Kio Shimoku Twitter Highlights January 2023

In amazing news for people who run blogs called Ogiue Maniax, Kio actually retweeted one of my blog posts this month! He also drew a bunch of Year of the Rabbit bunny girl art and went to an Animage exhibit at the Ghibli Museum.

Kio’s 2022 included the end of Hashikko Ensemble at the beginning of the year, which resulted in him taking it fairly easily for the remainder. In the morning, he’d wake up and notice no dark circles under his eyes. But because he’s been doing stuff like practicing ero manga, he’s itching to get back into things.

Kio asks if it’s okay to draw “bunnies” (for the New Year), and then follows up with drawings of people in bunny outfits.

Unnamed bunny girl. (I wonder if she has any connection to the “ero manga” practice Kio’s been putting in.)

Not-Ohno from Spotted Flower. Not-Saki is saying, “Uh, mom with two kids.”

Mimi-sensei from Hashikko Ensemble.

Jin from Hashikko Ensemble.

Kio says that the Year of the Rabbit is cruel (This looks like a reference to all the bunny girl art).

Kio was into the Horizon in the Middle of Nowhere anime, but wasn’t interested in the original light novels at first. However, a few years ago he bought all of them and became a fan.

Someone replies that the books look intimidating even without opening them, to which Kio agrees. (Note that the Horizon novels get very lengthy, with my some exceeding 1,000 pages in Japanese.)

Something that appeals to Kio about Horizon is that it’s a world without any knowledge of its own history—an idea that has always appealed to him. He recalls the author being a huge history buff too, to the point that he read history books every day prior to starting Horizon. It’s something Kio wants to try but has never done.

He’s also done Horizon art for a comic anthology book, but nothing beyond that.

Kio wishes there was more Horizon anime, and his favorite character is Kimi. He admits to liking “cheat characters” as a rule.

Kio realizes that Spotted Flower Volume 6 has been announced.

Kio excitedly decided to go to a Ghibli Museum exhibit on Animage magazine from 1978 to the 1980s. 

Painting his The Five Star Stories model kit using the Citadel Colour system. Replies congratulates him for finishing, and he says Citadel is great for small details like this.

An inconsistency in terms of left and right armor. The KOG looks like it’s gonna be a pain to build as a result of such warping.

Kio getting overwhelmed with nostalgia seeing the Animage Ghibli Museum exhibit, pointing out that these are exactly the magazine issues he remembers from that time. (The Nausicaa manga started in Animage and the time Kio got into drawing because of Miyazaki, per his interview with Luis Cammy.)

A comparison between the initial paint job on the Empress vs. now.

Kio (and Rakuen magazine) retweeting one of my blog posts!!! “Hmm? Oh, what’s this?” Except he’s making a pun based on oya (parent) and oya (oh?) because it’s about Not-Keiko from Spotted Flower being a mom.

It might be obvious, but I’m very happy that this happened.

Kio bought the March 2023 issue of Weekly Model Graphix, which has a cover drawn by the manga artist Kusada. Kio mentions to Kusada that the magazine definitely stood out in the store.

After seeing a demonstration of how 3D graphics can be used to create background and reference images in manga, Kio laments that he’s gonna have to learn 3D if he wants to keep drawing alone.

Someone in the replies points out that Clip Studio Paint has 3D reference objects as part of the program, and Kio thanks him while saying that he’s only just started using ko it.

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Kio talks about how great it would have been to be able to use 3DCG models for Genshiken, and for anything involving Tokyo Big Sight (the venue for Comic Market). That said, Kio has collected tons of reference photos of Big Sight, so he can draw the place relatively easily. 

Some fans talk about how they love Kio’s analog background work (with one person calling it his bathroom reading material as a compliment), and Kio thanks them for their compliments. Kio does enjoy drawing analog backgrounds, and he used to be able to draw Genshiken backgrounds from memory (but not anymore).

