Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori Series Review: Bliss Out With Cafe Food

While Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori isn’t the most original, exciting, or beautiful anime out there, this one ended up being a surprisingly good anime just to chill out to each week during the Spring 2018 anime season.

Review:

This is another one of those shows where I genuinely went into the first episode expecting to drop it at the end, maybe write up an impressions post, and never think about it ever again. However, I think I phrased it best in my First Impressions post where I said:

…I really just fell into a happy watching coma while watching this…

And yeah, that’s more or less the experience of watching these four guys serving tea and really great looking anime food in a cafe using plates and cups made by one of the guys while serving latte art that is kind of terrifyingly bad.

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Exhibit A.

It isn’t as though this show didn’t have a few mis-fires. While some people really enjoy Gure’s character, I found him kind of the painful weak link in the set of four and when we were thrown an episode that entirely focused on him it kind of broke my general calm mood while watching. The other three characters, Sui, Tokitaka and Tsubaki all have their moments and I quite enjoyed watching their interactions. Even Gure was fine when diluted by the rest of the cast. It’s only when the show focuses on him for a longer period that it started damaging my calm.

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Visually this anime isn’t exceptional. The cafe, Rokuhoudou, is a beautiful cafe and I’d love to actually know somewhere like that to eat because just going there would be an experience. However, other than a fairly washed out colour palette for everything except the food, there’s nothing really distinguishing about how this looks. With character designs they are all pretty ordinary so a lot of the support cast and cafe guests end up blending together, not that it matters all that much.

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For the most part this is a slice of life and just follows the general daily business of the guys at the cafe so don’t expect much in the way of a compelling story. There is an ongoing plot involving Sui and his family but it kind of gets introduced in the first couple of episodes and then abandoned save for minor mentions here and there until the very end. This isn’t a plot driven drama so if you are looking for a story that moves, look elsewhere. Normally I would, and yet I really did have fun here.

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Do not watch this show while hungry.

Maybe it was just good timing because I happened to watch the first episode while really stressed and to be honest, there’s literally no way you can remain stressed while watching this. There were a number of episodes where I just completely spaced out while watching altogether and while that might not normally equal a recommendation, it was more or less exactly what I needed at the time.

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If you want a clear idea of what you are getting into, each episode is basically split into two parts. Normally one of the guys will mention something or be thinking about something that will somehow connect to some customer problem or issue and then everyone will band together to drink tea until the problem goes away. Okay, that is somewhat sarcastic, but really they don’t go about solving all the world’s problems and they do like to think about things, usually while sipping on tea.

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How much mileage individuals viewers will get out of these episodes will depend entirely on how well they like the focus character and the customer that they are helping. What that means is that some episodes will strike home better than others, but the series as a whole is pretty consistent in terms of tone and quality. The exception is episode 5 that goes off on some weird tangent that I still haven’t figured out. Just weird.

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Overall though, I’d recommend giving this show a shot unless you absolutely despise slice of life stories. I’m not normally a fan of anime that lack a driving plot, but this one worked for me and at the very least it isn’t another cute girls doing cute things slice of life.

Linked Reviews:


Thanks for reading.

Karandi James

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18if Episodes 4 + 5: No More Curry, Ever

Review Episode 4:

As you may have picked up while I was watching March Comes in Like a Lion, I’m not a big fan of simple, catchy children’s songs mid-episode (let the shogi cat song disappear from my memory) and this episode of 18if hammers us with a song about curry. Over and over and over again. It was almost enough to make me stop watching the episode except that there is a definite question I have about Haruto that I want an answer to and I don’t want to miss it should they give it to us one random episode so skipping or passing on parts of episodes is definitely out.

