I hope you’ve already eaten today, because this manga will leave you craving a good meal.
Kodoku no Gourmet is about Goro Inogashira, a Japanese entrepeneur who imports foreign goods for his clients. While he deals in import, his true love is the Japanese kitchen and each day he looks forward to where and what he may be able to eat next. He’s more than a little obsessed, always trying to score the perfect meal, only to end up wasting time and ending up somewhere strange again.
The manga’s chapters are quite short, each dealing with another one of Goro’s adventures. He’s kind of an oddball, especially if you look at him and expect the archetypal Japanese businessman. He’s overly self-conscious, always concerned with whether he fits in or can stand the vibe of whatever restaurants he finds. He’s surprisingly awkward and stiff, which especially shines through in flashbacks to his last relationship, but is also visible in how he always eats alone and just spends his dinner over-analyzing everything about the restaurants and their clientele.
He’s always out-of-place and kinda strange, yet that also makes him a fascinating character. You slowly begin to piece together bits of his past throughout the manga, which lead to some interesting later chapters that explore his beliefs and mentality. Chapters like him mournfully revisiting a restaurant he once ate at with his former girlfriend or, a cooler example, one where he stands up against an owner who abuses his staff.
Of course, the actual food is a joy to behold. Kodoku no Gourmet takes you to all kinds of restaurants with a variety of meals, each of which is extensively described and shown off. The art, both for the food and characters, is very detailed and watching Goro eat certainly made me crave an early lunch myself. Sadly, I do not have unlimited access to Takoyaki.
If you enjoy Japanese food or want to see what their cuisine has to offer, then this manga is very interesting and quick to read through. Goro makes for a fun character through which to explore various restaurants, though the lack of any kind of overarching storyline may be disappointing to those who’d prefer a more connected plot.