They are by far the best anime! We counts down the best anime to come out all the time, including the likes of Tachiguishi Retsuden, Oishinbo: Nichibei Kome Sensou, Oishinbo: Kyuukyoku tai Shikou, Chouju Ryouri Taiketsu!!, and more!
6: Tachiguishi Retsuden
MAL Score: 5.49
Immediately following the end of the World War II, Tokyo was trying to emerge from the rubble. In a corner of the black market stood a flimsy soba (buckwheat noodle) eatery.
It was a delicate time just before the closing. A man appeared at the threshold. “One moongaze (raw egg). With soba.” This was none other than the legendary Fast Food Grifter known as Moongaze Ginji. His relentless scam quietly initiates.
The time changes. In the midst of the first anti Japan-US Security Treaty movement (1960), the streets rumored about Foxy Croquette O-Gin, a beautiful lady Fast Food Grifter, who disappeared all of a sudden. Wandering the alleys in the years of the economic miracle was Crying Inumaru, the loser. Then came Cold Badger Masa, whose scandalous death made people aware of the presence of Fast Food Grifters within the Japanese society. Beefbowl Ushigoro put an end to a major gyudon (beef and rice bowl) restaurant chain. And it is not possible not to mention Hamburger Tetsu, who shocked the entire fast food industry.
Fast Food Grifters are the phantoms that rise and fall with the shifting diet-styles. They are the dissenting heroes who carved their names on the dark side of dietary culture with their glare. Now their legend revives, strong as ever…
(Source: Production I.G.)
It’s time for another ultra obscure review! Today I’m looking at “Tachiguishi: The Amazing Lives of Fast Food Grifters!” This was a 2006 movie written, produced, and directed by the legendary Mamoru Oshii. It’s free to to view on Youtube with accurate subs…yet only 100 MAL users have seen it! This is considered Oshii’s forgotten movie for a good reason…it’s EASILY the worst thing he’s ever made. We can forgive Oshii though because to err is human. Even the greatest film directors usually make at least one dud, unless they die young like Tarkovsky.
Fast Food Grifters is an ostensibly comedic mockumentary about Japan’s most legendary practitioners of mooching and the exquisite art of the “dine and dash”. The film loosely covers Japanese history from 1945 to 2006 and shows the greatest restaurant moochers of each decade along with their outlandish techniques. The actual purpose of the film though is to bemoan the gradual erosion of traditional Japanese food along with Japanese culture. Oshii created the film as a Leftist critique of Americanization and American culture’s perverse, strangling influence on traditional cultures around the world. Remember back in 2004 when Rammstein released their song “Amerika”? This movie is like a shitty, overly self indulgent version of that…lasting 2 hours. Oshii has long held unfavorable views of the US, dating back to the late 60s protests and his brief time with the Japanese Communist Party. For some reason, he bottled up that anger until 2006 and then dumped this mess on us. There is a reason even Oshii’s most diehard fanboys NOPE the fuck out of this film.
The art is another divisive element. It’s this weird, grotesque hybrid of live action and stop motion animation using paper cutouts. Honestly this looks EXACTLY like something Courage the Cowardly Dog would do in the late 90s.
I gave this a merciful 5 because I sincerely believe there’s a decent film buried somewhere deep in this garbage pile. Sadly, the way its executed is an absolute chore to watch and essentially becomes “Old Man Yells at Cloud”. I feel like Oshii fundamentally misunderstands American culture. US culture is not an all powerful juggernaut that influences all cultures in a one way exchange. US culture itself is extremely maliable and influenced by dozens of other cultures. Compared to Japan, America’s culture and traditions are extremely shallow and weak. Japan has been eating the same food, prepared the same traditional ways for often 800-1,000 years. America became obsessed with cheeseburgers after WW2, Chinese food in the 70s, Japanese food in the 80s, Mexican food in the 90s, Indian food in the 00s, and currently Thai and Middle Eastern food. We barely have a culinary tradition. Our most ancient and sacred culinary dishes are artery clogging, Southern Soul Food, because at least that dates back 200 years.
