Everything Else Pt. 5 (Winter ’18)

I haven’t dropped Karakai Jouzu no Takagi-san. I simply decided I’d rather save the episode that airs later today for next week’s post. Otherwise, I’d have to wait till I get home from work to publish this. Takagi-san is a rather low-key slice-of-life show anyway. It isn’t heavy on plot development, so it’s not like I’d have anything meaningful to say. On the other hand, I am dropping Marchen Madchen. This means one less show I have to worry about watching every week, which is fine by me. If a show is good, I don’t mind wasting half an hour of my weekend watching it, but in this case, I’d rather just get back to playing Monster Hunter World. With that said, let’s get on with the rest of shows.

Dagashi Kashi S2 Ep. 4

What an oddly serious episode this week. You know the show means serious business when it decides to forgo both the OP and ED. First, Coconuts and Hotaru miss the bus to the beach, and the next one doesn’t arrive for another two hours. Good God, I don’t think I could ever live that far out in the boondocks. I get fed up if I have to wait more than ten minutes for a bus. Still, is there anything more iconic to Japanese romance than two kids riding a bike through the countryside?

We then follow that up with a fireworks show. The anime likes to tease potential shippers with these tantalizing moments between these two characters. But Dagashi Kashi is not really that kind of show, so this all just feels a little cruel to the romantically-inclined. Luckily, I’m not a big fan of Coconuts, so I don’t really care if he ever gets the girl or not. He’s a little too wimpy for me. Afterwards, he doesn’t see Hotaru again for the rest of the summer. He wanders around like a lost puppy in search of his owner, which just doesn’t work for me. If you want to see her so badly, do something about it. You know where she lives. Go see her! But Coconuts just isn’t that kind of guy.

I’d probably like Hotaru if she was a little more well-rounded. She’s got that charming, quicky personality that I usually root for. At the moment, however, she feels less like a real person and more like some dagashi-loving force of nature. Nevertheless, I like the fact that she just disappears. She must have a life of her own, right? So she’s busy attending to that… whatever that is. The show is all about nostalgia for these Japanese treats, but it’s at its best when we tap into the melancholy of childhood coming to an end. Your friends can’t always randomly drop by your house forever. Eventually, we all grow up and lose our ties to them. Well, that got a bit serious, didn’t it? As such, I have no doubts that the series will eventually return to the status quo, but for now, the show at least has the illusion of progress and character development.

She manages to score a home run, but I don’t think Coconuts will ever even get to first base.

Dragon Ball Super Ep. 126

Two balls! Which ball will come out on top!

Oh my God, it’s Vegeta’s ball! On the one hand, I’m glad Vegeta finally got his hero moment. Kinda. He only took down the number two guy, but hey, the number two guy is apparently a god. I’ve always preferred Vegeta over Goku, so it’s nice to see the villain-turned-hero finally look cool. He’s not getting his ass whupped by some Recoome equivalent, y’know? But on the other hand, this episode was full of reused animation. Hell, that call back to Majin Vegeta was way longer than necessary. Ah well.

I legitimately like this part, though:

“After all that talk about justice, now you’re talking destruction. … I cast aside nothing! … You’re a loser who can’t even protect his own pride!”

I never thought it was cool for Toppa to just throw his principles away. Fuck that. Plus, Vegeta used to always be a selfish asshole who would do anything to get stronger. Not anymore, I guess… and he got stronger because of it.

Anyways, if you didn’t crack up when Jiren casually 360 kicked Goku go out of his SSB form, then you have no soul. Of course, this is Dragon Ball so the rules don’t matter. Goku will return to his SSB form next week, and so will Vegeta despite him supposedly expending all his energy in this week’s episode.

Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens Ep. 4

Why watch Citrus when you have these two lover boys? On a more serious note, it turns out Banba also masquerades as the Niwaki Samurai. In other words, he’s a hitman as well. Jesus Christ, everyone’s a hitman on this show. Also, Enokida sold information about Lin to the mayor’s goons, but then he also turned around and gave information about them to Banba. So disguised as the Niwaki Samurai, Banba becomes a one-man wrecking crew and murders an entire room full of gangsters and hitmen. It’s a little ridiculous. In the end, they get the mayor’s son, the mayor is also ruined in the process, and everything is pinned on Reiko. Happy ending, right?

