2018 has been a great year to be a yuri fan, and another anime with yuri undertones that you might’ve missed was Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san, which aired this past winter. An anime about ramen? And it’s not short? How’s that gonna work out? Well, you can probably guess…
Synopsis: Koizumi is a mysterious and attractive high school student. But what most people don’t know about her is that she’s a ramen master who is always on the lookout for great ramen restaurants. Everyday, she goes hunting for real-life places serving the best ramen dishes and delightfully eats the delicious noodles. The way Koizumi downs a giant bowl of ramen–more adeptly than any large man—will amaze and delight you!
That synopsis really does explain the entire story, so I don’t feel like I have too much to add. Basically, Koizumi loves ramen. No matter the kind, no matter the establishment, to her, ramen is love, ramen is life. If it seems like that’s kind of a flimsy premise for a full-length anime, you’d be right. Had this been a short-form anime of about 5-10 minutes per episode, I don’t think this would be much of a problem, but as it stands now, I just don’t think that there’s enough compelling content herein to justify stretching this out to twenty-something minutes an episode.
Now, I’m not exactly a ramen aficionado or anything, but for me, it got pretty monotonous seeing Koizumi go to ramen shop after ramen shop and wax poetic about the merits of different flavor combinations. Since I’m not very knowledgeable about it, I guess it can be kind of interesting to learn a bit more about ramen, yet these lessons happen so frequently that they eventually started sounding like the teacher from the Peanuts cartoons. Maybe someone who has more of a vested interest in the subject could better appreciate the ramen porn, so unless you’re like Koizumi and just can’t get enough of Japanese noodles, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ll find the story in Koizumi-san to be severely lacking.
By now, you should be well aware that Koizumi loves ramen, but there’s another aspect that made this anime much more watchable, at least for me. As much as Koizumi is into ramen, Yuu is into Koizumi. Despite the fact that Koizumi is largely the solitary-type that would rather be left alone, Yuu has a huge crush on her, so she goes to great lengths in order to be around Koizumi.
For some reason, I really like characters like Yuu. You know, the ones that are madly in love with another character, but their one-sided feelings are often turned into comedy and all their efforts go for naught. Don’t get me wrong, I feel sympathetic towards characters like that, but when Yuu herself just dusts herself off and keeps on keeping on, her constant rejection doesn’t affect me like it would in a more serious anime.
And that’s another one of the problems I have with this anime. It’s as though Yuu and her feelings for Koizumi exist solely to be the punch line of the same joke that’s told over and over again. I can imagine that, for some people, this situation is just as repetitive as Koizumi’s ramen rendezvous, and I completely understand where they’re coming from. Because I happen to like characters like Yuu, I still found a lot of these moments between her and Koizumi entertaining, yet I would have liked to have seen some progress of some sort. Maybe Koizumi exits her shell and becomes more friendly with the girls, or maybe Yuu’s feelings for Koizumi become a little less one-sided, but nothing really changes on either of these fronts.
This isn’t just the Koizumi and Yuu show, although it might as well be, since I don’t think Misa and Jun add all that much to the show. Misa is a tsundere that doesn’t much care for Koizumi, but thanks to ramen, she’s able to spend a little more time with her and better understand her. She still doesn’t particularly like Koizumi and her personality (not to mention her popularity), but for the sake of some delicious spicy ramen, Misa can tolerate her.
Compared to the other characters, Jun is the responsible one, but even she ends up getting caught up in the ramen craze. Because she’s more even-keeled than the others, for me at least, she’s not quite as entertaining as Yuu or even Misa, but this show really is all about Koizumi and Yuu. These four characters are the only ones that have a significant role, and overall, they’re a decent yet forgettable cast.
Moving on to the animation, this is pretty standard stuff, for the most part. No big surprise there, but one thing that this anime does do well is food porn. In each and every episode, we’re presented with mouthwatering ramen dishes that help explain why Koizumi makes about 3,000 “O-faces” over the course of the season. But let’s get back to the ramen. If there’s one reason to watch this (besides the yuri, of course), it’s to see all the different varieties of ramen that’ll probably send you in search of something to eat. Whether you like ramen or not, you can’t deny that all the dishes look damn tasty, so despite some pedestrian visuals during the rest of the anime, this show knows where its bread is buttered, and it milks these eating scenes for all they’re worth. I’m running low on food-based puns, so let’s move on. 😛
As for the sound, I’ll keep this real simple. Just as the characters and animation are pretty forgettable and unremarkable, you can say the exact same thing about the sound. On the plus side, I do kind of like that OP and ED, and that little Koizumi-san jingle that you hear partway through an episode is catchy as hell. ♪ Ra-ra-ra-ramen ♪
If you like you’re yuri to be comedic in nature and very one-sided, then you might like what Koizumi-san has to offer, but even then, there are probably better alternatives out there. For foodies and ramen lovers alike, consider this anime a gift. However, for everyone else, this is a rather mediocre anime that probably shouldn’t be at the top of your “plan to watch” list.