How the Gorgeous Food Manga Mogusa-san Does Side Characters

I recently picked up Volumes 2 through 5 of one of my favorite manga in recent years, Mogusa-san. Featuring a girl who eats anything and everything and has developed seemingly superhuman skills in order to get as much food in herself as possible without anyone noticing, it’s basically a series made just for me. One question that arises from reading Mogusa-san is, how do you keep this premise going? What kinds of characters do you introduce as complements or foils to Mogusa herself? The answer is, a closet picky eater who has some of the qualities of a tsundere without necessarily falling squarely into that archetype.

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Taira Chigumi is the president of Mogusa’s class, and a seemingly strait-laced, no-nonsense individual. However, she harbors a deep, dark secret: she has the palate of a 10 year old. That means hamburg steaks and gummy candies are in, tomatoes and fish are out. Of course, she has an image to uphold, so she’s learned to basically keep gross foods in her mouth without swallowing them, and then force them down with a helping of coffee milk.

It makes sense in a way: opposite a girl who eats anything is a girl who eats almost nothing, and the added twist of giving her the taste buds of a child makes her rather endearing. When Koguchi (the male POV character) discovers her secret, she responds by violently attacking him. On the surface, this appears to be the stereotypical tsundere reaction, but it’s a little too active and conscious for that to be the case. Tsundere characters are usually based around having an almost involuntary reaction to embarrassment and having their true selves revealed (as parodied in the manga Mozuya-san Gyakujousuru, about a girl with tsundere as a form of clinical disease). Also, rather than having her priorities be love or the denial thereof, Chigumi simply wants to be friends with Mogusa because she sees how Mogusa just seems to love food more than anything else, and maybe, just maybe, if she spends enough time with her, that this quality will rub off on Chigumi as well.

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Chigumi isn’t the only character who adds to the world of Mogusa-san, as it also features a little sister who eats character-shaped foods as if she were a Titan from Attack on Titan, and even an eating rival. Suffice it to say, I recommend this series 110/10. No, that’s not a typo.

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Souther’s Holy Emperor Curry is a Real Thing

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The magazine Comic Zenon has recently announced a special Fist of the North Star-themed curry based on Souther, the strongest of the various practitioners of Nanto Seiken, the Sacred Fist of the Southern Cross. Souther, who uses the “Nanto Houou Ken” or “Southern Cross Phoenix Fist” style, is known for fighting without stances, having his heart on the right side of his body instead of his left, using child slave labor, and riding a three-wheeled motorcycle with a throne on top (sometimes affectionately called a “thronercycle”).

More specifically, the curry is based on the recent parody manga of Fist of the North Star titled Fist of the North Star: Strawberry Flavor. Fist of the North Star is considered one of the most significant, influential, and popular shounen manga series of all time, making it a prime target for parodies both official and otherwise. In this case, Souther is specifically “Supervising Director Souther.”

Fans of Souther and Fist of the North Star will notice that the pyramid shape of the rice is a direct reference to the character. In the original manga, Souther uses his child slaves to build a pyramid in honor of his dead master, which then becomes the site of his and Kenshiro’s final battle.

The curry is available at Cafe Zenon in Tokyo and Kichijouji until January 15th. Other foods include Supervising Director Souther’s Strawberry Sweets and Hyui’s Blue Hawaii Lassi. Stickers, metal badges, and other products are also available.

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Meal, On-hand-to Eat: Strike Witches Rations

I like food, and I like shameless advertising involving food, but it’s often hard for the two to make sense. Sure, there was the Saki Tacos promo, but rarely do the components of edible promotion actually line up so well, instead usually involving some logos or stickers slapped onto the wrapping of a biscuit. Luckily, we now have Strike Witches rations, so that you can simulate the feel of being a teenage girl with propellers strapped to your feet fighting a war.

