There’s more to anime than meets the eye. Indeed, it is not merely about the exceptionally designed characters, engaging plot, and action-packed scenes that can captivate the hearts of the audience. Sometimes, the food in anime mesmerizes the fans. Therefore, aside from the best character or scene, it’s the food that becomes memorable to the viewers. Now, the question lies as to why Japanese animation massively puts so much effort into the foods that are featured. Read on to find out!
Anime shows are loved and appreciated across the globe for their appealing stories. They have unique plots and a wide variety of compelling shows to choose from. From action, drama, horror, mystery, romance, and comedy, anime has all the compelling stories that would adhere to the standards and preferences of the viewers. Therefore, its unbelievable rise to fame is understandable.
However, one distinct feature of anime has captivated the fans and has helped boost its fame, and that is none other than the food. If one is immersed in the anime world, then she or he has long realized that regardless of whether the series or movie’s theme is cooking, foods in anime are always immaculate.
Reasons Why Anime Foods are So Detailed in Anime
From the classic Studio Ghibli films to animes like the isekai Campfire Cooking in Another World with My Absurb Skill, anime foods have continued to entice the audience. It has deepened their love for anime and to become much more mesmerized by the mouth-watering foods that the characters make. Yes, anime is the center of action-packed and heart-melting moments. But it is also the heart of many detailed foods. These foods have instilled a positive and delicious perspective in fans toward Japanese food.
It cannot be denied that Japanese cuisines have become more mouth-watering to fans across the globe because they are featured frequently in various animes. Many anime fans have expressed their wonder with regard to the astonishing portrayal of foods in anime. Due to the divine and flavorsome foods that anime shows represent, fans are entertained, at the same time, they crave these detailedly delicious Japanese foods. However, these intricate details that animators put into their works are incorporated for various reasons. Here are five significant reasons why foods are so detailed in anime:
Intricate Animations Imply a Sense of Realism
“That looks so delicious!” or “Oishī!” is probably the most common reaction from anime fans whenever food anime shows up on the screen. Detailed depictions of foods are one of the distinct features of Japanese animation. Anime is known for incorporating techniques that detail every part of the food. This is done to make the foods more visually pleasing for the audience. By creating a sense of realism the anime food becomes more engaging and delicious to the viewers.
These foods in anime can become a source of excitement and comfort to the audience. From soothing cooking scenes in Ghibli movies to heart-racing moments where Yukihira Souma of Food Wars! shows off his skills, food in anime being highly detailed has become too realistic to not crave and be delighted about. Additionally, there are also instances where the staff or studio behind these animes hired professional food stylists. This is to ensure that the foods featured are realistic and will be tempting to the audience. The food stylist who is hired or the animators incorporate vibrant colors and textures into the foods. Also, in the manner of preparing these foods, they also do this to make them aesthetically pleasing and make them more life-like.
Food in Anime Is an Effective Cultural Representation
Foods in anime have been an effective tool in becoming a global ambassador for Japan. Anime greatly represents the Japanese culture. From the stories, clothes, characters, settings, and most of all the food reflected in these shows. More people, specifically otakus around the world, who aspire to visit or live in Japan have increased. Aside from touring Japan, one of the main things they want to try is the enticing foods they have seen from their favorite anime shows. This desire to visit Japan is because the anime foods have offered a glimpse of how rich Japan’s culinary traditions are.
Additionally, in comparison to foods in Western series or films, foods are not treated the same way as how significant they are portrayed in anime shows, not unless they are food-themed shows. Western animation of foods is frequently treated merely as a background for the vital scenes or characters of the show. On the other hand, anime shows, regardless if they are not food-centered, would spend a considerable amount of time that would help elevate the aesthetic of the food or the cooking scene, making them memorable to the audience.
Anime Food Is a Symbol of Family and Friendship
Anime food is memorable, but not as memorable when the anime characters share them over a meal. The feeling of characters enjoying the detailed delicious food together is what makes it more appealing to the audience. The characters gather together and eat the delicious Japanese food they cooked or bought. The intricate details that the food create a sense of realism. However, the moments where it is shared symbolize special bonds.
