Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Episode 8 – 20 Question Anime Review (Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles Episode 8.

What’s the show? Ms Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles, Episode 8.

Ah, another single episode review, huh? Too great to wait ‘til the end of the season to talk about it? Not quite, while I’m apparently the only person who actually really likes this show, the episode itself wasn’t a standout in terms of quality but rather it did something interesting worthy of a discussion.

Right, so let’s back up a bit and give some context, what’s the show about? It’s about high school girl Koizumi-san and her impossibly deep love, affection and dare I say all consuming obsession for ramen noodles. It’s also about Yu Osawa, and her impossibly deep love, affection and dare I say all consuming obsession for Koizumi-san.

So it’s a? Maybe a slice of life? I’m not sure; it’s not consistently funny enough that I would call it a comedy. And Yu’s infatuation with Koizumi is very one-sided, so it’s not a Yuri or Romance. I think it’s safe to just call it a food slice of life anime until it develops an actual concrete genre.

This show is so ‘gifable’ too bad the gif website wasn’t working for me.

So what’s happened on the show up until episode 8? Lots of food porn. Lots of girls eating food and getting hot and bothered about it.

Koizumi comes with her own snapchat filters. No pun intended.

Like Food Wars “hot and bothered”? Not quite, no clothes come flying off on this show, it’s very grounded, well save for Yu, who over the episodes we’ve seen progresses from school girl crush to almost stalker levels of obsession.

She asked this with all sincerity, that’s how obsessed Yu is with Koizumi she wants to literally become ramen in order to be eaten by Koizumi.

And how’s the show treat this behaviour? It’s a source of almost all of the shows jokes, which for some people might be a reason not to watch the show. Though in Yu’s favour, she’s never creepy about it, and she states her intentions to follow Koizumi from ramen store to ramen store. If Koizumi did ever feel threatened by Yu, she’d have no problem standing up for herself, and Yu would probably back off… probably… At the moment Koizumi doesn’t really acknowledge Yu’s presence, in fact she’s friendlier with Yu’s other two friends, which I think is an important bit of characterisation.

Who are they? Misa and Jun, popular fashion type girl and nerdy bookworm type girl respectively.

Misa, Jun, Koizumi and Yu.

So I think that gives us enough context about the show, what makes episode 8 particularly interesting? Well the first half of the episode plays out like pretty much every other episode does, Koizumi goes to a ramen place, one of the three girls ends up tagging along for whatever reason, Koizumi goes into a long spiel about whatever type of ramen they’re eating then the two girls eat said ramen while blushing and moaning. There’s always a bit of character development thrown in so it’s not just watching girls slurp noodles, but, well… yeah it’s almost entirely that every time.

Close up slurp action, for those who are into that kind of thing. Not that there’s anything wrong with that!

And the second half? Suddenly hot boys!

Me too.

Right, can’t say I saw that coming. Who are they? Well save for the dark-haired one on the right who’s Shu, Yu’s older brother, the others are all new characters. Shu appeared briefly at the start of Episode 6 and got entranced by Koizumi’s beauty as she passed him on the street. But having an entire half of an episode completely focused on four different characters, and male ones at that was so unexpected and genuinely refreshing. Within minutes their characters archetypes are established and you want to see more of them and hopefully have them interact with the four girls in future episodes.

Why do I feel like they’re about to start a boy band?

Four girls, four boys. Are we assuming the show is lining them up to be love interests? Maybe. I mean, I will admit a passing sadness for the idea of Koizumi and Yu not getting together, but if the show does go the whole romance route I wouldn’t be opposed. It’s just hard to think how a show that’s been so food-centric will suddenly pivot into another genre. Granted, the boys only talked about food too, so it’s not like I’m expecting a massive upheaval it’s just interesting to think where it will go.

And you’re not bothered about a bunch of as you put it “hot boys” appearing in your otherwise clear broth of cute girls. Well it’s not a ramen without meat!

*childish giggle*

You could have also said “noodles”. I could have also said noodles, yes, that would also have been correct and a sufficient innuendo for penis.

Thick and firm.

Thanks for explaining the joke. But really, why so okay with it, I’m just surprised as all? Well, at the risk of sounding shallow, the girls on this show aren’t that cute, I mean in comparison to other shows I’m watching, don’t get me wrong still cute in the context of this show, but those boys are hot.

“I’ll have what she’s having”

Should I be asking who is ‘best boy’ instead of ‘best girl’? Hahaha. Totally long fringe purple hair boy on the end, his voice is so deep.

I was kidding, but thanks. Should I be worried about you? It’s fine. I’m just excited something different is happening in this show. I was a bit worried it would go stale if it didn’t shake things up, so hopefully they continue with this!

If you were starting to feel like it could go stale why keep watching? Because I think it’s a good show, it could be nostalgia for when I visited Japan clouding my vision; I love seeing all the attention to detail in the ramen shops. It just gives me such a warm feeling watching this show, almost like all those bowls of ramen I ate over there.

