Sometimes you encounter a fictional character who speaks to your soul, who is you. For me, Kantaro Ametami is such a character. He is the hero of Netflix’s Kantaro: The Sweet Tooth Salaryman, a weird-af but delightful show based on the manga Saboriman Ametani Kantarou.
Kantaro is a salesman at a publishing company, but his true passion and top priority is sweets (#relatable).
He arranges his sales calls and maximizes his productivity in order to visit Tokyo’s best sweets destinations during the work week. He documents each visit on his blog, which he writes under the pseudonym “Sweets Knight.” His sweets obsession and workday-shirking is a dark secret that he must conceal from his colleagues. But one of them, Kanako, follows the blog (she comments on it as “Sweets Princess”) and suspects that Kantaro is the Sweets Knight.
Each episode centers around a single dessert, with Kantaro visiting a real shop in Tokyo that serves it in its highest, purest form. The show breaks down the ingredients and techniques that go into the dessert with rapturous narration from Kantaro and surreal, gratuitous food-porn shots. This part is educational and sometimes oddly erotic.
Upon eating the first bite of the dessert, he enters “sweets paradise,” a vignette in which he interacts with the dessert or its ingredients.
For example, a love triangle where he must choose between a curvy and self-sacrificial caramel pudding, or a slender and vampish almond tofu.
Or where he beholds… an erupting peach.
If you love dessert and the idiosyncrasy of Japanese manga, you’ll want to binge watch this sweets paradise.
Here’s my foursquare list of all the shops featured on the show. Follow it to use as an itinerary while you visit Tokyo! I’ll update it if another season of Kantaro comes out. Many thanks to user danny_ds for posting the full list on Reddit:
- Episode 1: Anmitsu – red bean paste with white syrup.
- Episode 2: Kakigori – shaved ice.
- Episode 3: Mamekan – kanten (agar agar cubes) with red bean paste, topped with brown sugar syrup.
- Episode 4: Parfait – fruits parfait.
- Episode 5: Hotcakes
- Episode 6: Bavarian Matcha Cream
- Episode 7: Savarin – aka rum baba; a brioche cake soaked in syrup with custard cream and rum-soaked raisins.
- Episode 8: Ohagi
- Episode 9: Eclair – choux pastry filled and topped with cream.
- Episode 10: Caramel Pudding
- Episode 11: Chocolate
- Episode 12: Mont Blanc – sweetened pureed chestnuts.