As the characters gather to eat, they convey special emotions, specifically the love and trust they have for one another. Whether the anime characters are eating together or preparing the food together, it cannot be denied that these scenes deliver positive emotions, such as comfort and affection. Therefore, aside from craving Japanese cuisine, the audience’s connection to the characters is also deepened. Emotion is a universal experience by all individuals, which includes their emotions toward foods.
Foods are not just background elements. They are animated with the goal of making them look warm, soothing, and appetizing. They are also important in becoming one of the storytelling tools of the characters. This is because through the delicious food, the characters share and eat, they can strengthen their bond, and more of the characters’ sides or unveiled are unveiled.
It Has Both Entertainment and Marketing Value
The smoke that churns around the flavorful ramen, meat dishes, and even the simplest baked bread massively adds to the entertainment value of the show. One of the goals why anime foods being so detailed is to create a sense of realism. However, a lot of times cooking scenes and the food itself are exaggerated for entertainment purposes. The oozing flavors through the smoke allow the audience to widen their imagination and watch and crave these foods with warmth.
Even if the anime series or film is not centered on cooking or food, as stated above, animators do not hesitate to put a lot of effort into it. Hence, even the simplest way of cooking an egg can become so indulging for the audience. It can even lead to them wanting to re-create these cuisines. The intention of the animators to make the foods heart-warming is a massive contribution to the entertainment it provide to fans.
In a similar context, the details that make this food appetizing and closer to perfection can also contribute to the market of the specific anime or the Japanese cuisine culture as a whole. In anime shows that fall under the food or cooking, making the food more enticing can lead these animes to release merchandise connected to the real-life version of the foods that are featured. The author of Food Wars! Yūto Tsukuda followed this strategy by creating a recipe book titled, Food Wars: Official Recipe Book by Yūto Tsukuda. Not only does this strategy make the series more marketable to the audience, but also the Japanese cuisine itself. Hence, it’s a win for both the Japanese culture and the anime.
How Do Anime Foods Achieve Such Intricate Detailing?
Aside from hiring a professional food stylist, there are also other ways that are done. To start, the creative animators behind these series sometimes do not need to refer their works to professional food stylists. The skills of the animators or artists in designing, blending, putting colors, textures, and visually delightful presentations are the techniques utilized to make the anime food so delicious and detailed.
As stated above, whether these animes are food-themed or not, animators are willing to put a little bit of effort into them. In terms of the shading and lighting of the food, animators aim to create a satisfactory and visually appealing outcome. In connection, the advancement of animation technologies also gives the animators the luxury to explore more techniques that would make the food animes realistic. These technologies have allowed the animators to make the food or cooking scenes in ways that increase the sensory experience of the audience while being entertained.
In addition, the intricate details of the food also depend on the allocated budget for the show. Like any other element, a higher budget can result in a higher quality of work. This is because when a certain anime has the adequate amount of budget needed, the staff’s creativity and work are not limited due to financial issues. They can go all out. They can get all the resources needed to make these food animes close to the ones in the real world.
Indeed, animators never forget to draw inspiration from real-life foods. If the anime does not wish to hire a professional food stylist or cannot afford one, animators do the culinary adventures themselves. Animators diligently try to perfect the food in the anime. They do this by gaining inspiration from the foods they actually eat, a photo, or a video of it. Therefore, they can still ensure that the foods resonate with authenticity from those in the real world. This gives the audience a sense of excitement and nostalgia.
Lastly, based on the role of the foods, directors also find a way for the food animes to evoke emotions. They may be a central element or just supporting ones, techniques that match their anime food’s role and create an atmosphere fit to the scene are incorporated. The ways and reasons why foods in anime are detailed have a common goal, and that is to provide the best experience for the audience.
