Isekai Setting meets Food Wars! Saving the nomad life with food!
One of the most prevalent genres in Japanese fictional stories is Isekai. Which is described as a person or group getting transferred/reincarnated in another world.
There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of these stories in Anime & Manga. They all take ideas from each other. Every time I thought that new ideas for the isekai have run out, a new story amazes me with something different. Examples include Ascendance of a Bookworm & the most recent I'm a Spider... So What?.
Another isekai Manga I never expected is Mazumeshi:
Mazumeshi Elf to Yuubokugurashi (Nomadic Life with the Elf's Terrible Food) is a manga that follows Saburu who transported to another world. He uses his cooking skills to teach the elves there the meaning of "delicious!"
The manga is described as "Cutting-edge! Of a different world gourmet." -- Mangaupdates.com
The boy loved to cook for his family back in Japan. One day, he finds himself transported to a desert with only his cooking knife with him. Two Elven girls find him and bring him their nomad tribe. When they feed him their terrible food, he asks to cook the next meal, which was the most delicious thing the girls ever ate.
But according to their tribe traditions he must be executed because he made a food without God's blessing.
The chief of the tribe tasted his food and decided that his food is blessed, and so Saburo was allowed to stay with the tribe, and so Saburo's nomad life started!
The manga has a fresh feel to it!
I always loved stories set in Nomad setting... One of my favorite Manga to read three years ago was A Bride's Story, which is set in the 19th Century Asia and features multiple nomadic tribes. Mazumeshi has a similar feel to it, and it's better because having Elven Nomads adds an element of mystery to it!
I loved how this manga put a lot of emphasis of traditions. It shows how the people live in this world. I love how it's not limited to Elves, as the more I read, the more races started getting the spotlight. Mazumeshi is set in a peaceful era, and most of the conflict comes because people who are doing their own things.
Since it's a cooking manga, of course we learn with Saburo will what each of the cultures he encounters eat, and why they eat such things. We also learn to use cooking knowledge from earth to improve their meals without compromising their traditions!
The main character is interesting too. For the first 10 chapters or so, I thought he was a generic isekai protagonist without a strong personality to differentiate him from other protagonist of this genre. For one, his reason for being interested in cooking in the first place was because he broke his arm and that prevented him play baseball. He moved on and found a salvation in cooking.
Saburo does want to return to his original world! Something isekai stories including this one struggle to show. He didn't want to burden his new family with that at first, but when he learned that there is a chance to return, it became his motivator from then on!
Reminder: I don't think generic isekai protagonists are bad characters. The reason the template exists in the first place is because it makes really good characters. The only problem I have with them is that I watched/read so many isekai stories that I could predict everything they do, so the further the character from the template the better for me as a reader.
As a cook, our hero also improves as the story progresses! The way Saburo comes up with new ideas to cook is realistic, and his knowledge of Japanese cooking is not comprehensive. There are things he doesn't know, but what he does know is better than the cultures he found himself a part of. (He does teach them how to make the food he provides for them.)
The story is generally slice-of-life with a bit of comedy in each chapter. The chemistry between the main characters allow for some funny scenes like when the meal they're cooking require minutes of pumping or days of waiting!
There are some romance elements to Mazumeshi but they're not the main focus. I loved the 3rd chapter in which one of the girls had to marry and Saburo had to teach her how to make a delicious good for her fiancé.
The manga does suffer from the isekai trope of introducing many girls and make them follow the main character though. It's not as in your face as many works I've read but it's something you get tired from after reading many works of that genre.
A Fresh Take on Cooking Manga
I'm terrible at cooking and while I read cooking Manga (like Food Wars,) I usually skip the recipe parts of the dialogue. I did the same with this manga and my enjoyment is thousand times better than any cooking manga I've read!
By the time of this writing the Manga has 9 volumes. I believe an anime of Mazumeshi will be a very popular, (especially if it got released in a slow season.) I think Food Wars fans will appreciate it the most!
I believe I will write more about this manga in the future but this is what I have today!
All images are taken by me from pages of the Manga.
This article is cross-posted on both Read.cash & HIVE blockchain.
Interesting .. Ill give it a shot to read