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December 17, 2010

Bento Bako Bonus: Not Love But Delicious Foods

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Written by: Kristin
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Title: Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy!
Author: Fumi Yoshinaga
Publisher: Yen Press
Volume: One-shot, $10.99
Vintage: 2005 by Ohta Publishing Co. in Japan, November 2010 from Yen Press (hit comic stores earlier this week)
Genre: Food, comedy

Not Love But Delicious Foods is essentially a Tokyo restaurant guide. Each of the chapters within follows the narrator F-mi Y-naga (who I think it’s safe to assume represents Fumi Yoshinaga herself) and her friends as they go to different restaurants and sample as much food as they can cram into their stomachs. Each chapter spotlights a different restaurant, highlighting the best dishes, and then Yoshinaga supplies an address, map, detailed directions, store hours, price ranges, parking information, and phone number. However, the book is over five years old, so there’s no telling if these places remain the same, of if they’re even still in existence.

Don’t dismay, non-foodies. It’s delightful as a manga, as well. The narrator is a yaoi manga creator who lives with her assistant S-hara. The two have a bizarre relationship, having made a marriage vow when they were younger (ie: When we hit XX age, and we’re not with anyone, let’s get married), but not having any romantic feelings toward each other. They are close friends who share similar interests and get along well, but also know how to push each other’s buttons. At any rate, Y-naga has a crush on her ideal man, the rather large fellow food lover F-yama. In a very entertaining chapter, Y-naga takes out an old friend she just realized was gay, treats him to a fantastic dinner, and then explodes in apologies for writing about gay men without knowing anything about gay culture. When Y-naga eats with her friend O-ta, the two girls get embarrassed in front of the staff at restaurants when they devour amazing quantities of food. Her friend and former roommate M-waki is a fiend for sweets, so they go all out at a chocolate shop. Y-naga eventually finds herself dating a guy with a great personality, but flips out when she discovers he has no passion for food. The ultra handsome T-i is a meat lover searching for the perfect woman to fit his outrageous ideals. There are fifteen chapters in all, each one highlighting a different restaurant. There’s an overarching story, but it’s light, and secondary to the food. But it’s also what makes it more than just a book of food reviews.

I’m a little surprised that Yen Press published this one. The entire book is basically review after review of restaurants in Tokyo, Japan. About 80% of the dialog is details about the food you can find there. There’s a bit of a story line in there, but it’s mostly Yoshinaga and her friends talking about the various dishes they sample at each restaurant. At the end of each little chapter there’s even a map, detailed directions, restaurant hours, and price estimates. It’s obviously meant for Japanese foodies (or visiting foodies). It doesn’t have much relevance for an American audience, other than it’s more Fumi Yoshinaga. And maybe that’s enough (it was for me). All of that isn’t to say this isn’t enjoyable as a manga. Yoshinaga is a master at mouthwatering descriptions, and this book is sure to make you hungry and crave some of the amazing dishes within its pages. It also has an excellent dose of humor as the relationships between the narrator and her friends are explored over massive amounts of food. I was already laughing out loud with just the first page.

The cover is dynamic and fun, so good job Yen Press on that. There are some editing issues (which, admittedly, are hard for me not to notice), but they are few. In the back, Yen Press has provided a generous glossary, explaining terms used in the book, and identifying some of the foods. Recommended for hardcore Yoshinaga fans (or hardcore manga foodies).



One Comment

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by The Manga Critic and Kristin Bomba. Kristin Bomba said: New #manga review: Not Love But Delicious Foods from @yenpress by Fumi Yoshinaga https://comicattack.net/2010/12/bbbnotlovebutfood/ […]

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