After reading a tweet from an anatomy account, Kio has to fix a drawing to make a stomach crease go above the belly button.

Kio’s tortoise! In the first photo, it just leapt.

Kio Shimoku Twitter Highlights December 2022

Kio reveals his love of soccer/football and pays tribute to Mizuki Ichiro in this month’s tweets.

“This is what makes soccer interesting!” (Japan beat Spain in the 2022 World Cup on December to advance out of the group stage.)

Kio declares that he won’t buy any new model kits until he gets through these The Five Star Stories kits. Some of them are actually 20 years old. 

Kio finally tries the word balloon tool in Clip Studio Paint. He thinks he’s slowly coming to understand it.

Kio got out his disk copier to make a copy of the 2018 World Cup games he recorded. He’s also impressed by Croatia’s hard-fought win in overtime over Japan. Kio wishes he could have seen Japan in Top 8, though.

Kio compares Croatia’s momentum in the World Cup to a steamroller that crushes every other country’s dreams.

Kio is building one of his The Five Star Stories/GothicMade kits, and shows the parts. When asked if it’s the Kaiserin, Kio answers that it’s the Empress.

Kio also bought paints just for it.

The assembled Empress, before painting.

Someone asks where he got a certain kit he showed back in January 2022, but Kio responds that it was a present from a reader and no longer available for purchase.

Kio responds to someone who has the same Empress kit from an old Wonder Festival, and how the knees make it hard to pose standing. However, someone else shows what they’ve managed to pull off, which impresses Kio. He also agrees with someone who finds that the way the pieces are arranged in the box is similar to Tamiya’s motorcycle model kits.

Food from the store that prepares it for Kio’s pet tortoise.

The age of the model kit shows in a bit of deterioration.

The tortoise eats! There’s a video too!

Kio pays his respects to legendary anime singer Mizuki Ichiro.

Kio talks to the store that gave him his tortoise food, and mentions how quickly his pet ate through it all.

He can’t find his Vallejo primer.

Still having trouble with the Empress’s legs. Also, there are some extra parts whose purpose he’s unsure of. 

Fully assembled without any paint or modifications.

Not a Kio tweet, but note that there are special web chapters of Spotted Flower out this month! They feature debut of Not-Sasahara’s sister, Not-Keiko.

In response to the Rakuen account saying, “We want to see you do this from the bottom of our hearts!” Kio writes, “This is editorial saying this to a manga artist.”

Kio was thinking about the career of Lionel Messi after Argentina’s 2022 World Cup victory all throughout lunch. He remembers a young Messi moving to Spain, contrasts with Maradona, how that World Cup trophy eluded him, and how we can finally call him history’s greatest footballer. (If it isn’t clear by now, Kio is definitely a fan of soccer/football).

As a follower points out, Kio wrote about Messi (written “Messhi” in Japanese) while eating a meal (meshi).

Kio discovered that he had a spray can of primer after all. He found it in a cardboard box.

More tortoise chow from the same company as before.

Tortoise activity area.

Kio mentions that he has a kit for the Engage from The Five Star Stories on the way.

Kio enjoyed the final episode of Bocchi the Rock!

The tortoise is enjoying the heat lamp, but seems to be sleeping even more than usual.

Kio tried to lightly brush the primer he sprayed, but brushing and spraying are just inherently different.

Kio wants to get better at both building plastic models and drawing ero manga, but doesn’t feel that he’s made much progress on either.

The Empress kit with the base coat fully painted.

He also bought these special glasses for plastic model building.

Using a Citadel Colour set with a brownish shade color.

Kio Shimoku Twitter Highlights November 2022

In contrast to last month, Kio Shimoku tweeted up a storm in November. The big topics: Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honneamise, drawing characters playing baseball, and…sketching out manuscripts for pornographic manga?!

Kio announcing that Chapter 41 of Spotted Flower is out. He mentions that the way the image is cropped unintentionally makes it look more improper than it actually is.

