Anime of the Week: Shokugeki no Souma (Food Wars)
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma is a culinary themed anime that drifted around my radar for a long while that peeked my interest but never got close enough to overtake other shows and begin watching it. With its first plate (its version of a season) coming out in 2015 and its second plate just finishing in fall of 2016, I thought it was about time to give it a try. So when I finally got the time to check the series out I immediately regretted putting it off for so long. You see, for the last few years when I’ve truly started living on my own, I’ve become more interested in cooking. Now as many anime fans know there are a few dozen food and cooking centered anime out there, but that’s really it. Many of them are a decade old or older now, too. So I gave Food Wars! a shot as I am not the biggest fan of 90’s style art. And as I stated before, it did not disappoint.
Art. I absolutely loved the art style. The look of the show is quite reminiscent of many other shows, but here is where it differs from the rest. Shokugeki no Soma’s art style is so unique that even within the series it seems to have multiple art styles. There are characters and moments that are designed in much more of the action genre that almost give a modern day Dragon Ball Z or One Punch Man feel to it. Then there are other’s have more of the Rom-Com look to them. Yet despite the vast differences, it all melds together very well. I didn’t even take notice to the style differences until I began writing this article. It just fit so perfectly into the show. Then when it comes to the actual food, the art style makes a turn towards realism. The series loves to make the food look like a gift from the heavens, but when compared to pictures of recreations of the dish made in real life, they look practically identical. The artists of this anime are masters of mixing design to fit the moment and match the character. Very well done.
Plot. As I began to watch Food Wars! I thought it was going to be more of a light-hearted anime that just wanted to show off some fun cooking. I was okay with this. It just meant it would make a nice palate cleanser (pun definitely intended) between the dark gritty shows I mainly enjoy. But as the show began to take off I realized it went much deeper than I anticipated. The series follows Soma Yukihira a 15 year-old boy who has helped his dad run a small diner since he was little. For a long time he planned on just staying there and eventually taking over the diner, but one day in the summer before he starts high school, his dad leaves. He tells Soma that if he wants to take over the diner one day he needs to graduate the most prestigious cooking school in the world, Totsuki Culinary Academy. It’s here that the story takes place. Soma meets many characters, all of which are very enjoyable in their own way. Now this plotline sounds very cliché, so you may be wondering why I think so highly of this show. Well I will tell you. As much as I love cooking and learning about it, that is not the actual reason I fell in love with the series. The reason is two words. Character development. The entirety of Shokugeki no Soma relies on three things. One is the food and cooking and another is the character development. This series not only follows the growth of Soma but also follows the growth of other main characters, secondary characters, and even a few side characters! And it manages to do this without taking away time from the other people in the show or spread the depth of each development too thin. Each person in the anime grows in his or her own unique way with ever increasing depth. There are very few shows that are able to accomplish this and so Food Wars! automatically gets a boost from this alone.
Humor. Now before I mentioned that Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma had its foundation on three things. I’ve already told you two and now from this header you can guess that the last one is its humor. The type of comedy this show has isn’t for everyone like any other comedy movie or series, but for me it’s the cherry on top of an already great animation. Shokugeki no Soma has ecchi style humor so be prepared for a lot of sexual related humor. However, the humor here is expanded upon what the normal ecchi shows use. Food Wars! doesn’t limit itself to female related ecchi humor. It tackles both sexes and even a few other sexual orientations. But it also does so without mocking or making fun of the orientation either, another rarity that this series as managed to do. But the way this show uses the ecchi humor is what makes it even better. Now there’s a term that both my friends and family use when it comes to food and maybe you have heard of it, too. Food-gasm. It means exactly what you think it means. It’s what happens when you taste food so good (kimochi!) that it supposedly could make you orgasm. This is how the anime uses their ecchi humor. In a school full of culinary prodigies, every time someone tries one of their dishes, you see one of the funniest most absurd visual analogies you’ll ever see describing the taste of food. You heard me right. Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma uses sexual humor for not very sexual things and for some reason it’s absolutely hilarious. Well, at least for me.
So all in all, if you enjoy great character development and either enjoy or don’t mind ecchi humor. Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma is a show you will most likely enjoy. And if you have any sort of interest in food (whether you like to cook or not) it just serves as an added bonus as you get to learn a lot about the culinary arts. Wow, that last cooking pun was actually not intended. Go me. But anyways, this series was a fantastic one that I would recommend to almost anyone.
My rating: 9/10 ConfiKeys