"This is the best sushi you'll find in LA," says a suavely dressed man to his date, as they swoon over a table laden with ersatz creations like "caterpillar roll" and "spider roll." But just as they're about to consummate their passion, the meal is interrupted by a trio of armed Japanese officials: the dreaded Sushi Police, staunch enforcers of culinary orthodoxy.
By the end of the opening episode of anime series "Sushi Police," Los Angeles' finest purveyor of bogus Japanese nosh has been reduced to rubble, and the integrity of Japan's signature gastronomic export safely protected — for now.
The tone of the series, which premiered on Tokyo MX earlier this year, may be deliberately outlandish, but its story is loosely rooted in reality. Back in 2006, the Japanese government proposed to introduce a system of accreditation for overseas restaurants serving authentic washoku (Japanese cuisine). Though the idea was hardly unprecedented — Italy and Thailand both have similar setups — it drew widespread mockery, inspiring the "sushi police" barb, and was quietly withdrawn.