Ken, a modern age chef, finds himself in back in the 16th century during the warring states period. Lacking any recollection of who he once was or how he arrived to such a time, he only has his knowledge and skills in cooking to rely on. But as he gains reputation for his incredible food, who else would come to demand his services than Oda Nobunaga himself.
If you're like me and have read shokugeki, chances are you're familiar with the whole "food genre" that was popularized by it. Nobunaga no Chef fits into this vein but unlike shokugeki, throws all the racy nudity (which i personally thought was DOGSHITE) whilst retaining all the deliciousness of the genre. I actually stumbled across Nobunaga's Chef after looking for manga like Shokugeki and damn had i found something amazing
This being the first review I've written, took it upon myself to have a look at the review guidelines two of which urge you to refrain from "using excessive profanity and obscenities" and "writing in CAPS
LOCK", but i feel that it is necessary here. Therefore i must express: HOLY SHIT THIS MANGA IS DOPE!! The story is basically this, a mysterious man (Ken) finds himself in the past with no memory of himself or his circumstances. Using his knowledge of the era as well as his skills as a cook, he eventually garners the attention of Nobunage Oda himself and is hired by him to be his personal chef. It becomes much more interesting when Oda discovers Ken's baddassery at cooking and realises that he can use his skills as a tool to do his whims, such as bolstering the morale of his troops, to even waging war on his enemies. When every meal is weighed on the tongue of Nobunaga or some other important general, you cant help but feel tension similar to that of shokugeki. Every battle has something important on the line, whether its a castle or their own pride. Another thing that Nobunaga no chef avoids (which i am thankful for) are the damn ecchi scenes that other food based manga rely on. YES WE GET IT, THE FOOD IS GOOD. Lets show them some tits and ass to really get the message across. This is another reason why i feel this manga succeeds as it is able to convey taste in a subtle and intelligent way without making me feel like I'm watching a B rated porno. Because of this Nobunaga no chef gets my #1 spot as favourite cooking manga.
Whilst the whole "back in time" cliche isn't the most newest of ideas, it still ticks all the boxes for an interesting story. Whenever Ken finds himself in a pinch its always damn awesome when he pulls out some futuristic cooking tech to wow his diners. Also the scope and direction of Nobunaga's ambition makes it seem that each meal he cooks feels like a pivotal point in the story's progression. One example where he cooks a seeming harmless meal, but is actually meant as an insult to the shogun on Nobunaga's orders. I found it quite fresh that its was not always the same structure where every arc follows - A) complication B) cook some sick meal C) everything is resolved (well i guess it kinda is still). Regardless, it is still very satisfying.
The art is quite good. Nothing ground breaking, but in the same way as the story, still passes with a good grade. The characters i felt were quite interesting with exception of Ken, our main. While he does have his times and his knife skills are absurdly overpowered, the real muscle, I feel, come from all the other characters. Nobunaga, being the man he was, is portrayed as kinda jordanesque. Furthermore the other significant figures, Hideyoshi, Ieyasu, Mitsuhide, and the rest of the cast of samurai warrior 2 are each treated with respect and are developed to suit their portrayal in the historybook. For those who are unfamiliar with their Japanese history (study up fellow weaboos), Hideyoshi being depicted like a monkey in history and as such developed to suit this in the manga. It is also interesting to see how Nobunaga's intentions and character comes out through kens food as many a time, his intentions is portrayed through some dish. Getting to know these characters, in all their charisma and pride, is another reason why this manga is pure gold.
If you didn't already gather, my opinion of this manga is that its damn good. I felt that every chapter was interesting and engaging, a feat that is quite rare as in many other manga there are always long, dragging arcs which you cant help but fall asleep reading. As such my enjoyment of Nobunaga no Chef was a solid 10/10. Its a shame that it only has like 70 chapters. If you enjoy the tension of food battles but dislike naked women (no homo), give Nobunaga no Chef a try.