Ai NonakaJuri NagatsumaHaruka ChisugaAsuka Nishi
Gourmet Girl Graffiti
Episode 1 also reviewed here: Anime 1st episodes 2015: G
Also known as: Koufuku Graffiti
Medium: TV, series
Year: 2015
Director: Akiyuki Simbo
Writer: Mari Okada
Original creator: Makoto Kawai
Actor: Ai Nonaka, Akeno Watanabe, Asuka Nishi, Asuka Ogame, Haruka Chisuga, Juri Nagatsuma, Kentarou Tone, Mikako Komatsu, Miyu Matsuki, Rina Satou, Ryou Hirohashi, Satomi Arai, Shota Yamamoto, Tamie Kubota, Yohei Osa, Yu Kobayashi, Yuka Iguchi
Keywords: anime
Country: Japan
Language: Japanese
Format: 12 episodes
Website category: Anime 2015
Review date: 25 November 2016
It's charming. Almost empty, but warm and likeable. Ep.10 has some meaningful dramatic content, but otherwise there's little point in watching this show beyond the happy snuggly feeling of wasting time with nice people.
Ryou Machiko likes cooking, but she's worried about losing her skills. She's been living alone since her grandmother died, so she's had no-one to cook for and she doesn't like the taste of her own food any more. As it happens, this show's message is that those two things are related. Food tastes better when you're eating it with someone.
Kirin Morino is Ryou's second cousin and the same age as her, despite looking much younger. They're both studying art at the same weekend cram school, so Kirin starts staying with Ryou at the weekends. Kirin also really, really likes food.
Shiina is a friend of Ryou's.
...and that's it. That's the show. Girls cook food and eat it. It's a happy, sharing experience. There's also some strongly implied lesbianism, as usual in a Manga Time Kirara adaptation. The girls have near-orgasmic eating experiences and Ryou-Kirin are probably heading for a single-sex marriage. Admittedly there's also some fellatio-like eating of ice lollies in ep.6, but this clashes badly with the rest of the show and the fans took objection to this inappropriate and distasteful reminder of heterosexuality.
The show's main message is implausible, of course. Does food really taste better if cooked with love? However the show itself is occasionally aware of this, most explicitly in ep.8 when Ryou's love goggles send her into raptures about a packed lunch that has her schoolmates wondering what all the fuss is about. Kirin was thinking of her when she made it. Interestingly even Kirin herself is downcast when she eventually tastes it and realises it's mediocre, only for Ryou to console her and explain everything it meant for her. (Shiina is impressed in a different way. "My stomach doesn't hurt!")
It's a cooking show, but you don't have to be interested in cooking to watch it. I'm not really. I ran away from Food Wars: Shokugeki no Souma. Every episode will involve food in some way, but the show's more about the girls being nice and helping each other.
There are sweet little character bits, such as Ryou's discovery in ep.4 that her granny had originally been a terrible cook and had had to work hard at all the dishes she'd make for her granddaughter.
The standout, though, is ep.10. Yuki Uchiki isn't a schoolgirl, but a lonely, withdrawn adult with a job and a fear of talking with other people. Her idea of cooking is to order a four-in-one pizza, so that she can eat a different quarter at each successive meal without getting sick of the flavour. She's locked in her own head and hasn't been able to say what she wanted to for years. She's only in ep.10 and she doesn't magically get over all her problems in 25 minutes, but our heroines befriend her and start her on the road to recovery. "I'll never make any friends," is what she'd been thinking at the start of the episode.
There are some unexplained points. What on Earth are Ryo's parents' jobs? It doesn't matter, though. It's a throwaway bit from a four-panel manga, which is what this anime is based on. This show isn't about plot or anything like that.
The title sequence is cute, but less so than the voice actresses' singing after the end credits. Taberuuu (Tsukuruuu), Tsukuruuu (Taberuuu), Taberuuu (Tsukuruuu), Futari doo-bee-doo-bah!
Occasionally there's more depth in this show than you'd expect. Is it just me, or does ep.4 imply that Ryou's granny didn't love her husband and/or had an unsatisfying family life? Kirin also has a fear of adults (albeit only occasionally referenced) and gets a revealing line in ep.10. "She's an adult! I've been treating her as if we're the same age." To pint-sized Kirin, the entire world's bigger than her. However the show's main purpose is simply to be gentle and kind-hearted, with mildly erotic eating. It's nice. To be honest, my only problem with the foodgasm scenes is that everyone starts talking like a restaurant critic. I've never talked like that about food in my life!
I enjoyed it. I don't imagine I'll ever feel the need to watch it again, but I'm sure that if I did, I'd enjoy it just as much as I did this first time.