oishinbo_1Oishinbo is the very popular manga from Kariya Tetsu and Hansaki Akira. It follows two reporters from a fictional newspaper in Japan as they travel around the country gathering cuisine and foods for a special “Ultimate Menu”  From the Wiki:

Oishinbo (美味しんぼ?, lit. “The Gourmet”) is a long-running cooking manga written by Tetsu Kariya and drawn by Akira Hanasaki. The manga’s title combines the Japanese word for delicious, oishii, and the word for someone who loves to eat, kuishinbo.[1] The series depicts the adventures of culinary journalist Shirou Yamaoka and his partner (and later wife), Yuko Kurita. It has been published by Shogakukan between 1983 and 2008 in Big Comic Spirits, before resuming again on February 23, 2009,[2] and collected in 102 tankōbon volumes.

I really love this manga. The art took a little geting used to, specifically the faces and eyes, but Akira does render the foods with painstaking detail. Shirou’s father is a master potter and a gourmet who gets recruited by a rival newspaper to head up the “Supreme Menu” project which of course pits him directly against Shirou and the “Ultimate Menu”.  This theme and several others contribute an ongoing tension that run through the stories.

Oishinbo SushiThe Ala Carte issues are translations of stories around a central theme. The stories are necessarily in chronological order. The series has been running for so long in Japan that it becomes hard for new readers to follow a series this long. The current issue focuses around Fish,  Sushi, and Sashimi. I felt there was some drop off in the stories  this time around. I really wish they had included the Basic Knife Skills story from the first volume in this issue. It would have worked better since it had more to to do with Shushi than anything else and would have introduced the reader better. That being said, the extended Salmon Battle story was very good and informative. Overall the volume maintains the fun and informative stories in the first volumes.

I really urge anyone looking for an easy and informative intro into Japanese food culture to try this series.