Spring Simulcast Season is upon us and there's a lot going on! We're working hard to try and bring you the latest and greatest from Japan. So far we've announced, Stan Lee's HEROMAN and Shotaro Mizuki’s Ichiban Ushiro No Daimao! There are definitely more announcements to come, so stay tuned and keep your eyes on the front page as we will be gearing up for what is to be another great season!
Television has had a long fascination with food and cooking. Dozens of shows have aired throughout the years with the intent to make millions of viewers salivate. Anime, too, contributes to this feeding frenzy. Yumeiro Patissiere is the notable newcomer in the genre, and it follows a long line of other, palatable productions.
So, why is it that so many of us subject ourselves to this grand Pavlovian experiment? What is it about such succulent spectacles that leave us craving for more? Is there some deep-seated, insatiable hunger that we are trying to fulfill? The answers to these esculent questions may lie hidden within the history of culinary entertainment, waiting to be devoured. We're going to try to find out, so grab a snack and steel your taste buds; that sound you hear is the sound of your stomach growling.
The World's Food Fetish:
Perhaps the British are to blame for the TV world's food fetish. It all started on January 21, 1937, when the French Chef, Marcel Boulestin, demonstrated how to prepare an omelet on the very first televised cooking show, Cook's Night Out, on BBC. America didn't showcase cooking on TV until the advent of comedian Ernie Kovacs in 1949.
However, it is Julia Childs who can be said to have pioneered televised cooking shows. Her award-winning program, The French Chef, started in 1963, still a full 30 years before The Food Network went on air. Since that time, dozens of actor-chefs have entertained fans around the world, with the likes of Martin Yan (Yan Can Cook), Anthony Bourdain (No Reservations), Alton Brown (Good Eats), and Emeril “Bam!” Lagasse (Emeril Live) on multiple television and cable stations such as PBS, Bravo, The Food Network, and the Travel Channel. Reality TV has also gotten its hands on gastric entertainment with the restaurateur competition Hell’s Kitchen, hosted by Gordon Ramsey.
Japan’s own contribution to gourmet pageantry is significant in its own right, most notably with its introduction of Iron Chef to the world. Its over-the-top cooking battle format, often exploiting exotic ingredients, not only ran for over 300 episodes, but also achieved unprecedented popularity. Multiple parodies and spin-offs have been seen across all forms of entertainment.
With so many illustrious personalities, themes, and shows feeding the world’s lust for gluttonous programming, it’s little wonder why people always hunger for more.
Anime’s Contribution to Culinary Performance Arts
Iron Chef isn’t the only culinary media sensation to come out of Japan. Multiple food-themed anime have been produced there as well, and their themes are widely varied: from the decidedly shounen flair of Cooking Master Boy, to the josei appeal of Ristorante Paradiso, to the saccharine shoujo sweetness of Yumeiro Patissiere; from the comedic antics in Yakitate!! Japan to the dramatic underpinning of Oishinbo, there’s an entertainment entrée for everyone.
Cooking Master Boy (Chuuka Ichiban) is set in 19th century China. 13-year-old Mao is a cooking prodigy seeking to follow his mother’s footsteps to become a master chef. His unique sense of taste allows him to perfectly recall every dish he has ever tasted, and discern the ingredients used to prepare it. The series’ combat cooking action is accented with over-the-top special effects including crashing waves, soaring flames, and Marcellus Wallace’s soul, and that’s just in the first episode.
Oishinbo, on the other hand, targets an older audience with this dramatic slice-of-life series depicting culinary journalist Yamaoka Shirou’s mission to create the Ultimate Menu – a meal that is to embody the very essence of Japanese cuisine. Though he possesses a highly refined sense of taste and an incomparable knowledge of food, he is also a hardened cynic who lacks the ambition to do anything.
Yakitate!! Japan is a hard-kneading action comedy of pastry proportions. Kazuma Azuma is a bread-baking genius who possesses the legendary Solar Hands – hands that are warm enough to accelerate the fermentation process in dough – and he’s out to create Japan’s own national bread. This pun-filled series is a riotous romp through the highly competitive world of bread-making, whose outrageous recipes are overshadowed only by the very characters that bake them.
Ristorante Paradiso is far more serene, and the food is merely a backdrop for the complex romance between a young woman and an older man. Nicoletta is a 21-year-old woman who travels to Rome in search of her estranged mother. Nicoletta finds her married to the owner of a restaurant designed to suit her fetishist tastes, and Nicoletta ends up working there and eventually falling in love with the head waiter.
To be fair, Korea has also contributed its own Jang Geum’s Dream to the list of animated cooking shows, spun off of a historical drama. Jang Geum is a young girl who aspires to become a palace chef, and the story covers the trials and tribulations she goes through to achieve her goals.
