Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma Review(Episode 1-12)
This weekend I decided to watch Food Wars, an anime based on the manga of the same name written by Yuto Tsukuda. The anime is directed by Yoshitomo Yonetani and ran through the J.C. Staff Studio.
Spoilers: Minor to no Spoilers throughout.
Plot: The plot is very simple. Soma, a young fifteen year old, is the second chef at a diner of two chefs. It is his dad’s diner and they have a father-son rivalry. It is lead on that his dad is a world class chef, but Soma says he does not know much of his dad’s history as a chef. Towards the end of episode one, his dad tells him he is shutting down the diner to go stay with a friend and is shipping Soma off to culinary school. His dad tells him if he cant make it here, he wont have a chance of surpassing him. And thus, were off. Soma hopes to be the be the number one chef at a school full of kids who think money and school will make them the top chef.
Setting: The setting is one of the top culinary schools in the world, Totsuki. If you graduate here, youre almost guaranteed a gig as a chef. It is layered like a regular school, there is their equivalent of middle and high school(Soma went to a formal middle school, so he comments it as interfering with his food studies). Most of the kids here lack what Soma brings, serving actually customers, or as the kids call it “serving on the first line of cooking”. At this school there is a council that is second in command only to the the head of the school himself. This council decides on pressing matters like where the budget is spent. None of the teachers are allowed to challenge the councils rule. The kids on the council are the schools top ten chefs.(At this point in the series weve only been introduced to two). You can challenge their ruling by challenging them to a Shokugeki, which is normally one on one chef-offs. Theyre really entertaining and most of the drama centers around these events.
Characters: Probably my favorite part of this Anime are the characters. When I first started watching, I wasnt expecting to get attached to any of them, by the sixth or so episode I was really into them. My favorite without a doubt so far is Soma. He falls into the cliche “I want to be the best” stereotype of anime characters, but it works because he is not really the most interesting character but is one of the few likable ones so you want him to win. Plus, he is a chef. This is his life goal. It makes sense he would want to be the best. Cooking is his art, so I am all for him being super hyped to be the best chef. The first few episodes fall into a repetitive trap of using the same formula. A character doubts Soma and he uses his awesome cooking powers to beat them. Most of the villains are not likeable, such Nakiri or Mito. But as the series go on some the rivals become some of the cooler characters, such as Takumi or Shinomiya who are foils of Soma to a degree.
Pros: I watched it for two reasons. First, I wanted a change of pace from the beat em ups I have been watching. Second, I thought it would be funny to watch sense I am hopeless at making stuff outside of a pb&j sandwich or a bowl of cereal. But what I found was a truly hilarious and priceless anime. Soma is one of my favorite main characters I have seen in an anime. It replaces fighting scenes with cook offs and has very interesting characters as well as solid humor. A really cool bonus, is if you are someone like me who doesnt know the first thing about cooking, the show breaks everything down for you, explains why some foods go together, what the affects of foods are, etc. I found this awesome and handy! Plus the manga, Ive heard, includes the recipes they use in the series. Pretty cool.
Con: We couldnt go this whole review without talking about fan service. It’s there, and theres a bunch of it. I read comments and it seems the extremeness of it did make it uneasy to watch for many. I, myself, found it weird at first because it seemed all over the place. Just be prepared when people eat good food. Though these intense scenes are used to show how powerful food is on the senses, it might make some of the conservative watchers uncomfortable. Fret not, it calms down later on but I’d be lying if I said it went away entirely.
Score: 8.75. Short reason why: You ever watched an anime that was so good you transformed into a cabbage-like superhero?! This series is awesome and oddly poetic at times. Definitely go see for yourself because there is a lot more I wanted to say but could not quite put into words.