Wakakozake is available in three forms: manga (original), anime, and drama. The best one is the anime.
Animated Wakakozake is the best of all, because animated Wakakozake is the truest to the subject. Wakakozake is a portmanteau of the name Wakako (our protagonist) and sake (pronunciation is transformed by the position in the final word), meaning booze. The comic/show/other show narrate the after-work meals of one woman who likes to eat and drink. The central and entire theme is appreciation of mealtimes; taste, texture, heat, chill, occasion, and the complimentary combination of all of these elements. An episode of Wakakozake-anime is less than two minutes long, so fleeting yet so full that they force you to be mindful. do not miss this moment.
The drama adaptation is charming and aspirational. The real food looks so good, the real restaurants featured benefit from increased visitation after airing, the additional observational subplots about the other people in the restaurants are never unpleasant, often sweet. The actress has no problems and her clothing is nice. Wakakozake-drama is a programme I have watched, and it’s one I’ll watch again. But is it the best? No. it’s too long. It’s longer than food. One episode is twenty-two minutes long–if you eat whilst watching, you’ll finish long before Wakako. If you’re hungry whilst watching, you’ll starve to death waiting for it to finish. (This is an exaggeration–no! Yes, I know–but truly, the perfect honed edge of your hunger will turn evil at eight or thirteen minutes in and start to cut you. You’ll overindulge, eventually, and be unhappy.)
The manga, of course, is OG. We cannot look it askance. But an anime needs a bigger team and more equipment: it’s less accessible to a lone creator–in this case Chie Shinkyu–with a lowkey niche interest idea. Becoming a cartoonist just demands pen and paper, so becoming a cartoonist is often the first step to getting your best multimedia idea to it’s true, eventual audience.
A manga is read at different speeds, depending on the reader, and that’s more like cooking at home or buying a pre-made snack from a Greggs–no outside reins put on, no guidance, no demand to wait (and reward for having done so). Wakakozake is decisively about eating out, doing so alone: A twenty-six year old woman choosing to eat and drink where the food looks best to her, and benefiting not only from the taste and enjoyment and physical sustenance, but from the basic, cooperative, positively transactional relationship between herself and those people whose careers lie in live food production and service. Simulating the experience of waiting for your waiter by following an animation as it proceeds adds a precious gentleness to this quiet little title. The focus it demands, the good manners–it feels true. It is (this) good to eat alone. It is good to live neatly in the moment, accepting the professional favour of strangers.
Wakako walks home on new routes, searching for new small businesses to eat at, ignoring but observing her fellow diners. She chooses a beer or finer liquor to go with the food that her mind and body want, and she sits eating, reflecting–how good it is. She lives her best life, and it looks a lot like my best life too. There is nothing remarkable about a woman who finds deep pleasure in the things she needs to live. That’s what makes this so meditative. Wakako breathes out after a perfect mouthful, “pshuu~” That’s how you know it was good. #Pshuuvember’s been shoring up a lot of us, over on Twitter and Insta. Colour photography of food that truly imbues joy. There’s great power in simple affirmation. Wakakozake’s animation keeps it simple, colourful, and transient. Catch it while you can.