Kio finally got the chance to see the theatrical version of Royal Space Force: The Wings of Honnêamise (which had recently been playing again on the big screen). He didn’t even know about it back when it first released, though he’s seen the TV-broadcast version tens of times. In fact, he’s seen it on TV so much that seeing the scenes cut from that version added back in felt kind of weird. The full theatrical version adds a lot of nuance to places missing from the TV version, but Kio still has an affinity for that one, and he thinks they did a good job with the edits. He talks about how nowadays, it’s unusual for people to want to watch cut versions, but he still loves it nevertheless. He doesn’t have the TV version, and Wikipedia doesn’t even mention it at all. Kio wonders if anyone actually remembers it.

A follower also talks about the cut TV version of Castle of Cagliostro, which Kio also has a recollection of. Others chime in that they have seen Royal Space Force on TV, including one person who remembers Anno Hideaki providing commentary on it for an airing on the program Friday Roadshow (which airs movies on TV). Someone else chimes in that they can remember Anno explaining a few things. Namely, how good the scene is where Marty says 「誰かが必要としているからここにいられると思っている」[If anyone can provide a translation with proper context, that’d be a big help], and how the TV version uses monoaural sound, so it couldn’t replicate everything, like the way the sound changes as they go up into space. 

“I think I’m here only because somebody needs me.”

The saga continues: Watanabe Shigeru, the editor of the TV version of Royal Space Force actually replied to Kio! In a rare instance, we get to see Kio fanboying over someone. Watanabe mentions that while he’s an anime producer now, back then he was a mere tradesman. Kio asks if there’s a betamax version, but Watanabe says there isn’t, and the TV version was basically a “necessary evi.”

Watanabe also recalls that they had Okada Toshio and Yamaga Hiroyuki (also of Gainax fame) for the TV broadcast as well.

Someone else mentions that there’s a scene with the characters drinking milk that was included in the laserdisc release but according to Kio, it wasn’t in the theatrical re-release. Watanabe chimes in again and explains that this extra scene wasn’t shot on 35 millimeter so it didn’t look good when upscaled. However, it’s included with the blu-ray as an extra.

As a follow-up to last month’s trip to the batting center, Kio has been drawing Hashikko Ensemble characters playing baseball. There’s also some discussion about the characters and how 

As an aside, my friend Diogo Prado (and a Patreon member of Ogiue Maniax) got retweeted by Kio!

A fan apologizes for discovering Hashikko Ensemble too late, and asks if there’ll be a sequel (like Genshiken Nidaime). Kio says not to sweat it, and that everyone discovers works at their own timing.

Kio also went to see a new theatrical run of GOTHICMADE. Much of the story has also been told through the manga, but the last part of the film has still yet to be adapted. 

Someone replies to Kio’s preview of Spotted Flower Chapter 41 by saying the meme line, “But he’s a guy” from Stein’s;Gate. Kio replies “They’re both,” to which the replier apologizes. However, while the replier assumed he meant that Not-Kohsaka (depicted there dressed like Not-Hato) was nonbinary, what Kio meant was that both characters are guys.

(I guess this answers the gender identity of Not-Hato).

Kio reacts to the official Twitter account of Kumamoto Castle tweeting a saying popular among idol fans and the like: You’ll stan the ones you stan when you stan (the actual word being oshi). It’s basically saying you’ll know who’s your favorite because it’ll come out from you.

The batting center is a 30-minute walk for Kio, but that walk is a good way to sober up, apparently.

Kio went to see Royal Space Force in theaters again! This time, he noticed a sound similar to a baby crying that had never registered to him before while watching.

Kio and another talking about how they can’t stop humming the music from Royal Air Force

Kio’s reaction to a mecha from The Five Star Stories: “Oh? Whoaaa! Magnapalace!”

Kio mentions Ueda Masashi as one of the all-time greats of 4-panel manga, and writes about how even these simple characters could be portrayed as having unseen “adult” sides to them. He even used Ueda’s work as a basis for a scene between Not-Ohno and Not-Tanaka in Spotted Flower Volume 5.

