Food, art, and exclusive merch are part of love letter to one of the most popular anime of all time, and totally worth a six-hour wait for a table.
The menu at the Ranma 1/2 café is a mix of recreations of food that actually appears in the source material, such as the ramen served at the Cat Cafe, and original creations inspired by characters and memorable scenes from the series. While the ramen, which can be ordered with an optional VR headset introduction, was tempting, I couldn’t resist the urge to try the series’ two extreme endpoints of culinary skills: the okonomiyaki made by Ukyo (Ranma’s fiance who runs her own restaurant) and the curry made by Akane (Ranma’s other fiance who’s one of anime’s all-time worst cooks).
The okonomiyaki (600 yen [US$5.35]) comes on a comically oversized spatula, though not quite as big as the one that Ukyo uses as a weapon. A random message of love (like the ones the character writes to Ranma) is drizzled in mayonnaise across the top. Kansai-style okonomiyai like this usually has a variety of extra ingredients mixed into the batter, but the Ranma 1/2 Cafe keeps things simple, as its okonomiyaki is a pretty plain pancake with a pleasingly sweet sauce that makes it a nice snack/side dish.
Next up: Akane’s Training Cooking (1,290 yen), based on a storyline in which Akane accompanies fiance Ranma and his father into the mountains on a training mission, and makes curry for dinner.
Despite Akane’s status as one of anime’s all-time worst cooks, it actually doesn’t look half-bad. But read the menu’s description carefully, and you’ll learn that this is a recreation of Akane’s curry before the addition of her secret ingredients, which are served on the side. So if you want the curry’s canon flavor, you’ll need to pour in the salt, mayonnaise, and vinegar (yes, straight-up vinegar).
Only then can you truly experience Ranma’s pain for yourself!
Thankfully, a pair of desserts were on their way to get rid of the bad taste Akane’s cooking had assaulted me with.
A quick glance around the restaurant showed that the P-chan No Sense of Directions Pancakes (1,290 yen), named for the pint-sized pig that directionally challenged character Ryoga transforms into, are the most popular item on the menu, and with good reason. They’re the spitting image of the adorable mascot character, and as a nod to how easily Ryoga gets lost, they come with a sata andagi fried pastry from Okinawa (Japan’s southernmost prefecture) and a cup of Yubari melon gelatin, made with the representative fruit of Hokkaido (Japan’s northernmost prefecture).
The P-chan pancake plate is a pretty filling dessert combo, but with stomach space for just one more dessert, the Romance Fortune-telling Sakura Mochi Parfait (1,190 yen) filled the role of the meal’s finale.
Like the Training Cooking, this is another based-on-a-scene-from-the-manga dish, but with a few creative liberties. In one chapter, Akane makes a batch of sakura mochi confectionaries, which have the ability to make cherry blossom marks appear on the face of the man destined to be her true love after he eats one. The Ranma 1/2 Cafe took this inspiration to create a parfait with sakura ice cream, sakura mochi, matcha green tea warabi mochi, and granola.
▼ The sakura mochi here is Kansai-style, as opposed to the Kanto-style that appear in the manga chapter in question.
In the manga, Akane’s hand-made sakura mochi taste, of course, terrible. But unlike the Training Cooking, there’re no unpleasant optional surprises here (though the sakura ice cream does have a bit of an unexpected coconut flavor to it). This is just an outstanding Japanese-style parfait, and worth ordering even if it doesn’t quite have as strong a connection to the Ranma 1/2 theme as some of the other items on the menu.
For restaurant details and to take a peek at the shop, head over to SoraNews24.