Many people on MAL want to eventually complete the Oshii filmography, but that unfortunately means eventually watching this one. I decided to take the bullet for my fellow anime elitists and watch this one so you don’t have to. Instead, you can save yourself 2 hours by just watching the aforementioned Rammstein song Amerika, and then watch this 40 second clip from the film Brother 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LBi0xQH5Og&list=LLJ4q0re1h9w0TRSRhq-wW4w&index=3&t=0s
Now you never have to watch this piece of shit. You’re welcome!
This is the question at the heart of Tachiguishi Retsuden, a question at once simple and yet surprisingly deep. Absurdly deep it turns out. Some of us eat just to survive: mealtime being the minimum effort required to replenish energy. Some of us eat for love of food: taking the time to savor new flavors, new dishes, new culinary adventures. Most of us probably find a balance between the two. But only an elite caste has refined Food into a true philosophy, an affirmation and definition of self, an art form: the Fast Food Grifters.
They look like you and me. They enter restaurants, they order a meal, they eat, but the similarities end there. Each has a special technique for fleeing the scene without paying for a single crumb.
Hamburger Tetsu orders literally hundreds of burgers from a burger joint, choking its supply and demand infrastructure until it collapses. Foxy Croquette O-Gin uses her feminine charms to distract the owner of a food stall, sometimes forcing him into a variant of Jan-Ken-Pon (Fox-Hunter-Farmer); if she loses, she has to flash the patrons as payment for the meal, if she wins… well… her grift is set up in such a way to be a win-win scenario. And Moongaze Ginji sees a mundane bowl of soba as an artistic landscape, complimenting the cheap noodles initially only to discover that they taste awful, thus shaming the owner to tears while he walks away in contempt.
The Grifters are the ultimate moochers.
Presented as a mockumentary, “The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters” studies these individual cases of grifting in order to understand the mindsets of those involved, whose exploits are as crazy as their names. The animation style is easily the most striking feature, consisting of photographed characters pasted atop two-dimensional paper cutouts in a relatively three-dimension world. This technique, dubbed “superlivemation”, will be familiar to fans of Oshii’s film Avalon. The majority of the scenes are thus quite static, interspersed with periodic moments of frenetic movement, and depending on one’s level of patience this may prove frustrating. However, when little is happening the scene always appears as though a slowly-moving photograph — proving both beautiful and oddly calming.
As one would expect Kenji Kawai’s music is quite apt, at times reinforcing the dramatic bits, but usually playing against them to comedic effect. The subtle, atmospheric background music — a forte of Kawai — is easily the best. Even so, the soundtrack isn’t entirely memorable and you probably won’t feel an inclination to hunt it down. But in overall context, it is enjoyable; there’s a pervasive sense that the music is hardly taking the subject matter seriously. Heightening of absurdity? Check. And with the always engaging Kouichi Yamadera playing the part of the narrator, the sound is as much a feast as the visuals.
The deeper meat here is a social critique of Japan’s changing palette over the decades, post World War II to present, as it becomes progressively less traditional and more influenced by foreign tastes. But the attack isn’t blistering. It’s more of a playful nudge, like an amused mother chiding her fussy, suspicious child into trying a new dish. It really is delicious. You really will like it.
If a definition of absurdism is “people doing meaningless things in meaningful ways”, the Grifters are absurdists extraordinaire. What they say and what they do create the most hilarious moments and yet there is something so compelling about their food-stealing methods. Any idiot can run into a market, swipe a loaf of bread, and escape without punishment. A real artist does it with style, grace, and in plain sight. Oh, they’re amazing, these Grifters, they’re the anarchists of nourishment, the terrorists of sustenance!
There might not be much dialogue from them, but that minimalism gives each of their lines a greater punch. Their stories act as punctuation marks to the narrator’s own tale, side dishes that become the meal itself. Each act of grifting is both a method for obtaining food and a view into each character’s approach to life. Moongaze Ginji, who bookends the story, is looking for a full stomach as much as he is searching for something artistic. In fact, it’s arguable whether food is the main motivation for any of them or if it is merely an excuse to satisfy a deeper hunger, be that social recognition or otherwise.
