Genshiken Second Season Episode 12 and the Fanservice You May Not Have Seen

Episode 12 wraps up the school festival. If you want to read my thoughts on the events of the episode, you’ll find them as part of my analyses on Chapters 81 and 83. At this point I’ll have to assume 82 will be covered in Episode 13 or just not at all.

So with all the cosplay this episode, particularly from Ohno, there was a hefty amount of fanservice in the most obvious sense. This was magnified by the fact that they combined two disaparate chapters together to make it an almost “cosplay-themed” episode, but amidst all that more overt fanservice the anime actually added a little something for the Ogiue fans in particular.

This image is actually an anime original, and though it’s just a single frame it communicates a lot of intimacy and perhaps even eroticism between Ogiue and Sasahara. Ogiue never ever, ever has an expression like that, with the wry and suggestive smile as well as the sideways glance towards Sasahara who’s more tacitly responding in kind. The message this image communicates is that Sasahara likes what he sees out of Ogiue, and Ogiue is pleased that he likes that. While you might think that this is me reading too much into it, given their interruption by Sue previously, there’s no doubt in my mind how we’re supposed to interpret it.

However, if you want something that I consider fanservice that probably no one else does, it would be another anime-exclusive moment:

A Go Go Curry parody!

As long-time readers of the blog might know, I am a huge fan of Go Go Curry, and what’s more, the very first Go Go Curry I ever ate at was one in Akihabara. Though there’s no way to tell if the one Madarame is at is the same one that introduced me to the wonders of Kanazawa-style curry, I’d like to pretend that it is.

Really though, Episode 12 of Nidaime actually combined two of my favorite things, Ogiue and Go Go Curry. On some level I have to rank it pretty highly, albeit at a fairly shallow level.

The Mawaru Penguindrum merchandise also helped.

Operation Bring Devil Curry to the World

So it turns out that one of my favorite places in the world to eat, Go Go Curry, is teaming up with legendary manga creator Nagai Go to create a new super spicy curry. Called “Devil Curry” in honor of the 40th anniversary of Devilman, it is going to be a permanent fixture on the Japanese Go Go Curry menu.

These days, however, Go Go Curry is international, with stores in New York and Singapore. I know I want Devil Curry where I live, and for those of you who feel that Go Go Curry, while good, isn’t quite spicy enough, I’m sure you’d like to try it out too. The only choice then is to campaign for the international release of Devil Curry.

Every time you go to a Go Go Curry, tell them you heard about Devil Curry and want to have it on the menu.

For the times you’re not near a Go Go Curry, they also have twitter accounts: GOGO_CURRY and GOGOCURRYUSA

The only concern I have is that it might end up losing its Devilman connotations upon going abroad. I’m not sure how I feel about that.

Thinkin’ Thoughts

Getting anime and manga merchnadise in the Netherlands is actually not that difficult I’ve learned, particularly when you live closer to the bigger cities. Though a lot of material is in Dutch, because a lot of people here know how to read in English already a lot of it is also imported from the US. I could be in worse situations.

That said, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss New York City and the amazing amount of access I can get with just a short train ride. When I think about how to spend a summer day in New York for me, it involves going to Kinokuniya first, followed by Bookoff (or vice versa), and then moving on to eat at Go Go Curry. They’re all around the same area so it also makes for an enjoyable walk. The sheer weight of my bookbag as it’s stuffed with manga is also a strangely pleasant and familiar feeling, and even reminds me of my high school days. It’s even more fun to relax on the train ride back, preferably with friends, just sharing everything we got while simultaneously peeling off layers of Bookoff price tags (those things tend to accumulate as the same book gets resold over and over).

Perhaps the New York routine is special mainly because it’s where home is. Probably if I gave myself more time here (and actually went to Amstelveen), I could build up a similar routine, but for now I’m content to wait for the moments I go back.

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.

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.

Hey, You Got Curry On My Fried Chicken! Kushi-Q

Kushi-Q is another Japanese fast food joint located in New York City that I’ve only recently discovered. While their main product is yakitori they do have curry on the menu and the fan of curry that I am I had to try it out.

Before we start though, I have to give a warning to those who want to try it out. There are two Kushi-Q locations in Manhattan, one on 3rd Ave between 45th and 46th, and the other in the Citigroup Atrium on 53rd and Lexington. Only the latter one has curry available, but if you want to try out the stick foods then the 3rd Ave location will do.

Wanting to get the best of both worlds, I got the Karaage (fried chicken skewers) over curry.  Potatoes and carrots as well as a bit of onion mixed into the roux, giving Kushi-Q’s curry an overall mild flavor that I typically expect out of a Japanese-style curry, as opposed to say,  Go Go Curry’s. As far as I can tell there’s no trace of meat or animal flavoring inside the curry itself, and the task of fulfilling the carnivorous desire of the eater falls entirely on the karaage, which is I think the real winner here. It’s not great by any means, but still quite delicious and a relatively good price for a stick of meat, especially from a non-cart-based food vendor. Actually, it’s a pretty good deal for the price overall.

