‘Flavors of Youth’ (‘Si shi qing chun’) | Netflix Anime Review

By Daniel Hart
Published: July 31, 2018 (Last updated: November 11, 2023)
Netflix Anime - Flavors of Youth - Si shi qing chun


Netflix Original Anime Flavors of Youth (Si shi qing chun) delivers three separate stories that provide an important message about love and memories.

Netflix Original anime Flavors of Youth (Si shi qing chun) is the kind of gig that sentimental people will enjoy. The anime feature provides three different tales of youth set in different cities of China, each one displaying a salient message that will make you understand the importance of sensual memories, and how love cannot be ruptured by time.

The first short anime film in Flavors of Youth is strangely titled “The Rice Noodles”, which sounds like the atypical pretentious artistic short. In fact, it’s not. The character in this short film expresses his love for food, especially the noodles he enjoys in a local cafe where he spent many days a child, taking in the aroma of his favourite food. His grandma frequently joined him, slurping as much of these noodles as possible.

“The Rice Noodles” does well to realise the connection between food, setting and people. Maybe the premise is a little overripe to entirely link noodles to a place and time, but I think as a society we do underestimate the values that food brings. For example, at one point, the older version of this character tastes noodles at a commercialised franchise, which he immediately recognises as the noodles not tasting as good, thus forcing memories of home and how he misses his childhood.

The second short anime film in Flavors of Youth provides darker themes than a bowl of noodles. “A Little Fashion Show” presents us with a lead character who loves clothes. Wearing clothes has been her life, especially when she was younger when she joyfully picked clothes for her little sister. Now older, she is a model and it is hurting her relationship with her sister. The professionalism required is overbearing and gives the lead character less time to prioritise other things.

“A Little Fashion Show” articulates the horrors of the fashion industry, for example, there is a scene in particular where she refuses to eat food because she has an event the next day. Removing the dark side of this story, “A Little Fashion Show” highlights the importance of family, regardless of work and how the commonality in her life is her sister. Keeping your work together is important but keeping the family together is harder.

The third and final short anime film in Flavors of Youth is the most sentimental but least inspiring. “Love in Shanghai” opens with a hardworking young man, battling with the pressures of the corporate lifestyle. The short film then uses a series of flashbacks to detail how when he was younger, he was in love with his childhood best friend and vowed to get accepted at the same University as her. “Love in Shangai” is all about young love and explains the tragic story of what happens when you focus on your career objectives too long over the person that you love. There is nothing really deep or meaningful at show in this short film. It’s just a typical love story.

Netflix Original anime Flavors of Youth (Si shi qing chun) provides a range of separate messages that will give the audience some time to consider what is important in life. Flavors of Youth is not the best of what Netflix has to offer in terms of Anime but it does showcase the talents of three different directors.

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