Kio saw Shinkai Makoto’s new film, Suzume no Tojimari.

Sometimes, Kio sketches out ero manga manuscripts, but finds striking the right balance between elements difficult. Moreover, he feels that the order of priority is different for ero manga: Instead of paneling -> text ->  images, it’s the other way around. After all, you can’t tell if something is gonna be hot just from a barebones layout. (Note that Kio had previously praised ero manga artists for their talents—this seems to be a follow-up to the idea that it’s not that easy.)

When asked what he’s drawing, Kio says it’s new and original characters. He’s also entertaining the notion of quietly putting something on the adult website Fanza.

Related to the above tweets, Kio struggled with the most recent manuscript for Spotted Flower.

Kio went on vacation for a few days, taking a break from Twitter.

Kio watched the first half of the Japan vs. Germany World Cup 2022 match and went to sleep early assuming it was all over for Japan, only to wake up to headlines about the upset.

He planned to watch the second half once he got home, wondering if player Ito Junya went wild (which Kio later confirmed).

After retweeting a bunch of plastic-model-related tweets, Kio says he really wants to build plastic models, and remarks about the “big wave” of model-building hitting after all this time. Author Ikuhana Niiro encourages him to do so, to which Kio responds by wondering whether he should finally open all the cardboard boxes that hold his model kits.

Inktober 2022 Archive: My First Time!

After years of hemming and hawing, I decided to actually do Inktober this past October. The results were, well, results.

Especially with the state of Twitter being extremely abunai, I decided it’d be good to just have a gallery here.

Kio Shimoku Twitter Highlights October 2022

More tortoise talk (and a COVID booster) for our beloved Genshiken creator this month!

Kio loves ICO, and is making jokes with others about treating September like the girl from the game.

After taking medicine, the pet tortoise is no longer having snot issues!

The tortoise relaxing. When asked if it ever hibernates, Kio mentions that he never tries to make it hibernate because it’s scary to do so.

Kio agrees with a commenter that the tortoise kind of looks like a croissant sandwich.

The legs coming out as they are is a sign that the tortoise is getting warm.

Kio got his fourth COVID vaccine shot! He took some Bufferin to deal with the side effects.

Kio had a dream where he was going to school again. As is typical of such dreams, he was late to school, he forgot his textbook, he couldn’t find his classroom, etc.

Kio responds with amazement that b the Hashikko Ensemble fan managed to find the reference for the hot spring location used in the manga.

Kio asks why his manuscripts have to emerge from his mind the way they do instead of making it easier on him.

Kio finds a livestream featuring manga artist Kuroi Midori, analyst Koizumi Yuu, manga artist Hayami Rasenjin, and editor Iida Takashi to be quite powerful.

Kio’s plan to set up a camera in his room to keep track of his tortoise has gone better than expected.

Kio is looking forward to the season premiere of How Do You Like Wednesdays? He’s talked about it in the past August and September as well.

Kio went to a batting center for the first time in about 30 years. The speed of the balls was scary. Though he did play in a softball club as a kid and was pretty good at it, it also has been almost 40 years. He did manage to hit a home run, though!

Kio Shimoku Twitter Highlights September 2022

Not many Kio tweets in September, so this is a pretty sparse entry this month. That said, there are some drawings that notably use Kozue from Hashikko Ensemble as Kio’s avatar. It’s interesting that he regards her (or at least her design) so fondly.

Kio retweeted an image describing an idea from a Tokyo University professor, who says that motivation comes from a specific part of the brain, but in order to activate it, you have to actually start doing it. Kio comments that even if he knows this, he’s still not able to work up the motivation. He then mentions drinking the energy drink Lipovitan D, and that he seems to be putting a lot of faith in it.

A drawing of Not-Kohsaka dressed as Not-Hato from Spotted Flower. Kio comments that sometimes he does have the motivation to do a big, high-quality drawing to his satisfaction.

