After reading and reviewing Iron Wok Jan (Volume 1), I decided to continue the series in an attempt to determine whether or not this one is a keeper.
Jan (the obnoxious trainee with great cooking skills) goes on a camping trip with Takao (the not so obnoxious trainee, but without the great cooking skills). After working his magic on some quail (and an old chicken that Takao fond), Jan shares that his desire for cooking comes from a promise he made to his grandfather.
Back at the restaurant, Jan humiliates the arrogant food critic, Nichido Otani, yet again, which causes the man to seek for a way to destroy Jan’s name. An idea occurs to Nichido, and so he assembles “The First National Young Adult Chinese Cuisine Cooking Contest” (whew, can that get any longer??). His hope is that a greater chef will emerge and put Jan in his place. Meanwhile, Kiriko (the granddaughter of the Gobancho Restaurant owner, and trainee), seeks to discover a way to sculpt a radish on her own, determined not to accept help from anyone.
When the cooking contest starts, Jan surprises the judges by drugging them with a soup made from “Magic Mushrooms”. Kiriko thinks this is morally wrong and shows her distain by punching Jan right in the face. Nonetheless, they both make it to the second round of the contest and only Volume 3 will tell us what happens next.
I’m not ready to call it a keeper, but I can say that it’s starting to grow on me. The characters are not black and white and there’s potential to see a lot more depth in them. Also, the recipes have not ceased to be ever more intriguing.
Things to consider:
Thirteen and up, just as the last one, and geared more towards boys. There are a few shots of Kiriko, wearing a little less than appropriate outfit at her home, but nothing extremely inappropriate.
Opportunities for discussion:
The theme of motivation continues strong, yet I would add that this may be a good time to talk to your kids about drugs, as Jan uses mushrooms for a recipe, and as mentioned, Kiriko thinks this is wrong to the extreme.