I wasn’t going to review Hiru to Yoru no Oishii Jikan. I read a lot of manga and I don’t review most of it. I haven’t even reviewed all the big CLAMP titles yet and I have binge through most of them in the past year or so. But for some reason, I just couldn’t quite get Hiru to Yoru no Oishii Jikan out of my head.
So I decided I’ll do a very short post about it. Full disclosure, I’m not sure an official translation is available.
Why I Picked Hiru to Yoru no Oishii Jikan
Hiru to Yoru no Oishii Jikan was one of those manga put on my To Read list when exploring the “food” tag for manga.
“Today’s dinner is omurice!”
“Don’t need it.”
A story of the cohabitation between a skilled high school chef and a middle aged novelist. After his father’s move abroad, Asaoka Mahiru began living with one of his father’s acquaintances, the indifferent novelist Kitagawa Yoruko. Despite being close to other guys, she walks around without a bra and refuses to eat Mahiru’s meals. His attempts at getting her to eat result in…?!
Hiru to Yoru no Oishii Jikan review
Yup, I’m skipping all the extras and getting right to the point. Why do I have to tell you about Hiru to Yoru no Oishii Jikan?
The general story is o.k. Not the best but not bad. I enjoyed it well enough for two volumes. There’s this nice little narrative device that makes you realize the main character may be an unreliable narrator as he describes his relationship with his father as pretty bad and neglectful yet when we do see his father he obviously cares a lot about his kid, he just doesn’t seem to know him all that well.
It’s also interesting to see how two almost adult people manage to rearrange their lives to make room for each other. And not in a romantic way, in a family way.
But that’s not what piqued my interest so much. Kitagawa the other main character of the story is a single lady and fairly successful novelist. She’s a bit eccentric and occasionally hard to get along with but she has a good heart and genuinely wants to help. She’s also obviously very anorexic.
They never use the word but it’s quite clear. She doesn’t eat, she can’t. The thought of it makes her nauseous. When she was young she would lie but now that she doesn’t have anyone to answer to, she simply waves the questions away. She does obviously take in some calories here and there but it’s not healthy.
The thing is, Hiru to Yoru no Oishii Jikan doesn’t present Kitagawa as a broken character. It’s not judgemental and it doesn’t vilify her. Neither does it present anorexia as this great unknowable monster. There’s something very sensible about how it’s portrayed in this manga. For my money, it was extremely realistic, uncomfortably so at times.
I have rarely seen such a down-to-earth and sensible portrayal of eating disorders. Not to mention one in an adult character who otherwise has their life together. Because that happens a lot. And it does show that Kitagawa can live and function completely normally for the most part but there are moments when she breaks down. Where it is a problem, where it makes her unhappy.
I wasn’t expecting it. Such a clear-eyed exploration of eating disorders in what is otherwise a cute but standard found family story. And Hiru to Yoru no Oishii Jikan is well aware of what it is. Kitagawa’s condition becomes more important as the chapters progress and although we leave in a hopeful spot, it’s far from solved. Like most addictions, eating disorders are something you tend to carry around with you for a very long time.
Since I had never read a manga exploring this issue and this is a nice quick two-volume read, I figured I would share it with you guys in case it’s something you might be interested in.