Once again, it’s time to say goodbye to Food Wars. The second season of the popular series, Food Wars! The Second Plate, was shorter than the first one, but it still managed to entertain viewers as much as the first one.
Let’s start stating the obvious: it’s not exactly fair to compare Season 2 of Food Wars to Season 1. For starters, the first season consisted of 24 episodes, while ‘The Second Plate’ only had 13. The larger number of episodes allowed for the first season to have more arcs and plot themes, while the second season only manages to end the Autumn Election and the (quiet rushed) Stagiare act. Besides that, the first season meant something new and fresh, from the characters to the detailed focus on food and the ecchi foodgasms that kept everyone talking.
Perhaps the fact that the first season couldn’t wrap up the whole of the Autumn Election is to blame here. Cutting an arc into two different seasons is not only rare, but it also breaks the momentum. When the Autumn Election was taking place in the first season, the series was already on a roll, and viewers were eager to see all the different “shokugekis”. However, moving the resolution of the Election to the second season with a “one battle per episode” rule did not only make the beginning quite abrupt, but also made the season feel very formulaic and repetitive at times. Given the fact that many of these battles were predictable and full of
not so funny anymore ecchi scenes, sometimes it almost felt like the series was parodying itself.
Getting the negatives out of the way, Food Wars! The Second Plate still managed to deliver some brilliant moments that made viewers remember why they fell for this story and its characters in the first place. This is clearly shown in what was one of the best episode from this season and the series overall: Episode 10, “A New Genius”. Not only did this episode deliver a very refreshing twist in which Souma lost the final (seeing the main character always win gets boring pretty quick), but it also did a great job at encapsulating why Soma is so liked as a main character:
“See, everyone wants to believe that it’s obvious for someone to lose to someone more talented. They want to lower their expectations to protect their pride, self-respect, and similar sorts of things. But Soma doesn’t have that defense mechanism. He has the strength to face his inadequacies head-on. (…) Soma’s cooking inspirations aren’t from natural genius or anything like that. He just thinks things through. He keeps testing and retesting his recipes. Everyone can do that, but not everyone actually does. Why did they want to think less of Soma? Because if they acknowledged him, it’d mean acknowledging their own lack of effort”.
In fact, Soma is the character who got the most development in this season as he gets to struggle and face rejection for the first time. We also got to know more from side characters like the Aldini brothers, Kayama, Kurokiba, and Shiromiya, but it was more the characters getting backstory and new traits rather than them getting any character development. There were some new characters too, the most remarkable one being Mimasaka Subaru. Having earned the title for most hated character of the series, Subaru is another example of how good Yūto Tsukuda is at coming up with new ways to explore the different opportunities a cooking competition series can present.
This is probably why the three last episodes of the season were the most refreshing ones, and why it’s a shame it was so short-lived. During the Stagiare arc, the characters leave the Academy to have some practice in the real world. This did not only do wonders for the students who got to learn more about cooking, but it also taught them about how becoming a chef does not stop with being good at cooking. With these internships came the skills of being versatile, quick decision-making, being organized, and being able to constantly improvise. The restaurant themes and business side of cooking is one that the series has proved to be able to pull off pretty well, and it would be very interesting to see more of that side in potential future seasons.
Speaking of which, what are the chances of a Season 3? It’s hard to say at this point. The manga is still on-going, but it might take a while for it to have enough material for a third season. The anime is not selling very well, but the manga is, which is what matters in this case in particular. J.C. Staff seems to be going back to doing third seasons, but the wait for a third season will most likely be longer than the wait for Season 2. In the meantime, why don’t you try to be Soma for a day and prepare this delicious Fake Pork Roast?