Iron Wok Jan Vol. #22 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

Mania Grade: C

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  • Art Rating: B
  • Packaging Rating: C+
  • Text/Translatin Rating: C
  • Age Rating: 13 & Up
  • Released By: DrMaster
  • MSRP: 9.99
  • Pages: 206
  • ISBN: 1-59796-040-3
  • Size: B6
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Iron Wok Jan Vol. #22

By Eduardo M. Chavez     April 11, 2007
Release Date: December 18, 2006

Iron Wok Jan Vol.#22
© DrMaster

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Saijyo Shinji
Translated by:Carolyn Johnson
Adapted by:Ken Li

What They Say
Shark meat is the most difficult meat to cook, but Jan, Kiriko, Kou, and Juliano battle on to make the best shark meat dish ever! Juliano has a turkey(!?) in the oven and Kiriko's dish smells heavenly... and Jan? Jan? Where did he go? He's gone into the freezer? What in the world is he doing in there? And what's with all the syringes?!

The Review
Saijyo Shinji's battle cooking manga has reached its boiling point. The pot is overflowing and has turned into a stunning mess of messy art, poorly directed drama and cooking action that has moved from shock to camp. Too many cooks can ruin a soup and in IWJ!'s case we have had one too many battles. Nothing surprises me anymore and nothing (not the big fangs and big boobs and big taste) seems all that appealing to my under-developed palette.

Like many shounen titles Iron Wok Jan! consistently straddles a fine line between mediocresy and brilliance. When IWJ! is at its best, the characters are outrageous, the dishes are exploding with flavor and cooking technique is simply unbelievable. The idea that cooking is heart or competition is irrelevant. The difference maker is generally how much effort Saijyo puts into making each battle seem improbable while enticing taste buds along the way. Battle shark is going too far. Shark is not accessible. According to Saijyo it is not really flavorful either. All that is left is shock value. Unfortunately, there is so little technique in this volume that those required off-the-wall moments were not very shocking either. Watching a live shark struggling in an oil bath is a thing of beauty. That cannot be argued. Reading IWJ! is the only way a western manga reader could appreciate that without ensuing PETA protests. At the same time, I want to actually make sense of what I am reading. Did anyone else figure out when Jan had time to grind shark meat when his sea-monster was in the fryer?! And we never saw Kiriko even prepare any one of her numerous rice dishes!

IWJ! is only tasty when all the ingredients are prepared properly. This volume had too many poorly seasoned moments. I thought it was over-done also. Shock value has its merits. Ultimately this volume was just a little to hard to swallow. Tough ingredient to really find nuance with; hard setting to change the pacing this late in the game; and the plot holes made the overall flavor seem flat. Love Jan, but this was too big and bold for me.


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