Manga / Nobunaga no Chef

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A modern-day chef named Ken wakes up and finds himself in the Sengoku Era without any memory of himself. However, he remembers how to cook and retains most of his knowledge on the subject, and the wonders of his dishes soon reach the ears of Oda Nobunaga, who promptly recruits Ken to be his head chef. Under Nobunaga's service, Ken uses his cooking skills to change the courses of war, and survive the war-torn era.

A Chef of Nobunaga (信長のシェフ, lit. Nobunaga no Shefu) is a Japanese manga series written by Mitsuru Nishimura and illustrated by Takuro Kajikawa. The title has ran since March 2011 in the Weekly Manga Times magazine, and has been compiled into 11 bound volumes.


This series provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Although the series doesn't focus too much on war and action, Kaede definitely counts by fighting off a group of vagabonds with a broken leg.
  • Aloof Dark-Haired Girl: Kaede: beautiful, dark haired, stoic and strong-willed.
  • Animal Motifs: Butterfly for Nohime, whose maiden name is Kichounote . Ken uses this to prepare a meal for her, serving her butterfly-shaped prawns.
  • Bifauxnen: Natsu was initially portrayed as a somewhat hyperactive Keet in her introduction, but was revealed to be a girl before the first chapter ends.
  • Arms Dealer: Imai Soukyuu, from whom Nobunaga purchased his guns.
  • Artistic License Pharmacology: In one story arc, Kennyo attempted to have Nobunaga poisoned by serving him several nutmeg macarons. Nobunaga almost immediately collapsed after eating them, despite the fact that: 1) The amount of nutmegs placed in 3 macarons are nowhere near enough to cause poisoning, 2) Fatal nutmeg poisoning is very rare, 3) Nutmeg intoxication takes a few hours after consumption to reach its effects.
  • Artistic License History: While most of the historical events fits correctly, Yoshikage Asakura actually died after the final siege of Odani Castle. In this manga, he died shortly before that particular siege began. The razing of Mount Hiei is also depicted differently than common beliefnote , but the author does have a few facts backing that upnote .
  • Bald of Awesome: Shingen Takeda is the most prominent example.
  • Berserk Button: Cooking is Serious Business for Ken, so when he deduces that Youko masterminded Nobunaga's food poisoning, he gets pissed off to the point of being unwilling to listen to her side of the story.
  • The Blacksmith: Natsu works as a blacksmith and had crafted most of Ken's knives. She has even been hired by Nobunaga to forge weapons for his men.
  • Blade on a Stick: The Weapon of Choice for Mori Yoshinari and Honda Tadakatsu, among others.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Honda Tadakatsu, during his introduction in the Battle of Anegawa, interrupts Ieyasu's Rousing Speech to charge headfirst at the enemy.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: As per Shinto folklore involving the goddess of the forge, female blacksmiths must remain a virgin if she wants to continue her profession. Natsu is very passionate about her work, and is not ready to give it up for sexual relationships just yet.
  • Cassandra Truth: Nobody ever takes Ken's mutterings about history (or nutrition) seriously.
  • Catch Phrase: Ken has one in the Live-Action Adaptation.
  • Cooking Duel: Near the end of volume 5, Nobunaga has Ken participate in a cooking showdown against an Ikko-ikki representative to force a stalemate between the two parties. Both chefs are required to concoct a dessert before the Emperor himself, using only 3 ingredients.
  • Easy Amnesia: Ken does not remember who he is and where he came from. He remembers everything else though - from trivia regarding food ingredients, nutrition, and cooking techniques, to the history of the Era he's stuck in.
  • Everyone Can See It: Between Natsu and Ken, although nobody really encouraged them due to Natsu's oath as a female blacksmith.
  • Femme Fatale Spy: Being a Kunoichi, Kaede would sometimes use sex to extract information.
  • Food Porn: Each and every dish that Ken presents is drawn in great detail.
  • Happily Married:
    • Azai Nagamasa and Oichi. The latter even turned down her brother's offer to flee from Odani when Nobunaga expressed desire to attack, so that she could remain with her husband. During the siege of Odani, Nagamasa summarily divorced Oichi so she could look after her daughters while under the protection of Nobunaga. She remarked that Nagamasa is a horrible liar.
