Wakako Murasaki is a 26-year old office worker and a devoted foodie. Her favorite pastime is to try out new restaurants and food stalls on her own, pondering the intricacies of flavors, seasoning, and alcohol-food pairings as she does so...
Wakakozake is basically a food blog in animated form; I'm definitely a foodie, so this is a good thing for me. There's a lot to love about a short series that basically consists of veteran actress Miyuki Sawashiro getting a solo show where her character muses on the intricacies and intangibilities of the food she tries at different restaurants while unwinding from work. Some food blogs comes across as pretentious, but Wakakozake is anything but; it's just a nicely-kept journal of a young woman seeking out and enjoying her food, while serving up a wonderful side dish of Japanese eating-sound onomatopoeia in the meantime.
Wakakozake is a fun diversion for those of us who happen to be both foodies and anime fans, without taking the "porn" in the term "food porn" as literally as does, say, Gourmet Girl Graffiti; to anybody who was put off by that show, this is a good alternative. Since there's just really one character, the main character's voice actor's performance makes or breaks the show, and Mrs. Sawashiro does a great job of capturing the mannerisms of somebody whose primary passion in life is food, whether she be tired out from her office and wanting to take some solace in comfort food, or simply in need of that moment of release that comes from a hearty meal after a long hike. One of my favorite episodes centered on her doing the latter, and another focused on her using food as a "happy place" in which to recuperate a bit after having been chewed out for somebody else's mistakes....and subsequently feeling empowered in standing up for herself again after having taken in her meal.
Ultimately, it's a lot of fun to watch Wakako try out different types of quintessentially Japanese food, from chanpuru to sea urchin to monkfish liver, in a variety of different types of restaurants, with the visual expressions (via written Japanese characters) of onomatopoeia adding to the effect. Given that she isn't underage, it's also nice that the show can dip into pairings of food with sake and beer, an aspect that most food-centered manga and anime miss by virtue of having high schoolers as leads (I can count on one finger the times I've seen underage drinking in anime). While the character design is simplistic, the food itself is drawn beautifully; it lacks the razzle-dazzle of Gourmet Girl Graffiti, but then again, it also lacks that show's fetishistic camera angles and close-up lip shots. I'm glad about that last part.
Wakakozake is a (very) short series, and so there isn't really much time for character development or depth (a few sweet moments aside), but it doesn't really hurt the show at all. It's simply a nice series if you happen to be a foodie, and it worked great for me because of that.
A sweet little show about food. Probably less than four stars if you aren't somebody who thinks about cooking and food in general as much as I do, but adorable overall. — Nicoletta Christina Browne
Recommended Audience: Nothing objectionable; there's alcohol consumption, of course, but in moderation and by those of age.
Version(s) Viewed: Stream courtesy of crunchyroll.com (Japanese with English Subtitles)
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Wakakozake © 2015 Chie Shinkyu/NSP2011/Anime WAKAKO ZAKE Partners
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