactly how it was in those times. It’s as if the writers and illustrators took it out of the history books.
There are some anime that stick to the history of the timeline they are depicting and then there are some anime that put a twist on the events to spice things up. An example of such an anime that plays with the timeline is the anime called “Chuuka Ichiban”. It was released in the spring of 1997 and was created by Nippon Animation. Unlike most anime, Chuuka Ichiban is one that is situated in China rather than in Japan.
The story’s timeline starts during the Qing Dynasty which was in the 19th century and all details they used were pretty close to what actually happened until they introduced the era that soon followed which was called “The Era of the Cooking Wars”. This cooking war pertained to the battle that all the top chefs were having to claim the title of best chef in all of China. This was highly relevant at the time because, during this era, China was a country that looked at chefs as if they were government officials. If you were to insult a chef or fool around with his or her cooking, you could end up in jail.
There are four major regions in China which are namely Beijing, Szechuan, Shanghai, and Guandong. The story of Chuuka Ichiban begins in Szechuan which is the birthplace of the protagonist of the story, Mao. Mao’s mother, Pai, was a well-known cook. She was even called the “Fairy of Cuisine”. After her death, Mao becomes determined to be the Master Chef of his mother’s restaurant so he works extremely hard to become a Super Chef which is the prerequisite to earning the title as the Master Chef of his mother’s restaurant. Right before he gets the title of Master Chef, he decides to go on a pilgrimage of some sort to learn all kinds of techniques found all over China and so begins the adventures of Chuuka Ichiban.
A cooking anime from the late 80’s worth mentioning is “Mister Ajikko”. It isn’t based on any specific timeline but it does have an interesting story. It was aired in the fall of 1987 and its story revolves around a man named Ajiyoshi Yoichi. Yoichi is supposedly a culinary prodigy who helps his mother manage an eating house. On a random day, a man named Murata Genjiro appeared at the eating house and was shocked with how delicious the katsu-don prepared by Yoichi was. Because of this, he was invited to a place where cook-offs were held and it was there that he fought his first opponent chef, Marui. With his natural skills and experience in service, he easily defeated the Italian chef and it was at that moment that Yoichi’s journey to compete with other chefs around the world began.
There are certainly a lot more cooking anime from the 90’s but these two are the most well-known ones from that decade. If you want to compare and observe the progression of this anime, these two anime will surely be a great baseline as you watch your way to present time cooking anime like Shokugeki no Souma and a lot more great and entertaining anime. These two anime may be 20 years old already but the drawings and illustrations of the food in these anime will still surely make you crave for some food while watching it.
Japanese Anime Shows about Cooking Released in the 21st Century
The cooking anime from the 90’s have a similarity and this is that all their stories have a person or people on a journey to be the best. This is a very fun and entertaining plot to follow and it proved successful considering the fame and popularity these anime have received throughout the years. The cooking anime from the 21st century is a different breed of anime because they make use of different, but still very entertaining, plots that make it possible for a variety of these shows to have a wider scope of audience. Competition is still a big part of the story but the more recent cooking anime show that there is a deeper goal than just being the best cook nowadays.
A perfect example of such an anime series is Shokugeki no Souma. This anime was released in the year of 2015 and it is an anime that comprised of a lot of competition but its story isn’t simplified to just a hero’s journey to being the best cook the world has ever seen. It starts off by introducing the protagonist of the story who is Souma Yukihira. He has worked as his father’s sous chef in their family restaurant since he was a kid. All he ever dreamed in life was to eventually own their family restaurant so that he could continue to entertain their customers with his creative and daring culinary creations.
Sadly, his father suddenly decides to close their restaurant to improve his own cooking skills so his son, Souma, was sent to a culinary school called “Tootsuki Culinary Academy” to learn as well as his father improved on his craft too. Tootsuki is known for two things, the first would be that only 10 percent of the students graduate from Tootsuki and the second thing would be that this school holds food wars which are cooking face-offs. With this type of high-level competitiveness, Souma’s skills are put to the test and he must give it his all just to graduate and still make this dream a reality some day.