“Itadakimasu!”

That’s fair enough. Plus it’s not like there haven’t been glimmers of hope for some more interesting plot developments. Yu cooks Ramen for Koizumi at her house in episode 3, Koizumi helps a little German girl who gets lost in episode 6 which reveals her softer side plus the aforementioned brief encounter with Yu’s brother. But this episode marks a paradigm shift into some real potential for drama, can you imagine how Yu would react if her brother started dating the object of her obsession!

There wasn’t much actual stalking in this episode as Yu was at the beach so this image was taken from the opening credits.

Drama indeed! So final recommendation? If you’ve already dropped this show this season, perhaps this will be enough to get you to come back? If not I totally understand, it’s a very niche show and I can understand why some people would get bored of it. Either way I’m happy that things are starting to progress towards something different and look forward to the remaining episodes!

Food Wars! – 20 Question Anime Review

A 20 Question Anime Review for Food Wars!

What’s the show? Food Wars! (2015)

And what’s it about? Food!

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I could have probably guessed that much, go into detail please. Well it’s about Soma Yukihira and his exploits as he traverses the ranks of elite culinary school Totsuki Academy in pursuit of his dream of surpassing his father at cooking. It’s a cooking school unlike any other where less than 1% of students graduate due to the rigorous process of ‘shokugeki’s’ (Food Wars), which dominate the academic landscape, weeding out the wannabes from the true professionals.

Why do I feel like I’ve just turned on a cooking channel? Yeah it can kinda get like that, but as long as you watch it in Japanese with English subtitles there shouldn’t be any issues. 

So there’s an English dub then? NEVER MENTION THE ENGLISH DUB OF THIS SHOW AROUND ME!

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O…kay then… Um, so what’s good about the show? Only everything! It’s a comedy only there’s a kind of genuine emotional relevance connected to every character. It’s practically a sports anime with the kind of detail they go into when it comes to the preparation and serving of a dish, never has a show made me so hungry before. The stakes genuinely feel high every time a shokugeki is issued and because of the character development it only feels higher. And then there’s the fan service…

Fan service? Excuse me? Sometimes the food is just so good that those tasting it are so overcome with adulation that their clothes rip off! Of course not literally, it’s all visual metaphor, but it simultaneously fulfils the shallow need for fan service in this kind of anime and offer a visual representation to externally gauge how good a dish is.

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Feels like your just making excuses for seeing anime tiddies. First of all, I thought we agreed you’d never use that phrase again around me. Secondly, it’s not just woman whose clothes disintegrate upon tasting an impeccable dish, men are just as likely to appear naked and aroused upon putting food in their mouth in this show.

This show is sounding kind of perverse. But it’s totally not, I know it’s hard but you should trust me on this. It’s like the anime equivalent of Masterchef except everyone isn’t a self-entitled douche with some thirty-second sob story or one-dimensional persona.

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Well that’s good! Anything else I should know? You know this review really should be titled ‘Shokugeki No Soma’, not ‘Food Wars!’

Huh? Well I mean that’s its proper Japanese title, ‘Food Wars!’ is just an annoyingly simplified translation meant to grab people’s attention. Probably because whoever got the rights for the show in the west was afraid a food-based anime wouldn’t be ‘shiny’ enough to make money!

Are you going to make this into a thing? He’s totally going to make this into a thing… I mean why stop there! Why not call ‘Haikyu!!’ ‘Volleyball Show!!’ instead! Or ‘Keijo!’ ‘This Is Totally A Sports Anime, Why Are You Looking At Me Like That, No This It’s Just A Banana In My Pocket.’ Or ‘Yuru Camp’ ‘Laid Back Camp’!

You know I think they did call ‘Yuru Camp’ ‘Laid Back Camp’. ARGH!

Calm down! Umm… oh god I need something to bring him back on topic, I can’t let this end up as another rant review… um? Oh of course! Ah… so does this show have any cute girls I should know about? Of course! Some of the best in fact!

Wow that was easy, uh, great! So tell me about them? Well of course there’s the snobby rich girl who’s something of an antagonist to Soma, her name’s Erina and she’s nicknamed the ‘god tongue’ because her palate is so impossibly refined. Then there’s Ikumi, who loves cooking with meat, she’s got a brash exterior but she’s actually a bit of a sweet heart when you get to know her! And then… daww, its best girl Megumi! She’s a quietly spoken country girl who’s just too precious for words!

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I almost prefer the angry you than this you… Don’t hate just because I’ve found my happiness!

Oh I wouldn’t dare dream it. Okay, so I’m almost sold, so now in just three words convince me why I need to see this show. Peanut-butter tentacle porn.

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I said convince me to watch it not convince me to never talk to you again. Admit it, you’re curious now.