Japanese blog “Kyou no Gogo kara Honki Dasu” has a photo review of the product, which appears to come with “biscuit bars” and some kind of jelly to go with it. According to the reviewer, the biscuits are absurdly sweet, though I don’t know by what criteria he’s judging it (American candy tends to be sweeter than Japanese desserts for instance).

I’ll be honest, unlike Saki I don’t really know much about Strike Witches. I’ve only seen two episodes, but even so, I still feel compelled to buy this product, if only because it really exists.

Now I Know What It Feels Like to Be Cardcaptor Sakura

Cardcaptor Sakura is by far one of my favorite anime, and I am quite fond all of its characters, which includes its main heroine, Kinomoto Sakura. Back when I first watched the series though, one thing about her struck me as rather odd. In an early episode, Sakura decides to treat herself with some money she’s saved up. You begin to think, is she going to get a doll, or maybe some kind of dessert or candy? How about a nice dress? But no, Sakura’s gets pancakes. And not even pancakes at a restaurant or something, but pancake mix, and she actually gives away some of her pancakes.

I remember thinking, wow, Sakura, you sure have no idea what it means to indulge yourself.

But recently, I’ve been feeling a bit pressured by impending deadlines, and as I struggle a bit to get my work done, I sometimes think of treating myself. Do I go to a restaurant, maybe get a nice bowl of noodles? Or maybe take a trip out to another city, perhaps even another country? No, instead I say to myself, “I’m going to buy some ground beef!” which as you know is like pancake mix, only made of cows. Sometimes it’s chicken breast.

So there I am, thinking that a delightful reward for myself is food which takes time to prepare and even more time to cook, though thankfully I don’t have an older brother’s friend whom I have a crush on who’d be getting like half of my cheeseburgers.

Sorry, Sakura. I understand you a little better now.

DO YOU WANT TO EAT DURING NEW YORK ANIME FESTIVAL/COMIC CON?!

The Brotherly Combination of New York Comic Con and New York Anime Festival is this weekend (Oct 8-10), and while I cannot go this year due to that pesky thing called the Atlantic Ocean, I still want to help out any way I know how. As of late, I’ve noticed that people planning on attending the con, especially those from outside of NYC, are concerned about where to go eat, and it just so happens that I love eating and eating in New York.

First thing first however, there are some “harsh” truths I have to get out of the way. Namely, the Jacob Javits Center, located between 34th St and 39th St on 11th Ave by the Hudson River, is quite a ways away from everything else. Even 10th Ave can feel distant, and the closest trains, the A, C, and E (aka the “blue” trains), are as far as 8th Ave. So unless you want to pay those ridiculous convention center food prices, you’re going to have to walk, and you’ll need at the very least 10 minutes to even get to the closest place, a McDonald’s on 34th St and 10th Ave which undoubtedly be packed. Another thing to keep in mind is that, generally speaking, “avenues” are much longer than “streets” in New York. Remember that as you plan out where to go with the time you have.

Oh, and seeing as I’m not in NYC, I cannot verify everything will be as I say it is for the weekend. Food places open up and close all the time in New York, after all. My apologies!

The simplest method to obtaining food is to go along 34th and you’ll hit a number of other fast food places. There’s a Burger King, two Subways, a Wendy’s, and even a Chipotle’s by the time you reach 8th Ave. Of course if you take the food to go, you’ll save even more time.

But I hear you asking, what if we want to sit down and eat, maybe take our time? Well first, I would have to ask if you planned on going back to the con center, and second, I would have to once again point out the New York City subways. They may not be the most reliable, but they’re plentiful and they go to almost every nook and cranny in Manhattan, let alone the other New York City boroughs. At that point, I would say just find whatever, but I know that a lot of people are distinctly looking for places to eat near the Javits.

Once you understand that “near” is a relative term, you have quite a few options. There are multiple diners along 34th, such as the Tick Tock Diner and the Skylight Diner. All of them are decent enough, and good for holding a large crowd if you get there at the right time.

