GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Selah's Manga Mania Review: Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu Volume 1 by Natsuya Semikawa (Author), Virginia Nitouhei (Artist) | I Smell Sheep

Friday, December 6, 2019

Selah's Manga Mania Review: Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu Volume 1 by Natsuya Semikawa (Author), Virginia Nitouhei (Artist)

Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu Volume 1
by Natsuya Semikawa (Author), Virginia Nitouhei (Artist)
September 18, 2018
164 pages
Publisher: Udon Entertainment
Volumes: 6 (book 7 releases 5/20)
A Japanese style pub called “Nobu” exists in a back alley of the fictional medieval European city of Eiteriach. Its customers? A pair of slacker soldiers, a spoiled heiress, an uptight tax collector, and more... When the citizens of this strange world sit down to enjoy some unfamiliar Japanese cuisine, their troubles simply melt away…


The curtain rises on this otherworldly eatery and the gourmet fantasy about to unfold within!

I love food manga. When it's done well it's relaxing and the culinary elements add to the characterizations and overall story. There are only so many ways to set up characters needing to cook, though...or are there?


Otherworldly Izakaya Nobu takes a Japanese tavern and links it down in a medieval(ish) fantasy German town. Soldiers, tax collectors, children, artisans all gather to eat this strange new food and drink an ale called whatsontap. I've only read two volumes, but in the second we get a glimpse that the Izakaya is actually a gateway to modern Japan, which is how the owner and waitress can secure ingredients found nowhere else. No matter what, Nobu, the owner/chef, and Shinobu the waitress greet everyone with open arms and feed them unfamiliar dishes catered to their preferences, causing them to fall in love with Japanese cuisine.

The good: This is such a relaxing, sweet title without being overly saccharine. Obviously, the characters are a vehicle for the food, but they all are fleshed out and are recurring, which I love.


Every chapter focuses on a different person with a personal problem to solve or a desire that needs fulfilling and they all find some sort of satisfaction at Izakaya Nobu. There's a real sense of community that slowly builds as the town accepts this strange place. It's also great that the food is referenced in Japanese and German terms, so both cultures are referenced.

Food titles either tend to reference dishes very quickly like an itemized list or take time building it into the story. Here, the dishes are the star, but the author does a fantastic job of using the creation of the dishes to develop Nobu and Shinobu and the consumption of the food to really show how people can appreciate and be changed by food. It's relaxing and exciting to see these dishes come together and strangely satisfying to see people light up when they describe what they're eating. You really feel like you understand what the food tastes like and how it transcends these villagers' lives.

It'll also leave you really hungry.

As of vol 2, the nature of the portal is briefly shone, and I hope it gets referenced more in the future. Still, the village and the food are what I want to see.

The bad: Nothing. This is a great all-ages title, though be aware that though it's a loose interpretation of medieval Germany things like marrying very young and being on the streets are referenced, so parents may want to read the first volume to gauge the feel. Honestly, you either love something like this or you don't. This is one of my favorite types of titles because it makes me slow down and relax, and reminds me to appreciate things like what's on my plate and who's around me. If you prefer fast-paced plot and drama, this won't be your thing.

The Ick: Nothing.

5 sheep hungry for yakisoba and whatsontap







About the Reviewer
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Selah Janel is a writer who is trying to start doing that again instead of reading manga all the time.

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