A comic book like Flavor isn’t typically my go to genre. These near slice of life style hobby comics don’t usually catch my interest, but Flavor had a charm at first glance I don’t usually get from these kind of comics. The obviously Hayao Miyazaki world building style and art is an eye catcher, and while the book is obviously very western, it draws from some great art design and styles of animation and comic book history, and that’s a big +1 for me. But art and style isn’t quite enough for me, and Flavor is going to have to provide something as a reader I can usually forgive in genres more geared toward my interest: an extremely compelling story and cast of characters. All faith in Image aside, that task falls to the creative team.

Flavor is set in an interesting enough world that throws away realism for its setting, a fantasy world focused primarily around cooking. It’s a swords and shields fantasy but also gives a very anime 1920’s type of vibe. It’s a clever mix that works extremely well from a visual standpoint. Chefs are the true celebrities around here. Owning and running a restaurant is one of the most demanding and rewarding things you can possibly do. Being a world class chef is only a pipe dream to most, a near unreachable goal but ambition aside, Xoo is a young, unlicensed chef struggling to make a name for herself and take care of her family. Her endearing personality and trusty dog companion certainly help her along the way though, and in classic shonan anime style, it seems she’ll work until she’s the very best, even against all odds. But there seems to be much darker things going on in the shadows of the world, and when the setting turns out to be a completely walled city, we learn of some potentially evil entities in existence. But are they keeping people in, or keeping something out?

Flavor’s setting and its worldbuilding are what really shine here. Xoo’s dog is the star of the show in perfect Miyazaki fashion. It’s basically a human. Regardless of its inability to talk, it can basically do anything a person can do, which just makes it adorable. Xoo is an endearing and likeable enough character but the world and characters around her outshine her, yet another common trait of anime styled settings. These worlds that are built very specifically around one thing like cooking is a common method in these storytelling styles, but it makes for a very malleable way to tell a story, and it allows you to prioritize and make interesting something that otherwise doesn’t carry much weight by itself. Becoming the world’s best cook might make for an interesting story, but a world where everyone wants to be the world best chef? That’s attractive to a reader/watcher and that’s why Flavor succeeds where it otherwise may fail. Flavor still isn’t my go to style or my go to genre, but it has a lot of elements worth mentioning and I’m sure people that are more into this style would have have a great time with this, so I’m looking forward to the buzz around this comic later down its run.

3.5 out of 5 stars (3.5 / 5)

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