It isn’t an exaggeration to say that this is a nearly two hour Wall of Text. Even Oshii lovers will find this his least accessible work: even shorter bursts of action, even longer stretches of introspection. But that isn’t a damning critique. This is a documentary after all and, silly though it is, it still adheres to the typical conventions you would expect. Those without a taste for such may wish to skip this.
But there are always those of us hungry for new, even bizarre, experiences and to such adventurers I say: “You will be satisfied.” It’s crazy. It’s different. It’s not even close to the kind of anime you watch regularly, but it is one you won’t forget. Afterwards, you won’t look at your restaurant bill the same way — and certainly not without a knowing smirk.
So should you ever find yourself eating alongside a Tachiguishi one day, don’t worry, they’ll pick up the tab in their own way.
5: Oishinbo: Nichibei Kome Sensou
English: Oishinbo: The Japan-America Rice War
Japanese: 美味しんぼ 日米コメ戦争
MAL Score: 6.18
The Oishinbo gang takes time off from the normal culinary wars to get involved with a political dispute about American rice imports. The economic conflict between a pushy US Senator from California and a nationalistic Japanese politician is further complicated by concerns about the cumulative effect of pesticide use in both American and Japanese agriculture.
‘Oishinbo: The Japan-America Rice War’ is very much a product of its time, and that time is the early 90’s, when economic tensions between Japan and the United States were at an all-time high. Giving a full historical background explanation would probably require starting at the end of the Second World War and then navigating 50 years of Post War economic policy and Cold War diplomacy. Suffice to say, by the early 90’s Japan was booming, the US was treading water, and a lot of name-calling was going on in both directions.
The Oishinbo manga was never afraid to state its opinions on political issues that affected food, and this anime movie adaptation is no different. However, while it would have been easy to churn out a bland “Banzai Nippon” propaganda piece, the anime actually takes a fairly balanced approach. Both the US and Japan are called out for various real or perceived faults and hypocrisies, and in the end both sides (optimistically) agree to try to do better.
However, the story isn’t tightly focused. It bounces around a number of issues affecting Japanese rice agriculture, with American rice imports being only one of them. By the end of movie the main topic of discussion has meandered over to the use of pesticides in farming and everything gets wrapped up “because we say so”. This movie touches on a lot of topics that will interesting to a certain niche audience, but doesn’t weave them together terribly well.
Art and Sound are both noticeably aged. There’s “cool old” animation, and then there’s “old old” animation- this is the latter. Sound is pretty bland, it’s mostly just people talking for long stretches of time. The characters are static as well and having some foreknowledge of them from reading the manga will be necessary.
As a historical artifact, “Oishinbo: The Japan-America Rice War” is a fascinating piece of animation. However, it’s also the kind of anime where you have to know what you’re getting into before to have any real enjoyment of it. This one is a hard ‘skip’ for casual viewers.
4: Oishinbo: Kyuukyoku tai Shikou, Chouju Ryouri Taiketsu!!
Japanese: 美味しんぼ 究極対至高 長寿料理対決!!
MAL Score: 6.22
Ultimate Menu and Supreme Menu square off in a cooking battle about dishes that promote longevity. For Supreme’s Kaibara Yuzan and Ultimate’s Yamaoka Shirou (who are father and son), this confrontation is more than strictly business: it’s personal.
3: Toriko 3D: Kaimaku Gourmet Adventure!!
Japanese: トリコ３Ｄ 開幕グルメアドベンチャー！！
MAL Score: 6.73
A Toriko movie, the action in it takes place before the beginning of the TV series. The story follows a kid, Peck, who lives in a village attacked by a Gerold. So, he seeks the help of Toriko.
The story starts off with a boy named Peck searching for Toriko to request his aid to stop a beast from attacking his village. Toriko eventually caves in to help the village & along the way battles an Elephant Bear.