I may be sounding like a broken record, but if you’re deciding between Go Go Curry and Kushi-Q, I recommend Go Go Curry. However, if you’re already a fan of Go Go but looking for a change of pace, or you’re someone who can’t eat meat or dairy (pork and milk are both present in Go Go Curry’s roux), then I think it’s worth checking out.

Curry at Donburiya: Sauce and Rice, to the Next Level

Let it be known that I am a proponent of curry. I’ve written many times about the fabulous Go Go Curry, but whether it’s Thai, Indian, Chinese, Malaysian, Caribbean, you name it, if you’ve got a curry dish then I want to try it. Still, there’s a special place in my heart for Japanese-style curry. In fact, all those Chinese-run sushi places that sprung up over the past decade? I think they should be making curry instead.

It is my delight then to discover that a place I’d already gone to for quality donburi (bowls filled with rice and other ingredients, generally some kind of meat + egg), the aptly named “Donburiya,” also houses a fantastically good curry as well.

I’ve talked before about how Go Go Curry differs from most Japanese curries in that its flavor is much bolder than the norm, and Donburiya’s curry is similar in the sense that it seems to have a more complex and spicier flavor than what I’ve come to expect, but without being “intense,” with layers of subtlety underlying the more immediate spiciness. The rice itself is on par with what they serve normally, which is to say “perfectly done” and the “hamburg” I ordered with it was very juicy, and the diced onion in the hamburg was in no way overwhelming.  If you’re not familiar with Japanese hamburg, it’s something akin to a salisbury steak or a meatloaf more than it is an actual hamburger patty. I also did not feel like I got cheated out of any hamburg at all as it was quite a hefty piece of meat.

That said, it’s also a sit-down restaurant so you have to pay tip, the dish itself costs more than what you’d get at Go Go Curry, and at the end of the day I think I prefer Go Go Curry overall just because it hits harder and I absolutely love the roux there.  Overall though, the biggest hurdles for curry at Donburiya are the donburi, and I’d advise everyone to try out those before they tackle the curry dishes, or for that matter the ochazuke (rice mixed with green tea or some kind of broth), which also by the way is delicious.

Basically what I’m saying is that you pretty much can’t lose at Donburiya, and if you’re looking a curry that’s more refined than what you’d get at Go Go Curry, I’d recommend this place in a heartbeat.

Go Go Curry to Arrive in Singapore

I’ve spoken about my fondness for the Japan-based curry chain Go Go Curry in the past on a number of occasions, commenting on how it’s one of my favorite places to eat ever and that I’m a frequent visitor to the 38th and 8th location in Manhattan. For those of you who live in Singapore and have been eager to try this food which I so highly praise, your opportunity arrives on October 15 16.

Yes, Go Go Curry is opening up a Singapore locaton. I’m not sure where exactly in Singapore it’s going to be, but still it’s an opportunity for many people to try it out.

Now, I know you Singaporeans know a thing or two about curry, so I want to explain that Japanese-style curry is not quite the same beast as the kind you’re more familiar with. There is no coconut used, for example, and it tends to not be as spicy (though some places in Japan will intentionally make extra spicy curry). The sauce also tends to be more thick, acting more like a nice gravy. Go Go Curry meanwhile has a bolder flavor than most Japanese curries, so it’s also not exactly the indicator of the average of Japanese curry. But that’s also what makes it so good, and judging from the franchise’s success, a lot of people agree with me.

Incidentally, Go Go Curry is also currently holding an Akiba Cosplay Photo Contest. While I’m pretty sure you don’t actually get to go to Akihabara (that would be very expensive!), if you love cosplay AND you love curry, you have no reason not to participate. I’m still a little regretful I never participated in the eating competition myself.

On a side note, Akihabara was where I first fell in love with Go Go Curry, so that location holds good memories for me.

Donburiya: The Place for Donburi

In the past I’ve talked about a small Japanese-style curry shop in Manhattan called Go Go Curry, which serves a very authentically Japanese yet very unique take on the classic dish, and I tout it as one of my favorite restaurants to eat at for under $10. This time though, we’re gonna bump up the price past the $10 point and talk about another place that I’ve become fond of. This place also serves curry, but its main specialties are big bowls of rice with various other ingredients known as donburi. And thus, the name of the restaurant: Donburiya.

Located in Manhattan on 47th Ave between Lexington and 3rd Ave, every person I’ve ever known that has gone to Donburiya, including myself, has come away completely satisfied. The rice is perfect. The meat is perfect. Everything is as delicious as delicious can be, though in a way different from Go Go Curry. If Go Go Curry is like a high-quality mac & cheese place, then Donburiya is like a top-level classy diner serving the best burgers.

So far I’ve tried the Oyako Don (chicken and egg), the Yakiniku Don (beef and egg), and the Unatama Don (eel and egg), and all have been extremely memorable. I’ve also had their onigiri, which have also been tasty and satisfying.

There’s other things on the menu too, but while I do plan on trying their curry, the ochazuke takes priority for next time.

1st US Go Go Curry Eating Championship Results

The Winners Are…!

1st Place: Joseph F. Menchetti

2nd Place: Dale Boone

3rd Place: Don Moses Lerman

Congratulatons to all the finalists and I hope they don’t regret all that eating. Even if they do, I’m sure they’re used to it by now.