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[Wakakozake]
AKA: Wakako-Zake, Wakako Sake (Literal Translation), ワカコ酒
Genre: Culinary Slice-of-Life, Food Blog in Animated Form
Length: Television series, 12 episodes, 2 minutes each
Distributor: Available streaming on crunchyroll
Content Rating: G (Nothing Objectionable)
Related Series: None
Also Recommended: Food Wars and Yakitate! Japan come to mind as other food-centered series, but they're not quite like this, really.
Notes: Based on the manga by Chie Shinkyu, which as of 2015 is running in Monthly Comic Zenon. In 2014, a live-action TV adaptation was announced, but as of September 2015 it has not yet aired, to this reviewer's knowledge.
Rating:

Wakakozake

Synopsis

Wakako Murasaki is a 26-year old office worker and a devoted foodie. Her favorite pastime is to try out new restaurants and food stalls on her own, pondering the intricacies of flavors, seasoning, and alcohol-food pairings as she does so...


Review

Wakakozake is basically a food blog in animated form, and as something of a foodie myself, I view this as a good thing. There's a lot to love about a short series that basically consists of veteran actress Miyuki Sawashiro getting a solo show, one where her character muses on the intricacies and intangibilities of the food she tries at different restaurants while unwinding from work. Many food blogs comes across as pretentious, but Wakakozake is anything but, for it simply consists of a young woman seeking out and enjoying her food, while serving up a wonderful side dish of Japanese eating-sound onomatopoeia in the meantime.

Wakakozake works well as a fun diversion for those who happen to be both foodies and anime fans, without taking the "porn" in the term "food porn" as literally as does, say, Gourmet Girl Graffiti; to anybody who was put off by that show, this is in fact quite a suitable (if shorter) alternative. Since there's just really one character, the main character's voice actor's performance makes or breaks the show, and Mrs. Sawashiro does a fine job of capturing the mannerisms of somebody whose primary passion in life is food, whether she be tired out from her office and wanting to take some solace in good food, or simply in need of that moment of release that comes from a hearty meal after a long hike. One of my favorite episodes centered on her doing the latter, and another focused on her using food as a "happy place" in which to recuperate a bit after having been chewed out for somebody else's mistakes....and subsequently feeling empowered in standing up for herself again after having taken in her meal.

Ultimately, it's a lot of fun to watch Wakako try out different types of quintessentially Japanese food, from chanpuru to sea urchin to monkfish liver, in a variety of different types of restaurants, with the visual expressions (via written Japanese characters) of onomatopoeia adding to the effect. Given the character's age, it's also nice that the show can dip into pairings of food with sake and beer, an aspect that most food-centered manga and anime miss by virtue of featuring high school protagonists (I can count on one finger the times I've seen underage drinking depicted in Japanese media). While the character design is simplistic, the food itself is drawn beautifully; it lacks the razzle-dazzle of Gourmet Girl Graffiti, but then again, it also lacks that show's fetishistic camera angles and close-up lip shots. I'm grateful for that last part.

Wakakozake is a (very) short series, and thus there isn't really much time for character development or depth (a few sweet moments aside), but it doesn't really hurt the show at all. It's simply a nice series if you happen to be a foodie, and it worked wonderfully for me on that front.

A sweet little show about food. Not a strong four stars, and probably less if you don't think about cooking and food in general as much as I do, but adorable overall. Nicoletta Christina Browne

Recommended Audience: Nothing objectionable; there's alcohol consumption, of course, but in moderation and by those of age.



Version(s) Viewed: Stream courtesy of crunchyroll.com (Japanese with English Subtitles)
Review Status: Full (12/12)
Wakakozake © 2015 Chie Shinkyu/NSP2011/Anime WAKAKO ZAKE Partners
 
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