I will never! Besides you cheated, that was four words. It was hyphenated!

Let’s wrap this up, shall we? As far as an entry point into anime of the ecchi variety, Food Wars is not only tastefully presented (pun intended) but almost all of it makes sense within the show’s plot and aesthetic, and it’s about as equal as you’re likely to find in terms of male/female fan-service. But aside from that it’s a genuinely entertaining, at times hilarious and often touching show with a cast of wonderful, eclectic characters. Premium 5 star Michelin grade anime, 93 out of 100.

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Dagashi Kashi – 20 Question Anime Review (Minor Spoilers)

A 20 Question Anime Review for Dagashi Kashi.

What’s the show? Dagashi Kashi (2016).

Gesundheit. No, that’s the name of the show. It means ‘cheap sweets candy’, which is also what the show is about.

The show is about candy? And savoury snack treats too, specifically Japanese ones, the kinds you’d find really cheap at a corner store in your youth.

It’s not just about that though, right? Well, if by that you mean does it have human characters to interact with the candy, by talking about it at length and consequently ingesting said candy into their bodies via their mouth holes? Because yes it certainly is about… more… than just…

Hello? Are you still there? You didn’t really answer my question, you just kind of tailed off. Shidare Hotaru; nice oppai.

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Wow, okay. That came out of nowhere? Who is she? She’s like that trope that a lot of people get annoyed about, you know the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ except this one isn’t remotely interested in the main character Shikada ‘Coconuts’ Kokonotsu, an aspiring manga author. She only has eyes for Dagashi and is there to convince ‘Coconuts’ to run his father’s Dagashi store so she can take said parental figure to come work for her company. And then there’s the owner of the local café, Endo Saya, Coconuts’ childhood friend who is totally in love with him, but he doesn’t see her as anything other than a good friend. Or does he?

Okay good, so there is a plot. Unrequited love triangles, following your dreams or following tradition. Yeah I can see the appeal. No, sorry, I think you misunderstood; this show is literally… just… about… candy.

But what about all that about running his father’s store and the café owner? I’m sorry, is the show called ‘How To Deal With Parental Expectations and Suddenly Attractive Childhood Friends?’ No, it’s called ‘Dagashi Kashi’ and it’s about candy and Hotaru has NICE OPPAI.

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Are you okay? You seem kind of stressed… Oh, I’m stressed…

Talk to me, why are you stressed? After watching twelve, 25 minute episodes of Dagashi Kashi I feel like I know more about Japanese candy and snacks than I should! I feel like it’s pushed out actually important information out of my brain like how to perform CPR and trigonometry and what my grandmother’s face looked like and has replaced it with the history of milk caramels, how to eat kinako-bou and how to tell the different varieties of fugashi apart while blindfolded!

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Sounds kind of like a series of commercials made into a TV show? Sometimes, yeah! I mean it’s not that it isn’t entertaining. Hotaru makes for a mesmerising ‘host’ of sorts, without her the food segments of this show would be insufferable but she makes them downright charming. Her enthusiasm about dagashi snacks is infectious!

So it is really all about candy. Huh. Then what about all that character stuff you mentioned before? That’s all window dressing. Which is a shame because that’s when the show is at its best, it’s around about the final three episodes when it starts integrating the shameless candy promotion into the narrative much more effectively, at which point it starts to feel like an actual television show. ‘Coconuts’ and Saya have such history and chemistry together that you want them to be together even if Hotaru is…

Best girl? Oh, totally best girl. Even though she is quite possibly the most mentally unstable person in an otherwise pretty grounded universe.

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Any other characters worth mentioning? Wow, it’s almost like this question was planned so I could specifically mention it! Ha ha ha… Yes, Shikada Yo, ‘Coconuts’ father and owner of the Dagashi shop. He is comic relief personified, in all the right ways. There’s seldom a moment where he’s on screen and I’m not at least grinning.

So you recommend the show then? Even with its faults? I may have overstated the so-called ‘stress’ this show caused me. It’s jarring to watch a show and suddenly find yourself in a commercial for candy and snacks, but it’s also within character and within universe, and it’s not nearly as intrusive as it probably sounds. In fact it makes it downright charming, though a part of that is undoubtedly just the Japanese coming off as so sincere and passionate when talking about food. I can’t even imagine this show in English.

It does have an English dub though? I dare you to check it out! Go on, I’ll wait. …Fine.

[Several Minutes Later] How was it? Nope! Never again! Hearing an American talk passionately about food is about as jarring and unnatural as hearing a British person talk about sex or an Australian talk about politics. Just, no!

It’s not as bad as the Food Wars dub though? Ugh, nothing is as bad as that.

So, recommended? Sure! As long as you’re not one of those people who have a conniption over product placement.

Final score? Like a bottle of ramune on a hot summer day, satisfying, not perfect but still pretty damn good. 79 out of 100.

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