As suggested in our post about “interactive” blogposts, this specific topic showed up as well. So as the second topic in this new post category, we’re glad to have shade shine some light of wisdom on this interesting topic~
So let’s talk about the various roles food plays in yuri. The first thing you probably think of are the standard clichés like making a bento for senpai, or some porridge for a beloved sick one, and, of course, the staple that is Valentine’s Day. But I think when done in a yuri setting, even these formulaic scenes often get a bit more depth and sparkle because they strive to achieve something more than being that of an overused trope.
Probably one of the more popular cooking titles is Shokugeki no Souma (aka Food Wars!), which does contain a tad bit of yuri subtext. The show uses food in a variety of ways not limited to just cooking and eating, but nutrition and nostalgia play a role as well. Yuri food shows aren’t as big as this one, but they make use of food just as competently. I think once you start digging through your list of favorite yuri works, you might be surprised to see just how many food related stories and scenes you bump into.
There are a lot of titles to cover, so I will present each one and just touch on it a bit to allow room for more discussion.
So without further delay…
- The Secret Recipe
- Shinmai Shimai no Futari Gohan
- Koufuku Graffiti
- Kindred Spirits on the Roof
First off, we get some really great cooking and eating-related stories. They revolve exclusively around both making and enjoying some nice meals. These rise above simple food preparation, as they allow someone to convey their feelings through their creations. It speaks to the nurturing aspects of food and allows people to bond by the act of both creation and enjoyment.
The Secret Recipe brings us a tale born in the Home Ec classroom that brings two girls closer. Though, one of them is initially not really interested in cooking at all, but rather lusting after the president of the cooking club. Shinmai Shimai no Futari Gohan takes on a more traditional setting in the home’s kitchen. Here we have two stepsisters who grow closer through the exploration of different food stuff and cooking techniques. The anime Koufuku Graffiti shows us how even the best food falls flat without someone there to enjoy it with. Two second cousins find themselves thrown together to stave off loneliness and find comfort in some visually amazing dishes. This was the first show to introduce me to the concept of foodgasms.
Probably the most varied use of food is to be found is in Kindred Spirits on the Roof. It’s one of the things that ties Yuna and Hina together over their regular meals at Yuna’s house. It also enables Yuna to infiltrate the festival to help out with some much needed yuri relationship assistance. We also get a bit of trauma in that we find out in the past Yuna had some trouble in a previous school’s cooking club that she still carries with her.
- Girl Friends
- The Secret Recipe
- Kindred Spirits on the Roof
In the mainstream genres, you encounter food in the usual tropes as mentioned earlier: making a bento to catch someone’s attention, the sick visit, and Valentine’s Day. While yuri stories also make use of these, they also often take it out of the ordinary and sometimes even own it.
Let’s look at making that homemade bento. The one that shines for me is probably Mari making it for Akko in Girl Friends. Out of concern for Akko’s questionable diet, Mari takes on making something healthier for her. You can really feel the appreciation when Akko hugs her, snaps a picture, and digs in. Interestingly, this simple act is what propels Mari to choose to study to be a nutritionist at college, and we even get a bit of a proposal from Akko.
For a really cute sick visit, let’s go back to Kindred Spirits on the Roof. Yuna makes some porridge so that Kiri can nurse Sonou-sensei back to health. We get a pretty funny feeding scene followed by a serious talk between them that allows them to reaffirm their love for each other.
With Valentine’s, I am going to have to with The Secret Recipe. Not only do they get to prepare Wakatsuki’s offering together, but it ends with a mutual hand off of Valentine’s confessions and confections.
- Secret of the Princess
- Kantai Collection
- Sin: Nanatsu no Taizai
- The Feelings We All Must Endure
Food can also be employed as a symbol for something else. In Candy it is a “sweet poison” used to depict the slow slide into a dependent love. It’s a taste and a love that is both intoxicating and inescapable. Speaking of poison, we also have stories that make use of Snow White’s apple. The Secret of the Princess uses it to convey how, by not being true to yourself about the nature of the relationship you’re in, it can lead to despair. Miu’s poison apple is one of her own creation, it is the only path out of a corner she manages to paint herself into, and the only way out she can see is to give up on herself. Food is also fuel for the body, and that is treated quite literally in Kantai Collection. The sheer quantities of dessert and curry (nice curry contest there!) serve to top off the tanks of the smallest to largest (are you thinking of Akagi? Of course you are!). Best dinner table has to be Yamato serving up that multi-course meal providing much needed sustenance for the hungry fleet girls.
Lastly, when you think about bingeing on a big meal, you can’t help but consider its personification in the form in the sin of gluttony. Sin: Nanatsu no Taizai has a loli form whose “noms” are as cute as can be, and whose own conversion to Lucifer’s side is meal (and gastrointestinal distress)-related. On the opposite side of things, you have a Gluttony described as “an empty, broken girl clinging to a fake smile” that The Feelings We All Must Endure characterizes. At least Greed is there at the end to take care of her and cater to her true nature.
- Another Kiss
- Seifuku no Vampiress Lord
- Vampire-chan × Junior-chan
- Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya
It’s probably become a bit more conventional to think of people as food as well. There are lots of vampire stories where the need to consume bodily fluids is a matter of life or undeath. Again, we see not just the need for nourishment, but also a deepening of relationships by the intimacy of the act. It’s interesting that despite how aggressive the vampire can be, they instead choose a mix of tenderness and care when feeding. Their partner also recognizes and accepts their own role by willingly choosing to sacrifice for the sake of keeping said vampire alive and well.
With a variation on this theme, there is Kuro’s need to acquire mana via kissing. She’s dependent on others to keep herself operational, and I think to a certain extent, eventually feels a bit guilty about that need. As it turns out, Illya is the most satisfying of the lot to keep herself sated, and since Illya wants to keep Miyu safe, a certain fidelity develops between the two.
So what do you think? Any food related stories or scenes you want to talk about?