Iron Wok Jan Vol. #19 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B+

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: B
  • Text/Translatin Rating: B
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: DrMaster
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 206
  • ISBN: 1-59796-037-3
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Iron Wok Jan Vol. #19

By Eduardo M. Chavez     November 22, 2006
Release Date: September 26, 2006

Iron Wok Jan Vol.#19
© DrMaster

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Saijyo Shinji
Translated by:Michiko Nakayama
Adapted by:Matthew Scrivner

What They Say
Here we're treated to another intense flashback. Learn how Suguru - the self appointed All Around Genius - came to know his servant and partner. This was no heartwarming introduction. It was surrounded by a grueling cooking battle, Battle Spice to be specific! Also Suguru meets a strange new chef with arrogance and skill rivaling his own.

The Review
If you have read IWJ before then you will possibly understand two things. The first thing is this series is entirely about Akiyama Jan. Second this is possibly one of the better examples of a tournament manga available in English. So when you pick up a copy of Jan!, in your book store, expect a book filled with action, abrasive humor and aggressive behavior from all characters involved in this story. Expect the cooking enthusiasts in the stands to be mouthing off as much as the judges. No telling what will come from the battle contestants. In a western market without fighting manga, without yanki manga , IWJ is the best example of a no holds barred certified tough title.

That said this volume of IWJ is without Jan for the first nine chapters. The first two battles revolve around the conservative Kiriko and the spoiled Suguru. Yet, the intensity was never lost. Saijyo could be guilty of not having much of a plot in this twenty-plus volume series. The format is battle of the week. His characters have changed a bit; evolving with every new competition they participate in. The characters we thought we knew were now surprising readers with new techniques and more importantly a different purpose to do so. The timing for some character development could not have been better. And to see this mixed into one of the more intense moments of the entire series was impressive. For a series this long I would have liked to see more continuity through a plot, but for an episodic shonen title to remember to work on character development 19 volumes in?c I just cannot complain.

You almost forget that in this volume the characters are working on dishes that are not dishes at all. They are each creating the best new seasoning the Chinese culinary world has seen. The spices and sauces are supposed to represent the characters personal tastes and creativity. There is a little bit of their past in these ideas. And whether or not you can see it at first, Saijyo makes it clear by the time the contest is over. That is a technique Saijyo has not really brought into this title. He is making each new seasoning personal and fundamental. And if Jan wasn?ft strange enough when we didn?ft know him intimately; he definitely is strange now!


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