Summer 2014 Anime Season: First Impressions

Akame ga Kill 03     Aldnoah Zero 03     Ao Haru Ride 01    Barakamon 02     Free Eternal Summer 02     Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-Kun 03    Glasslip 02     Sailor Moon Crystal 02     Sword Art Online II 01     Tokyo ESP 01     Tokyo Ghoul 03     Zankyou no Terror 03

The summer 2014 anime season has arrived, bringing with it a host of new series in a wide variety of genres, including horror, mecha, sci-fi, sports, romance, comedy, slice of life, and everything in between… There’s plenty to choose from, so here are 12 shows I’ve been checking out in the last few weeks, and my first impressions of them!

Overall, I’m finding this season quite varied and actually quite good, with a few shows that shine a little brighter than others. There were a lot over very strong first episodes that caught my attention quickly, but unfortunately, the majority of them have failed to match up to their brilliant starts.

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Switching up an Old Summertime Favourite with Grilled Miso Butter Corn on the Cob

Roasted Corn - K-On 13 - 02Summertime comes with a host of wonderful things, including warmer weather, beachside barbecues, and a wealth of farm-fresh produce that entices the palate. One of my favourite things to eat at this time of year is corn on the cob, which is delectably sweet and juicy. Usually I just boil it up and eat it with a bit of butter, but lately I’ve been wanting something a bit different… Enter grilled miso butter corn! Continue reading

Bento 101: The Basics

Bento - Noragami 04Whether or not you watch anime, I’m sure you’ve seen a bento before… you know, those nicely segmented boxes full of compactly arranged food? Maybe it was in a Japanese restaurant that served a bento box dinner special, or perhaps it was a friend’s simple homemade lunch. Either way, it piqued your interest….

Bento are featured heavily in anime, with an overwhelming number of characters and series showcasing these often adorable and intricately arranged packed meals. Sometimes it seems like everyone from students to office workers make, purchase, and consume bento on a regular basis…  But, what exactly is a bento, where did they come from, and how do you go about making one?

To answer that, let’s start with the most basic of the basics. Continue reading

Spring 2014 Anime Season: Final Impressions

Gochuumon wa Usagi Desu ka 02  Hitsugi no Chaika 02  Melon pan - Isshuukan Friends 06 - 01  Knights of Sidonia 04  Makakucity Actors 01  No Game No Life 02  Ryuugajou Nanana no Maizoukin 03

The spring 2014 anime season has come and gone, full of a combination of hard letdowns and unexpected winners… and plenty of shows I will probably never watch again filling the spaces in between.

If I can sum up my feelings of the season, it would be that the worlds and settings tended to be quite intriguing and mysterious, but the characters overwhelmingly flat in comparison. Overall, it was a good season, but I expect most of the shows I watched to be largely forgettable when faced with the test of time.

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Can’t Stand the Heat of Summertime Ramen? The Solution is the Colourful and Cool Hiyashi Chuuka

Hiyashi Chuuka - Garden of WordsI have a dilemma: summer is officially in full swing, complete with sunny skies and soggy humidity, and as luck would have it, I suddenly really want to eat a big bowl of steaming hot ramen…. But, with the weather being so warm, how can I satisfy my cravings without getting heatstroke?

My solution? Hiyashi chuuka, which is basically a plate of chilled ramen topped with a colourful assortment of meats and vegetables and drizzled with a light sesame sauce! Continue reading

A Simple Sushi Made for the (Fox) Gods: Inari Zushi

Inari zushi - Super Sonico The Animation 04Sushi comes in many forms, whether it’s rolled-up maki, bite-sized nigiri, box-shaped oshizushi, or artfully arranged over a bed of rice for chirashizushi… but one of the most simple and easily overlooked type has to be the humble inari zushi!

Made of inari age (seasoned deep fried tofu pouches) stuffed with tangy sushi rice, inari zushi resembles a golden brown pillow. The inari age gives this dish a sweet and slightly salty flavour, and it’s spongy texture contrasts the chewiness of the rice.

Inari zushi makes frequent appearances in anime, particularly in shows that feature kitsune (fox gods) or the Shinto kami (god), Inari Okami… In Japan, inari zushi is a popular item left as an offering at Inari shrines not only because the supposed favourite food of Inari Okami‘s kitsune is inari age, but also because the pointed tips of inari zushi resemble the pointed ears of a fox! Continue reading

The Only Food Fit for a (Fox) God is Inari Age

Inari zushi - Hiiro no Kakera 08

If you’ve ever seen an anime featuring the Shinto kami (god), Inari Okami, and its’ kitsune, or fox gods, you would know that their favourite food is inari age, or seasoned deep fried tofu pouches….

A little sweet, a little savoury, inari age is really not the most attractive food ever (it’s kinda… just brown coloured? Floppy? Damp?)… but trust me when I say it’s delicious! The tofu pouches have a slight sponginess with a nice bit of chew, and really soaks up the sauce it’s seasoned in. Continue reading