Y-naga is a professional mangaka, and her life consists of three things: work, sleep and food.
Food is the one that interests her the most.
For long hours, Y-naga slaves over her drawings, looking bedraggled, her hair pulled greasily back with a headband, her face sunk into itself. Then she goes out to eat, minus the headband, well-dressed and looking bright-eyed and exuberant. She can’t wait to get to the best part of her day.
Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy! comes from the well-respected Fumi Yoshinaga, the same woman behind Antique Bakery and All My Darling Daughters. It’s a light, unsophisticated book with a certain charm. It’s not plot-heavy by any means, but forms itself as a series of vignettes starring the same group of characters as they go out to eat at various restaurants. Some characters are only there shortly, while others are much more prominent. Y-naga is the lead. Though the characters are fiction, all of the restaurants are real, and each story ends with directions, a map, and some personal details from Fumi Yoshinaga. (The restaurants themselves must love this unique form of publicity.)
Some stories rely more on the food, while others have more outside influences going on (though there’s still eating, of course). The stories with more outside influences are the stronger ones, since they do some building of character. Some of these stories are cute and funny, like the one where Y-naga shamelessly hits on a man who has no interest in her while the two are eating together. There are some quirky characters in this book, including Y-naga, and they’re more interesting than the food, even though the food takes up so much of it. And despite the title’s reference to preferring food to love, Y-naga does seem pretty desperate to get married. It’s kind of a running gag throughout. Still, on the cover she looks much more thrilled about the idea of eating.
Different kinds of foods are shown, such as Japanese or Italian, and they are shown in great detail. In every story, the characters more or less moan over what they’re eating, narrating over how good it is. On and on. It can be a little over the top (and it can also make you hungry). Along with all the detailed descriptions, there are detailed drawings.
Here’s one bit of fair warning: Don’t read this book if you’re on a diet.
Reviewed by Danica Davidson on July 10, 2012
Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy