Tasty, but not quite filling.
Writer/Artist: Ryoku Tsunoda
Translation: Leona Wong
Adaptation: Leona Wong
What They Say
When Miyashiro, the head of a well-established Japanese restaurant, is seduced by Haruhi, a chef-in-training visiting from a sister restaurant, the next day and every day after invites continuous sexual advances! Even as he struggles to resist Haruhi's proposals, what will happen as Miyashiro becomes moved by Haruhi's unwavering attempts?!
Ryoku Tsunoda's art is pleasant, competent, and assured enough to support the depiction of the emotional ups and downs that main character Miyagi endures throughout this volume. DMP has given this title an attractive presentation with decent print quality. The cover art is quite eye-catching, not so much for sexual stance as for the ungainly position of Miyagi and Kasuga. It looks as if it hurts. (Yes, art is served even if it isn't perfect.) There are no obvious grammatical or spelling errors and dialog is distinct and understandable.
Contents (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Kaoru Miyagi is young man who has made a career for himself as manager of the noted restaurant, Tachibana, through diligence and hard work. Very much a success story for a young man forced after his mother's death to quit high school and tend bar to support himself. Plucked from this fate by Kazuki, now the former manager of restaurant Tachibana, Miyagi sports a dedication and deportment that belie his youth.
Into Miyagi's well-ordered and narrow world comes Kasuga, a chef temporarily assigned to Tachibana from its sister restaurant, Kagetsutei. The friendly, flirtatious and sexually assertive Kasuga wastes no time in pursuit of the straight-laced and insular Miyagi. As expected, Miyagi is disconcerted, shocked and appalled by Kasuga's outrageous advances. Tsunoda has done a great job in putting Miyagi's range of emotions on the page whether he is his focused and dedicated professional self, his confused and questioning self, or his angry and passionate self. This is a character whose emotional identification is easily and clearly read. Even Kasuga, whose role is primarily that of foil and motivator, is a standout with his sunny disposition and bounding enthusiasm in his pursuit of Miyagi. These are likable characters placed in an entertaining environment with a cast of interesting supporting characters to help carry the plot and any number of subplots.
So why is Exotic and Delicious Fate so unsatisfying?
On the way to get Miyagi and Kasuga together, Tsunoda gives Miyagi some challenging internal and external conflicts, the first of which crops up when Kasuga rattles Miyagi with the first of his sexual harassments. This forces Miyagi into reflection on how to define what he feels for his older mentor, Kazuki san. Tsunoda shows how just how confused and conflicted Miyagi is, yet when it looks to be convenient, resolves the issue a little too easily. While Kasuga's comment to Miyagi on his feelings for Kazuki is so touching, so right and so memorable, one wishes Tsunoda could have allowed the page space to let Miyagi explore this relationship.
Exotic and Delicious Fate involves any number of secret agendas by persons known and unknown, those present or operating from the shadows. Once the dust settles and all is laid bare (including Kasuga and Miyagi, heh), a little more disappointment sets in. While the coupledom of Miyagi and Kasuga is complete, there is no real punishment for malefactors or a resolution of the motivating conflict that would truly close out the story. In the afterword, which also contains a fairly detailed diagram of the novels relationships that looks to be more suited to a longer series, Tsunoda gives no hint as to whether there will be any more about Miyagi and Kasuga. Not that there should be. For as much as I would like to see a finality to Miyagi's situation, Miyagi and Kasuga have no more to say to readers. Any situation that Tsunoda could put them in to complete the story would only be cliche. It's a shame. With a little more planning and some more pages, Exotic and Delicious Fate could have delivered so much more.
One can't help but be pleasantly disposed to Exotic and Delicious Fate - its characters are attractive and the read is breezy. However, this single volume story sabotages itself by introducing some heavier and headier content and then never satisfactorily addresses the implications or the conflicts that arise.