I know very little about anime and manga. I know that an awful lot of what I have seen (Appleseed etc) is fusty over-complex ropey second hand sci-fi. Possibly as befits cartoons made of fiendishly complex on-going narrative storylines. That said one of my favourite films of all time Ping-Pong is based on a sports manga – though is not anime. So when I heard about Tachigui: The Amazing Lives of the Fast Food Grifters I was intrigued up to the point of its title perhaps. But then I saw the Japanese trailer, and read a basic synopsis: Its an animated mockumentary which recounts the history of post World War II Japan from the point of view of the nation’s fast food industry, and those who use incredibly elaborate, if not out-and-out surreal, methods to cadge free meals from said industry. (Synopsis adapted from this animation year end round up from Newsarama).

Watching the online trailer (below) it was an intriguing animation style, cut-ups and so on. But the idea of the Fast Food Grifters, the rascal like heroes whose sole aim in life is to eat in street food or fast food vendors without paying captures a great freewheeling ethos. I am currently reading In the Miso Soup by Murakami Ryu which spends a fair bit of time considering the post-war Japanese character – and its something that has captured my imagination. Especially if said explanation is funny, animated innovatively and has characters called Foxy Croquette O-Gin and Cold Badger Masa. So I should get on to the ICA NOW to see if they might be interested in rustling this up for one or other of their festivals. In the meantime here is a longer synopsis, and the trailer from Production IG.

“1945. Immediately following the end of the World War II, Tokyo was trying to emerge from the rubble. In a corner of the black market stood a flimsy soba (buckwheat noodle) eatery.
It was a delicate time just before the closing. A man appeared at the threshold. “One moongaze (raw egg). With soba.” This was none other than the legendary Fast Food Grifter known as Moongaze Ginji. His relentless scam quietly initiates.

The time changes. In the midst of the first anti Japan-US Security Treaty movement (1960), the streets rumored about Foxy Croquette O-Gin, a beautiful lady Fast Food Grifter, who disappeared all of a sudden. Wandering the alleys in the years of the economic miracle was Crying Inumaru, the loser. Then came Cold Badger Masa, whose scandalous death made people aware of the presence of Fast Food Grifters within the Japanese society. Beefbowl Ushigoro put an end to a major gyudon (beef and rice bowl) restaurant chain. And it is not possible not to mention Hamburger Tetsu, who shocked the entire fast food industry.

Fast Food Grifters are the phantoms that rise and fall with the shifting diet-styles. They are the dissenting heroes who carved their names on the dark side of dietary culture with their glare. Now their legend revives, strong as ever…”