Ah… The apocalypse. Grim and filled with existential dread. It changes you. And if it weren’t for a food truck that serves squid burgers, you best be damn sure that life wouldn’t be worth living.
Enter “Crazy Food Truck”. What a title. I’d be lying if the main reason I picked up this book wasn’t because this is the kind of title that smacks you in the face for your attention. With a name like that, it would be a shame if the actual contents of the story didn’t do good on that potential… Thankfully, that isn’t the case here. For the most part.
Gordon Goliath is our leading man, a buff bandana-wearing middle-aged man with a love for making good food and drinking beer. You’d be forgiven for thinking he’s some gruff, mean-spirited man just by looking at his design but that could not be farther from the truth. Our buff food truck owner is motivated by simple desires and a good sense of humor. This easy-going personality is the most evident when the plot knocks on the door in the form of a naked girl in a sleeping bag in the middle of a desert. Gordon is furious at first, but once he hears her stomach rumble, he can’t help but give the girl one of his classic BLTs. The girl, Arisa, devours the sammich and anything else she can get her hands on. You’d expect Gordon to be furious, but instead he seems delighted that someone is enjoying his food. Not a whole lot of people lining up for food trucks in a postapocalyptic setting it seems. It doesn’t take long for the plot to rear its head once more when a military jeep stops in front of Gordon and Arisa. It’s obvious they’re after the girl, but instead of giving her up… Our muscle-clad chef shows that he’s more than a skilled cook as he puts a bullet in the skull of one of the military officers to help Arisa. Oh, and Arisa is like super-duper strong. Of course.
Stay with me, I know it sounds like the classical tired trope of “mysterious girl shows up and shit goes down” that countless other manga have done. This isn’t that. At least not entirely. The remainder of the volume focuses on journeys Arisa and Gordon undergo as they evade the military. Giant squids and taking down gangs and the like. The adventures themselves are amusing if not a little thin on story at times, but this isn’t “Crazy Food Truck” at its best. The standout element in this story is the relationship between Gordon and Arisa. They’re the opposite of each other when it comes to personalities, what with Arisa being a literal idiot with a huge appetite while Gordon is a laidback and intelligent. Gordon doesn’t get frustrated with Arisa; however, he’s just dumbfounded by her ignorance and takes it in stride with a fun quip or by genuinely trying to help her gain some common sense. It’s a fun dynamic and it makes up for the lull towards the middle regarding the actual plot of the manga. His disposition to help Arisa does seem to be foreshadowing something tragic regarding his backstory, presumably with his family if he had any. I’m not against it, but I would be lying if I said that it would be better if this was just the way their dynamic is without any cliché reason to justify his demeanor with Arisa.
The artwork in general is decent, especially when it comes to depicting Gordon, but it does fall flat from time to time. Despite the story lending itself to plenty of action sequences, the art and paneling don’t do them justice. The short flurries of battle feel stiff and unexciting to read through and only reiterate that “Crazy Food Truck” is at its best when it’s showing silly shenanigans between our two main leads. Unfortunately, the manga does dip its toes into unnecessary fan-service when it comes to Arisa with plenty of boob shots and well, she just gets straight up naked sometimes. I’m not against fan-service but it just feels out of place here. Thankfully, Gordon never so much as blushes at the sight of Arisa’s bare body. He truly is the best buff boy.
“Crazy Food Truck” might not have the most gripping story out there, but the main leads carry it enough for me to be interested in reading the next volume to find out what awaits our unlikely duo.