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Could this be the best cooking manga in existence?

Over and over again, I find myself inexplicably drawn to the grandness and bombastic allure of cooking manga. There's just something so satisfying about plots centered on delicious food and the titillating restaurant industry. Upon feverishly sampling an array of various such stories, I am delighted to announce I have found a true gem among gems, a favorito above all others; that is an exquisiteness called Bambino! (It's about time I'm reviewing this too - after reading it six times)

Bambino! is about a young chef named Ban Shogo, who bears a striking resemblance to the iconic Tin Tin, courtesy of a gravity-defying fringe flick. His passion is Italian food. What better way to chase his dream than to be thrown into the forefront of Tokyo's Italian cuisine scene, "it" establishment Trattoria Baccanale

First off, the food and the cooking is amazing. The descriptions, the drawings – unless you’re an Italian food gourmet, chances are you will be unfamiliar with most of the dishes illustrated. Which is great. It makes reading about them much more interesting. So if you're just here for the foodporn, you'll definitely not be disappointed.

Damn son.

But the real reason why I love this manga so much is the journey Ban takes. He starts off at the bottom of the rung with all the odds stacked against him. He’s alone in a new city, his supervisor hates him, and he’s inexperienced. He keeps embarrassing himself, he makes countless mistakes and he lets people down time and again. It feels like he’s getting nowhere. But instead of letting his flaws define him, he presses on full throttle.

It’s fine if I’m useless. It’s fine if I can’t pull my weight. I’m going back to the front line.

The message that Ban’s strength and resolve is conveying is so refreshing and uplifting: It doesn’t even matter if you suck or you’re doing badly. Who cares if you make a fool out of yourself? Throw yourself into the midst of the mayhem, because that’s where you need to be if you want to turn your dreams into reality.

I think Ban is a great character. He’s a bunch of contradictions – cocky yet humbled, immature at times but judicious when it counts, and simultaneously emotional and level-headed. He might not be much in the eyes of his co-workers, but he knows when to stand up for himself and hold his own. When it comes to making big decisions, he follows his heart through and through. He wasn't afraid to give up his home, social circle, education and a future with his girlfriend. Despite his shortcomings, he’s able to rise to the top and overcome any obstacle through sheer grit and tenacity. It makes his story inspiring and his character, relatable.

HA. You've got to love the "camaraderie" between Ban and his supervisor nemesis, Katori xD


Woah.... Scary boss is scary.

Hahahah I can't get enough of Katori abusing Ban. 


(Random and slight spoiler: be prepared for one of the saddest, and equally lamest, deaths in manga ever. I warned ya.)

What sets Bambino! apart from the other more popular, or rather, more prominent cooking mangas out there? They typically fall into two categories: the shounen fiestas with battle-like sequences and/or fantasy infusion, or the “laid-back” style, which include slice-of-life and romance oriented settings. 

Bambino! takes elements from these two very different genres and gives them a unique spin through rich and flamboyant art, and unpredictable, unorthodox event sequences. This serves as a fitting backdrop for the story’s compelling, and at times, provocative realism. 

This was GOLD.

Tfw when the boss eavesdrops with you :D 

On a scale of 1 to Asuka, how hardcore at karaoke are you? 

Truth tea.

To be more specific, the mangaka challenges the reader’s perspectives by tackling diverse questions uncommon in many cooking mangas: 

Why is Ban, a Japanese, making food from a culture that is not his own? 

As a boss, how do you deal with a bitter subordinate who is not only older than you, but has had more “life experience”? 

Just how much worth does a job that is stereotypically seen as “slave labour”, with terrible wages and arduous working hours, have?

Bambino! is a wise and perceptive manga. I really appreciate how deep and detailed it goes into the inner workings of a restaurant, and the way it creates incisive and impactful narratives within mundane situations. Further embellished with melodramatic art and a theatrical atmosphere, the manga, without exaggeration, becomes a profoundly thrilling read.

To sum it up...

Plot: 10/10 – Moves at a lightning pace. You'll never be bored with the way the story progresses. 

Art: 9/10 – Strong and bold. Though undeniably refined, it may not be to everyone's tastes due to how overpowering it can be in some panels.

Characters: 7.5/10 – There's a very diverse cast that adds to the vibrancy of the plot. However, having a fast-moving story is like a double-edged sword; there's a bit of a payoff where character development is concerned. 

Personal enjoyment: 10/10 

Overall rating: 9/10

A funny thing is that I would recommend this to first-time manga readers or those who "don't like manga" much. Why? It just seems so un-typically manga in its style and vibe. It is also a fun and masterfully crafted story, seasoned with inspirational life lessons. Super enjoyable and definitely memorable.

Best cooking manga ever? In all seriousness, I'm tempted to say, .

Written by Faelan

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2 comments to ''Could this be the best cooking manga in existence? "

  1. I HELLA READ THE EFF OUTTA THIS *_* how come they didn't have it animated =_= if it were, more people would've into this!!!

    1. I know right! It would be so awesome as an anime. And imagine all that food in full colour animated glory *drools*