3 manga series

For #januaryinjapan and #Japaneseliteraturechallenge I started off with 3 different manga series. 


Initially borrowed for the kids, this cute creature-filled manga soon made me want to read it too.

Senzou the black fox spirit is finally set free after 300 years. But he can’t have his powers back until he helps a little tanuki called Manpachi become a servant of the gods. Senzou can’t be trusted to do this, so he’s made to wear magical pearls that will hurt him if he doesn’t do the right thing. 

The first volume has some background and explanation to get through but the story quickly picks up. The pair help out a low-level god, and learn more about each other in the process. It’s amusing to see how their personalities play off each other – one is gruff and world weary and the other, innocent and full of sunshine and butterflies. 

While initially a bit confusing especially if unfamiliar with Japanese mythology and folklore, this cute manga is enjoyable for readers of different ages. 

SPY X FAMILY vol 1 – Tatsuya Endo

Twilight is a brilliant spy but his next mission has him stumped. He has seven days to marry, have a kid, and infiltrate an elite private school. So he sets out adopting a girl (who happens to be a telepath), and meets a young woman (who happens to be an assassin). All three of them are keeping secrets from each other. But they’re now a family. 

Absurd? Yes. Incredibly fun to read? Also yes! 

A MAN AND HIS CAT vol 1 by Umi Sakurai

A charming story about an unwanted cat at the pet store, who’s finally bought by an older man, a widower. He’s never owned a cat before, and the cat has never had an owner before, so they’re both new to this. Love how Kanda and Fukumaru just adore each other. And we get to hear Fukumaru’s very cute thoughts, “all I wanted was for someone to look meowy way”. 

A truly heartwarming story about relationship between a man and his cat. 

Favourite quote: “Your name will be Fukumaru. Meeting you has been a joy, or koufuku…So you’re Fukumaru.” 

Let’s explore Cooking Manga!

One thing I was hoping to do this month is to read some manga. And what better way to start than with Cooking Manga!

I’ve yet to read any of these but they look like such fun.


Bambino! – Tetsuji Sekiya
Pasta!! I like how that pasta looks like it’s coming out of the cover. That is promising.

Shogo Ban, a college student from Fukuoka, likes to cook. Thanks to the owner of the restaurant where he works part-time, he finds himself working at the line of Roppongi’s best Italian restaurant, Trattoria Baccanale, and discovers that the real deal isn’t quite as easy as he’d thought. The manga follows Ban as he struggles to keep up with the hectic workload and his co-workers, along with issues outside the kitchen like his relationship with his girlfriend Eri, who he left behind in Fukuoka.

Chuuka Ichiban – Etsushi Ogawa

Hello! This is how you know it’s a cooking manga, I am holding a cleaver that’s bigger than my head. I must be a great chef!

“After the death of Mao’s mother, who was called the “Fairy of Cuisine”, Mao must strive to become a legendary chef himself, in order to take the title as head chef at his mother’s restaurant. To do this, he must travel to China to learn the many ways of cooking. During his journey, he meets great friends and also fierce rivals.”

Cooking Papa – Tochi Ueyama

This one sounds like fun – a salaryman who cooks! And recipes!

The artist sure is taking that literally on the cover…

Araiwa Kazumi is an energetic salaryman who is able to perfectly manage his responsibilities at work and at home. Kazumi is also a fantastic chef, though many of his coworkers are unaware of it. His wife Nijiko, who works as a journalist, has a bit of trouble making time for her home life. However, she tries to always be a cheerful mother. With their son Makoto, who is 7 at the beginning of the story, they have a very happy family. This is a story that follows the Araiwa household and their delight with delicious food. Cooking instructions are also often included throughout the story.

Delicious! – Yui Ayumi

I tried to find a good picture of the covers. Apparently not very many can be found. They are also annoyingly cutesy. You are better off not seeing them.

Ringo Nonohara’s dream is to become a star. Although she can’t cook, she tries out for the lead in a cooking show called “Delicious Time,” which will also be starring the star she idolizes, Mahito Ishizaka. When she discovers that the final stage of the competition will mean she has to prepare a dish, however, Ringo calls on her good friend, chef, and next-door-neighbor, Tsutsui Kazuomi. Thanks to Kazuomi’s help and her own cute persona, she is chosen for “Delicious Time.” Thus begin trials as Ringo tries to become a star.

Food Wars!, Vol. 1: Shokugeki no Soma – Yuuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki (Illustrator)

This one is about an elite cooking school. Fun! Plus the characters actually look like they could be real people!