Well, it’s weird. I actually like the show. Not enough to give it a dedicated post every week, but I actually look forward to watching this every week. But I still feel iffy about Lin’s sister. Feels a bit too much like the “women in refrigerators” trope, doesn’t it? I mean, when you wrap everything up with a friendly game of baseball, it makes me feel as though we didn’t just emerge from a rather hellish situation in which women were sold on the black market, raped, then murdered by some sadistic fuck. Hm. Let’s see how the next story goes.

Ito Junji Collection Ep. 5

Damn, man… every time a girl gets involved with a guy in any of Ito Junji’s stories, something bad happens to her. So let that be a lesson to all you lovely ladies out there. If you see a brooding loner, leave him alone! Otherwise, you might find yourself stuck in a parallel universe. But seriously, I liked this story, especially when another pair of legs — another Oshikiri — showed up at the very end. The evil Oshikiri conducting experiments to find a formula that will increase his height was dumb, but the rest of the short story was cool. I can’t wait for the next one…

…God damn it, it’s this annoying fucker again.

Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san Ep. 5

Tomato ramen, huh?

There’s even melted cheese on top of the noodles. I really don’t know… that doesn’t sound or look very appetizing.

She then dumps rice and furikake into the remainder of her broth, and I continue to be shocked and awed by this girl’s massive appetite. Koizumi definitely loves her starch.

Next up is “midori ramen.” It’s green due to the millions of “single-celled flagellate eukaryote[s]” swimming in the broth. That’s… um… yeah. This is nothing I’ve ever come close to having before, so I’ll just let this link tell the rest of the story. The show is now definitely showing us some really exotic variations of its namesake. I don’t know if I wanna try it.

The final bowl of the week isn’t anything weird or unusual. Rather, we just get a speech from Koizumi about how a true ramen lover would never cut in line. Okay then.

The final ramen bar also provides free toppings to its customer. I wish places around here would do the same, which finally brings me to…

…my own ramen adventures. This time, I decided to lunch at Ippudo’s new San Francisco location. I got there ten minutes before the doors opened for lunch, and there was already a long line of people. Luckily, the guy in front of me didn’t have the rest of his party with him, so I got to jump ahead. Ippudo does that thing where the waitstaff yells out a welcoming cheer for each diner. It felt a little weird ’cause you rarely see that here in the US. Hell, I’ve been to plenty of Japanese restaurants before, and this is the first time I’ve experienced this sort of thing.

The decor is a mix of old and new, I suppose? I’m not sure what those ribbons in the ceiling are supposed to add, but it’s nice to be able to look into the busy kitchen. And this ramen “bar” is huge. It’s the size of a regular restaurant, which is unlike most ramen joints in the area. You could easily fit 50 or 60 diners in here easily. I think Mensho Tokyo can fit in 20 at best. Since this location is smack dab in the middle of downtown San Francisco, the lease must be sky high. Ippudo definitely paid a fortune for this space. They’re betting big on tourists, shoppers, and downtown office workers to keep this place profitable. At the end of the day, however, it’s all about the food.

And… well… I was very underwhelmed. Look at my bowl. It looks a little empty, doesn’t it? I got the Akamaru Modern, which is supposedly a modern (duh) take on tonkotsu ramen. Still, my biggest beef is that there were hardly any toppings. Compared to every other ramen bar in SF, it felt as though Ippudo was nickel-and-diming me. For instance, I had to pay two extra dollars just for the egg. The soft-boiled egg is a staple in every other bowl I’ve ever had in the past four weeks, but at Ippudo, it’s actually considered a “separate” dish: Akamaru Tamago. And what is the Akamaru Tamago? It’s literally described as just the Akamaru Modern with a soft-boiled egg on the menu. Screw that, man. And you can’t really tell from the photo, but the chashu was sliced extremely thinly.

To Ippudo’s credit, the broth tasted pretty good, and I liked the noodles. They also have the best paper napkin ever. Like seriously, that thing is built to last. They even give you a moist towelette, which was overkill ’cause I didn’t need one.

I also got one of their pork belly steamed buns, and it had the same problem as the ramen. I was given a very thin slice of pork belly stuffed inside a rather flavorless mantou (the white bread). SF has a place called The Chairman, and they pretty much make their name on serving you an amazing updated bao. Just look at this beauty:

You get thick cuts of pork belly topped with delicious pickled daikon. The sweet and sour topping cuts through the unctuousness of the pork belly. The sweet and fluffy mantou then serves as the perfect vehicle to deliver all those flavors. I’m sorry but you can’t serve steamed bun here without inviting comparisons to The Chairman, and Ippudo’s appetizer falls woefully short. They cost $4.50 a piece, too.

