Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi Review (Anthony Bourdain, Ale Garza)


Oh noooooooooooooooooooooo! The first Get Jiro was so good – how has the sequel turned out so poorly?! It’s one of those paradoxical sequel/prequel dealios: it follows the first book but it’s a precursor to the first book’s story. Blood and Sushi is Jiro’s origins – and it’s disappointingly weak and kinda pointless too. 

The first book hinted at Jiro’s past: the Yakuza back tattoo, his proficiency with blade weaponry. You could give a fair guess as to his background. Well, this book confirms it: Jiro is heir to a major Yakuza crime family (that’s not a spoiler, it’s in the cover blurb) but he doesn’t have a taste for it and wants instead to become a sushi chef. Lots of killing and bullshit drama ensues and, as we already know because this is a prequel, Jiro leaves Japan and heads to America to open his sushi restaurant. 

It’s an unremarkable and predictable story littered with one-dimensional characters: the black-hearted half-brother who believes he is destined to be leader, the cold and distant father, the sweet and understanding girlfriend. The fun and silliness of the first book is entirely absent as writers Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose move away from satirising the cooking world, going for a dull and half-baked crime story instead. 

Langdon Foss’s charming art is missing as artist Ale Garza steps in as his replacement. Garza’s art isn’t bad work but it’s fairly generic and bland. The look of Blood and Sushi could be an anywhere/anytime modern Japanese city rather than attempting a similar look to the wacky and imaginative dystopia of LA from the first book. There’s also very little on the food front and there aren’t many wonderful dishes for foodies to gawp at which was an appealing part of the first book for me – boooo! 

It boils down to being an origin story that didn’t need to be told. I would’ve rather have seen what Jiro did next following his victory over the warring chef clans of LA with preferably Langdon Foss returning as the main artist. I was so looking forward to this one too. Oh well. Sometimes you try a restaurant and pleasantly discover great cooking; then when you go back again you get slop and realise, oh, that good meal was a one-off. So it goes with Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi.

Get Jiro: Blood and Sushi

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