[DVD] Anime Review: Gourmet Girl Graffiti

It’s not often for anime viewers to sit back and settle for an anime that is considered ‘relaxing’. So when one encounters an anime like GOURMET GIRL GRAFFITI, you’d be surprised by its black and white simplicity and heart-warming nature.

Second-year middle student Ryo has been living by herself since her grandmother died. Despite having an exceptional talent for cooking, Ryo feels that there is a missing element to her cooking. That is, until she meets her second cousin, Kirin, who comes to stay with her on the weekends to attend cram school in Tokyo. These two girls might have polar-opposite personalities but that doesn’t stop them from having one thing in common: food.

This was the start of a great food adventure for both Ryo and Kirin. However, that is all there is to the story. If it wasn’t already obvious, food plays a key factor in Gourmet Girl Graffiti. Whether it is gazing at food, lusting for food, salivating over food, cooking food and eating the food, Gourmet Girl Graffiti puts on a tantalising display of how food brings godly goodness to one’s heart and soul. While food can be eaten in any way, Gourmet Girl Graffiti stresses the importance of sharing food’s deliciousness with other people. It’s not all about the experience of eating and critiquing food — it is also what you get out of it including new memories and experiencing nostalgia.

Personally, we love a good progressive narrative that has a great concoction of genres such as fantasy, romance and action. The plot of Gourmet Girl Graffiti may not advance much but it is a series that you can enjoy at one’s pace. Believe it or not, Gourmet Girl Graffiti is based on a short comic strip written by Makoto Kawai. To go from a basic comic strip to a full-fledged anime series is remarkably interesting. Not only does the anime stick to the original content very closely, but it somehow manages to flesh out the story and offers plenty of character development over the course of twelve episodes.

Gourmet Girl Graffiti is a different type of cooking anime that we’re used to — it is not a competition show, nor does it technically teach viewers how to cook. We do, however, get an insight into the type of ingredients needed for each unique dish, and how the food ‘tastes’ just based on the characters’ reactions. From red bean soup to grilled salmon to melted cheese omelette, Gourmet Girl Graffiti will have you thirsting for Japanese food. No matter what kind of dish it is, every dish looks enticingly delicious with its saturated colour and crispy-animated vapour.

Unlike other mainstream shows in the cooking genre, Gourmet Girl Graffiti has no desire in making a cliche series with exaggerated reactions. Although the audience does see the occasional hair billowing from behind and sparkles glimmering on the foreground, these characters’ reactions are stylised to the point where the art of eating food becomes slightly sexualised. Yet, surprisingly, the show is still innocent fun that has no touch of cringeworthy awkwardness. Unfortunately for the audience, this viewing experience of watching people eat delicious food can be rather torturous … yet oddly pleasurable.

The most interesting aspect of Gourmet Girl Graffiti? Gourmet Girl Graffiti was actually adapted by SHAFT. Yes, we’re talking SHAFT, the avant-garde studio behind Madoka Magica, Nisekoi and Monogatari series. As some of you may or may not know, Shaft is generally best known for their spectacular visual settings and experimental cinematography direction. How could something so basic like Gourmet Girl Graffiti end up being a SHAFT work?

Overall: GOURMET GIRL GRAFFITI is a one-of-kind show in the cooking genre — even if the story is about a group of friends hanging out and enjoying Japanese food. The audience might spend a majority of the time salivating over food but at least the show encourages us to cook and eat delicious food. It sure is a good life!

Rating: 8/10


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