10 Best Mouth-Watering Gourmet Anime
The reasons stated above explain that food anime are significant storytelling tools. As well as effective global ambassadors for Japan and an advantageous marketing strategy. To soothe one’s craving for Japanese cuisine in anime, here are 10 mouth-watering animes that would prove that all the reasons above are accurate:
1. Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma
Food Wars! is one of the top-tier cooking shows out there. Many may have pointed out the over-the-top and weird foodgasm that the characters experience. However, this does not change the fact the food anime featured is immaculate. From the most expensive cuisines to the cheapest ones, Souma Yukihira and the rest of the highly-skilled cook in the series have entertained the fans with their exemplary and detailed cooking strategies.
Food Wars! is the type of gourmet anime that centers on the thrilling intense competitions between the characters. The series follows the journey of Souma Yukihira, who enrolls at a prestigious culinary academy to follow in his father’s footsteps and, at the same time, exceed them. In the academy, Souma will go through thrilling and exciting cooking competitions with the other students. Like him, the other students possess divine skills in cooking and are as competitive as him.
2. Sweetness and Lightning (Amaama to Inazuma)
In comparison to Fodd Wars! Sweetness and Lighting lean more on the heart-warming side of food anime. This series features the daily lives of the characters with so much warmth and love. It centers on the story of Kouhei Inuzuka, who is a single parent to his young daughter, Tsumugi. He embodies all the good qualities of a father, aside from his lack at the cooking department. Hence, he frequently relies on ready-made food for himself and his daughter.
This lack of his made Inuzuka worry about his daughter not getting the nutrition he needed. Fortunately, one of his students, Kotoro Iida, will offer help for the father and daughter. This series is the perfect anime for food enthusiasts. It is an anime that explores the significance of cooking with the family and having warm meals with them. It touches on one of the reasons why anime is so detailed in anime which is because it is a symbol for special bonds, such as friendship and family.
3. Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food From Another World
Food brings people together is the central theme of this series. Isekai Izakaya: Japanese Food From Another World is a feel-good anime. It is for viewers who are searching for a soothing gourmet anime that is perfect to watch after a busy day. This series revolves around Nobuyuki Yazawa, a skilled head chef, and the kind-hearted waitress, Shinobu Senke. They work together in running a Japanese izakaya which is a stay-drink-place.
Their restaurant welcomes any (humans and other anime creatures) customers from different walks of life. Nobu and Senke aim to showcase their food and give their customer a satisfactory experience. Customer from different universe craves the exquisite dishes they serve and are willing to go all the way to the restaurant to fill their stomachs with good food, as well as their heart with stories from their fellow travelers.
4. Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family
This series is an ONA anime, a spin-off of the Fate series. Instead of the usual action-fantasy series, Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family is a slice-of-life gourmet series. Even if one has not seen the Fate anime series, Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family is still entertaining to fans. It centers on the characters enjoying the peace they have achieved. All the masters and servants went on with their simple daily lives, and Shirou, one of the characters, has kept himself busy in household cooking.
Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family explores Shirou’s journey in coming up with a new dish to cook. Also, his adventures in visiting the marketplace with a budget to follow. His exceptional skills in cooking will entice all invited and uninvited guests to taste and enjoy his food with the Emiya family. This series massively features the detailed steps that Shirou does in preparing his desired dishes. These steps make them more appetizing to the audience. Today’s Menu for the Emiya Family has a lot of relaxing moments in it. It has plenty of comforting food, soothing character moments, and a peaceful environment. It is the perfect anime to heal any emotional negativity and gain more positive feelings.
5. Yakitate!! Japan
Bread has never tasted or looked better than how it is portrayed in Yakitate!! Japan. This series conveys that Japanese cuisine is not all about the well-known ramen and omurice that the characters usually eat. Yakitate!! Japan focuses on a boy named Kazuma Azuma, who is determined to bake Japan’s own national bread. With countries like England, France, and Germany having their own well-known and unique breaks, Azuma wants to make history for Japan.
Additionally, Azuma is blessed with gifted warm hands that allow the dough to ferment faster which is his greatest advantage. However, even with this blessed skill, Azuma will realize the impressive amount of competitiveness between bakers in the baking world. The cooking and food scenes in this series have a bucket load of comedy in it that will undoubtedly contribute to the show’s entertainment value, ensuring that all viewers with enjoy it.