Soma Yukihira’s old man runs a small family restaurant in the less savory end of town. Aiming to one day surpass his father’s culinary prowess, Soma hones his skills day in and day out until one day, out of the blue, his father decides to enroll Soma in a classy culinary school! Can Soma really cut it in a school that prides itself on a 10 percent graduation rate? And cacn he convince the beautiful, domineering heiress of the school that he belongs there at all?!

Iron Wok Jan – Shinji Saijyo

Sounds like Iron Chef ! And another cleaver!

Hilarious use of the green pepper and tomato. Hey, is that why the Chairman bites a pepper?



Allez Cuisine!

Allez Cuisine!

Jan is a talented, arrogant young chef on a non-stop quest to become the world’s greatest cuisine master. He continuously battles his uppity rival Kirikol, —another talented chef, who is also the niece of the head chef at the top-class Tokyo restaurant where Jan works. In this volume, the All-Japan Chinese Cuisine Cook-off is down to the last battle between Jan, Kiriko, and Serene—and the final dish is dessert! What crazy concoction will Jan pull out of his bag of tricks?

What Did You Eat Yesterday? – Fumi Yoshinaga

This one is rather unique, sounds far less in your face than the others, the graphics not overly-cutesy, and it’s a comic about a middle-aged gay couple! And that notepaper-like background.


From award-winning author Fumi Yoshinaga comes a casual romance between two middle-aged men and the many meals they share together.
A hard-working middle-aged gay couple in Tokyo come to enjoy the finer moments of life through food. After long days at work, either in the law firm or the hair salon, Shiro and Kenji will always have down time together by the dinner table, where they can discuss their troubles, hash out their feelings and enjoy delicately prepared home cooked meals!

Kitchen Princess – Natsumi Ando (Illustrator), Miyuki Kobayashi

And we are back to the mind-bogglingly huge eyes and the heart-shaped face, long blonde hair and all. She even has a tiny crown. Awwww!


Najika is a great cook and likes to make meals for the people she loves. But something is missing from her life. When she was a child, she met a boy who touched her heart–and now Najika is determined to find him. The only clue she has is a silver spoon that leads her to the prestigious Seika Academy.

Attending Seika will be a challenge. Every kid at the school has a special talent, and the girls in Najika’s class think she doesn’t deserve to be there. But Sora and Daichi, two popular brothers who barely speak to each other, recognize Najika’s cooking for what it is–magical. Is either boy Najika’s mysterious prince?

Oishinbo – Tetsu Kariya, Akira Hanasaki (Illustrator)

Now this one looks more real-life type of food manga. Everyone looks very serious. Except for Mr Sideways-Glance over there on the right.

To commemorate its 100th anniversary the heads of newspaper Tozai Shimbun come up with a plan to publish the “Ultimate Menu”. The assignment is given to journalist Yamaoka Shiro, the protagonist of the series. With the help of a female coworker, Kurita Yuko, Yamaoka starts off on what can only be termed an epic saga to find the dishes hat will go into the “Ultimate Menu”.

Toriko – Mitsutoshi Shimabukuro
Sounds like Andrew Zimmern to me. With hair. Blue hair. And a devilish face. Those eyebrows!!!

Gourmet Hunter Toriko! This is the great era of gourmet food! And only Toriko can hunt down the ferocious ingredients that supply the world’s best restaurants. As a gourmet hunter, Toriko tracks and defeats the tastiest and most dangerous animals with his bare hands. But has he met his match with an eight-legged alligator the size of a tank?

Yakitate!! Japan – Takashi Hashiguchi

This is supposed to be one of the better cooking manga. At least the kid looks more believable. But what does that synopsis mean by ‘dense’?


Azuma Kazuma, an energetic and dense young man, was introduced to the art of bread making when he was six. He decides to take the path of bread-making and become a baker right after graduating from middle school. Through his travels, he encounters many rivals and found work at the branch store of the most famous bread maker brand, the Phantasia.

Yumeiro Patissiere – Natsumi Matsumoto

GAAAAHHHH THOSE EYES!!!! Look away! Look away before she steals your soul and eats all your strawberries!!!!


Amano Ichigo is incredibly clumsy and can’t seem to do anything right until she is scouted at a Sweets Festival by Henri-sensei, who acknowledges her ability of taste. Henri-sensei suggests that she transfer to St. Marie academy, which she recognizes as the school her Grandmother, a skilled patissiere, was enrolled at. Ichigo has trouble adjusting, but with the help of the three Sweets Princes and their magical Sweets Spirits, as well as her own Sweets Spirit, Vanilla, she gains confidence and is able to work towards becoming a fantastic patissiere.

Let me know if I missed anything out!