Picture It – Where the noms are.
Since neither the vein nor the approach to these posts are set, I thought I would follow on a similar vein from Ruby last week, albeit with less skill and a meandering train of thought. As he lead you on a little trip through citypr0n– oh, I’m sorry, I mean cityscapes last week, this time’s post is on food in anime/manga (although predominantly I’ll be drawing on anime examples here).
Take a minute to stare at this gif. Don’t stare too hard in case you strain your eyes, but check out all the different dishes there are in it. Food in anime is always there in the background. The characters eat, but we don’t really pay so much attention to it.. Or at least, I didn’t used to so much. I was more concerned and preoccupied about the plot than what the characters were eating for dinner in that episode.
Certain foods in anime have long had an impact on our way of life. Lucky Star most likely made a lot of people interested in the humble chocolate coronet in ways they had not been before. Not only that, but it made people wonder which way to eat it. That said, there is a lot of chatter about foods throughout the series, like in regards to taiyaki, but it certainly gives this Japanese food a lot of exposure outside Japan.
Not only the chocolate coronet, but who could forget the iconic meronpan (melon bread) that Shana typically munches on in Shakugan no Shana? I initially found meronpan almost impossible to find, but several Breadtops and Fujipan serve them up. It’s hard to munch on one without thinking about Shana. (Not only that, but wonder if I’m eating it the right way…)
There are probably other examples, perhaps even Naruto and ramen, a whole history of anime inciting an interest in Japanese food in those outside of Japan. From foods as simple as onigiri and miso soup, to whole bentos. Although the practice of selling bentos at half price doesn’t seem to take outside of Japan, given a recent anime, Ben-to, any mention of half-priced bento will lead to at least one person (most likely me) crowing about fighting honourably like a wolf for your discounted meal. May the best person win.
But aside from popularising some Japanese staple foods, foods that appear in anime and manga are always quite detailed, and not to mention hunger-inducing. They aren’t a half-hearted effort, and perhaps are nowhere near as exciting or as awe-inspiring as cityscapes can be, but they also depict an aspect of Japanese culture and reflect the effort which Japanese people often put into the food that they eat – for example, the diligently crafted bentos that mothers often make for their children. From complex to simple meals, they are still well represented.
I guess I started noticing these foods more and more since I started eating out more with the anime club, and watching various food-centric animes. If you don’t already, check out what the characters are eating during the episode next time and see where it takes you.
If you ever have a minute, or are just bored, I also came across a Tumblr of food in anime that I found quite interesting. If there’s anything you’d like to read about next week, drop us a comment.
Sorry if I made you hungry at this time of the night, by the way. ^^;