Food manga is supposed to make you hunger for more. It usually does the trick for me. This manga, however, leaves me insert negative food expression here. I’m not sure, maybe “leaves me craving a tastier manga”. Anyway, “Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy!” is a mouthful of a title, but the rest of it doesn’t fill you up. I’m not good with food puns. Why is this manga not worth it? Let’s take a gander. Although I recommend the squab myself.
Plot: F-mi Y-naga is a yaoi manga artist! But at night, she turns into a foodie! She invites her friends to enjoy fine cuisine and rave how delicious the meals are! Repeat for each chapter with minor variations.
The first problem with the manga is that it’s unappealing to look at. Food manga needs to make its subject appetizing, or else the reader thinks, “Well, that doesn’t look so good. Are they exaggerating?”
It’s not that the author can’t draw food well. I’ve read “Antique Bakery”. The food looks great. Here, however, there’s little effort. The art is minimal. This is even worse considering that most of the food has a single panel devoted to each one. Sometimes more, sometimes none.
This breaks the rule of “show don’t tell”. In other food-related manga, the food looks nice and you get a good idea of how it tastes. The characters are also willing to tell the reader how the food was prepared, which makes one want to try the meal themself. Here, the characters just say “It’s a tad sweet, and the milk makes it tangy!” Or something like that.
If the manga doesn’t tell you how to prepare it, the characters should have ridiculous reactions to eating the food, such as “Yakitate!! Japan”. But F-mi and friends act fairly normal compared to other series. Not actually human being normal, but you get the idea.
Also, “F-mi Y-naga”? You mean “Fumi Yoshinaga”? Yup, the protagonist is based on the author. In fact, all of the characters are based on people Miss Yoshinaga knows. So they have names like “S-hara” and so on. It’s nice that she wants to keep her friends fairly anonymous, but this is a bit annoying.
Imagine if I talked like “N-t L-ve B-t D-cious F-ds M-ke Me So H-py is a l-sy m-nga”. It’s distracting. The names seem fake. In turn the characters seem fake, and I tend to lose track of who’s who. Not that it matters, since most of the characters tend to disappear after their chapter.
The only interesting character is F-mi, but that’s because she and S-hara (her straightman assistant and roommate) are the only consistent faces from chapter to chapter. Actually, even that’s not true. F-mi has two faces. One for her work, which is dowdy and overweight, and one for her food exploration, which is modestly attractive. I say “modestly” because even then the other characters don’t think she looks good.
I think Yamaoka from “Oishinbo” said it best about foodie books: “Food is meant to be eaten–not read. Your stomach doesn’t get full from just reading books about food. It’s only annoying to read about how other people are eating good stuff.”
Ironically, Oishinbo is a manga about other people enjoying food that you’re not eating, but the difference is that the food is drawn deliciously, not to mention that you can try them at home.
Although Yoshinaga isn’t all cruel. She does include the restaurant information at the end of each chapter, and it’s quite detailed. So if you need to find places to eat meals while visiting Japan, this could be worth your time. Everyone else should steer clear.
Overall Opinion: Not this manga but Antique Bakery makes me so happy! Skip it.
Rating: A broken chopstick out of a set of silverware. I didn’t like it.