The newest series in the line of eatery entertainment is Yumeiro Patissiere, currently being simulcast on Crunchyroll. Ichigo Amano is a 14-year-old who unknowingly demonstrates a particularly discerning sense of taste to Henri Lucas, a top-ranked patissier who was demonstrating some of his creations at a culinary exposition that she happens upon. She is granted a recommendation to enroll into the prestigious Saint Marie Academy for budding pastry chefs, where she is assigned to the top group in her class due to Henri’s endorsement. Unfortunately, she has never so much as baked a cake before in her life.
Though she encounters many hardships, she remembers the happiness that her late grandmother’s sweets brought to her, and it is her desire to bring those same smiles to others that drives her to succeed. That, and she just so happens to have teamed up with a legendary Sweets Fairy to aid her in her quest.
With the support of her friends; the Sweets Princes Kashino, Hanabusa, and Andou – her teammates in Group A – and the Sweets Fairies Vanilla, Chocolat, Cafe, and Caramel, Ichigo’s inner strengths begin to truly shine. In addition to her excellent sense of taste, she reveals an innate talent to be able to design sweets that appeal to the emotions as much as it does to the senses.
Cooking has always been a common theme in anime, and not just with food-themed shows. Oftentimes, it is a rite of passage for young heroines, who fuss over whether they can be a better bride. It is an effective tool used to win over the hearts of loved ones, and many shows use the ability to prepare a meal as a thematic archetype for characters – there are those who excel at the art, and those whose culinary creations are lethal bioweapons.
So, we come back to our original question: What makes these shows so popular? Maybe it’s because we all have to eat. Every day. It’s something we have to do, and many of us even enjoy it. These shows ultimately aim to appeal to our baser instincts, and many succumb to its siren call.
Perhaps it’s because eating is also a social activity that can be enjoyed with friends and family, and watching these kinds of shows serves as a sort of psychosociological proxy in times of loneliness and solitude.
Maybe I’m just pulling these out of the air, and it’s because cooking shows are just that cool.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have some choux puffs to take out of the oven.
Website Eiga.com has reported that Gintama director Yoichi Fujita stated on the issue of the anime series continuation at the recent Gintama Haru Matsuri 2010 event in Tokyo “The creator Hideaki Sorachi didn't come today, and I think he's undoubtedly writing new story scripts. Once we have gathered the stock material, we staff members want to work on it again."
The other main director of the Gintama anime Shinji Takamatsu told audience members that “Gintama is absolutely not over. It hasn’t even begun yet! It will definitely return.”
The final episode of the television series recently aired in Japan and the film Gintama: Shinyaku Benizakura-Hen film opens in Japan on April 24. Audience members were treated to the first three minutes of the film as well as eight of the cast members including Tomokazu Sugita making personal appearances. Hideaki Sorachi has been drawing the original Gintama manga in Shueisha’s Shonen Jump magazine since 2003, the manga is available through Viz Media in North America, while the first DVD of the anime will be available courtesy of Section23 Films next month.
TV Tokyo station is streaming a 30 second promotional video for the second season of Hiroyuki Asada’s Tegami Bachi: Letter Bee. It had been revealed by Asada last month that a second season is scheduled to launch in the fall, and the fist seasons final episode has just recently aired in Japan. The manga for Tegami Bachi is available through Viz Media, and the first season can still be seen here at Crunchyroll!
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Beck to get Rockstar Treatment!
The live action film adaptation of Harold Sakuishi’s rock and roll manga BECK will be getting rock star treatment in the form of an opening theme song preformed by American rockers The Red Hot Chili Peppers called Around the World and an ending theme song preformed by British sensation Oasis called Don’t Look Back in Anger. Neither rock group is new to the anime scene as Red Hot Chili Peppers had previously given their Dani California as the theme song to the live action adaptation of Death Note and Oasis having provided the opening theme song Falling Down for the television anime series East of Eden. The movie features an all star cast of characters who are no strangers to anime adaptations and is scheduled to hit theatres in Japan on September 4.
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Kadowaki and Morinaga unable to make Sakura Con!
Seiyuu Mai Kadowaki and Rika Morinaga are unable to attend Seattle’s upcoming Sakura Con event. According to Kadowaki’s official blog one of the coordinators explained that there was not enough time to work out details between Sakura-Con hosts and agents resulting in the trip being cancelled. Kadowaki further states she was already packed for her trip and looking forward to meeting her fans. While Kadowaki and Morinaga are unable to attend the convention there is still a long list of special guests including seiyuu Mayumi Tanaka, Ryo Horikawa, bands High and Mighty Color and Dazzle Vision as well as character designers Yutaka Minowa and Takahiro Yoshimatsu just to name a few!
Today we've interviewed Slowdanse (aka Slow Person). She's a Site Moderator who deals with a wide variety of user reported issue and has been a mod since July 2007. We suspect that she deals in some shady activities, hopefully we'll be able to get the truth out of her!