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This episode follows same basic formula of previous episodes in that there’s a witch and Haruto ultimately helps her get over her drama so she stops being a witch. Only in this case she wasn’t in a coma. She was just a normal girl who got dumped by her boyfriend. She kept waking up and going to her job. And then at night…

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Well, everyone has some weird hobbies I guess and at least she’s asleep. But what about Haruto? Does he ever wake up in the real world? And why is he so special in dream land? Also, what’s Lily’s deal? I’m really wanting to know what his deal is and the show is persistent in not going there.

Review Episode 5:

Another episode, another witch. This one apparently escaping the burden of being a famous ice skater and somehow losing her love of skating because of all the other things that come with being famous. Too bad her dream leads her right back to the idea that she belongs on the ice.

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Haruto is once again caught up in the witch’s dream, though it is interesting that some witches just seem to be playing out their fantasy while others seem to be actively controlling their dream and effecting people outside of their dream.

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Still, it was Lily’s involvement in this episode that really starts you asking questions about where this is going. Lily keeps showing up and she calls Haruto brother but what is she actually up to? Why exactly did she infiltrate this witch’s dream and help send her back to reality (and why did no one mention to Haruto what reality was waiting for the witch)?

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So many ongoing questions and yet I can’t deny I’m finding each story interesting in their own right even if I don’t really get where this is going.


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Karandi James.

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The Entertainer Blogger Award

Thanks to Pink-Chan from Pinky’s Palace for nominating me for this award. And I also want to than Two Happy Cats for their nomination.

I supposed to:

  • Write a post including the award picture.
  • Nominate 12 other bloggers who are funny, inspiring, and of course ENTERTAINING!
  • Add these rules to the post.
  • Thank the person who nominated you and leave a link to their blog.
  • Finally answer the questions below.

This is my first time doing one of these so let’s give it a whirl.

Why did you start to blog?

I really wanted to be part of a community of people who loved anime. While I have the odd person or two who will discuss specific shows with me and can be talked into watching one or two anime series from time to time, I live in a small town so conversation about anime is difficult. I originally tried the Crunchyroll forums but kind of found you either didn’t get a response or were met with people who just wanted to tell you why they were so much smarter than you and why your opinion was wrong. One of the few people who did respond to a comment I made in a positive way also had a blog linked to his profile and I decided to give the blogging community a go. So glad I did.

What is your favourite book?

Way too many favourite books. Pretty much anything fantasy or old school science-fiction (Eddings, Pratchett, Harding, Asimov, Bishop, Anthony, etc). As I say in my about page, I’m a prolific consumer of stories and I’m not too fussy about the medium. Recently, my book preferences have started moving to crime, mystery and the occasional paranormal romance. Not for any specific reason but I just found a lot of new sci-fi to be fairly flat and fantasy has gone more to low fantasy (set in the real world with magical elements) rather than epic high fantasy stories. So while I still read sci-fi and fantasy I tend to do a lot of second hand book buying.

What do you dislike the most?

Ignorance. If you don’t know, ask. And listen to the response.

What is your favourite food item at the mall?

I have to modify the question. What is your favourite food item at the shopping centre food court? (Sorry, the Australian in me couldn’t help it.)

Then my answer is rubbish anyway. When I lived somewhere that had a food court, my favourite food was either sushi  (if it was from a chain that actually made it fresh) or a juice (if I could get it freshly made).

What is your favorite pastime?

Other than immersing myself in stories?

Probably travelling. I really enjoy getting to see something different and take a million photos of it that I will probably never look at again.

Honestly, I don’t know who has already been nominated but I’m pretty sure most of the people I initially thought of have already posted this award. Sorry if I skipped you and you hadn’t been nominated yet.

  1. Cain S Latrani
  2. Neko-desu Reviews
  3. Mirror Purple
  4. Believe in Geek
  5. In the Cubby Hole

And, yes I know that is only 5 nominations and it is supposed to be 12 but as I said, I just don’t know who has already been nominated.

Food Wars Series Review

Overview:

Imagine Master Chef as an anime where tasting incredible food is an orgasm inducing experience. Then put in a cocky male lead and the usual tropes for the other students and staff members, an absentee father, and lots of intense trash talk between students. There we have it, Food Wars.

