If it's crap ... We'll tell you
Howdy folks. Today I'd like to talk about a series I really enjoyed as I have always had a personal interest in the culinary world called Bambino! Now per usual, I have to break the stigma that culinary manga is this
Genre: Slice of life, drama
Length: Fifteen Volumes (completed)
Overall Rating: Solid B
Young adult Shogo Ban, affectionately referred to by his peers as "Bambi" has been working at a small time diner styled Italian restaurant until the owner approaches Ban about moving up in the world of chefs. This story follows Ban through the career culinary world, and I want to emphasize the word career in this sentence, as he takes his journey to becoming a bonafide chef. During the course of his journey, Ban must choose between giving up his current girlfriend, his home, moving abroad and even gambling his life to progress as a chef.
Surprisingly there isn't a whole lot to say about this story. It's about Ban's journey through young adult life having to make adult decisions while trying to progress through his choice of career: culinary. It's really just a more serious, realistic (within the world of anime and manga) take on a cooking centric story if you ask me.
There are other characters, chefs, cooks and couples including a nemesis for our boy Ban here that I found fairly interesting. A lot of the story focuses on quite a few different character's lives and dreams, and what one has to endure to try to realize them.
What is there to say about Bambino! Well, while it was being translated it would be one of the first series I would check for updates then read before the other twenty or so series I'd be checking out. I am a slice of life cat, but let's talk a little bit about how it's different from other cooking centric stories. Ban is not some genius prodigy, he does not have some hokey special power or trait that benefits him with cooking. Ban's just a normal young man who's got to do things the good old fashioned way and hey, you know what, for me that works a lot better for me than what the majority of other cooking centric stories focus on: some kind of magical taste that snobbish judges are constantly being wowed and articulating in at least what comes off to me in a pretty silly manner. I suppose it's necessary to some extent as it does happen a bit in Bambino!, but Bambino! is thankfully not above a character describing a flavor (or their efforts) simply as "it's good."
The other thing I am rather fond of from this series is naturally as a slice of life story, it is very philosophical. Many facets of Ban's career, from the way different peers of his view him to how much he's thought things through are reflected upon by himself. Even Ban's professional relationship with his arch nemesis becomes rather interesting because the closure to their story arc. Charming ideologies such as "a restaurant is a place of once in a lifetime meetings," are to be found within said story.
Recommended for: Well if you like slice of life stuff, this one ain't so bad. Also if you were more curious about what trying to become a professional waiter, cook or chef might be like, this is a good story to check out. Not completely realistic, but it's a lot stronger on that aspect of the culinary world than any other cooking centric series I've checked out has been. If you've ever felt like or this
or this while working in a kitchen then Bambino! might be something you'd enjoy.
Recommended against: Well really..if cooking ain't your thing I'm not sure why you've read this far into the review. There isn't really any epic battling, even the cook offs are generally not super high stakes. They become that way once or twice in the series but nothing like say Yakitake!! Japan. There is a little fighting though, which I'd imagine happens in that career field. Lord knows I came close a handful of times in my stint working in a restaurant kitchen.
First of all if you find Bambino! to your liking, there is actually a follow up series called Bambino! Secondo which currently has eight volumes. Also if you like live action, there was a live action show of Bambino! which I'm gonna check out soon myself. It apparently aired in Puerto Rico, Canada and surprisingly America. Huh..wonder when that happened. Well anyways, eleven episodes, give it a looksie if you like Bambino! or Asian live action shows.