    • Oda Nobunaga himself seems to have a good relationship with Nouhime.
  • Have We Met?: It is implied that the Ikko-ikki representative is another time displaced chef that was transported along with Ken from the Heisei Era. Confirmed in Chapter 49.
  • Historical-Domain Character: Definitely. All three unifiers of Japan make an appearance, and so do most of the important historical figures in that era.
    • However, Uesugi Kenshin and Date Masamune has not appeared in person up until the 11th tankoubon.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade/Historical Hero Upgrade: Mostly averted. Nobunaga has plenty of Pet the Dog moments as well as Kick the Dog moments throughout the manga, and it has been quite balanced so far.
  • Hunk: Ken is tall, well-built and has a very masculine charm. The live-action adaptation transforms him to a Pretty Boy, though.
  • Improbable Hairstyle: In the live action adaptation, Ken somehow manages to keep his hair immaculately short with well-trimmed bangs.
  • In Spite of a Nail: After Shingen's death, Ken remarked that despite his efforts, history still flows as he knew it.
  • Punny Name: Katsunote  rice pops up one time, complete with Ken's explanation for it.
  • Rape as Backstory: Youko was gang-raped shortly after appearing in the Warring States Era and Kennyo uses her fears of a repeat incident to keep her inline.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Yoshinari is Nobunaga's right-hand man and is often on Ken's side of the argument. Another one is Princess Nou and while she doesn't hold any sort of political status, she is a voice of reason for Nobunaga and often mediates disputes between Ken and Nobunaga whenever they arise.
  • Running Gag: Ken (who is tall even for a modern-day Japanese person) never fails to hit his head against the ceiling beam (or doorway) whenever he visits Natsu's house.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Just about everyone aside from court officials, really.
  • Shown Their Work: The manga gives quite an accurate portrayal of the Sengoku Era, barring Ken's involvements; the author even bothered to reference the sources he used for the historical information. There are also brief trivias and a recipe at the end of each bound volumes.
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Nobunaga can be seen as this in a non-romantic way. He may appear cruel and ruthless but he's actually quite caring and compassionate, like when he spared an Azai soldier who (unwillingly) went with his general in a Desperation Attack to Oda camp because he provided him shelter when he returned to Gifu from Kanegasaki (Nobunaga, along with Ken, also helped the soldier's son on that occasion) by saying than he's not interested in a nobody's head.
  • Supreme Chef: Ken, of course. Already considered a good chef in his own era, his cooking is considered as Impossibly Delicious Food in the Sengoku Era. And his creativity and ability to adapt his cooking to the era's lack of proper cooking equipment truly highlights his skills. However, he admits that he isn't quite on the tier of another time traveller, Youko when it comes to sweets.
  • Thinking Tic: As noted by Nouhime, Ken tends to stroke his chin whenever he is deep in his thoughts.
  • Title Drop: Ken's title as Nobunaga's chef has been mentioned twice:
    • Ken declared himself as Nobunaga's chef when refusing Ashikaga Yoshiaki's offer to work for him instead.
    • Azai Nagamasa angrily referred to Ken as such when he realized that Ken had somehow divided his forces.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Sea bream for Ieyasu. Ken uses that knowledge to send a nonverbal diplomatic message from Nobunaga, a move Ieyasu recognizes because he was the one who told Nobunaga about his favorite food when they were children.
  • Upper-Class Twit: Ashikaga Yoshiaki, who was under the impression that being a Shogun grants him absolute power over the feudal lords, despite being a narrow-minded, incompetent puppet. Nobunaga compared him to a frognote  due to his narrow-mindedness.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Ken had Nobunaga vomit out the poison he was given by Kennyo, and the scene pans over to show Mitsuhide's disgusted reaction.
  • War Is Hell: Ken said this word-per-word when he witnessed the terrible bloodshed caused by the wars.
  • Warrior Monk: They form a sizable part of Ikko-ikki sect's army, although not all.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Katsuyori struggles against the insanely high expectation of his father (and retainers).
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