Another anime that proves the evolution of the plots used for these type of anime is the show called “Yakitate!! Japan”. Yakitate means freshly baked in Japanese and this is exactly what this anime revolves around. Kazuma, the protagonist of this story, was a child that was deprived bread because his grandfather strictly ate only natto, miso soup, and rice. His sister, who loved bread, took Kazuma to a bakery that this was the moment that Kazuma found his passion for bread.
When they were at the bakery, Kazuma’s passion for bread was not the only discovery made because the owner of the bakery noticed that Kazuma has a rare gift. He called it the “Hands of Sun” which meant that Kazuma had hands that were at a perfect temperature to make delicious bread. Being so in love with bread, Kazuma grew up dreaming of continuing his bread-making and when he turns sixteen, he finds himself an opportunity to make it come true by earning a spot at the foremost bakery in Japan known as “Pantasia”.
There are a lot of other anime that show a unique plot for cooking anime that can be up for recommendation. These are the likes of Koufuku Graffiti and Ristorante Paradiso which, coincidentally enough, have protagonists that are girls so if the ones mentioned above were not enough to satisfy your curiosity, you should definitely check out these anime as well.
Japanese Anime Recipes Brought to Life
You see a lot of food drawn into several anime scenes and episodes. It can be scenes where the characters eat and sometimes they even have moments where all they show is a steamy bowl of ramen or a mouthwatering dish of katsu-don. Because of how perfect they sometimes exhibit these everyday dishes, some people actually took the time to create recipes that bring some anime dishes to life.
There are a couple of recipes to be discussed and it will start with the onigiri from the popular anime called “Pokemon”. The onigiri is practically a rice meal compacted into a triangular rice sandwich. This dish is pretty simple and you can add other ingredients that you might want to eat with your rice with ease. It is made up of rice, salt, nori, furikake, peas, soy sauce, and the filling. Once the rice is cooking and cool enough to shape, start by putting the rice in a plastic wrap. After laying out the rice, you can now put all the other ingredients you want inside your rice sandwich. Once all other fillings are in place, just close the plastic wrap and begin to mold it into the triangular shape you would want. Just like that, you have your onigiri.
Another recipe you can bring to life is the “Chocolate Cornets” from the anime “Lucky Star”. This is a cone-shaped pastry and it is made up of 1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour, 1 ½ cups of half and half, 1 tbsp. of milk powder, a tbsp. of water, 1 egg, 1 ½ tbsp. of sugar, 2 tbsp. of melted butter, 1 tsp. of instant yeast, ½ tsp. of salt, 8 ounces of chocolate chips, and 1 tbsp. of unsalted butter.
Basically, you mix everything in a bowl except for the chocolate chips because you’ve had to melt that later and use it as the filling for the cone. Once all other ingredients are mixed, you should have the dough. Keep mixing until the dough is soft and consistent in texture and then you use tin foil to mold the dough into its cone shape. Preheat your over to 350 F and bake the dough with its tin foil mold. Make sure to grease the tin foil to make it easier to separate the dough after baking it.
Once your cone-shaped dough has become a hollow pastry, melt the chocolate and pour it into the cone. Wrap it in plastic to contain the melted chocolate and then place it into the refrigerator to cool the chocolate faster. Once cool, remove the wrap and you will have your “Chocolate Cornet” ready to eat. You may also reheat it to make the dough and chocolate a bit softer but that would be completely up to your preference.
If you search online, you will also find recipes for dishes like the “Chocolate Curry Buns” from Black Butler and the Katsu-don from “Yuri!!! On Ice”. Remember that these recipes are usually homemade so although they are a great basis for the recipe, feel free to tweak it if you feel like you can add something to make it better.
The anime that the Japanese make usually incorporate and showcase a lot of their traditions and the things they value. Judging from the amount of cooking anime to be found and their obvious attempts to elevate the plots for these types of anime to give them more meaning, it can easily be seen that food and cooking is a great part of the Japanese culture. With this being said, immersing yourself with these cooking anime or trying out the recipes from these anime can be a great way to learn another side of the Japanese culture. Nevertheless, you don’t lose because these cooking anime are great stories and the recipes from these anime are simply delicious.