“It’s humid…”

His right wrist hurts, but he can’t figure out what’s the matter. It doesn’t seem to be tendonitis. Kio ends up wondering if it might be that he’s using a different mouse.

This past summer, Kio’s pet tortoise started leaking some kind of snot-like liquid. To take the tortoise to the vet, he placed it in a cooler bag filled with ice, and also carried a sun umbrella. Kio remarks that this made him look like an ice cream vendor.

Apparently, the tortoise is 21 years old!! While it’s doing better, Kio thinks the issue might be a change in environment, as Kio recently moved to a place with no yard.

Kio realizes he promoted a sale for Spotted Flower too late…

Hololive TEMPUS, Nijisanji ILUNA, and Attractive Male Designs

Cover Corporation and Nijisanji, the two heavyweight companies of the Virtual Youtuber world, both recently launched a new generation of English VTubers. TEMPUS and ILUNA respectively are new steps forward for their respective organizations, with HoloTempus being the first English-language Holostars (the “dudes” counterpart to the all-girl Hololive) and ILUNA being the first mixed-gender debut group for Nijisanji English. The initial announcements were made close to each other, inevitably leading to comparisons. Among the topics of debate were who has the better character designs, with people taking sides and criticizing the other for being uglier.

Normally, I really don’t care about this sort of petty, contentious arguing. And in terms of determining who’s “better” or “worse,” I still don’t give a damn. However, what interests me is that I find TEMPUS and ILUNA to have taken different approaches to portraying attractive men. The distinction can be roughly categorized as “hardcore bishounen” (TEMPUS) vs. “mainstream bishounen” (ILUNA).

It’s not a perfect analogy, especially because each individual VTuber has a unique artist behind them. But when you look at each group’s aesthetics, as well as the actual visual styles, the comparison only grows stronger. The TEMPUS designers include Kurahana Chinatsu (Uta no Prince-sama) and Komiya Kuniharu, and the VTubers have such sharp chins and body proportions that one expects more to find in BL or even CLAMP manga—the kind of look parodied by Gakuen Handsome. In contrast, ILUNA’s designers feature among them Arisaka Aco (Bestia) and Amaichi Esora, and their VTubers have a softer appearance that reminds me of something like Genshin Impact. Given that, it’s almost no wonder that fans have found this to be a topic of contention.

But Ultimately, while visuals do play a role in Virtual Youtuber popularity, personality is also vitally important. Picking favorites comes down to how each individual balances what they care about, though I think it would be best to not bash someone for liking one over the other, as long as the core reason isn’t some bizarre tribalism. As for me, I haven’t watched enough of them overall to pick a top guy, though finding out Vesper Noir has a thing for Carmen Sandiego makes me like him.

Turrican for Super Smash Bros.

Ever since Smash Bros. Ultimate was announced, I’ve been inspired to draw and design character movesets for iconic figures from video game history. Last time, I did Tatanga, final boss of Super Mario Land. This time, it’s going to be a somewhat more obscure character: Turrican, from the game of the same name by German game designer Manfred Trenz.

While Turrican might be somewhat familiar to SNES/Super Famicom owners, the real meat and significance of Turrican is that it’s one of the most famous games for the Commodore 64 and Commodore Amiga. As Smash Bros. slowly expands from a celebration of Nintendo to a celebration of gaming, I’ve entertained the notion of computer gaming getting its due with characters like Turrican and Thrall from the Warcraft franchise.

The Turrican games are sprawling platformers/shooters in the same vein as Metroid, and even the Turrican character himself bears a lot of resemblance to Samus Aran—ranged weaponry, armor, and even a rolling form. Ideally, a moveset would emphasize their differences rather than their similarities. To that extent, there are a few unique qualities about Turrican. Unlike Samus, who has a gun arm, Turrican holds his gun with at least one hand at all times. This means a lot of his normals are knees, elbows, etc. Also, his ranged weaponry serves different functions. He can’t charge his Laser or his Snaking Beam to be high-powered KO moves, though the Laser can eventually KO at very high percents, and it goes through obstacles.

