It’s not rare for a manga anthology to focus on a single theme; however, making food the subject of choice is a bit odd. Told in fifteen stories, Not Love But Delicious Food Makes Me So Happy! is a documentary of sorts in graphic form, celebrating author Fumi Yoshinaga’s love of food with a lively cast of characters that share her passion. The volume explores the various culinary cultures, from Italian to Japanese cuisine.
The stories are told from Yoshinaga’s alter ego, Y-naga. The character is a satirical portrayal of the manga artist, complete with all the stereotypes. She is constantly seen in casual clothes, with frumpy hair and large glasses that disguise her features. That all changes with the promise of delectable cuisine; Y-naga puts on her best dress and heads out on the town.
Still sporting a brash personality, Y-naga drinks herself silly and delighting in the many foods placed before her. Her love of food is so much that she rejects a potential boyfriend for not sharing her opinions on the matter. Of course that’s only one such example. Yoshinaga brings together her cast to celebrate their mutual appreciation for food and the impact it has on people’s lives. Whether it’s eating bagels in Japan (strange as it sounds) or visiting an Italian tratoria.
The only detriment to the story is the art. The character renderings are fine, if unspectacular. Yoshinaga’s rendering of food is the biggest weakness of the volume, appearing unappealing and not at all desirable. This isn’t necessarily a reflection on her so much as it is one of the more difficult aspects of the medium.
Not Love But Delicious Foods Make Me So Happy! isn’t for everyone. It doesn’t revel in explosions or forbidden romances but rather it’s a down to earth exploration of the affect food has on people. If charming characters and exotic cuisine are your subjects of choice, this volume will be more than enough to satisfy your appetite.