Review:

With season 2 of this now airing, I figured I might as well review season 1. And those of you who follow my Twitter feed will know that I took the opportunity during my last break to watch season 1 again with a friend of mine (the friend will watch anime but isn’t an anime fan – I sold her on this from the food competition angle).

I’m going to keep this relatively short because Food Wars neither particularly amazes me or annoys. I actually never expected to finish watching it the first time and until a few weeks ago had no intention of a rewatch. Still, it was pleasantly surprising in that it was a very enjoyable watch the first time through and I had a lot of fun the second time around (though a lot of that was from laughing at my friend’s reactions to the anime rather than the show itself – this is why you should always watch anime with someone).

A basic plus/minus overview of Food Wars.

Plus +

While Soma (our protagonist) is cocky, hotheaded, and frequently gets himself into unnecessary complications due to his lack of ability to emphasise with others (let’s face it if it isn’t food, Soma is clueless) he is actually surprisingly pleasant. He isn’t the shouting protagonist or the crying one. When he fails in a cook off (which does happen even though we usually forget that it does because it wasn’t an official cook off) he faces genuine frustrations but doesn’t fall into the trap of bottomless and depression inducing despair.  The fact that he also uses all of his experiences as a chance to learn and he helps build up the confidence of those around him (provided they fall into the magic category of protagonist’s friend or dorm-mate) makes him quite a fun character to watch mess around in a kitchen for a season.

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Minus –

Too many of the other characters are anything more than a one dimensional idea of a character. This is the nervous one, this is the elitist one, this is the angry one, this is the clumsy one, etc. While some of the support cast (particularly Megumi) do start to flesh out within the series, most of the others don’t escape being hit with one colour brush stroke and staying put for the duration. That’s because there are a lot of characters. Soma’s home town friends and the other shop owners, the excessively large student body at the school, the staff members, the former students of the school, and on and on it goes. When large chunks of episodes are devoted to cooking there isn’t a huge amount of time to give these characters much depth.

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Plus +

The humour works more often than it fails. Soma’s ongoing attempts to create the worst recipe as well as his tallying his wins and losses against his father, the over the top commentary during the food battles themselves, the outfits some of the students wear in the kitchens, Soma’s reactions when hearing the actual names for cooking techniques, and most of the other student’s reactions to Soma’s more ordinary food; all of these elements work to keep a smile on your face if they don’t make you laugh out loud. Some people would also probably classify the food orgasms as humour and visually, they probably are supposed to be funny but mostly they just seem a little excessive.

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Minus –

Other than Soma wanting to be number 1, there really doesn’t feel like there’s much at stake here. So if he fails a challenge he’ll be expelled? And? There are other cooking schools. That’s what bothered me the whole time watching this. These kids are killing themselves to avoid expulsion (because a school can certainly continue to operate by excluding the majority of its student body – not) and while they keep reminding us how exclusive this school is and how prestigious, the kids already know how to cook and they can do it well. There is nothing stopping any of them just leaving and getting an apprenticeship and becoming chefs. So, stakes not so high. While the characters keep viewing this prospect as a fate worse than death, for the audience it really doesn’t feel like much is at stake and there’s really no drive beyond pride for most of the characters.

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Plus +

Food shots. Lots of them. Lots of different foods beautifully presented. Don’t ever watch this show while hungry. Though, I do dislike the occasional chibi versions of the characters that appear. While it is probably there for the humour value, it kind of ruins the aesthetics of the show.

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And that’s more or less the sum total of my thoughts on this series. The fact that I watched it at all when I hate reality cooking shows and cooking contests still surprises me. The fact that I must honestly admit I had a great time while watching (even if it isn’t going to make my list of favourite anime any time soon) also surprises me. Reading the plot synopsis I wouldn’t really believe this to be my kind of anime. But its charming, amusing, at times exciting and occasionally dramatic and for the most part it’s pretty.  Unless the characters losing their clothes after eating is going to bother you, check it out.