This anime is all about the importance of delicious bentos and how far people can go just to get a hold of one of them. This series centers on the intense and competitive bento battles at the supermarkets for a discounted price. You Satou will join the world of bento battles where everyone turns like focusing beings, making the supermarket a total war zone. This series is a mix of action, comedy, and a bit of slice-of-life.
This gourmet anime gives all the detailed and appetizing bentos high regard by showing that gaining one will involve strategic planning and fights with honor. Ben-To features the common Japanese-style packed lunch; however, it will intensely be focused on the visually appealing and delicious bento boxes. This series will make the audience crave their own bento box and keep them entertained with its ridiculous but hilarious storyline.
This is the perfect anime for those who want to test the waters when it comes to gourmet animes and will surely not be disappointed. This series consists of 12 episodes with a length of 2 minutes for each episode. This is the perfect short and soothing escape who just want to let their hair down after a tiring day. Wakakozake centers on the after-work endeavors of Murasaki Wakako, a 26-year-old office lady.
Murasaki Wakako is fond of enjoying her hours after work by eating mouth-watering foods and drinking. She values her time alone. Murasaki goes from one restaurant to another to try the best food and drink in town. This series is a soothing hidden gem that represents Japanese cuisine massively. Murasaki is the protagonist who will keep the viewers entertained. In addition, she will be the perfect tour guide for the viewers who wish to explore the world of culinary in Japan.
8. Campfire Cooking in Another World with My Absurd Skill
This series gave Iskai anime a new touch. Instead of action-packed scenes, the protagonist gains the ability to make the tastiest food in the parallel world. Campfire Cooking in Another World with My Absurb Skill is about an average office man summoned to another world to defend the kingdom. Tsuyoshi Musouda did not gain overpowered fighting abilities but did acquire an interesting non-combat skill called the Online Supermarket.
Through his skill, Mukouda is able to purchase cheap products from modern-day Japan which are high-end in the isekai world. Using his skill, Mukouda will gain a powerful familiar who will become obsessed with all the appetizing dishes he creates. The two will travel as they continuously search and cook for irresistible meals. Mukouda will guide the viewers through a step-by-step process and detail how to make the Japanese and isekai fusion foods he will be making or all humans and anime creatures in the series.
9. Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits
This series is one of the series that features a lot of anime food with visually pleasing details. To save herself from harm, her cooking skills are the ones she’ll use as armor. This represents the traditional Japanese customs and cuisines. Kakuriyo: Bed & Breakfast for Spirits is about Aoi Tsubaki, who was gifted with strong spirit powers. Her abilities allow her to see vengeful spirits. To ensure that these vengeful spirits will not make him into one tasty meal, Aoi Tsubaki feeds them with delicious foods that will keep them full and satisfied.
Unaware that his father used her as collateral for his one million dollar debt, Aoi was transported into a Hidden Realm by the ogre-god Oodanna. In order to save herself and pay off her grandfather’s debt, Aoi Tsubaki will put up a restaurant at Oodanna’s. Through her cooking skills, this series will show the audience Aoi’s extraordinary skills, Moreover, highlight deliciously intricate food that will appeal to the spirit’s palate.
10. Gourmet Girl Graffiti
Fans who years to be good at cooking will definitely relate and be entertained by Gourmet Girl Graffiti‘s plot. Ryou Machiko believed, through the words of her late grandmother, that being an exceptional cook is a skill that a future wife must possess. Although she can create mouth-watering dishes, Ryou is not satisfied with their taste. Therefore, she concludes the possibility of living alone, not until her second cousin, Kirin Morino, joins her every weekend.
With the desire to keep her cousin, Morino, happy and full, Ryo will aim to improve her skills in the kitchen and create flavorful meals. As Ryo goes through the journey of developing her skills, expect the food and cooking scene in this series will be emphasized. This is because most of the character’s time will be spent inside their haven, and that is the kitchen.