Post Reply Gourmet Girl Graffiti
Polysyllabic Support Lead
53533 cr points
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35 / M / CR HQ
Posted 2/18/15 , edited 3/2/15
by moonhawk81

Food is one of our most primal needs. Good food, however, is much more, providing sensuous delight as well as nourishment. Gourmet Girl Graffiti, an anime by studio Shaft based upon an ongoing manga in Manga Time Kirara Miracle!, explores the difference between eating and eating well by focusing upon the idea of intent as ingredient. Our protagonists are: Ryou, who is rediscovering her love of cooking; Kirin, Ryou's cousin and weekly house guest; and Shiina, their friend and schoolmate.

Ryou Machiko learned to cook from her grandmother, with whom she lived and who encouraged Ryou to help in the kitchen. It was a special hobby that they enjoyed sharing together. But after the older woman's death, Ryou finds that the food she prepares tastes bland, despite cooking the same familiar meals. This hurts Ryou deeply--it's like losing her grandmother all over again at every meal. And so she begins to lose interest in cooking, effectively distancing herself from some of her most cherished memories and more than a little of her self-image. Enter Kirin!

Kirin is Ryou's second cousin, and begins staying with Ryou on weekends in order to attend the same cram school. Kirin seems eager to try Ryou's cooking, and finds it delicious, whatever Ryou cooks. Much to Ryou's surprise, she too enjoys the taste of the meals she has prepared for Kirin. After discussing the issue of taste--its loss and return--the girls conclude that love is the ingredient making the difference. To wit, cooking for someone you love is reflected in the taste of the resulting dish. And their friend and schoolmate Shiina, who joins their culinary adventures, quickly agrees and offers her own contributions.

As a former professional cook, I am excited to see an exploration of how food can be flavored by intention as well as preparation! That cooking with love--whether for the intended diners or the food itself--results in better-tasting meals is a truism known to anyone who cooks frequently. Thus, the idea that love flavors food is not some vague, sentimental notion, but fact. And, as depicted in this show, eating good food involves more than just tasting it. Rather, eating good food provides a truly sensuous experience: the smells and sounds of the food cooking (or plated) whet the appetite; presentation entices via the eyes; texture rewards with presence; and taste stands as final arbiter of worth. Gourmet Girl Graffiti recognizes and vividly portrays the engagement of all five senses in enjoying one's food, all while offering a gentle exploration of love told through vibrant and warm animation.

That said, I feel that the show also unnecessarily emphasizes and sensualizes certain aspects of eating, making particularly suggestive use of swallowing and moaning. Sensuous need not mean sensual, and I find the show's deliberate approximation of the terms to be insulting to its audience and detrimental to its own premise. Still, I would be remiss as a reviewer should I fail to recognize the importance of the show's yuri and fetish overtones in advancing the overall storyline, especially given that the implied correlation between eating and sensual pleasure can exist. Ultimately, then, this can be watched as either a yuri series with a rather pronounced and sophomoric oral fixation or as a tender slice-of-life series exploring the importance of family and friends--perhaps even both. Either way, just be sure to bring a snack!

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49 / M / Texas
Posted 3/2/15
nice review, and I LOVE the series too!
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48 / M / Memphis, TN
Posted 3/3/15
Thanks. It's a warm, beautiful story exploring a simple premise. (I just wish it weren't so, um, overly exuberant?)
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