Food Wars: Cooking has never been this epic. Better prepare some snacks before watching this anime!
In A Nutshell
Ever since he was a child, Souma Yukihira has helped his father by working as the sous chef in the restaurant his father runs and owns. His dream is to someday own his family’s restaurant as its head chef. Yet when his father suddenly decides to close the restaurant to test his cooking abilities in restaurants around the world, he sends Souma to Tootsuki Culinary Academy, an elite cooking school where only 10 percent of the students graduate. The institution is famous for its “Shokugeki” or “food wars,” where students face off in intense, high-stakes cooking showdowns.
Meet the Characters
Soma is the main character of the series. Soma is very optimist, confident and brutally honest. He doesn’t shy away from telling things like they are, standing up for himself and others, and fighting for his dreams. He’s never afraid of accepting difficult challenges and always remains cool when he’s in tough situations. Soma likes to be creative and innovative in his cooking.
Megumi is the main heroine of the story. She is also a student and a Polar Star Dormitory resident. Megumi is the complete opposite of Soma – she’s clumsy, shy, insecure, and tends to be pessimistic about her capabilities. She befriends Soma on the first day and relies on him during difficult tasks, often feeling inspired by his attitude. Because she grew up in a small port town, Megumi is very good at cooking fish.
Erina is one of the main antagonists of the series and Soma’s rival. It is said that she wields the best palate in the world, earning her the nickname “God’s Tongue”. Erina is a member of the illustrious Nakiri family and is currently the 10th seat of the Elite Ten Council. Erina is overly confident and arrogant, treating every other students as plebeians. She hates to see Soma, a boy from a local restaurant, get away with everything he tries in her prestigious school.
A Brief History of Food Wars: the When, Where and How
Food Wars (also known by it’s Japanese title Shokugeki no Soma) is a Japanese manga written by Yuuto Tsukuda and illustrated by Saeki Shun. The manga began serialization in November 2012 in Shueisha‘s Weekly Shonen Jump. The series was adapted into an 25-episodes anime series by JCStaff that ran from April to September 2015. The anime was highly successful and shortly after a second season was announced to air in summer 2016.
Despite being quite controversial due to the sexualization of the food-tasting scenes (dem foodgasms…), Food Wars also received critical acclaim for the appeal of its cast and the accuracy and detail put into the culinary theme of the series.
Why It’s Awesome
The truth is, when this series was first announced, not many people thought much of it because, let’s face it, food is usually not a very exciting topic (although that might have changed with all these recent cooking shows). However, as the title suggests, Food Wars did the unexpected by taking cooking and making it fascinating in many ways. It’s informative and educative (fans like trying recipes!) and the gorgeous animation makes every single meal drool-inducing. The Food Wars staff has nutritionists and cooking experts in is team, which is yet another sign of how much they care about the accuracy of the meals, down to the chemical composition of the ingredients. Another reason why the series is exciting to watch is because Food Wars has learned from the common “students competing against each other” setting that made other shounen like Naruto, Hunter x Hunter (and recently My Hero Academia) so successful.
That setting, however, does no work unless the characters are likable. Thankfully, the characters are one of the strongest aspects about Food Wars. Soma is probably the most likable main character I have seen in a long time, and just by browsing around anime forums, it’s clear that many viewers share this opinion. Soma is the kind of character you want to root for because he’s confident, optimistic and skilled. He’s no Mary Sue, though. He still struggles every now and then, but what makes him so inspiring (and easy to self-insert as) is the fact that he never loses his composure in the face of adversity. The rest of the cast (there are some great character designs) are all diverse enough to create very interesting group dynamics in every assignment and competition (here called ‘Shokugekis’).
Lastly, I have already talked about the great art style and animation, but another one of the show’s forte is the OST, which gives the series that final touch that makes you feel like you’re watching an epic battle.