Finally, the service was incredibly slow. I know the place just opened, but c’mon, I waited forever for them to take my order, then after I finished my bowl, I waited forever again to never get the check. I had to flag a waiter down in order to pay and get back to the office. To top it all off, I then waited forever yet again for someone to come by and run my credit card.

If Ippudo was located anywhere else, I would never go back. Unfortunately, it is literally — and I mean literally literally — less than a five-minute walk from my office. Because I like ramen that much, I can’t say I won’t be back. It’s just too close to resist. I can drop by for lunch or after work any day of the work week. I’ll definitely wait until the hype dies down, though.

Takunomi Ep. 4

Remember, kids, you can’t drink until you’re of age! But once you’re old enough, then live it up like Nao! If American commercials have taught me anything, it’s that American beer will make me happy and surrounded by hot babes. If this anime has taught me anything, it’s that Japanese beer will turn me into a hot Japanese woman in her 20s. Being an alcoholic is okay, because it just means your younger sister will love you more. Decisions, decisions…

On a more serious note, I don’t hate all the alcohol facts. I don’t really care for them either, but this show could be a lot worse.

Toji no Miko Ep. 5

Some girl can apparently create aradama from her blood. This is the only moment in the entire episode that I can say is kinda cool. The rest, however, is about what you can normally expect from Toji no Miko. Kanami and Hiyori use the power of teamwork, friendship, and trust to escape yet another sticky situation. Yay!

9 thoughts on “Everything Else Pt. 5 (Winter ’18)

    1. DerekL

      No, I think it looks pretty appetizing too… But then I normally eat my pasta with a *ton* of extra sauce so I have an excuse to gorge on garlic bread.

      Rice… I can see that. No odder than any other random mix of small bits of leftovers I’ve created over the decades. But the furikake gives me pause, partly because I’m not fond of it in the first place.

  1. ndqanhvn

    Ramen shop usually offer set meal with rice and ramen, and sometimes with some side dish like fried chicken, which I frankly could never get. (What kind of stomach required to digest all that stuff?) But I have seen somebody eating like Koizumi here: putting rice into the remaining broth to create some short of rice porridge. In the Kanto region, I heard they do the same with nabe too. But ramen broth is so sticky and oily…

    Oh, and I actually ate cheese tomato ramen before. There’s a shop near Shijou in Kyoto selling that. I heard they are really famous, so I visited there once. The taste…I don’t remember much about the taste actually. The ramen broth is too strong so you could not taste much of the tomatoes anymore. The ramen has a very nice deep red color though. But overall, I remembered it’s being better than I thought.

    The problem with ramen is the flavour is too strong so it’s kinda override everything else paired with it. I had matcha ramen before, but it tastes exactly the same as tonkotsu ramen everywhere. Except it’s green.

    1. Sean Post author

      My favorite place does a matcha variation, which I’ve always wanted to try… but it looks like a hot mess:

      1. ndqanhvn

        It’s…interesting that they used matcha powder on it. The one I ate at Uji (the area famous for tea production in Japan, so they have a lot of weird matcha product was more like this. (Not my photo) I want to try the thing in your video though :)))

        In Uji they even sell matcha curry, which looks like a green alien slimy gloop on top of white rice. Even I don’t have enough bravery to try that.

        1. Sean Post author

          I think the powder is just for show. Or maybe the smell, but matcha doesn’t have strong aromatics for me. I know their tori paitan is super rich, so I find it hard to imagine it wouldn’t just completely obliterate the matcha flavor. But I need to try it one day to be sure.

  2. Advaris

    Hakata Tonkotsu Ramens – So, you think this is good? I havent’t watched it. Based on all the promotional stuff of this anime that I’ve seen so far. It feels just like Durara and I’m not a fan of Durara. So, it isn’t like Durara?

    And female characters treated like crap is pretty much the norm in anime.

    Ito Junji Collection – I know it’s collection and not the best of Ito Junji, but I wish the creators are much more selective in picking which one to animate. This episode is fine, but the previous episodes fluctuate wildly in quality and the crappy animation don’t help.

    Ramen Daisuki Koizumi-san – Reading your commentaries about ramen is much more interesting than watching this anime. I’m more into Chinese food myself, but it’s not like I’m not interested in ramen. Unfortunately, proper ramen is expensive in my place and when I say expensive, I mean it. No ramen adventure for me at the moment.

    I didn’t think that you watch Takunomi and Toji no Miko. Those two seem crap.


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