These ongoing shonen films tend to be about battle & nothing other than marketing for a new audience to be persuaded to watch the anime series. Honestly, it’s an okay debut but the problem is that only Toriko is featured with no mention of the other Heavenly King. While the Toriko movie does follow a standard formula it does have its own charm to it.
There’s just something about the character designs having this more intimidating look that gives this different tone than the anime. For example, Toriko constantly has this grin displaying his fangs giving this more tough & masculine design while in the anime his smiles tend to look more friendly. It’s a subtle change but manages to maintain its presence in the whole film. To further elaborate on this slight change in tone, the few beasts featured in this movie seemed a bit more gritty with having their fangs fully exposed. Toriko as a character also comes off a bit more as a lone hunter where he initially was reluctant to help Peck’s village & seems to be slightly hotblooded due to this facial expression. Not a big change in character but comes off as very appealing.
In short the film doesn’t show any blood or very violent content, however the mood found in this movie seems “kid friendly” but not to the point where it feels watered down to a lower age group. It’s difficult to explain, but there is something about this Toriko movie that feels closer to the tone expressed in the manga. The only negative aspects is Toriko is followed by the boy Peck which helps express Toriko’s character, but I’ve always wondered how a movie would be if Toriko was completely solo on an adventure; will he be more stoic or aggressive?
Toriko 3D Gourmet Adventure is 40 minutes in length with the credits featuring new animation of the regal mammoth arc. Within those few clips, it seemed that it was being closer to the manga due to mimicking certain panels. Also the characters featured in credits seemed to have a more intimidating look much like the subtle Toriko design featured in this movie. The music for the film are tracks from the Toriko anime OST & from the first Tina CD. It’s an alright movie for anyone, but to those who really like Toriko can appreciate this film for what it is.
2: Crayon Shin-chan Movie 21: Bakauma! B-Kyuu Gourmet Survival Battle!!
Japanese: 映画クレヨンしんちゃん バカうまっ! B級グルメサバイバル!!
MAL Score: 7.01
Comical adventure story starring Kasukabe Defense Forces and dealing with “food” as theme. Kasukabe Defense Forces (Shinnosuke and his mates: Kazama-kun, Nene-chan, Masao-kun and Bo-chan) decide to attend “B-class Gourmet Carnival”, a big event in Kasukabe, without their parents, to eat very tasty yakisoba sauce cooked by “Sauce’s Ken”. On the way, a mystery woman asks them to bring a legendary sauce to Sauce’s Ken. They head to the event site with the sauce, but they wander off into a mountain, and “A-class Gourmet Organization”, an organization plotting to eliminate B-class gourmet, seeks to take the sauce away from them.
(Source: Manabu Tsuribe)
1: Cardcaptor Sakura: Kero-chan ni Omakase!
MAL Score: 7.33
Following the events of Cardcaptor Sakura Movie 2: The Sealed Card, Kero and Spinel share a plate of takoyaki (octopus balls). They get into a fight over who gets the last piece, and in the process send it flying out the window. They both chase the takoyaki, and each other, in a mighty effort to be the “takoyaki captor”.
I also appreciated the chance to see a bit more of Spinel. I never thought Eriol’s familiars got enough screentime to be full characters in the main series.
This is a great short.
The story is simple, the art is consistent with what everyone has come to expect from the team working on Cardcaptor Sakura, the sound is fair, and it makes for a fun little romp.
About my only complaint would be that I wasn’t particularly fond of the music choices, but that’s just my opinion.
Did YOUR favorite anime make the cut? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Cardcaptor Sakura: Kero-chan ni Omakase!
2. Crayon Shin-chan Movie 21: Bakauma! B-Kyuu Gourmet Survival Battle!!
3. Toriko 3D: Kaimaku Gourmet Adventure!!
4. Oishinbo: Kyuukyoku tai Shikou, Chouju Ryouri Taiketsu!!
5. Oishinbo: Nichibei Kome Sensou
6. Tachiguishi Retsuden