Also keep in mind that you’re in Hell’s Kitchen, and going north along 9th Ave (and to a lesser extent 10th Ave) is going to reward you with any number of restaurants of varying costs. As a general rule, the further up you go, the pricier the food will be, but you can still find places, like Burgers & Cupcakes on 9th Ave between 35th and 36th. According to a friend, there’s a couple of excellent bars as well, Pony Bar and Rudy’s. Don’t be scared by the appearance of smaller locations either, as they may very well serve good food. One such place is Tehuitzingo Deli Grocery on 47th St and 10th Ave, which serves the best tacos I’ve ever eaten. Try the cow tongue!

If you’re really unsure of how you want your dining experience to be, then my location of choice is 38th St between 7th and 8th Aves. Not only is this the street where you can get my beloved Go Go Curry, but if you’re looking for places that can hold more people, there’s Lazarra’s Pizza, a sit-down Balkan restaurant called Djerdan (if you’re a real anime fan you’ll get the Musaka and shout, “MASAKA?!”), Korean Fried Chicken at Bon Chon, and even a Chinese restaurant called simply 38th Street Restaurant and Bakery which serves food closer to the kind you’d find in Chinatown than your typical General Tso’s fare. Also along 8th Ave between 38th and 37th is 2 Bros Pizza, which has convenient $1 slices. There’s also a 42nd Times Square Yoshinoya, in case you want to quickly feed your desire for Japanese food and Go Go Curry is too full.

If you have a bit more time than that and a bit of cash to lay down, then I must recommend Tony’s Dinapoli, a family-style Italian restaurant located on 43rd St between 6th and 7th Aves. The place is popular so you’ll need a reservation, but the portions are big and the food is hearty, and they’re used to housing large crowds.

And if you’re vegetarian, you may want to check out some of the nearby Indian restaurants. While I haven’t been to it myself, the closest one appears to be Tawa Tandoor, on 34th St by 9th Ave.

So those are some basics to eating during your New York Anime Festival/Comic Con weekend. Happy dining! And if you want to find something specific to eat in NYC, even outside of the Javits range, don’t be afraid to ask me on Formspring or Twitter or even in the comments below.

Well They Do Say That Presentation Matters

A recent episode of Iron Chef America had veteran Masaharu Morimoto taking on Chopped judge Geoffrey Zakarian in Battle Sardine. Morimoto, whose specialty is not only Japanese food but fish in particular provided a formidable challenge for Zakarian. During the tasting portion of the competition, Morimoto served “sardine tacos,” held together with what appeared to be colorful paper. Upon closer inspection however, the paper started to look a lot more familiar.


Milky Rose?!

Ladies and gentlemen, the US TV debut of Yes! Pretty Cure 5 Go Go!

Now as to why in the world Iron Chef Japanese would be incorporating a popular mahou shoujo series into his plating, I don’t have an actual idea, but I do have a few theories, some more outlandish than others.

Perhaps he has a daughter who’s a big fan of Precure, and this is his clever nod to her. Or perhaps Iron Chef Morimoto is himself a fan of the series. It could also possibly be that he chose it because the girls of Precure have colors which match well with the sardine tacos.

Or maybe he just grabbed whatever he could and this was the result.

Still, I think a lot more food could stand to be served on top of anime.

Go Go Curry: Going Strong, Carrying On

Today, May 5th, is the anniversary of Japanese curry restaurant Go Go Curry, and to celebrate this auspicious occasion in Manhattan they’re making it so that ALL medium-sized curry dishes are $5. I think by now my feelings on Go Go Curry have been well-established, but just in case, if you’re in the area and have never tried it, I highly recommend you do so. It’s on 38th St between 7th and 8th Ave in Manhattan.

They’re also giving away FIVE free topping coupons on top of that. And I know that unless you really like the Go Go, five coupons is a bit much to use up in a month, but they’re great to hand off to your friends, especially those who have never tried it before (just keep in mind you can’t use them in the same day you order).

As for me, it doesn’t really matter what special they have for their anniversary, I’ll be there simply to celebrate its existence and to dine on the best Japanese curry around.