Iron Wok Jan Vol. #21 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: B

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  • Art Rating: B-
  • Packaging Rating: B-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: C-
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: DrMaster
  • MSRP: 9.95
  • Pages: 208
  • ISBN: 1-59796-039-x
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Iron Wok Jan Vol. #21

By Eduardo M. Chavez     December 20, 2005
Release Date: October 30, 2006

Iron Wok Jan Vol.#21
© DrMaster

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Saijyo Shinji
Translated by:Carolyn Johnson
Adapted by:Sandra Mak

What They Say
After making his floating dragon display of fried lobster, Kou Ransei leaves Celine Yang behind to advance on to the semifinals. Little do they know that, for the next round, Judge Otani has a very big surprise for them swimming around in a large underground water tank. It can't be... shark?!

The Review
After twenty volumes of any series there are only a few things that can keep readers coming back for more. Relatively speaking in the world of shonen/seinen twenty volumes is nothing really. A good number of titles tend to break that threshold. However, keeping readers and gaining readers for that long takes real talent. Iron Wok Jan! is not a great title but every few volumes Saijyo Shinji exhibits brilliance wrapped in cooking manga insanity! And when you talk about outrageous feats in cooking manga history a four way shark battle is just about as crazy as it gets. If anything it has been those moments of genius every three/four volumes or so has made this so-so shonen title from a random publisher into the cult favorite it has become in twenty-one volumes.

Consider the subject of this latest volume. Talk about irony! Man-eating killers from the sea that know nothing about table manners and dish presentation, get turned into elegant dishes by four potential meals that are not even half their body mass. And to top it all off when these young culinary geniuses hand-pick their boneless fish to fillet, fry and fricassee these chefs actually jumped into the shark tank to pick the tastiest monsters for their feasts. But shark fishing is only the half of it. Shark skinning brought the return of my favorite cooking utensil � kitchen chainsaw!! And everyone knows tursharken (turkey stuffed with shark stuffed with�) is going to be on all the rage in the next Thanksgiving.

The whole concept is outrageous but that is only part of the madness. Consider how Saijyo has turned this cooking manga into an action title with a chapter of bare-handed noodling in a shark tank and knives swinging on almost every other page. Then appreciate the fanservice. Not only are the ladies of Saijyo over-ripe but their dishes look even tastier! Moe!! With a dash of comedy and a pinch of attitude and this manga moves faster than most SJ titles and exhibits much more creativity within its rather limited genre.

Iron Wok Jan! is like nothing out there and under most circumstances that would be enough. But when volumes like this come around IWJ! moves from average to inspired! And I think I can live with a filling meal like this every four months or so.

I do want to make one note about the translation though. The translator team has changed and the localization has taken a huge drop. If not for points for translating the Chinese recipes I would have given this a D. This is as bad or worse than the first few volumes of this series.


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jnager 3/13/2012 1:57:48 PM

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