Inquiring Minds Want To Know 2019 #6

This week I’ve got an interesting question to address where I’m asked to compare anime and live action cooking shows? Trust Scott from Mechanical Anime Reviews to come up with something fun. As always, if you have a question you’d like me to answer you can use the link to the inquiring minds survey here or just scroll down this post and fill in the 2 question survey.

How do you feel about cooking anime versus live action shows like Iron Chef?


I’m going to start with a confession, I don’t like live action cooking shows. At all. Watching someone else cook is right up there for me in the list of things I would absolutely rather not do. In fact I’d rate the average cooking show in terms of how much I’d like to watch it as on par with watching golf, a contortionist, or Hand Shakers (again).

Maybe part of this is my natural aversion to cooking anything that isn’t made of chocolate. Admittedly, I can cook better than I let on however I don’t care what the names of the utensils are, I honestly don’t need a specialised bowl to spin salad in, and if you tell me you bought a device that only cooks one thing I’m going to look at you like you grew a second head (a waffle iron not included in that because those things are essential). My idea of a serving suggestion is to put something on a plate.

However, the question does specifically ask me about something like Iron Chef and I did watch the Japanese version of that for quite awhile. Though, quite literally because of the time slot it was on and I only have two channels on my TV that get reception with consistency so it was Iron Chef while prepping dinner on the weekend or watching drought stricken farmers cry. However, one recent development with digital TV means the Food Network now actually has the clearest signal on my television and when we just want background noise it is usually what ends up on so I’ve certainly seen a wide variety of Chefs travelling around the world and sniffing various things and stirring stuff up.

I didn’t really like watching the cooking part of Iron Chef. I never really understood why you would try to cook something with a time limit. Good food takes time. And watching them run about and chopping wasn’t exactly riveting. My favourite part came when they served the food and the various tasters would take a bite and then try to put together these thoughtful descriptions of the flavour and usually it just made me laugh how hard they were trying to describe something and use different words from the person before who had literally just described it.

So live action cooking shows and me are pretty much a no-go.

Now when asked about anime cooking the first thing that comes to mind is Food Wars. And I actually did enjoy a season of that though season two gave me fatigue and I dropped it early in season 3. But again, it wasn’t really the cooking that drew me in. It was the discussion about the food and the ridiculous way they described flavour, and the visual metaphors when they were trying food. It was like the panel from the Iron Chef but exaggerated to an extreme in the way only anime really can.

However, I then thought about anime food in general and found that there are a lot of shows I love where cooking plays a central role. Recently Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori really worked for me and it focused around four guys working in a cafe making tea, terrible late art, and great food for their customers. The food shots in that anime were enough to make me hungry every single week and I really enjoyed watching them preparing their food or tea. Of course, you aren’t going to learn how to make the dishes from this one, but still, enjoy the food.

I think the easy answer to this question is, I don’t like cooking shows. However, shows where characters happen to cook aren’t a problem and anime food looks amazing.

But I’ll turn this question over to my readers. How do you feel about cooking anime compared to live action cooking shows?

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17 thoughts on “Inquiring Minds Want To Know 2019 #6

  1. Sorry, but gotta go with my stock answer: I always prefer anime to any live-action shows/movies, period. It’s just how my one-hamster-wheel mind works. . .

    1. My exception to that would be horror. Anime has a handful of decent horror offerings but for the most part horror anime just miss the mark (I love a good horror anime but they are hard to find). So live action horror usually wins for me.

  2. When I think of live action cooking shows… I don’t think of Iron Chef or the lame ass “competitions” that it’s popularity has spawned. Nor do I think of travel shows thinly disguised as food shows. When I think of a cooking show… I think of a cook, cooking. Demonstrating techniques, sharing stories, talking about the food. (I’m not sure what might have aired in Australia that we might have in common.)

    And there’s not really any direct anime equivalent of that.

    I also think of cooking as something you do for someone.