BasouKazuma: Damn, was hoping the answer would be no so I could call you something more demeaning. :(
Have you read the previous interviews we have done here? Slowdanse: A few here and there
BasouKazuma: Rats, will need to try to make these questions tougher then. Slowdanse: Shoot, I take that back. No, I haven't read them before...
BasouKazuma: Too late! What do you like and dislike about being a moderator on the site? Slowdanse: What do I like about being a mod? Well, I like helping the community and being part of a site that's innovative and evolving.
BasouKazuma: And dislikes? Slowdanse: What do I not like... well, there's always users that are a bit more difficult to deal with than others. You know, spammers, troublemakers, etc. and also the fact that because there's so many more of moderators now, it's hard to come together and agree on things and/or stay updated on current news on the site. Always gotta be on my toes!
BasouKazuma: What do you think of that shinji fellow? Do you think he's really shinji from Eva? Slowdanse: I think shinji's a cool guy. I don't know a whole lot about him because we don't talk very often, but I can understand he's a busy guy. He's doing a relatively good job of keeping the site running smoothly. Haha, shinji from Eva. He could be... ya never know!
BasouKazuma: Guess the world will never know. =\
Do you have any interesting hobbies, off of Crunchyroll? Slowdanse: Self-destructive shop-aholic, aspiring nail artist (just kidding, MAYBE!?), insect lover, animal lover, food lover, sell cars by day, sell drugs by night... in other words, a HUSTLAAAA!
BasouKazuma: I see what you did there! tsk tsk. Do you go to school and/or have a job? Slowdanse: Well, I (kinda) recently finished school and currently have two jobs (SEE ABOVE).
BasouKazuma: So you sell drugs and cars that you stole while on drugs??? Slowdanse: Please don't tell anyone.
BasouKazuma: I got the big scoop, this is going on Dateline! Slowdanse: Thanks for the interview. I better make a run for it now!
BasouKazuma: Pshhhh, you can't get away. Speaking of Dateline, what are your favorite TV shows (currently airing or of all time)? Slowdanse: Tbh, I barely watch tv.
BasouKazuma: I'll take that as a "no comment". Well do you have any favorite movies you'd like to recommend to the users? Slowdanse: Anything Harry Potter! Oh, that reminds me... I need to take a trip to that Wizarding World of Harry Potter in June! Who's coming with me??? Oh yeah, about the movies... um, I'm a sucker for chick flicks & a few crazy shiat-in-your-pants movies like Hostel. Also anything with paul walker; so fast and furious 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, whatever.
BasouKazuma: So you'll be there Day 1 when Super Speedy Furiously Fast Drift Drag Racing is released Slowdanse: YEAH, MIDNIGHT SHOW. HOLLA.
BasouKazuma: lol. Are there any movies/games/shows, coming out this year, that you're looking forward to? Slowdanse: Nothing's really peaking my interest as of right now except maybe the taiwanese movie called monga with ethan ruan and mark zhao. I heard it was introduced in the Berlin film festival, so I want to see what that's all about. Other than that, I should really check up on the upcoming animes for this year. I'm sure there's some in there I want to watch.
BasouKazuma: Let's see, I think you're more in tune with music and cars, so what's your favorite song/artist/group and what is your favorite car make and model? Slowdanse: I can't give you an exact favorite because otherwise we'd be here all week, but I guess i can give you the basic gist. I like Feist, Sufjan Stevens, Zion I, Mos Def, A Tribe Called Quest, Audio Push, Royksopp, Devendra Banhart, and sometimes need a little Jack Johnson in my life. Also, can't forget about the Asian artists: Khalil Fong, Fahrenheit (once shook their hands!), Sodagreen, Amber Kuo, Pixeltoy, Scrubb, Yarinda, Misty Blue, Nell, etc. OH & TUPAC 4 LYFE!! Cars: Aston Martin Vanquish. I'd also like to own an Infiniti G37 sometime in my life.
BasouKazuma: I think I've taken up enough of your time, do you want to make any shoutoutsand closing messages? Slowdanse: Shoutouts to all the homegirls & homeboys out there on C~R~U~N~C~H~Y (only thenicooole knows what i'm talking about here), big ups to all the moderators & staff, and obviously you (BK) for being an awesome, lovely interviewer! &&& hi turbo wherever you may be. And yes, closing messages...
BasouKazuma: Lovely Interview ... I haven't done my job then. =( Slowdanse: Haha. To everyone who's on CR: let's continue to keep this site enjoyable! :O)
Naruto wanders the streets of the Leaf Village, grief stricken over the death of Jiraiya. Unable to overcome his feeling of loss, Naruto traces back through his memories of Jiraiya. What can help the heartbroken Naruto get back on his feet?
Finally at Shiva castle, King starts to regain his memories. The memory of a man with a gun on his left arm, murdering his Queen Romila during the siege of the castle. But before they have a chance to confront him, Cobra is attacked by the energy dragon that followed them there! Which will prevail in the end? The recent bonds of friendship, or the old wounds of the past...