To call Amaama to Inazuma a copycat Yotsuba& would be an injustice to both series.
This 2013 series from Kodansha Comic’s “Good! Afternoon” which is both written and drawn by Gido Amagakure [And which is know in the west as “Sweetness and Lightning”] follows Inuzuka Kouhei, a high school teacher who has tragically recently been widowed. This results in him having to juggle his career and struggle to raise his 5 year old daughter Tsumugi, often leaving him little time to cook meals and having to resort to buying instant meals and take out.
Fate however introduces the pair to Kotori Iida, one of Inuzuka‘s students whose mother runs a small family restaurant. Its here that Kotori [whose parents we discover later on have divorced and, with her mother regularly away at work, results with her winding up her home alone] suggests an idea – in return for visiting the restaurant Kotori will help Inuzuka with practising recipes that can change up the home meals that he and Tsumugi are currently eating.
The art style itself is both detailed enough to make backgrounds and even small props recognisable, whilst being incongruous enough to not be overbearing when focusing on characters and props is necessary.
The series also marks Amagakure’s first attempt at writing for the seinen genre [with the majority of her works being mainly of the shonen ai or outright Yaoi genre] however to be honest reading this I really couldn’t tell – the writing and characters never showed any trace of her previous yaoi influences – indeed if I hadn’t researched her work I wouldn’t have even know!
Coming back to the food – think the food looks enticing? Fancy trying to make it yourself? No problem! – The recipes for all the meals, which are described in detail throughout each of the chapters, also come with a detailed summary for easy reference at the end of each chapter.
Obviously there are those for whom the prospect of a series based around food and child raising will sound less than appealing and to be honest this series will never be for you. Also don’t expect shouseki no souma levels of food orgams – all the meals are realistic in preperation, appearance and in taste.
For everyone else I definitely recommend this series – grubs up!
Sweetness and Lightning is currently available to read digital via Cunchyroll’s manga streaming section, with the option to buy to own [again digitally] via Amazon kindle, Ibooks, Nook, Kobo and Amazons comixology site.
For those of you pining for a more traditional paper copy though fear not as kodansha USA will be issuing a physical release, With Volume 1 being released in July to tie in with the upcoming Anime adaptation.