Welcome to the Fandom Post’s Anime List Project, where our community suggests and votes on a top five list about something, anything, in anime. It’s our way of highlighting what’s fun or interesting or strange—or even meaningful—about what’s airing now, or anime in general.
These are not scenes of cooking, which is just as common an activity, so much as they are the experience of a meal—prepared, raw, together or alone, at the end of a day or on the run. It’s not just the eating, or what’s being eaten, but everything else that may accompany it, the customs, the dinner partners, and the stories that give it flavor.
#5: Maria-sama ga Miteru, s1, ep. 12: Sachiko Eats A Hamburger
Sachiko’s petite sœur, Yumi, has the chance to spend the day alone with her away from school, and is anxious where to take someone of Sachiko’s (very wealthy) background to eat. They end up at a fast food burger joint, naturally. Burgers are not exactly in Sachiko’s wheelhouse. Aligning to her past experiences with similar Western food items, like sandwiches, she looks at first to eat her burger with a knife and fork. But she gets there eventually.
#4: Food Wars!, ep. 15: Polar Star Reunion Feast
Episode 15 is a reunion two ways: the Polar Star Dormitory students have all survived camp at Tōtsuki Resort intact, and have returned exhausted; and Souma’s father, Joichiro, has chosen this time to show up after disappearing abroad for several months when he more or less forced Souma to enter Tōtsuki Culinary Academy. The enigmatic and legendary chef—after surprising Souma’s friends about their relation—volunteers to cook a feast for the group to celebrate their return. Including at least one signature Disgusting Dish (a Top 10, according to Joichiro) to make things interesting. There are several group eating or party scenes in the series, but few as succinct and completely without any sense of foreboding hanging over things. The kids are excited to have come through a live-or-die camp, eager for what’s ahead, and happy to be together (and Souma to reconnect, if briefly, with his father) over great food and good spirits.
#3: Shirobako, ep. 22: Last Meals Before the End
The almost nine-minute sequence in the middle of episode 22 is the calm before the (literal) storm of the upcoming finale. It begins with rash production assistant Takanashi dragging his fellow PA, the loutish Hiraoka, out for drinks and food after work. And it is cut in with a pair of minor but wise characters, in-between animation chief Doumoto and color-checker chief Shinkawa, at an oden stall, and, last, poor aspiring voice actor, Shizuka, home alone, absently eating chips and drinking cheap beer. Takanashi is attempting—with much drink—to figure out why Hiroaka doesn’t try harder, prying an affirming confession from him before it’s done. Doumoto and Shinkawa, two older employees who came up together, are lamenting the crush to come, and money, and whether their children should aspire for the same career. Shizuka is watching better employed seiyuu on TV, as her dreams slide away. All three scenes express what happens over our meals—bonding, re-connection, even lamentation—and in so doing demonstrate better than most sequences the character-rich heart of Shirobako.
#2: Cowboy Bebop, ep. 1: Bell Peppers and Beef, Without Beef
How important is a meal scene that it opens the first episode of one of the most famous series ever made? It’s a simple idea to push the first episode’s story forward—Jet’s “Bell Peppers and Beef” has no beef, because the bounty hunters are broke—but speaking to the show’s notable charm, a home (spaceship) cooked meal, between two friends, is as accessible and inviting as you can get when introducing a world with such wild parameters and surprises as Cowboy Bebop.
Directors take note.
#1: Attack on Titan, ep. 3: Sasha and Her Potato
Join us next time for unrealized expectations. To have a say in what makes it on that list, and the next list after that, check out the forum thread, read up on the rules, and join the Fandom Post Anime List Project today!