Feb 19, 2022
The Oishinbo series might be the best cooking anime ever produced by Japan despite how "old" it is, the reasons for which I will go over below. This almost "ancient history" 1990s hidden gem was not much watched despite how good it is, and the series is only partially subbed which is a shame since it is practically the epitome of what a food anime should be. Due to frustrations at not being able to watch the full series, I turned to the movies and was surprised there was no review, so here is the first!
Don't kill me but it's the truth. The movie
animation is about the same quality as the series except with slightly more "rounded" faces to the characters. Animation wise this is considered average in the 1990s. By current 2020+ standards, it's just poor and there's no getting around that.
The OP, Insert, ED and other songs are extremely low key mellow and very suited for the anime. They do however, sound old fashioned, or I would have scored this higher.
Story, Character, Enjoyment 9/10
Despite the dated art and sound, this is a great movie to watch. It starts with Rival newspapers challenging each other to a Shoukugeki (Food War) with the theme being foods that improve longevity. Our main character, Yamaoka is immediately incentivized when he finds out his hated father is playing for the other side. Yuuko suggests visiting Okinawa as that region has people with the longest life expectancy in the world. Along the way we come across various food philosophies and a plotline on the environment versus profit as a group wants to build an airport that may destroy the Island's "Emerald Sea" and Reefs.
Everything here was presented well, without any judgment or being preachy, which I thought the show did well. As a scuba diver, it is my goal to dive the Great Barrier Reef before it is ruined by sedimentary run-off from sugar cane plantation clay / fertilizer washing into the ocean, that coupled by global warming of the sea is already killing off a lot of the reef, jeopardizing the reef's inhabitants and killing tourism. What I did not learn, until watching this anime, is Okinawa's "Emerald Seas" are due to it's thriving reef eco-system, which one character said was better than the Great Barrier Reef. Now because of this show Okinawa has made it onto the list of "places to dive before I die".
The other thing I must mention is the love, care and reverence this anime shows us as the typical Japanese Food Tradition. It's not just the ingredients, their freshness and their medicinal or nutritional usage but also the preparation. Two things struck me in particular.
1. The Pig's Feet and other Dishes contains gelatin and CHONDROITIN - if you have any older folks in your family you might be aware they take daily supplements of Glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM to relieve osteo-arthritis. A lot of older folks I know take this daily as missing a dose will result in the return of aches and pains in their joints. To find out Okinawans llive longer, pain free lives because their diet includes things that contain chondroitin naturally, without having to take pills ... well .. that explains A LOT!!
2. There is a scene where Yamaoka ladles some of his food into a saucer and tastes from the saucer (not a tasting spoon) so he can use the ladle to continue stirring the food. This is food hygiene 101 plus efficiency as his lips only touch the saucer and it's practical to have 1 tasting saucer vs. 20 tasting spoons to wash. A ton of professional chefs don't even do this judging from the Food Network shows, so to see this in an anime is mind boggling.
Gourmet Rating 9.0/10 - excellent, one of the best for preparation and cooking with instructions and recipes.
07/10 Visual appeal of food - Not that great as the animation from the 1990s is super dated.
10/10 Reaction of characters to food - REALITY. This is probably how real people would react when eating those types of food under those circumstances.
09/10 Difficulty or complexity of food featured - Even simple recipes take time.
10/10 Preparation or Cooking Instructions - 100% legitimate and educational, learned a lot.
09/10 Desire of viewer to cook or buy dishes featured after watching show - Very high, only stopped by ingredients or cooking tools not being easily available.
It's a grand gourmet anime that has 100% focus on preparing, cooking and eating the food. There's a good story also but sadly the art does not justify giving this a higher rating.
What did you think of this review?