The Fall 2019 Anime Preview Guide
Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma - The Fourth Plate
How would you rate episode 1 of
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma: The Fourth Plate ?
What is this?
The group shoukugeki between the Rebels and the Elite Ten continues into its second round! This time there's an additional vendetta match going on as Kuga and Tsukasa are deliberately matched up (although only they and Soma are aware of it), even as Megishima heads out into his second round in a row, this time against Rindo. The two of them are competing with the ingredient cayenne peppers, and each is taking an approach that plays to their strengths: Rindo using alligator meat and Megishima preparing a ramen dish. Who will triumph? And why does one of the judges look drunk? Food Wars: Shokugeki no Sōma – The Fourth Plate is based on a manga. It's available streaming on Crunchyroll Fridays at 12:30 pm EST.
How was the first episode?
Welcome back to the sports show cleverly disguised as a cooking show! (That's what it feels like, at any rate.) This is Food Wars' fourth foray into anime adaptation, and if it doesn't start off in the most exciting way possible, it at least isn't a clip show episode and still manages to hit most of what makes this franchise so enjoyable. It also picks up right where we left off last time, with the continuation of the group battle between the chefs of Central, Azami Nakiri's very own evil organization, and the Totsuki Rebels, led by Erina and Soma. This time the pressure's on Mimasaka, Kuga, and Megishima as they face off against three members of the current Elite Ten – including Tsukasa, the First Seat.
The real focus is presumably eventually going to be on Kuga vs Tsukasa, because that's the match that the episode goes through a lot of trouble to set up, with the two basically engineering their pair-up. Soma, who apparently has terrible bathroom timing, overhears them panning it, but only the three of them appear to be aware that there's a personal element to this cook-off that isn't present in the other two. That may add some emotional factors that involve Kuga's ego to the mix, and that could be a distraction that really causes problems, because honestly there isn't much room for that sort of mess at this stage of the fight. But that's going to have to wait for future episodes, because the focus this week is on the Megishima storyline.
This is the only place where there's a real, substantial flashback, and while that means that we see less cooking, it still feels very necessary to the story. The determination that Soma used to eventually win over the notoriously non-competitive ramen master is one of those pieces of the series that truly drives it, and their not-quite-a-shoukugeki allows for some of the fanservice-heavy foodgasms the franchise is known for, albeit nothing too terribly exciting. (Still equal opportunity nudity, though, which I've always appreciated.) More importantly, it gives us a real understanding of what is personally at stake for Megishima and why he distanced himself from Central, namely that he's looking out for the people who turn to him for help rather than himself. That aligns his motives much more closely with the Rebels, even if it isn't a perfect match.
While the actual cooking and the zanier aspects of the series are largely absent here and do bring my rating down a bit, this is still a solid return to the story. Food Wars is building up to charge ahead full-speed next week, and I for one am looking forward to seeing the rest of the arc play out.
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