The story takes place in 19th century China during the Qing Dynasty, where the Emperor was weakened and the country was close to chaos. It is also during a fictitious era called "The Era of the Cooking Wars". It was an era in which top chefs with different cooking styles tried their best to improve their skills and to become the best chef in China. It is a country where insulting a high-grade chef or fooling around with cooking could land a person in a jail, and impersonating a top-chef is as good as usurpation of authority. Chefs compete with each other in order to gain respect and even power, but also with the risks of losing everything.
The country of China has four major regions: Beijing, Szechuan, Shanghai, and Guangdong.
The beginning of the story takes place in Szechuan, Mao's birthplace.
After the death of Mao's mother, Pai, who was called the 'Fairy of Cuisine', Mao becomes a Super Chef in order to take the title as Master Chef of his mother's restaurant. However, before he takes his mother's place as Master Chef, he continues to travel China in order to learn more of the many ways of cooking, in the hopes of becoming a legendary chef, just like his mother. During his journey, he meets great friends and fierce rivals who wish to challenge him in the field of cooking.
#1: "Aoi Sora ni Deaeta (青い空に出逢えた)" by Arisa Tsujio (eps 1-20) #2: "Mineral (ミネラル)" by Kaori Nanao (eps 21-36) #3: "Kaze no You ni Jiyuu: Free as the Wind (風のように自由~free as the wind~)" by Keiko Utoku (eps 37-52)
First chinese dubbed anime that I just finished watching, so the story's still fresh in my mind. I've seen bits of this anime in our local channel, back then it was already pretty interesting but I haven't been able to catch it always on tv. The plot is very interesting, centering around a 13 year old boy who has a magical touch when it comes to cooking. Like his mom, Mao believes cooking should be used to bring happiness to people, and this is the theme the story revolves in. One can't help but cheer for Mao as he goes through
several tough cooking competitions. Ever watch the Ironchef Master show in Japan? This is the anime version. Man, I can't help but crave dimsums, fried rice, & other chinese food while watching this. What's interesting is that the show offers lots and lots of trivias about food -- I never realized till I watched it that there are lots of food that can actually improves our health! The characters are very well done, all of them are likeable and its more effective since it uses the bad-guy-turned-good-guy style, making us like the other characters that we thought annoying at first. The phasing of the series is great as well -- with each event getting more and more interesting as one watches. The parts I definitely like is the Super Chef competition. The Dark Society of the cooking chefs and the quest for the legendary utensils added that suspense factor, making it not just an ordinary cooking competition. The only thing that lessens the enjoyment a bit is the ending -- I was thinking there must be another chapter to this but its the end, apparently this is the case wherein the audience is left to imagine that Mao's group defeated their enemies, him accepting top chef position and finding all the legendary utensils. Its too bad since if they had just made it a bit longer, the ending would definitely be a happy ever after
To me, this series is one of the most underrated series that I have ever watched. The Chinese cooking theme is surprisingly interesting, although the cooking style and food appearances are a little over exaggerated to me, but I still like it.
I remembered when I was a kid, I've watched like 2-5 episodes of this on TV and thought that I want to Completely watch it. My first impression of it was something like making Yakitate Japan into a cooking anime set in 19th century China. Watching it completely right now, I saw that this was really an enjoyable series. The story was alright (though they say the manga was better), It was not predictable(unlike other shounen anime were you already know how the MC will win),it also made good cliffhangers and twists which was truly unexpected, and the animation is good for an 80's show.
I think I can't say anything bad about the show except that they should have made Liu Mao Shing more older. I know the show is titled Cooking Master "BOY" but come on I don't think a 13 year old boy would have fell in love or travelled all over China. I think they should've made him
older like 15. But other than that, it was ton of fun watching this and I hope you do as well.
I first encountered Chuuka Ichiban when I was about 10, as reruns of it were being shown on Chinese TV. The premise is quite simple: the protagonist Liu Mao Xing explores China's culinary landscape, while making friends and battling other chefs, in order to become a legendary chef himself. I didn't remember too much from the show, but I did remember having a lot of fun and learning about food at the same time (entertaining and educational - who'd have thought?) The simple premise, humor and intense cooking scenes were enough to keep me hooked back then.
I revisited the show about a year ago, mainly
due to nostalgia. Although the animation and sound don't hold up to today's standards anymore, I still felt the same degree of excitement I did 10 years ago. The characters are quirky and likeable, the show doesn't take itself too seriously (and neither should you), and there's also LOTS OF FOODPORN. Not only do all of the dishes look scrumptious and amazing, but the show always manages to re-imagine traditional Chinese cuisine in creative and unexpected ways. Being half Chinese, I really appreciated that. (If you're interested in Chinese cuisine in any shape, way or form, I would also recommend this show - it's certainly more entertaining than a documentary)
Verdict: this is the kind of show you can watch sporadically, when you're looking for some light-hearted entertainment that'll make you hungry (you have been warned). The show doesn't place too much emphasis on an over-arching storyline, so you can jump in and out without feeling guilty. I didn't watch it for the character development or compelling plot, but for the sheer joy of accompanying Mao on his quest to become the very best.
There’s just something about anime food that makes us drool with desire, and food has been the main theme of various anime series. If you’re looking to satisfy your food and anime cravings all in one go, get a taste of these fun and interesting cooking anime series.