Saturday, September 21, 2013

Manga Review: Eat For Your Life (volume one)

Apologies that this wasn't up yesterday, I had a busy week and simply hadn't had time to read my latest e-manga review manga and didn't want to read it and immediately write the review, I wanted some time to digest it first and then talk about it. So now that I've had a chance to do that let's dig into this review and see what such an odd title is about anyway.

Eat For Your Life by Shigure Tsuchiyama (volume one)

Summary: Ohara has a problem, he's such a gourmet that he spends all his money on trips around Japan to sample food that now he's got barely any budget for food to get through the rest of the month. He's then inspired to try a food eating contest but soon realizes that it's a lot harder than you'd think to eat X amount of food within Y amount of time but it seems he's caught the attention of a professional competitive eater whose more than willing to give him some tips to help him save his budget and win the fights.

The Good: This was a surprisingly fast read, I was rather surprised when I reached the end of the first volume since I felt like no time had passed at all* and that's a good sign. The pacing was rather quick, both for the actual contests, thank goodness considering how each eating contest Ohara finds himself in is under an hour long, and for the story in general, it wastes no time introducing Ohara to the world of competitive eating and finding him a mentor for it. I also expected Ohara to be a bit of a snob about the food he eats, after all he is a gormet, but instead I was pleasantly surprised that he's a true food lover and enjoys everything he eats, in one contest he begins to tire of the food so he brings out condiments and proclaims that now the food is interesting and delicious again which I think help sets the tone of the story as well. It's not silly or goofy but it is rather light-hearted and just has fun with the whole idea, which paired with the quick pace makes it much more of a fun read than I expected.

The Bad: I was a bit surprised at how shonen this story felt even though it's labeled as seinen as well as shonen (probably because of the characters, you can't exactly have a story where the point of it is kids trying to beat each other in eating contests without people complaining that you're promoting obesity). I can just feel the story setting itself up for a tournament arc, what with the character introduced later on who wants to make competitive eating into a sport in Japan like sumo, which makes me wonder how long the story can stay interesting. For one volume it was fine, I liked seeing the food and it was fun seeing old shonen tropes (the different styles of fighting, I mean eating, the slightly mysterious mentor who picks the protagonist out of a crowd to succeed and proclaims before contests have started how they'll end with unnerving accuracy, etc) re-used but that's a novelty which I'm sure will soon wear off.

The Art: I was a bit surprised at how detailed the art was, it's no Bride's Story but it has a lot of details in it's food and I actually did get a bit hungry from looking at all of it. The characters were also pretty distinct and the backgrounds didn't look terrible either, no problems here!

I'm giving this one a 3 out of 5 for being a fun, fast read but not one I think I'll follow up on in the future. Much like last time, while this is labeled volume one DMG doesn't appear to have any of the other volumes (I guess that all depends on how well it does, hence why so many people are reviewing the same dozen titles from them right now) but for those interested this volume is available digitally, no print copies however.

*although, last time Obento had been a bit of a slow read so that could have played a role in my surprise

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