COMIC BOOK REVIEW: GET JIRO!
Who knew that food was so powerful? In Get Jiro!, not only is it powerful, but it’s also a risky business.
Get Jiro! is co-written by Anthony Bourdain (No Reservations, Kitchen Confidential) and Joel Rose (Kill Kill Faster Faster), illustrated by Langdon Foss, and published by Vertigo. It takes place in a future Los Angeles and it centers on Jiro, an independent and traditional sushi chef. Now this future Los Angeles, like most future Los Angeles, is a little messed up. Over the years the public has quit caring about sports, film, and music. All they care about now is food, and where to get the good food. Chefs have all the power now and they rule the streets like crime lords, trying to get other small restaurants to join their sides and taking down their rivals. The two biggest groups are led by Bob and Rose; Bob’s restaurants are high class and five star, whereas Rose’s are vegan and organic. Their restaurants are very hard to get into with most people having to make reservations one year in advance, and even then they’re not guaranteed a spot. Bob and Rose are bitter rivals who will stop at nothing to take each other down, and they think the next step to do that is to have Jiro join their sides. Jiro doesn’t want to do that though, and his resistance leads to one of the coolest and most mouthwatering graphic novels that everybody should be reading.
Jiro is a wonderful and awesome character. He is a very simple man who is only looking to make and eat good food. To him sushi is a way of life, and he loves to make it. Jiro, being a human being, has his fair share of pet peeves. He strongly dislikes it when customers drop nigiri in and have it soak up soy sauce and wasabi. Also if you order California Rolls, you’ll most likely feel the sharp edge of his tanto blade. Something else that’s great about Jiro is how you can’t help but respect him. How he carries himself and how he acts like that of a true master chef. Anthony Bourdain and Joel Rose did an incredible job with Jiro’s dialogue, where he sounds soft spoken but his words have weight and power. His enemies, Bob and Rose, are fun characters too and being polar opposites of each other makes for some great dialogue. I also like how both of their minions have weapons that are unique to each side. Bob’s goons tend to fight with cooking utensils, as opposed to Rose’s goons who fight with gardening tools.
The artwork in Get Jiro! is superb, it’s very bright and poppy with lots of landscapes and great character designs. Each character has their own unique look and style, which is pretty damn cool. Future Los Angeles looks exactly how a future food-dominated L.A. would, as eye-popping visuals and interesting restaurant designs dominate the city’s downtown area. The action in Get Jiro! is expertly drawn and very stylish. The action is also very Kill Bill-like, which is definitely not a bad thing. It’s awesome how different the artwork is from other graphic novels that have come out the last few years. I would highly recommend checking out more artwork by Langdon Foss, which you can find on lllama.com.
And as much as I praise this book, Get Jiro! is not a perfect graphic novel, and there are only two minor problems that I have with it. The first problem I have with it is how Jiro’s tattoos change part-way through the third act which kind of took me out of the story for a moment. Another problem I had with it is there are a couple pages where the pacing makes it a little hard to follow along. They make sense after you get to the end and look back though.
Get Jiro! is a fun and unique graphic novel that everybody should be reading, and it’s one I certainly plan on reading again. It’s stories like these that show how out-of-the-box graphic novels can be. Also you’ll be hungry for sushi by the time you’re done reading this, so I highly recommend finding a good sushi joint nearby. It’s what Jiro would want you to do.
Picture via ifanboy.com
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