One warning though – watching people cook does not qualify you to cook. Avoid attempting duplications of Food Wars recipes no matter how good they look. Hey, I warned you.

Sweetness and Lightning Episode 2 + 3

Review Episode 2:

While I still found this episode to be ridiculously sweet I appreciated this second episode much more than the first. Kotori feels more like a person now (albeit a very timid and slightly dysfunctional one) and her relationship with the father and daughter is starting to develop nicely. I did feel the need midway through their cooking session to wonder what this scene would look like if the cast of Food Wars showed up and it made me realise just how vastly different the two shows treat food. I may still get a sugar overload midway through the season and drop this but for now I’m firmly in the camp of people finding this particular release adorable.

Review Episode 3:

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Episode 3 is closing in on that far too sweet for my liking zone. Not that this episode wasn’t adorable and interesting, just the father sharing touching moment with daughter after she kind of learns a life lesson is just that little bit too much for my tastes. The boy teasing girl in kindergarten (or whatever grade she’s in) and the ensuing emotional turmoil just didn’t really do much for me. This is a really good anime and I’m certain there are a lot of people who are loving this, but it really isn’t going to be my cup of tea. I’m going to go for one more and if it sits like this episode I’m going to let this anime go.

Sweetness and Lightning is available on Crunchyroll.

Food Wars Episode 2 + 3

Review Episode 2:

This week brings us the next match up in their cooking competition. Megumi faces Ryo and they’re competing over ramen. I must say that Megumi is far and away my favourite member of the cast and it is with pleasure that we see her finally find her place in the kitchen, quietly determined and doing things her own way. Ryo however has been something of an enigma and what little personality he get’s this episode doesn’t make him particularly likeable. As always, the food looks amazing, but unlike last week they aren’t in a hurry to wrap this battle up. On a critical note, the visual metaphors for this cooking fight got particularly silly but at least most characters kept their clothes on.

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On its own merit this episode is neither good nor bad. If you like the show, this is good enough, but newcomers will probably be wondering what all the hype has been about.

Review Episode 3:

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The previous match is decided, we meet the next round contenders as they all declare they can’t lose and watch another match. They are really trying to steam roll through these matches. Not that I mind not watching an entire season of individual duels but it would be nice to see a few more character interactions outside of the kitchen. This episode does get the honour of being one of the few where the students are actually gracious to the loser of a match in what seems to be a highly out of character turn of events but a welcome change from the usual elitist hostilities. All and all, I’m not finding this second season as charming as the first but it is still enjoyable enough.

Food Wars is available on Crunchyroll.

Food Wars Season 2 Episode 1

Overview:

For those who haven’t seen the first season (go watch it), Food Wars is about Yukihira Soma being sent to a super elite cooking school where in true anime fashion he essentially declares war on all of his classmates by telling them he is going to be number one. That said, most of this show is about cooking (and food making character’s lose their clothes).

Review:

I was late coming into season 1 of Food Wars because I hate reality TV shows, cooking shows, and anime that focus on competitions (The Asterisk War was an exception and even then the duels were my least favourite parts). When I watched season 1 I just got totally hooked by it. Yeah, I hate a lot of the characters (they are supposed to be hated) and you always know that somehow Soma is going to win (given the show would be unable to continue if he actually got himself expelled) and the reactions to eating food are way over the top, but, the comedy works, the food looks amazing and there is great pacing.

So what does season 2 offer us in this first episode? We’re straight into a match-up we’ve all wanted to see ever since Alice showed her smug little face back at the training camp. And they are making, Bentos. So who is going to win? The smug girl who only cares about the chemical structure of food or the guy who worked in a diner his whole life? Gee, I wonder.

Well over my word limit but bottom line is this, if you liked season one you will continue to enjoy this as it is more of the same.

Food Wars is available on Crunchyroll.