Snaking Beam is somewhat akin to Bowser or Charizard’s flame attacks, except that its range is much, much greater and it can be swung to cover nearly 360 degrees around Turrican’s body. However, the drawback is that it eventually stops flinching if held for too long, so it can’t keep opponents out forever, and it has a long recovery time. But it’s great for tacking on damage in edgeguarding situations and makes running away nearly impossible.

Turrican’s Wheel attack is closer to a Sonic Spin Dash or a Yoshi Egg Roll, but more potent in certain respects. It’s invincible on startup and has strong KO power at the very beginning, meaning it can reliably get Turrican out of uncomfortable situations or lead to a kill. That said, the move can only be used sparingly, with a long cool-down that keeps it from being abusable—missing means having it off the table for a good chunk of time. Also, it’s good at killing or evading, but trying to do both is difficult. As for the Jet Pack, it’s a fairly conventional no-damage recovery move that doesn’t induce a helpless state, and the “Power Lines” Final Smash hits left and right at the same time.

In summary, the way I picture Turrican is as a somewhat low-mobility character who relies on his ranged weaponry to whittle down opponents as they get close. When they close in, he pushes them off with close-range normals and repeats the process. He doesn’t exactly have the speed to run away, but he’s also an anti-keep-away character at the same time due to the reach and coverage of his special attacks.

Is there anyone you’d like to see me draw as a Smash character? I can’t make any guarantees, but feel free to make your voice heard!

Previous Characters:

King K. Rool (Donkey Kong Country)

Princess Daisy (Super Mario Land)

Geno (Super Mario RPG)

Great Puma (NES Pro Wrestling)

Pitfall Harry (Pitfall)

Zoma (Dragon Quest III)

NiGHTS (NiGHTS into dreams…)

Thrall (Warcraft)

Tatanga (Super Mario Land)

Tatanga (Super Mario Land) for Super Smash Bros.

It’s been a few years since I dedicated serious time and effort to imagining new characters for Super Smash Bros. But with the announcement of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate and the increasing excitement that comes with every nugget (or avalanche) of news, I felt compelled to go back to making more character moveset what-ifs. So here I am again.

For my first “Ultimate Era” character, I’ve drawn Tatanga from Super Mario Land. The final boss of Mario’s first Game Boy adventure, Tatanga is an alien who pilots a battle mecha called Pagosu, which Mario fights shoot-’em-up style. He makes another appearance in Super Mario Land 2: Six Golden Coins in a different spacecraft.

Broadly, Tatanga is a super-heavyweight character who specializes in mid to long-distance combat. His close-range attacks are fairly slow and unreliable, but with multiple jumps and his special “hover” ability, he can create a wall of projectiles that’s difficult to get past. Hover is similar to Princess Peach’s “float” mechanic, but while floating allows Peach to move back and forth horizontally with ease while airborne, Tatanga’s hover lets him control his vertical height in the air with similar precision. It’s bad for spacing, but good for preventing juggles and mixing up projectile attack patterns.

For Tatanga’s special moves I’ve taken cues from both games in coming up with his special attacks. Spread Shot is a large projectile that splits into three smaller ones mid-flight, with the larger form being a KO move. Crescent Moon is a piercing move that can go through opponents and other projectiles, giving him the ability to stand toe to toe in any ranged battle. Space Bombard drops down, moves forward, then shoots up. The points at which the attack changes direction depend on the height Tatanga himself is at—great for using while hovering. G-Sweep is a standard stage recovery attack that swoops down then up. Pagosu Barrage shoots two massive beams that combine elements of all three of Pagosu’s projectiles.

