Keppeki Buchou no Mousou – Setsuna Kai
At the corner of the company cafeteria full of employees who are enjoying their meals together, Endou Kurenai always eats his own lunch alone due to his sour face kept being misunderstood. Then, a newcomer cook in the cafeteria, Ayabashi Hisame, notices the situation and offers his cooking. But, the mysophobic Endou who couldn’t even stand the cafeteria’s plate, only leaves with a word, “Sorry…”, without lifting his chopsticks at all. Ayabashi, who doesn’t know about it, keeps struggling and refuses to give up. And this straightforward novice cook somehow evoking Endou’s delusion…!
“Mysophobic Chief’s Delusional Tasting” is a tale of scowly chief, Endou, whose scary expression belies a lively imagination. He eats alone, having scared off his co-workers, so he entertains himself by daydreaming.
Enter cute new cafetaria cook, Ayabashi, who took it upon himself to befriend the chief by tempting him with various dishes. At first, the germaphobe chief refused until he noticed Ayabashi’s hard work. Soon he found himself tasting the dishes and then his imagination devolved into more salacious territory as he imagined what Ayabashi’s fingers taste like.
Wild imaginings aside, this is an adorable story that reminded me of my all-time favorite ace romance story, His Quiet Agent by Ada Marie Soto. They are both stories about winning the hearts of picky eaters by lovingly force feeding them delectable dishes.
This one-shot also featured a similarly ostracized and misunderstood protagonist with a brilliant mind and a popular love interest determined to break through their walls. It’s a winning combination that works well with fluffy, humorous stories.
I wished this was a full-length manga. There was no actual romance here. This was more of a prequel than anything else. The manga was a fun look at what promised to be quite an interesting couple. If only Endou would have the guts to make a move and make his dreams come true.