Thanasis is a writer, professional geek, and assistant editor at MANGA.TOKYO. He started watching anime with the mecha shows of the 70s and hasn't stopped since. He loves JRPGs.
“Tonjiru to Mise Akari” (豚汁とみせあかり)
Another episode of the food-centric ‘Sweetness & Lightning(Amaama to Inazuma)’ where we get to see more of the Amaama (甘々, sweetness) and less of the Inazuma (稲妻, lightning). TSM Entertainment is the studio behind some of my favorite anime this season (D.Gray-man, Orange, Relife) and I am very curious to see how they do with this sweet series.
Judging from the X-and-Y episode titles, the series will follow a food-of-the-week format as we get to know more of our protagonists, Inuzuma-sensei, his adorable daughter Tsumugi-chan, and his student Kotori-kun (the honorific can be used both for girls and boys!).
Let’s have some pork miso soup, shall we?
After the last episode and Kotori’s proposal to cook for the family of two, Kôhei and Tsumugi, the sensei isn’t sure that this teacher-student relationship is appropriate.
After his promise to Tsumugi, he starts practicing with some basic breakfast: some eggs, a sandwich, and some wieners (which is a funny thing to listen to since the word has several connotations, or maybe my mind is just that dirty). Even though his skills need some work. Tsumugi is delighted that she can taste all the different ingredients.
After Tsumugi expresses her desire to go back to Kotori’s restaurant numerous times, Inuzuka-sensei agrees to meet up with Kotori’s mother to discuss things first. Megumi, Kotori’s mother, has to go to an urgent job and missed the appointment, but Kotori manages to persuade the family to stay for dinner.
In this episode we learn why Kotori can’t cook alone and why it is important to keep the restaurant lights open.
Japanese Cooking: This week’s food was pork soup (Tonjiru, 豚汁). Tonjiru resembles a Miso soup with pork and a lot of root vegetables. You have to excuse me, but I don’t remember all the vegetables that they used in this episode. If any of you has a great tonjiru recipe, share it with us in the comments. It’s usually eaten as dinner because of its complex flavor. There are different recipes depending on the region or the family. For instance, Kotari-kun’s mother, who is a famous television expert chef, uses potatoes. And as always, one of the series main lessons is this: whatever you make be sure to use fresh ingredients and cook it with love.
There are so many cooking details in the show. Using hachi to steer, the rice cooker, Japanese food covers, Japanese ingredients, etc. The show strives for realism.
Family relationships: Inuzuka sensei is the sweetest father. His commitment to his daughter’s happiness makes this series a feel-good spectacle full of passion and excitement. Desire is a basic human need, but desire without purpose is meaningless. This family may have found both through cooking.
Mentors: Inuzuma-sensei took the advice of a senior member of the teaching stuff when he wasn’t sure how to react to Kodari-kun’s request. In Japan, the experience and wisdom of the senpai (先輩, someone of a higher age or status) is invaluable and shows how deep the respect system goes in the Japanese language. This mentor system is found at all levels of education, and in sports clubs, businesses, and informal or social organizations.
This series is getting better by the episode.
What I particularly like is its focus on cooking and the realism it strives to achieve. From the scene where Inuzuka-sensei tries to remember to keep his fingers curled inside while cutting the yasai (野菜, vegetables) to the recipe drawn with pictures from Kotori’s mother, we get the feeling that cooking is important. Cooking is hard work. Cooking is anticipation and a desire to serve others. Cooking is cutting and tasting and trying and laughing and crying. Cooking is an art.
Cooking is personal.
And I don’t know why you watch anime (please do share why in the comments), but I watch them for the stories. And there is nothing more intimate that personal stories about people helping each other.
This is the perfect anime to watch after a tiring day.
Make some hot tea, relax, and play this episode. At the end you will feel a sweet sensation filling your soul. Tsumugi-chan’s story is so sweet you won’t even need dessert after dinner.
Based on the manga “sweetness & lightning” by Gido Amagakure originally serialized in the monthly GOOD! AFTERNOON magazine published by KODANSHA Ltd.
Anime official site : http://www.amaama.jp/
Twitter : https://twitter.com/amaama_anime