Ron's Reviews > Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 7 - Izakaya: Pub Food

Oishinbo a la carte, Volume 7 - Izakaya by Tetsu Kariya
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's review
Jan 09, 10

bookshelves: cookbooks, foodies, fun, graphic-novel, manga, japan
Read in January, 2010

The one problem with the English-language version of Oishinbo is that the volumes are organized thematically, around various types of foods, rather than going through the manga's storyline -- which I suppose is a necessity when you're dealing with a comic that's been running for 27 years. Actually, in MOST of the compilations I've read, this isn't really much of a problem, because the heart of the story (Yamaoka's efforts to create the "Ultimate Menu," and his father's constant belittlement of his talent and his goals) comes through. But that's not the case here; the stories come from all over the place, so in one volume Yamaoka is fending off romantic interest from one coworker and then in another he's planning a wedding to another coworker (who's long been interested in him) and then in still another story they've been married for a while and she's just given birth to twins; the father doesn't even really come into it.

There's some good stories here: The one where Yamaoka finds out the master beer pourer has been fired, the one about the guy who's afraid of potatoes, the one where Yamaoka takes a visiting American executive to a restaurant that specializes in skewered eel... yes, a dozen pages of meticulous close-ups of skewered eel parts! (Really, two of the best reasons to read Oishinbo are the food illustrations and the fact that everybody's emotional intensity is cranked up to 11, so the reaction shots are ALL incredibly hyperbolic, except when Yamaoka is completely bored by the thickheadedness of the world around him and can't muster up any emotion at all.) But this would never be the first Oishinbo book I give to somebody who hasn't read it yet.
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