Since this is my first review, I decided to start off with something simple.
Cooking Papa is about a loving family of two working parents and a son. The mother is an eccentric journalist, the father is a typical office man that cooks and cleans the house…wait hold up, a Japanese office man cooking and cleaning? Now this is interesting.
Araikawa Kazumi is a salary man in Hakata, Fukuoka. He’s very big and expresses a stern face that gives the impression on people that he is very serious person and a bit hard to deal with. Despite his looks, he is a very kind man who is very caring towards others and helps out other people in any way he can even through his love of cooking. He is excellently known for his cooking among his close circle friends and family, except among his workplace who they believe that is his wife is doing all the cooking and he likes to keep it that way.
Nijiko, Araikawa’s wife, is a very eccentric culture reporter who is always trying to make the deadline and get the story, yet somehow is able to give her attention on thing onto another so quickly and get her job finish. Unfortunately, she is not a very good at cooking and cleaning, so she leaves it to her husband. Makoto, Araikawa and Nijiko’s son, is your typical son who loves both his parents. He enjoys his father’s cooking and love to cook with him. He is your very well mannered child, who listens to his parents which is rare to see now on American children nowadays.
Ueyama Tochi, the creator of this series, has most of his manga take place in his hometown (Fukuoka) and involve in his love for cooking. Not much is known about him in the Western part of the world, especially the U.S, but he is well-known as the one of the great ones to make manga more enjoyable and give it a tasteful look. Every recipe presented in the manga is created by him and staff before it’s published. He continues to write this series even after many years as well, demonstrate his cooking ability with his staff almost every year at the Kyoto International Manga Museum in Japan.
When I first stumble upon this story, my first thoughts were “okay, this might be a simple everyday life story”, but I was really intrigued by the title of the manga. As I read further along in the story, I kept laughing and enjoying in each and every chapter. It’s a very interesting story to read that makes you want to read more about the family little adventures. What I really anticipate from this story is the recipes that come in every chapter and learn new ways to make Japanese food, especially since it’s very helpful for a foreigner. I was just laughing as I read through the first chapter how Araikawa acts through his day in different situations; especially at the end of the chapter (*insert wink). Though I found it funny how Araikawa would be serious in front of his colleagues and does a complete 180 once he sees his son.
This isn’t your typical traditional family where the mother is the housewife and the father brings home the check. This is a change on how the society usually views on a typical family, especially in Japan. This series is your usual life story that’s filled with fun and adventure about the family. The series has been ongoing and continuing publishing since 1984 and wasn’t officially published into a manga until 1986, which stills continues on. It adapted into anime in 1992 and as well a live action series. So far, the series has just published its 123rd volume in March 22 of last year.
The setting in Fukuoka is another well known hub for all otakus to come, besides Tokyo in Akihabara, which also has its own Pokemon Center and place dedicated to Ultraman. As well, Ai Nonaka is from Fukuoka, who is known for Kihara Maya in Toradora!, Pirako Chin in Gintama, and Kyouko Sakura in Puella Magi Madoka Magica.
It’s cute and adorable and the art style is still the same as it was when it was first published. It gives a more clam and warm feel, and interesting to see how people were like during 1980’s in Japan. Though of course, there’s the occasionally anime/manga dramatic fall from the characters.
Though it was created in the 80’s, it helps give insight of different stereotypical family. It helps give an insight that husbands can also cook for the family besides the mother, especially with a generation where more families have the mothers who are also working besides just the fathers.
Overall, I have to say I want to continue reading this series and more works of Ueyama Tochi-sensei. It's a very good read, get good laughs, and learn new recipes. Now I’m hungry and I want food, bye.