Get Jiro

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Anthony Bourdain is known for a lot of things: smart-ass cook, irreverent writer and commentator of all things gastronomical, and witty travel show host. But what he is not is comic book writer. In hist first graphic novel, Bourdain explores a dystopian world where society is fractured into a world where vegetarians and meat-lovers are in a perpetual struggle for world domination and food supremacy. At the middle of this whole story is Jiro, a sushi chef who has a mysterious past and makes really great sushi. His mastery of the art of sushi and his skills bring the world’s superpowers: vegetarians and meat-lovers to his door and attempt to woo him into joining either side.

Get Jiro is simple and pretty straightforward, the story writing injects some typical Anthony Bourdain humor like jokes about his total disdain of celebrity chefs and how dishes that are supposed to be enjoyed by everyone is elevated into a complex, haute and very expensive affair. His hatred against vegetarians and how they seem hell bent on destroying the culinary world with their radical ideas. It’s all funny but at the expense of a seemingly good story that takes so many turns that I kept flipping back and forth to understand what was happening.

At its heart, Jiro is nothing more than a satire against current food movements: commercialized versus locavore, free-range and organic versus GMO’s and mass production. Bourdain sends out a message that food shouldn’t devolve into western standards but should be enjoyed in its rawest form. The counter-balance to this argument is Jiro and the simplistic nature of his food: sushi. Alongside him are other holdouts who don’t conform to Bourdain’s fictional society: Asian chefs making a living selling pho and other Asian delicacies or mom and pop stores typically found in your Man vs. Food channel.

Was the story and the message Anthony Bourdain was trying to send out successful? Yes. But is his first outing as a comic book author and storyteller good? No. Anthony Bourdain should stick to writing about his travels and commentating about the food scene in real life and on television.

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