Amaama to Inazuma MAL review
Barakamon, Usagi Drop, My Girl, Yotsuba, Amaama to Inazuma.
What do all of these have in common? They’re all heartwarming stories about a child, (not a loli) their guardian and their daily life. Amaama to Inazuma is not as heavy themed as My Girl. It’s not as weird as Usagi Drop nor is it as carefree as Barakamon or Yotsuba. It’s delightful, charming and doesn’t get (too) involved in drama, while still maintaining a (somewhat) coherent story.
The story is about father and daughter, Kouhei and Tsumugi, their daily life and discovery of new types of food. Kouhei is a math teacher and
a single father who never really learned to cook and rarely has the time do learn it, so he and Tsumugi always buy the convenience store bento and eat it in front of the TV while Magical Girl is on (Tsumugi’s favorite show).
One day when Kouhei and Tsumugi are at the park, Kouhei meets Kotori (one of his students) eating some food while crying. She tells him that her mother made the food for her, but didn’t have the time to eat it with her. Tsumugi is interested in the food, since she only ever eats pre made food from the store. Kotori gives them her card to their own restaurant and that’s presumably it.
One night when Kouhei gets home late, he finds Tsumugi practically glued to the TV, drooling over a cooking show. After she asks her dad: “Can we get mommy to make this?” he is moved and runs to Kotori’s family restaurant with Tsumugi on his back. Kotori is herself inexperienced with cooking, but knows how to cook some rice. She does so and serves it to Tsumugi and Kouhei. Tsumugi is amazed over how great it tastes, which moves Kouhei (and me) to tears.
Kouhei makes a promise that from now on, he will cook for Tsumugi and since Kotori’s mother is rarely home, he and Kotori will both learn how to cook.
The first chapter evoked many emotions in me. Sadness because Kouhei felt that he had let down Tsumugi because he wasn’t cooking for her. Happiness when Tsumugi was amazed about how good food can taste and hope, when Kouhei made that promise to Tsumugi.
Each chapter covers a new recipe that they make and enjoy at the end of the chapter in enough detail that you yourself could make the dish if you wanted.
The art is fantastic. The characters are drawn in a very specific way, depending on what type of mood there is. Round and thin lines gives the characters a fluffy look to them when the mood is casual or comedic. Firm and clear lines are used when the mood is serious, or trying to teach the reader/Tsumugi something about cooking. The characters each have a unique characteristic and look to them. If you only had the silhouette of the characters, you could easily distinguish them.
The characters are the best thing about this manga.
Tsumugi is quite clearly a child. The way she looks, acts and reacts to everything around her is adorable. She has the childish wonder that makes her question everything, which makes her character even more believable. She grows throughout the manga, not only as a character, but physically. It’s a really nice touch that gives a sense that time is actually passing in the story and that she soon has to attend school and her father Kouhei will have to adjust to a new schedule.
Tsumugi is everything to Kouhei, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a standalone character himself. Kouhei works as a math teacher in a high school and is well liked among his students. Especially his student Kotori, who he becomes very good friends with. He does his best to take care and raise Tsumugi properly, but he sometimes has to teach some unpleasant things to Tsumugi, like why it’s really important that she doesn’t get lost, or why they can’t keep the lost kitten that they found. The harshness of parenthood is quite clear in this manga.
It sound like it’s dramatic and really sad, but don’t worry. The bitter sweetness is drowned by all of the cuteness that this manga holds.
Speaking of cuteness. Kotori! Kotori is one of Kouhei’s students. You could also say that Kouhei is one of Kotori’s students, since she’s teaching him how to cook. She also learns a lot in the progress herself and becomes very good friends with Tsumugi and Kouhei throughout the story. I can’t tell more about her, because that would be spoilers.
There’s also the elusive mother to Tsumugi and wife to Kouhei. She died of unknown causes when Tsumugi was very little. Her character is the guidance that keeps Kouhei on track and full of hope. Tsumugi also “talks” to her at the shrine in their house and sometimes asks dad when she can see her.
Lastly, there’s the side characters Yagi and Kojika. Yagi is Kouhei’s mischievous childhood friend and Yagi is Kotori’s best friend from school. They sometimes help make the food, or they help bring out the comedy in the manga. They have a personality, they play an actual role in the story sometimes and they don’t feel unnecessary or like artificial characters.
It's incredibly heartwarming and adorable. It’s filled with love and it makes me smile every time I read a chapter. The only gripe I have about Amaama to Inazuma is the cooking parts. The cooking is explained in very great detail, but it feels like the pages could have been used on something better. It explains the ingredients, how much of each ingredient you need, what you need to do with the ingredients and every. Single. Step in the process. It feels drawn out and unnecessary.
It’s a fantastic manga! Very few manga give the same sense of progression that this does. They learn new things. They grow as characters and they live their life.
I can’t recommend this enough!