Let’s Talk About the Various Roles Food Plays in Yuri [Guest Post by shade]

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~


kindred spirits on the roof

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…

Let’s get cooking!

 

  • The Secret Recipe
  • Shinmai Shimai no Futari Gohan
  • Koufuku Graffiti
  • Kindred Spirits on the Roof

 

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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.

koufuku graffiti

Koufuku Graffiti

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.

Bring out your tropes!

 

  • 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.

girl friends yuri manga

Girl Friends

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.

kindred spirits on the roof

Kindred Spirits on the Roof

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.

the secret recipe yuri manga

The Secret Recipe

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.

Metaphors ahoy!

 

  • Candy
  • Secret of the Princess
  • Kantai Collection
  • Sin: Nanatsu no Taizai
  • The Feelings We All Must Endure
kantai collection

Kantai Collection

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.

sin nanatsu no taizai

Sin: Nanatsu no Taizai

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.

You look awfully tasty!

 

  • Another Kiss
  • Seifuku no Vampiress Lord
  • Vampire-chan × Junior-chan
  • Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya
vampire-chan x junior-chan

Vampire-chan × Junior-chan

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.

fate kaleid liner prisma illya

Fate/Kaleid Liner Prisma Illya

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?

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6 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About the Various Roles Food Plays in Yuri [Guest Post by shade]

  1. Hey, Shade! Great article!

    To be honest, I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with food as far as seeing it on screen (or on a page) for entertainment purposes. I’ll see a cooking show, travel guide or anime describe the food they’re having and I’ll be drooling… and hungry. However, having what they’re eating is almost always impossible because I can’t get my hands on prime cuts of wagyu steak, Chilean sea bass or masterfully crafted morsels of fresh fish and rice turned into sushi. What I do have in the house is a tin of corned beef or a pack of Doritos… 😦

    There’s one you missed: Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san. The ONLY way Yuu can really connect with Koizumi-san is through ramen. No ramen, no relationship… not that it helps Yuu as far as I can tell (haven’t seen the last few episodes). I do like Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san if only for one thing (that I think I may have mentioned before): It featured Ippudo, a ramen restaurant that has several branches where I live. Needless to say, when I picked up my son from school the next day, we took a detour to Ippudo and had the same ramen we saw Koizumi and Yuu had on the show. SO satisfying. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Shrikes! 😀

      Koizumi is a great choice for food related yuri. I can’t help but root for Yuu as she tries to gain the attentions of that bottomless pit of a ramen lover. And I agree, it’s ramen that is the glue that keeps them together(ish).

      Yeah, every episode of Koizumi would leave me drooling for some ramen too. In fact your previous comments about Ippudo prompted me to make my first trip to one close to where I am. Thanks to the anime I even had a leg up on how to order it!
      It was absolutely delicious, so thanks for that! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think Sweetness and Lightning is probably the best use of food in anime/manga I’ve seen in recent years. It serves as both a plot device that gives the characters something in common to interact over, and as a secondary focus so that the story can have a slower pace without feeling dull. Without it, it would probably end up similar to Usagi Drop (well, the part the anime covers anyway – the rest I try to forget about) but with a really awkward student teacher relationship thrown in to make things messy and sour. (I guess that’s pretty close to the rest of Usagi Drop actually…) We get to avoid that since they’ve got a completely different reason to spend time together. And even though it’s not yuri (or romance of any kind,) Amagakure Gido has done a handful of yuri shorts so I’ve at least got a tenuous connection.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I haven’t seen Sweetness and Lightning, but it does look really cute from the series description.
      That really is quite the stretch, but I do enjoy those yuri shorts (especially the angsty ones) they did, so why not? 😛

      Like

  3. Oh haha, I’ve never thought much about it, but looking at it now, this was such an interesting read.

    I remember the poll from back then and now I feel sorry for not having voted for this one 😀

    The only thing I would of course add, as already mentioned is the ramen anime that I personally didn’t like though. An interesting addition to this one for sure however.

    Food seems to play a big role in japanese media as a whole. But only in yuri I can fully appreciate it haha

    Liked by 1 person

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