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SMAC! Web Magazine

The Artists Village Insider #08 – Zizoya: Where Gourmet and Manga Meet!

Have you ever heard of COAMIX Inc.’s motto? “With manga, always. (漫画と、ずっと。)” Having your manga work become a hit is definitely not something you can write down instructions for. But one thing is certain in the manga industry: after you make it big, your beloved characters not only come to life on paper, but also in the form of merchandise, collaborations, events, and more. One of the ways to have your manga reach a wider audience is by connecting it to food & drinks, of course! Theme menus, beverages, restaurants…if you ever set foot inside a Japanese store you will surely find a colorful palette of limited edition products featuring current hot shots from the manga industry.

CAFE ZENON & ZENON SAKABA

COAMIX is a manga publishing company for all intents and purposes, but they are well aware of the importance of merchandise. This stays true even when it’s time to dine & wine. A gourmet subsidiary of COAMIX, Zizoya ensures that all the smash hit manga and latest bestsellers get their very own special dishes, menu, and events. Zizoya is in charge of CAFE ZENON & ZENON SAKABA in Kichijoji, Tokyo, a cafe with over 10 years of experience. The cafe is active during the day and the sakaba (bar) during the evening, both offering a wide range of drinks and food. One of their menus features Record of Ragnarok characters, and you can even get your hands on a special menu on the occasion of City Hunter Ryo’s recent birthday. You know what they say, the way through one’s heart goes through their stomach 🙂

Zizoya and the Artists Village Aso 096k

Wondering what this article has to do with our Artists Village? Well, for one, the experts from Zizoya’s Tokyo HQ have come down here to Kumamoto to support Kumamoto after the earthquakes and at the same time take care of specific needs of the actresses and manga creators that live in the village – if you remember, in one of our recent articles, manga creators explained that one of the plus points of staying and living here is that you don’t have to worry about grocery shopping, meal prep, cooking, and so on. Here, your taste buds are in the safe hands of chefs that work hard to find the balance between health and creativity. 

However, the Zizoya staff here are not just nutrition experts and chefs. They also supply the Tokyo HQ with the freshest ingredients from Kyushu – you’ll learn more about the delicious cuisine in next week’s article from the Kumamoto Reporter, but just to get the slightest taste (aperitivo, if you may), Kumamoto is known for a rich variety of vegetables and fruits, such as tomatoes, tangerines, and persimmons. If you’re feeling carnivorous you might challenge yourself in tasting raw horse meat or raw Japanese brown beef that was raised on the brink of the volcanic Aso caldera… What I want to say is that the Zizoya staff here in Kumamoto are on the lookout for the best ingredients and local producers that they connect with CAFE ZENON & ZENON SAKABA in Tokyo. This way, Tokyolites can get a fresh taste of the wilderness right in the heart of Tokyo!

And the last point of this article will actually return us right to the beginning of it: the Zizoya staff in Kumamoto are also in charge of merch, goods development, and its production. If you’re lucky, they might even test their new creations by giving them to you for free during lunchtime. XYZ Gâteau au chocolat is one of the specialities that sell best these days, as well as its special edition variety (Kiyomasa) Katō chocolat, featuring one of the main characters of Keiji’s Kabuki Adventure. If you’re not big on chocolate, you can get it in different flavors, for example cheesecake, rum and raisin, or matcha. All of these products feature Hojo-sensei’s most beloved characters, such as Ryo from City Hunter, and more. 

What makes Zizoya’s work even more appealing is that they’re collaborating with local goods manufacturers, such as the 140 year old Yamamura Sake brewery here in Takamori Town. Together, they launched a limited edition series of Reizan, a locally produced sake that features Fist of the North Star on its label. And no, you don’t have to stand in line to get your hands on it! In fact, at the moment it’s even available in the nearest convenience store. 🙂  With this kind of business model, Zizoya not only promotes well-beloved manga characters but also connects manga with local production. It’s an understatement to say that we’re excited to see whose manga will be featured next!