Anthony Bourdain Get Jiro! is the celebrity chef’s latest excursion in his attempt to take over the entertainment world. First he started with his book, then a TV show, then writing for David Simon’s Treme and now, onto the graphic novel world. Aided in his quest is novelist Joel Rose (who also wrote La Pacifica, a graphic novel from DC’s Paradox Press) and artist Langdon Foss (who’s worked in Heavy Metal previously). So, let’s see how it turned out.
Rose prefers local food. Bob has the international connections. Neither is really serving their best stuff to the people of Los Angeles, yet they control the city in a future where chefs are more powerful than ever.
We meet Jiro, a traditional Japanese sushi chef, in his small suburban restaurant. When three guys sit down and order some food and make it clear that they have no idea what they are doing with sushi (such as ordering California rolls), Jiro chops off the main offender’s head. The police wander in and call for a cleanup and then sit down to order for themselves. It turns out that the main offender was a distribution man for Bob and Jiro gets sucked into a power battle between Rose and Bob.
With a plot straight out of Yojimbo, Jiro wields his sushi knife and a Maguro bōchō (a huge knife usually wielded by two people to cut tuna) to cut through the battle and continue his dream of serving good sushi to people with little muss or fuss. The plot is fairly straight forward and you can usually figure out what is going to happen next (especially if you’re a Kurosawa fan). The characters are quickly drawn out and you can understand where most of the are coming from. It’s a fairly slim novel, so we don’t have a lot of time for characterization. The art is European-influenced, as you’d expect from a Heavy Metal artist.
Overall, it’s a fun, quick book that leaves me wanted to read more about Jiro and the city. I think the book might have been better served by being longer and letting us have some more time to spend in the environment and get to know all the characters a bit better. But this quick slice of sushi is better than a stale hamburger of a book. I look forward to additional work from Bourdain and his cohorts. Recommended for graphic novel and sushi fans.