    So I gravitate towards shows like that… Sweetness & Lightning, or Gourmet Girls Graffiti. Yuru Camp also slides in that direction as it often features the characters cooking and sharing meals.

    1. Given the limited number of cooking shows I’ve watched I probably wouldn’t know it even if it had aired in Australia. I find cooking shows that demonstrate cooking techniques just not fun to watch.

  3. I used to watch cooking shows a number of years ago, including Iron Chef America, but I don’t really watch anything on over-the-air TV anymore besides sports. With Iron Chef I was most interested in the creative side of it, seeing what kind of menu they could come up with given the ingredient-of-the-week restriction. But I like to cook and it’s something I’m good at, so the affinity was natural. I’ve watched several cooking anime, with mixed results. I did enjoy Food Wars, and was both watching it and reading the manga for a while. I keep meaning to get back to it at some point. I also enjoyed Sweetness & Lightning and Gourmet Girl Graffiti, though the latter would be too CGDCT-ish for your tastes I think. Wakakozake was aight, but that was just a short anyway, while Restaurant to Another World was too slow and plotless even for me, and I was never able to get into Yakitate Japan (which was kind of Food Wars before Food Wars), probably because the plot centered around baking bread, and I’ve never been much of a bread guy.

    As far as comparing cooking shows and cooking anime, I don’t think that’s a comparison I can really make, since I watched each for totally different reasons. With cooking shows it was partly my interest in the creativity of the chefs, and partly looking for tidbits that might improve my own cooking. With cooking anime I just want half an hour of entertainment, like with any other work of fiction.

    1. I guess that makes sense if you are watching real cooking shows to see what they do and maybe get ideas then it would be different from watching a work of fiction for fun.

    2. I don’t think of Wakakozake (the anime) as much as a cooking show as an eating show… Oddly enough, it’s one I enjoy despite what I said in my reply. Maybe it’s because she loves it so much?

      The live action version is much more of a cooking show, though from Wakako’s point of view as a spectator.

  4. I still don’t understand how cooking became a spectator sport! Like I appreciate that they can cook good food, but I don’t really care especially if I’m not the one eating it.

    Now, we have celebrity chefs, celebrity handmen, celebrity realtors, etc… I can’t stand any form of reality TV. It’s lazy and cheap. Just more garbage to fill up the 300 channels that already have nothing good on. I wouldn’t even have cable if it was up to me!

    1. I’m also not a big fan of reality TV. About the only ‘reality’ show I ever really got into was The Amazing Race and that was mostly so I could pick out future holiday destinations.

  5. Hey, don’t insult watching golf! It’s one of my favorite sports to watch, behind American football. Of course, I’m an American and I think you’re an Aussie, so we have very different tastes. What sports are most popular down under?

    1. Going by what other people insist on talking about, football and cricket. I’m not a sports person, and even the sports I like playing I don’t like watching. I get other people enjoy watching sport but I cannot think of a worst way to spend an afternoon – maybe a dental visit.

  6. Man, Food Wars had such a great start, but pissed it all away when it decided to be something more than it should have been, and a have a fucking gary-stu main character. Such a shame.

    1. My bigger issue with food wars was the only consequence that ever seemed to occur was getting kicked out of the school. Given the school that seemed more like a positive to me. Besides, all the kids could cook well enough that they’d get into another cooking school for sure or could just work in a restaurant and work their way up. So the stakes in every conflict were more or less nil but the characters acted like it was life and death. Really just made me roll my eyes at it after awhile.

      1. Also the fact that they didn’t commit to the premise. A cut-throat cooking school where kids are sacrificed to polish the remaining 10 percent? That’s a great idea and the effect it would have on the cast as they were whittled down would be great.

        But no one has been kicked out. It’s the Fairy Tail problem all over. Terrified of taking risks or upending the status quo. It’s a fucking disgrace considering they had such a good idea.

        1. True. After all those threats how many kids who we have met have actually been kicked out? None. Which makes the low stakes even lower and they just keep repeating the same old threat over and over like somehow that’s the be all and end all.

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