Food anime are probably among the more enjoyable types of anime for me. I’m not a very good cook but I still like looking at nice food (even drawn) so I tend to pick up shows that I notice a heavy focus on food. Father/daughter anime are also not very common so seeing the combination I just had to give Sweetness & Lightning a try.
The story follows a teacher named Kouhei Inuzuka and his daughter Tsumugi. His wife died so now Kouhei is raising Tsumugi entirely on his own. Unfortunately he’s not a very good chef and often feeds Tsumugi precooked meals. At a flower viewing ceremony the two encounter with Kotori Iida, one of Kouhei’s students, who offers her mother’s business card for her restaurant in order for Tsumugi to eat some amazing food. After Tsumugi watches a cooking show Kouhei can’t stand to give her more convenience store food and rushes her to the restaurant finding only Kotori there. Kotori and Kouhei end up cooking which leads to a deal involving Kotori teaching Kouhei to properly cook occasionally which, is which most of the episodes are based around.
The show introduces a number of characters including members of Tsumugi’s kindergarten class, Yagi Yusuke who is Kouhei’s friend and sometimes babysits Tsumugi and Shinobu Kojika, a friend of Kotori’s who’s family owns a vegetable shop. The later 2 end up joining the trio on multiple occasions.
Something I really liked about Sweetness & Lightning was how well it felt like it represented a single father trying to raise his daughter, as well as 5 year old children. So many fictional stories, in all mediums, worldwide, end up with their child characters coming off as annoying but I didn’t find any of the children to actually annoy me. Seeing Kouhei trying his best no matter what kind of mood Tsumugi is in was also very touching.
The voice acting was great. Not only were the adults pleasant to listen to but so were the kids. They actually sounded like kids because they weren’t voiced by adults acting as kids but actual kids. Something again that’s often messed up was perfect here. While the ages aren’t exact (at the time of writing Tsumugi’s seiyuu is 10) it’s still a lot better than someone in their late 20s acting 5. The soundtrack was also nice and relaxing like this type of show needs. The OP and ED were nothing special, although I did like the visuals on both.
Visuals were also pretty good. There was a noticeable drop in quality however as the first few episodes were on Kyoto Animation or P.A. Works level while the later episodes were just above average. Nothing worth complaining (in my eyes at least) but should be mentioned so you don’t expect the entire show to look like episode 1.