Welcome to another review, faithful readers! Today we will be covering the popular cooking anime, Food Wars! This anime has received plenty of popularity, and now, even a second season (which will hopefully help resolve some of its issues). As a warning, there may be minor SPOILERS.
Now, without further ado, let us begin the review!
Summary: Food Wars centers on Yukihira Soma, a middle school student who is determined to surpass his father’s culinary skills. One day, his father decides to close down their family restaurant and hone his skills in Europe. Before leaving he enrolls Soma in an elite culinary school that is extremely difficult to enter with a graduation rate of only 10 percent. Will Souma be able to improve his skills, or will the kitchen prove to be too hot?
The plot of Food Wars is fairly unique as a cooking anime and primarily character driven, and does a good job at it. Each characters interaction deepens and continues the story appropriately, and are all quite hilarious. The story, however, can feel repetitive at times, as most plot points revolve around a cooking competition and the characters preparing the food. Another weakness is the cliffhanger ending, which is now a mild inconvenience with the announcement of a second season. There is not much more to say about plot, as the story is straight forward and easy to follow.
Characters, as previously stated, are the prime driving force of the plot. As such, the character have to be good to make the show worth watching, and they do deliver. Each character is distinct from another, and most have a relative degree of development. The number of characters is not overwhelming, but the large cast can make less developed characters feel unnecessary, or even forced. One such example is Erina, who does not add extensively to Soma’s developement as the protagonist and honestly does not add much to the overall plot either. Soma as a protagonist is also slightly overpowered in some ways, winning most competitions with little difficulty. His character development is also notably less compared to some of the other characters, notably Megumi, despite his status as the main character. However, he does fail against stronger and more experienced cooks, which helps make his cooking ability seem more realistic for someone his age.
As a cooking anime, and being a visual and audio experience, only strong imagery and animation are required to get across the intensity of the food. The series does an excellent job of this through detailed drawings of the food. As a person who appreciates imagery, the show makes use of excellent imagery (which can be a bit overwhelming, but this will be discussed under Themes) to display the tastes of the food as best as it can within the limits of the formatting. The rest of the animation is crisp and incredible, so there is zero problem here.
The soundtrack is equally as good as the animation, expertly worked into the show. All tracks set the mood of whatever scene incredibly well. The first ending is additionally my all time favorite ending. As a bonus, the first ending’s final scene is a reference to the Last Supper.
Food Wars is primarily a fun, wacky, and colorful show, but still carries its fair amount of serious themes. It focuses a lot on the importance of competition in helping a person grow, whether through win or loss. While this is all well and good, the show does not do an overabundance of focusing on this. Soma fails sometimes, but it when he is clearly outmatched, and as such, the theme of learning through loss does not bleed through as much as the show intends. The show does do an excellent job on focusing on the themes of friendship, and helping one another learn and grow through various means of support. We are going to take a moment to mention the excessive fan service within the series. While this is frequently incorporated into the taste imagery, it can distract from the true expression attempting to be displayed by the imagery. The fan service calms down as the series progresses, but I feel it was not necessary by any means for the series. The fan service also does the disservice of turning some people off to an otherwise fun and entertaining series.
Final Score: 9.2/10
Final Grade: A
Shokugeki no Souma was an anime that I really did not think that I would like, but it surprised me. Being a show about cooking I did not think that there was much anyone could do to make this show interesting. But the characters are great and they all grew throughout the show. It is also refreshing to know that the main characters are not going to win in everything they compete in. In fact we are often reminded that there are chiefs who are better than Sōma. It also seems pretty realistic the way they make food. I am far from a cook, but I felt like things defiantly could be done the way the characters make all of their food. The food they make also looks amazing and this show will make you hungry. A problem that I had with this show was that it was very limited in what it could do. Being that the show revolved around food and cooking, it was sometimes held back by this. Things that could have been important felt like it was shadowed by whatever dish was being made. Also sometimes this show would be over sexualized which would take away from it some. Over all this was a good anime and I would give it an 8.5 out of 10. Even though it might seem like an anime you don’t want to watch, I recommend that you give it a shot. – B-Ro
The first I had heard of this show was through an ad on Crunchyroll. This ad featured the opening song and some of the dishes made, and quickly started showcasing the show’s fanservice. I thought it looked like a terrible show, and never would’ve watched it if it wasn’t for RishRaff’s recommendation. And wow did this show turn out to be a treat! Yeah, there is a lot of fanservice. It basically takes the term “foodgasm” and shows it visually. It’s really not that bad though, and is usually quite hilarious. The show is amazing with its visual metaphors and imagery. The food animation looks amazing, but you obviously can’t taste it, so the taste is usually described with metaphors and smilies. It’s extremely creative, and I could get a good idea of what the food would taste like. The characters are surprisingly deep as well. This show is largely a comedy, but it develops Characters better than a lot if non comedy stuff. I quickly found myself rooting for the characters and getting really emotionally invested. Underneath it’s fanservice fasad, it is actually really deep. Now for the music…. Wow the first opening and closing are great!!!! I am eternally grateful to this show for introducing me to Ultra Tower and Tokyo Karan Koron. The rest of the soundtrack is extremely well done, with a lot of catchy tracks to set moods. It also sets up the extreme number of hilarious moments. This show serves up a lot of laughs, aided by its crazy visuals. Sometimes it does get too crazy for its own good, but this show is a good time throughout. And there’s going to be a season 2!!!!!!!!!!! So if you like cooking, laughs, competition, and a good time, add Food Wars to your anime plate.
Final Comments: Once one works through the excessive and sometimes strange fan service, a fun and brilliant anime can be found in Food Wars. Contained within the series is a unique premise, entertaining characters, and above all, delicious food.
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