Ask Boichi about Food 3 – References and Photos
References and Photos
Boichi-sensei, do you usually plan on what food will be in your mangas and then take references, or does the food that appears in your mangas come from past photos and experiences?
What’s the process for creating all the meals both on paper and in real life?
– Rudy Falagan
Dear Rudy Falagan, Thank you for these interesting questions.
First I have to apologize to you for my late answer to your questions on AskBoichi.
I am now very busy with two weekly ongoing magazines.
The editor from Kodansha heard this and said “I bet Boichi will surely collapse on his work table.”…(…)…
I just had my first day off in 60 days!!! Nobody wants me to croak before I’ve finished my works, right? ^^
However, I keep working hard for my manga titles and Boichi.com!
I have a big dream and affection toward Boichi.com.
So everyone, please love Boichi.com as one of my works!
If possible, I try to do lots of chapters and situations related to food in my works.
There are many scenes about eating, cooking, and talking about food in them. However, the process to add these to the stories is case-specific.
In <Sun-Ken Rock> the food is a tool for Ken to experiences and understands Korea and its culture.
The food in <I want to feed Yumin> was purposely selected from the Korean dishes and restaurants I wanted to introduce to Japanese readers.
In <Origin>, food is one of the critical situations for the main character, Origin.
Most of them appear in my manga without much though “Hm, should I put this food and this restaurant in this chapter?”.
I usually plan it during the concept period.
For example, the soba house from <Origin> Vol. 2 is based on a real place and the characters are eating a meal in “Nihonbashi”. When I wrote the story, I naturally came up with the images of the place for the restaurant in the scene.
In this scene from <Origin>, Origin eats a meal that requires the use of both hands, but uses a single hand. Laura Fermi is showing affection and knowledge about Japanese culture but also has a special connexion with Italian food.
The poor Origin ends in a financial pinch and has to plan his next move.
When I had to choose the food and restaurant for these scenes, I draw them in my head like “oh, there is a good set for this part!”
Generally, there is a reason for the ideas to naturally come to my mind. Because I’m always prepared for food!!!
Since I’ve started living in Japan, I always carry a camera.
I carry many kinds of cameras to always be ready in diverses situations.
Some places require to take pictures quickly, and some others needs to be silent when taking pictures.
I prepare the camera in many situations and take pictures of all kind of dishes.
Last time I worked at the family restaurant where I usually draw the thumbnails, I had ordered Pasta for lunch and took pictures of said Pasta.
I also took pictures of the sushi in Akihabara from the day when I finally took my first break in 60 days of deadline.
And then I organize those pictures.
In truth, I have been so busy, I didn’t finish organizing all the pictures but I did as many as I could.
They are all a list of Japanese food and restaurants.
For now, I counted there to be 62 000 photos in 1 137 folders.
Pictures about Japanese restaurants represent 37 000 pictures in 611 folders.
Dishes makes an additional 4 600 pictures in 158 folders.
There are probably more than twice as many photos I have yet to organize in my computer because I’m so busy.
I arrange these photos in the computers and do the same in my brain.
So usually when I build the ideas about stories and scenes, the images comes naturally.
I use these pictures in my manga and I can also write the columns and answer to fans like this.^^
One day I would like to draw a manga about Japanese and Korean food.
Drawing my own gourmet manga or a Cooking essay manga is my dream.
For that dream, I’m preparing and collecting photos.
But the food from <Space Chef Caisar> and <Dr. Stone> does not exist in the real world.
Because they are fictional dishes and very hard to picture them from imagination.
I think the fictional dishes and exaggerated reactions from these stories are enjoyable points when reading them.
I also used to be a manhwa critic in Korea for a while.
Back then I said “The Food in manhwa (manga and comics) are like actresses in porn. The Gourmet manga is a kind of porn.”
I said this back in 1998, before the meme word “Food Porn” came out.
I told you, “The images appear through the experiences and photos in my brain” but if you want to show your images to your audiences, and share your feelings through these images, you must deform them. Not simply share the photos you take as such.
Because manga convey the truth through exaggerations.