We’ve all had that moment. Some of us experience it many times each week. You’re sitting down, watching your favorite anime or checking out episodes of something you haven’t seen before, or chilling with a Ghibli movie. And, well, anime characters gotta eat anime foods.
They all sit down at a cafe or come down to the kitchen or grab some street food and, oh my god. Holy food animation, Batman! Today, we are examining a few of those iconic anime foods that made our stomachs grumble and mouths water. This list is not ordered in any particular way.
1. Katsudon From Yuri on Ice!!!
Katsudon is a popular Japanese dish consisting of a deep-fried pork cutlet (tonkatsu) and eggs cooked in broth and then placed over rice. It’s considered more of a comfort food and appears in various anime. However, its place and importance in Yuri on Ice!!! is particularly notable.
In the anime, katsudon is Yuri’s favorite food. Victor often uses the dish to get Yuri to train more. Yuri on Ice!!! popularized katsudon to foreign audiences and made it a more recognizable meal. The fluffy rice, crunchy fried pork, and glistening yellow egg really make your mouth water!
2. Anpan Steamed Buns From Spirited Away
There is no way I can be the only one who saw Chihiro eating this bun and thought, “man, I want one of those!” This is where my interest with anime foods began. The way it’s animated in the film makes it look so soft and almost delicate. Anpan is a Japanese sweet roll that is usually filled with red bean paste. Although anpan tends to be more bready in consistency, the bun in the film looks like a steamed bun, which is also popular in Japan.
3. Rice Noodles From Flavors of Youth
Flavors of Youth absolutely had to make it to this list. The film, available on Netflix, centers around characters trying to reconnect with their childhoods. One way of doing this is through food. In a beautifully animated scene, one character recalls the rice noodles from his hometown.
Every part of the dish is done in close-ups, from the noodle being hefted out of the water to the delicate choosing of mushrooms. The scene is stellar, and it really makes you crave a hot, fresh bowl of noodles.
4. The Tea And Bread From The Secret World of Arrietty
Oh, how wonderful the simple things are. I think very often of the scene in The Secret World of Arrietty where Arrietty’s mother uses a borrower-sized teapot to pour tea into borrower-sized teacups.
The tea comes out in big, fat drops and it’s so cute and pleasing to watch that it’s been GIF’ed a thousand times on Tumblr. She also uses a spatula to bring out a little round slice of toast with a glob of butter on it. The word pastoral comes to mind. So does hungry. Ghibli strikes again.
5. Breakfast From Howl’s Moving Castle
Everyone I talk to about Howl’s Moving Castle remembers this scene very distinctly. Howl Pendragon makes a breakfast for everyone in his moving castle. This breakfast includes huge fried eggs and thick slices of bacon that Markl cuts up and shovels into his mouth.
The animation is what makes this simple breakfast look so appealing. Ghibli Studios in particular seems to do a solid job of making simple meals look beautiful and important. After all, food is a wonderful indicator of culture.
6. Pancakes From Your Name
The hit anime movie Your Name uses food frequently as a storytelling device and focuses quite a bit of animating power on making the food look as good as possible. There are plenty of foods to choose from in the movie, but I feel that the focus on food starts with the pancakes at the cafe.
They signal the beginning of a little montage of all the foods at the cafe the character (or the person currently in control of his body) and his date are frequenting. Thick Japanese-style hot cakes, fruit, syrup, butter, and some kind of caramel coffee. Now that is a breakfast (or dessert).
7. Omurice From The Garden of Words
The Garden of Words is a bit more niche of a movie, but is immediately recognizable for its style of hyper-realistic animation. The movie includes quite a few cooking scenes and some of the best anime foods I’ve ever laid eyes on. One of the meals in the movie is omurice, which we watch the character make. Omurice is a type of Japanese omelette wherein cooked egg is laid over fried rice and topped with ketchup or gravy. The way it appears in The Garden of Words with camera focus, detail, and billowing steam makes it look divine.
8. Curry Buns From Black Butler
Anyone who has seen Black Butler remembers this episode! A lot of moments in the show focus on anime foods, but this particular episode focuses solely on it. Sebastian enters a curry-making competition and makes delectable curry buns with a secret ingredient: chocolate. He sweeps the competition. Curry buns are made with Japanese curry wrapped in dough and bread crumbs and then deep-fried. It’s often found in bakeries and convenience stores.
9. Sandwich Bread From ACCA 13
ACCA 13, from my experience, didn’t get too exposed to Western audiences. It’s a shame many missed this Madhouse series. I, for one, found it really interesting. Much of the culture told about the world in ACCA 13 is told through food, and without spoiling it (since I want you to watch it if you haven’t), a lot of the plot ends up revolving around the sandwich bread from the bakery frequented by the main characters. It’s bought by the main character many times and eaten in a variety of ways. It looks soft, fluffy, and yummy like the best bread is.
Kind of a bonus, but I think it deserves to be on the anime foods list. Coffee is a point of focus throughout Tokyo Ghoul. The cafe is like a second home to those who work there, and coffee is the only “human” food that ghouls can taste correctly. The pour-over coffee in Tokyo Ghoul looks mouth-wateringly delicious (unless coffee isn’t your thing). I know the show made a few of my friends interested in the art of making coffee. For a show to do something like that, it’s definitely doing something right.