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Mara and Maria kick off the Mawaru Penguindrum series with the first three episodes. Warning: Spoilers for the first three episodes of Penguindrum. Listen here or on iTunes!

Himari

Manga highlights:
Requiem of the Rose King vol 3 by Aya Kanno
Honey So Sweet vol 1 by Amu Meguro
Horimiya vol 2 by Hero and Daisuke Hagiwara
First Love Monster vols 2-3 Akira Hiyoshimaru
How to Raise a Boring Girlfriend vol 1 by Fumiaki Maruto and Takeshi Moriki

Manga spotlight: Food Wars

Food Wars

Food Wars is an ongoing manga series written by Yuto Tsukuda with art by Shun Saeki. Yuki Morisaki is a contributor for the series. The story follows Soma Yukihira, a first year student at Totsuki Academy, a highly competitive high school that teaches students how to cook. Yukihira aims to graduate at the top of his class to prove his worth to his father.

Food Wars is interesting in that the action is all about the food. The characters are constantly competing to become the best chef and to avoid expulsion. Each person must come up with innovative and delicious food that outshines their competitors. The dishes are beautifully illustrated, and the ingredients listed in the dishes are phenomenal.

There are a few setbacks to the manga, though. For starters, the plot is pretty stagnant after some time. Yukihira battles, wins, battles, wins. Even when it looks like he was be utterly defeated, he finds a way to somehow come out ahead and avoid expulsion. There seems to be no area where Yukihira fails, with the exception of battling against his dad. The other setback to this manga is the presentation of women. There are a few notable side characters who are women, namely Tadokoro, who are a lot of fun to see grow. Outside of her, the main problem is how the quality of food is conveyed. When a character takes a bite of an excellent dish, they enter into a different state, one that shows them unable to control themselves. Almost every woman is portrayed in an “orgasmic” state: flushed cheeks, bedroom eyes, naked, uncontrollable gasping or panting. Men vary between power fantasies and less explicit sexual poses.

Addressing and being able to point to the problematic moments in the manga can allow the reader to enjoy it even more. Food Wars is able to be exactly what it is, which is a fun, different way to tell the story of a “chosen male” as he progresses through the stages. Food Wars is published by VIZ media, and the tenth English volume will be released in February.

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Anime:
HaruChika from Funimation
Erased from Crunchyroll
Snow White with the Red Hair from Funimation
Showa Genroku Rakogu Shinju from Crunchyroll

Talking Shojo is member of the Talking Comics podcast family. Visit talkingcomicbooks.com for reviews, news, forums, and columns as well as to check out our sister podcasts, including Talking Comics, Talking Movies, Talking Games, Talking Valiant, The Missfits, Legendary Runs, and the Special Edition feed. Our artwork is by Pete Spence, @PeteSpence1 you can see a lot of his work @valleyofdump and @votedestructor, both with Rob Norris.

You can reach out to us by asking us a question or leaving a comment at talkingshojo.tumblr.com and on twitter @talkingshojo. We are also on the Talking Comics forums, and we are so excited to share our passion with all of you. You can find Maria on twitter @mariawnorris and Mara on twitter @megamaramon.

Join in the conversation!

Thread for Penguindrum Episodes 1-3

Thread for Supplemental Readings

About The Author

Columnist and Talking Comics Co-Host

Mara Wood holds a Ph. D. in School Psychology. Currently, she works for a public school system assessing students for educational placement. Her research focus is comic books and how they can be used in therapy and educational settings. She tends to spend most of her day reading comic books, writing about them, and thinking about comic books (kind of a one-track mind…). Mara’s other hobbies include reading manga and Star Wars novels, and playing Dungeons & Dragons. She co-hosts Talking Comics and Talking Shojo, and you can find her on twitter (@megamaramon) or on her blog, marawoodblog.com.

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