nathandouglasdavis's avatar


  • Joined Feb 23, 2019
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Little Forest

Sep 12, 2021

I imagine that people who enjoy cooking shows and seeing food preparation processes would also enjoy this manga. But for me personally, I found it tedious and repetitive. I realize that there isn't technically repetition in the strictest sense of the word. Each essaic chapter includes dry and drab monologues riffing on a particular ingredient or dish. Oftentimes, the cultivation and harvesting methods for the different ingredients will be delved into. Sometimes Ichiko, the narrator, experiments with new recipes and tries things out in front of us. And I'm sure that might be neat for foodies, but it doesn't engage me. The recipes don't feel precise, but someone who's more familiar with the kitchen would probably still be able to follow along. Quite a few chapters include a few reflections about the past, including about the teachings of Ichiko's mother, in the almost stream-of-consciousness presentation.

I think the synopsis overemphasizes the isolated in the woods aspect. I went into this with the impression that Ichiko would be a survivalist hermit living off the land, separated from civilization. That is definitely not the case. Fe lives in a rural village, has frequent interactions with neighbors, and goes shopping in grocery stores for some of the goods which can't be grown in the area. There is an emphasis on making dishes from scratch, though, with most of the ingredients being grown locally. This lifestyle of being self-reliant and doing things yourself is definitely being idealized and at times it can come across as slightly disparaging of people who don't live in this type of way.

For the first chapter, I think that watercolor paints were used. It created a unique effect, but made the outlines feel more awkward. But from the second chapter onward, it's all using classic black and white inkwork. All of the dishes and ingredients look appetizing and accurate. The close-up shots of the eyes and noses are well done and I like those. Soem of the zoomed-out shots are more squiggly and loose, but for not most part it still feels alright. The artist seems to struggle drawing hands. Some of the narrating words blend in with the artwork and can make it hard to read. There's also an issue with a lot of the scenery and fields looking similar, and with it being difficult to know what to focus on (so you end up just glossing over things).

1/10 story
7/10 art
3/10 characters
2/10 overall
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