While Tatanga’s ships in SML1 and SML2 are not quite humanoid, I’ve re-designed Pagosu to include retractable legs. I think it allows for a bit of extra animation flair for a model that would be fairly static otherwise. Combined with Tatanga’s expressions changing within the cockpit, it lets the character show more personality.

Previous Characters:

King K. Rool (Donkey Kong Country)

Princess Daisy (Super Mario Land)

Geno (Super Mario RPG)

Great Puma (NES Pro Wrestling)

Pitfall Harry (Pitfall)

Zoma (Dragon Quest III)

NiGHTS (NiGHTS into dreams…)

Thrall (Warcraft)

 

The Many Levels of Fanservice in Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma

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Mito Ikumi, Food Wars! Character

Within the first few minutes of the Food Wars!:  Shokugeki no Soma anime, viewers are made well aware of the extent of its fanservice. If the flavor of peanut butter squid being visually likened to being violated by a large squid wasn’t enough, as the episode progresses characters basically have reactions that are downright orgasmic. It’s the kind of reaction that can really turn people away, but I also am aware of how the seeming need to fully animate a manga can lead to a rather different (and more gratuitous) experience, even when faithfulness to the source material is considered important. This is what I believe happened with another series, Mysterious Girlfriend X, and so when I got the chance to read the manga for Food Wars, I went in curious about two things: the depiction of competition in the Yakitate!! Japan “food battle” sense, and how the fanservice compares to the anime.

Food Wars! portrays both the act of master chefs locked in fierce cooking combat and the sexually charged tasting reactions with equal care and attention to detail. The manga is certainly not a cleaner alternative to the anime, but there are a couple of points I noticed about it. First, the manga’s imagery is a noticeably different experience due to the lack of need to fully animate all of the more gratuitous scenes. Second, Food Wars! actually takes a kind of multi-level approach to its fanservice.

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Shinkon Gattai Godannar!!

I think it’s fair to judge a series by the most extreme examples of fanservice found in it, and so this isn’t really a defense of Food Wars! as sticking it to the prudes or anything. However, when it comes to anime and manga, they tend to maintain to a fairly consistent level of the kind of fanservice they want to use. Love Hina and Chobits go for mildly risque bath scenes, Aim for the Top! goes for the subdued-by-today’s-standards jiggle and “creative” camera angles, and Godannar!! and Ikkitousen are all about in-your-face shots and revealing clothing (or lack thereof). Food Wars!, in contrast to all of those, encompasses virtually the entire spectrum.

At the far end, you have the scenes described above: images that, in and out of context, look like something you’d find in a naughty magazine. However, there are also plenty of food reaction moments that are more about showing off the girls’ (and in some cases even guys’) bodies in the buff, without that added layer of sexual innuendo. There are images of girls spilling out of their outfits, but there are also relatively more conservative examples. So, while you have a character like Mito Ikumi (pictured at the beginning of this post), who wears bikinis and is based around a rather blatant “meat” theme, you also have characters like Tadakoro Megumi and Mizuhara Fuyumi, who are less voluptuous but are still involved in their own fanservice scenes relative to their designs. In those instances, the manga will decide to show for one panel the way that Megumi’s pants hug against her hips, or that Fuyumi has subtle but noticeable curves.

tadokoromegumi-pants

Tadokoro Megumi

In terms of how men are portrayed (their clothes burst off as they salivate over a five-star meal just as much as the girls do), but I’d actually like an opinion from any readers interested in men as to whether Food Wars! hits any of their buttons in the right way. I get the feeling Takumi Aldini is popular, but I haven’t looked into it extensively.

Given all this talk of gratuitous imagery, I find it all the more interesting that the more I read Food Wars!, the less I think of it as a fanservice series, even though it can be so elaborate and perverted in its character depictions. It certainly is still that sort of manga and anime, but the cooking really takes center stage, and in certain ways the ever-present fanservice is actually subordinate to the food. There’s just something about the intensity and the amount of attention that goes into presenting the culinary masterpieces of the manga’s characters that shines the spotlight on their cooking above all else.

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