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by Christopher Farris,

Crazy Food Truck

GN 3 Review

Crazy Food Truck GN 3

After successfully rescuing Arisa from the Principality of Towata, it's time for her and Gordon to get back on the road. But they can't keep driving their crazy food truck forever, with Gordon's past and Arisa's future both looking to catch up with them. It's a turning point for the duo, as they must decide how best to live the life they have left, as forces converge that would try to make that choice for them. Can the pair really continue their tasty travels together forever, or will the crazy food truck finally be forced to close up shop for good?

Crazy Food Truck is translated by Amanda Haley with editing by Jennifer LeBlanc. Lettering is by Phil Christie, with design by Jimmy Presler.


If the ending to the second volume of Crazy Food Truck had you thinking it would lead into some lengthy, epic story arc that would carry the third volume to the foretold finish for the series, you'd end up surprised. We're still in the opening chapter of this volume before our heroes have successfully busted into the castle to rescue the proverbial princess. There's an anticlimactic reveal of some absurd "treasure" before everyone settles in to go fishing. It's goofy, but it's almost appreciable in how it undercuts those seeming sweeping attempts at dramatics and gets things right back to basics with Gordon and Arisa on the road again.

Or does it? I can't be sure when or how the decision to end Crazy Food Truck by this point came down, but the looming finish becomes apparent by the sorts of seeds Rokurou Ōgaki includes in this volume's early chapters. Arisa's impending deadline becomes a belabored point. The manga uses the deadline as a destination, insinuating the story was always driving in that direction. It's accompanied by other characters dropping in to fill in more gaps in her backstory. The series has never treated them with any special interest apart from motivating Kyle to chase Gordon and Arisa. Kyle's pursuit has been paused since the last volume, so these appearances feel done so out of necessity—a way to spell out the series' ending and explain underexplored elements of the lore while there's still time.

Centering its final stretch on Arisa's future expiration date also lets Ogaki settle on something like a heart for Crazy Food Truck's story. Arisa's love for food is the vital core, itself a representation of loving life, enjoying that most basic of survival necessities with a zeal for its flavor. You can see how that reaches toward sentimentality, tying into the idea of a "short" life nonetheless enjoyed to the fullest. It can come off more profound than Crazy Food Truck's previous attempts, though I understand why Ogaki might try to get there, given the finale nature of this volume.

My issue isn't that Ogaki swung in this direction but that it does not work. The knowledge that this is all ending soon prompts a shift into a "burn bright and burn fast" philosophy that honestly feels at odds with the previous two volume's taking-it-easy travelogue vibes. Don't get me wrong, simply driving around and enjoying tasty meals, and the occasional hot spring seems extremely fulfilling. But it doesn't strike me as living life at its most "crazy" the way the characters here act like they were always trying to do. That's before I even get into how much I don't jibe with the idea that avoiding necessary medical treatment at the cost of your full lifespan is a mutually-exclusive choice with, y'know, living.

This food truck's turn down the final road also brings some other swerves that might ring as ill-advised or at least off-puttingly unexpected to some audiences. Chiefly, it's very suddenly made apparent late in the volume that Gordon and Arisa's growing relationship was seemingly intended to be read as romantic. This leads to a sequence that could most generously be read as tying into that whole "love for the zest of life" theme but otherwise comes off as a trite development that only serves to trip some of the most basic storytelling flags in the genres that Crazy Food Truck has chosen to occupy by this point. The series was always about Ogaki admittedly indulging himself in all his favorite things, so it fits about as well as him letting Gordon eat delicious-looking meals or enjoy surrogate sauna time. But it still feels abrupt and runs counter to previous passes at characterization.

That's pretty much the feeling Crazy Food Truck looks to leave us off with here, though. I can almost respect the writing not being content to ride off into the sunset. Instead, the way things burn out feels like it was shooting for some defiant last hurrah, but instead mostly comes off like an abrupt downer. It does at least have the decency to cut loose with all the kinds of "crazy" action we've come to expect from the title, dialed up by the finale's onset of that "live fast, die young, leave a good-looking corpse" philosophy.

The titular food truck gets up to plenty of slaughter (of both the man, vehicular, and overlapping varieties) alongside someone flying a helicopter sideways to slice up bunches of dudes using the rotor blades. The art continues to carry those aspects well, alongside some more nice double-page spreads, like the scene of Gordon and Arisa first arriving in Miyajima. There is less emphasis on wildly creative setting elements (though there are a few), and some character proportions need to be more consistent. In particular, Arisa's head/body ratio seems to fluctuate more than it should, even accounting for comical chibi indulgences.

At its end here, the third volume of Crazy Food Truck can be seen as an interesting illustration of how an impending finish can affect the direction of a story. Ogaki could have just had the series trail off, letting the journey continue until he could pick it up again. Instead, at least the decision to rage against the dying of the light provides a sense of closure from going out on his terms. And while it's a choice I can understand and even generally respect, it's hard not to feel like there's an inevitable clash with the previous appeal of the series. As is, you're just left with a last meal that leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

Overall : C
Story : C-
Art : B

+ Interesting to see how this volume's status as a finale affects the direction of the story, Some cool action and setpieces
Definitive finish ironically feels unsatisfying, Some turns for themes and characters at the end here feel at odds with what the series had done before

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Production Info:
Story & Art: Rokurou Ōgaki
Licensed by: Viz Media

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