Small talk takes a sudden turn.

Japanese Twitter user Takkun (@TORISEN11) runs a karaage (Japanese-style fried chicken) restaurant chain called Torisen in Oita Prefecture. It’s a small chain, with just two branches, so Takkun himself can often be found working on the front lines and dealing directly with customers.

▼ Torisen’s karaage (please resist the urge to bite your screen)

Last Monday, Takkun was busy frying/selling chicken when a particularly chatty customer came to the restaurant. “Is your karaage good?” the customer asked.

It’s kind of an unusual question to ask a restaurant if their specialty dish is good, but still, wanting to know if the food is tasty before you order it is understandable. When Takkun, still focused on his work, said Torisen’s chicken is indeed good, though, the customer had another question: “In what way is it delicious?”

Again, a bit of an odd question, but still something a potential customer would probably like to know. The customer’s third question, though, came completely out of left field:

“Is Attack on Titan any good?”

The sudden shift from fried chicken to anime/manga prompted Takkun to stop what he’d been doing and take a better look at this uniquely inquisitive customer. and it was only then that Takkun realized that he was none other than Hajime Isayama himself, artist and creator of Attack on Titan!

“It’s been a long time. How ya doing?” Isayama asked, and as his words indicate, this wasn’t a random coincidence. Isayama grew up in Oita, and he and Takkun are actually childhood friends, having met in preschool.

They remained pals through their student years…

▼ Isayama and Takkun during a homestay in Idaho, U.S.A. during their first year of junior high

…and 20 years later, they still find time to occasionally get together and screw around like the kids they were when they first met.

With Isayama having left Oita to become a manga star, the two don’t get together as often as they used to. Even when Isayama isn’t back in his hometown for a visit, though, he’s still there in spirit, by way of a piece of custom artwork he drew that hangs on the wall of Torisen’s Wakamiya branch showing always-hungry Sasha chowing down on some freshly fried karaage from Levi.

Isayama hasn’t been in the media spotlight very much since the end of the Attack on Titan manga a year ago, but commenters were happy to see him enjoying his hiatus after a decade-plus of pumping out one of the industry’s biggest modern hits.

“Isayama is a pretty silly guy, isn’t he?”
“Looks like he’s having a good time having a break from working on serialized manga.”
“Nothing better than meeting up with old friends and feeling just like old times.”
“As an Attack on Titan fan, Isayama feels like something like a god to me, so it’s reassuring to see him doing human things like this.”

“Just like with his manga, he likes to surprise people in real life too,” Takkun says of his famous friend, though with all the tragic, gut-wrenching twists in the Attack on Titan plot, it’s good to know that Isayama sticks to more heartwarming surprises in real life.

Source: Twitter/@TORISEN11 via Jin
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