Annoying character traits
In some other countries, the anime adaptation was also called Cooking Master Boy.
– 요리왕 비룡
– Shin Chūka Ichiban!
– Cooking Master Boy
– Đầu Bếp Cung Đình
– Най-добрият готвач
Chūka Ichiban! (中華一番!, lit. The best in Chinese (food)) is a manga created by Etsushi Ogawa. It is also known as Cooking Master Boy in some country. In 1997, it was adapted into an anime series directed by Masami Anno.
The animation is good for the time (1997), but lack details compare to today standard. The pieces of music are very good of that late 90’s Jpop style.
Our main character, Liu “Mao” Xing, is a 13-year-old boy that is frankly overpowered. He got a photographic memory, can tell almost any ingredients used from one taste, can cook like a master without any training, and solutions tend to just fall right into his laps. You find you are rooting for him not because he’s a likable character, but because almost everyone that challenges him is like a villain.
The other two supporting characters that follow Mao around, Mei Li and Shirou, would be better off if they didn’t exist. Mei Li serve no function than being a trigger for Mao to give his expositions and possibly force love interest. For a 16-year-old, she has the maturity of a 12-year-old. As for Shirou, he is just an annoying brat. It’s like having an annoying goofy comedy relief character in an already goofy comedy. It’s just redundant. I think the show starts to turn off for me when this character was introduced.
Get ready, for this show is comprised almost of just expositions. As this is targetted at a younger demographic, it is essentially an educational show filled with explanations.
The story is just a string of random encounters and challenges at the start. There is an introduction arc early in the season, but after that, it just meanders about. The plot and dialogs can be cringy at times.
The only saving grace of the show is seeing how Mao will beat the next challenge. There’s something oddly satisfying when he takes some people down a notch. This is one of my guilty pleasure.
You can tell this anime may have inspired other later cooking show like Yakitate!! Ja-pan and Food Wars!
I would only recommend this anime for those that like the previously mentioned series. It isn’t very deep and quite goofy, but a decent watch when you just want to shut off your brain. Cooking Master Boy contains some graphic violence and alcohol and tobacco consumption. Intended for young adults.
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Photo by Nicolas LB, Jon Flobrant, and Yvette de Wit on Unsplash.