Thanksgiving is almost here! We all know what that means! It’s time to be thankful for what we have and have been given, to survive awkward family gatherings, and to consume festive foodstuffs until the point of nausea. Yup, Thanksgiving is most definitely almost here, and we’re celebrating by taking a look at some of our favorite food-infused anime around—nausea not included!
We’re starting our list off with the undisputed king of culinary-themed anime: Food Wars. Soma’s quest to become the top chef at the insanely competitive Tōtsuki Culinary Academy has spawned three seasons, with a fourth currently airing. From a likable protagonist to the hype tournament-style cook-offs and food that quite literally blows the clothing off of whoever eats it, there is plenty to get anyone into the series and even more to keep them around for a second plate!
Why battle monsters when you can battle...food monsters? While certainly not the most popular title on our list, Fighting Foodons enjoys a certain level of cult status among its fans thanks to a catchy English-language introduction during its brief stint on the Fox Box in the 2000s. If gotta-catch-em-all style shows are your plate of spaghetti, give Fighting Foodons a chance!
If shonen battles are your thing, Toriko may be the title for you! The series follows the adventures of the titular hero as he collects ingredients by defeating and cooking food beasts. However, the real threat comes from the Gourmet Corps., a criminal organization plotting to control all of the world’s rare ingredients and found a “Gourmet Empire.” With forty-three manga volumes and well over 100 anime episodes, there’s plenty of high-stakes anime battles to sink your teeth into!
Ristorante Paradiso, while containing mouth-watering meals in every episode, focuses on telling the story of its human characters through the eponymous Italian restaurant Ristorante Paradiso. The series follows Nicoletta, a girl seeking revenge on her mother, as she slowly begins to build a new life, and change for the better, via a cooking apprenticeship. Ristorante Paradiso is a more subdued, mature slice-of-life anime that may interest viewers not so interested in extreme and over-the-top animated duels.
Ben-To is another shonen-inspired show that revolves around bento, a term for any single-serving, often homemade takeout meal. The creation of these cultural mainstays isn’t the focus; instead, Ben-To sees a couple of broke high school students engaging in physical combat over the half-priced lunch boxes! For an absurdist take on a slice of Japanese life, give Ben-To a bite this Thanksgiving!
Gourmet Girl Graffiti
Slice of life fans, this one is for you! Middle school student Ryo Machiko loves cooking, but with her parents living overseas, she has no one to share it with! Luckily for her, her second cousin Kirin begins attending the same cram school. Ryo, Kirin, and their friend Shiina then learn through, you guessed it, the power of friendship that cooking is a dish best served with the people you care about.
To say that Kazuma Azuma loves bread is an understatement. The boy’s dream is to create the ultimate bread for Japan, dubbed “Ja-Pan” (pan means bread in Japanese). Using his “Hands of the Sun,” an innate ability that grants him warmer than normal hands, Azuma refines his baking abilities through anger and passion-based baking contests. If you are craving carbs more so than green bean casserole and turkey this year, Takitate!! Japan is the anime for you!
Restaurant to Another World
You didn’t think we would miss this title did you? Restaurant to Another World is another anime that originally made its debut as a light novel, and according to the very appropriate title, it features a restaurant to another world! Specifically, The Western Restaurant Nekoya acts as a gateway to other dimensions where elves, dragons, and beastmen come to enjoy the outstanding menu! If you’re looking for something a little unique, a little different, and a little less intense, then jump into another dimension with Restaurant to Another World!
Sweetness and Lightning
Ongoing manga series Sweetness and Lightning is the only seinen slice of life title to make our gourmet Thanksgiving anime list. Kōhei Inuzuka is a single dad working as a high school math teacher. His daughter, Tsumugi, is being raised exclusively on ready-made meals following the death of his wife. His daughter prefers home cooking, and fortunately for her, one of her father’s students, Kotori, just so happens to be a cooking aficionado. After an interesting encounter, the three begin cooking homemade meals together. The story focuses on the importance of family and friends, and is teeming with delicious food in every chapter! Pick up a volume of Sweetness and Lightning for something sweet!
The penultimate entry in our list isn’t based on competitive cook-offs or mutated morsels— regardless of what fans will try and tell you, but it does feature the traditional, mouth-watering food of the Japanese and the Ainu people (the Ainu are an indigenous people of Japan and Russia). Golden Kamuy is a historical, dare I say, western-esque adventure that explores the results of the Japanese-Russo War and the loss of Ainu land and culture, which is partially, yet frequently mediated by the foods and cooking displayed throughout the episodes. If you are looking for a pulpy, historical adventure that touches on serious themes still relevant today, you could do much worse than watch Golden Kamuy as you gorge yourself on turkey!
Last but not least, Spirited Away deserves an honorable mention. Although the Miyazaki-directed classic is not based exclusively around cooking, food plays an important role in both the plot and themes the Academy Award-winning title explores. Keep an eye out for No-Face and his uncomparable feast!
That concludes our buffet of food-themed anime titles! This is but a small taste (pun intended) of the delicious entries that can found lurking within our favorite anime titles. If we missed anything, let us know! We just might cover it next year.
From Right Stuf Anime, have a happy Thanksgiving!