What’s it about? Longing to catch the eye of her classmate Koizumi, Yuu Ohsawa follows her into a ramen shop. There, Yuu learns that the aloof Koizumi becomes passionate about only one thing: bowls of ramen.
Are you into food porn shows? I hope so, because otherwise Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles doesn’t really have anything for you. I say that with a certain level of respect, mind: like its titular character, this is a gag show with a focus, and it dedicates itself to diving deep into its subject matter.
There are basically two important things a special interest anime has to do, particularly food-related ones: the art has to be competent enough to convey the feeling of why the characters are interested in this thing, and it has to walk the line between being entertaining and piquing your interest during the infodump lectures.
Ms. Koizumi manages both. Each bowl of ramen is visually distinct, with a lot of textured effects and care taken to make it look desirable; and while the lectures get a little heavy on the on-screen text, it’s fairly easy to let it wash over you and follow along with the visuals.
It does fall into the same trap as many entries in the genre by taking the “porn” part of food porn too literally—Koizumi looks like she’s orgasming every time she eats ramen, with a blissful look and pronounced blush on her face—but it’s comparatively restrained, with no heaving bosoms, squirming thighs, or phallic objects in sight. This is the bar now, people.
Koizumi is less of a character than a lecture machine at the moment, but there’s room for that to expand, and the glimpse of insight into ramen-eating as an “impolite” or male-dominated activity in the public sphere (and how totally unphased she is by that expectation) is interesting. Yuu, the only other significant character in the episode, is appealing as the requisite Watson-like outsider who allows Koizumi to explain things. Her crush on Koizumi goes without comment from her classmates, which is nice, and she’s relatable for anyone who’s ever taken up a hobby in hopes of getting to talk to someone cute.
She does, to make a minor quibble, fall into an archetype that’s grown somewhat tiresome: what I call the “happy with scraps” mold popularized by Cardcaptor Sakura’s Tomoyo. It’s a subset of characterization almost exclusively applied to queer characters content to exist in their love interest’s orbit and occasionally be granted attention, as if that little scrap of tolerance is all they could reasonably expect.
Yuu, in that tradition, is continually shut down every time she tries to talk to Koizumi about something besides ramen, but cheerfully covets each exchange of dialogue regardless. That’s totally fine as a comedic setup when they’ve just met, but if it’s meant to be an unchanging status quo for the entire series, it’s going to get old pretty fast (with additional factors based on how hard they play up Yuu as a stalker).
This isn’t a series that screams great ambition, but it’s a competently put together series of shorts that succeeds at its genre. It’s an easy drop depending on how many other titles become must-watches, but it’s also a relaxing watch that goes down pretty smooth.