Who is that beautiful girl with the hair that looks like ramen noodles? It’s Ms. Koizumi, the mysterious high school girl who loves ramen more than anything else. In fact, she doesn’t seem to have any interests aside from ramen. And if you’re not interested in ramen, then this is not the book for you.
Naru Narumi’s Ms. Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles sort of reminds me of Dagashi Kashi, another manga and anime series that essentially acts as a documentary about a type of Japanese food. Like Dagashi Kashi, it has a narrative framing device; in this case, a high school girl named Yu has a crush on mysterious transfer student Ms. Koizumi and wants to get closer to her, but the only thing Ms. Koizumi is interested in is ramen. So in order to get to know her better Yu follows Ms. Koizumi to ramen shops and learns about the different kinds of ramen.
Now, there is definitely a sizable following for yuri, or girls’ love manga, and if you’re someone who likes yuri books I need to make this very clear: this book is about ramen. It’s not a book you want to read because you want to see the budding romance between these two girls, because that isn’t happening here. In this volume at least, Yu’s crush on Ms. Koizumi is used entirely as a framing device for a lecture about ramen. Yu isn’t even always the character Ms. Koizumi is explaining ramen to. I can’t comment on where the story will go, but right now this is 100% a ramen book.
The story to ramen ratio of the book sort of reminds me of Adam Ruins Everything, the educational comedy series on Tru TV. While there’s a cast of characters and a plot, you’re not tuning in to see how things go with Adam and the girl he likes or his relationship with his sister. You’re going to be disappointed if you want a romance comic or you need “progress” in the plot.
That said, it is a really fun title if you”d like to learn about ramen. Basically the only thing I previously knew about ramen was that Maruchan is better than Nissin, but I feel like I learned a thing or two about it after reading this.
Narumi’s artwork is also very good. The key conceit of Ms. Koizumi being cute enough that Yu is instantly drawn to her works because she does look quite cute. There’s also an incredible amount of detail given to the ramen itself, something very important in a title like this. Narumi-sensei draws a bowl of ramen that will make you hungry for ramen, and that’s pretty impressive.