This Week in Anime
Why You Should Watch Food Wars!

by Nicholas Dupree and Jacob Chapman,

Food Wars! makes its grand return this fall with a third helping of culinary competition! This week in anime, Nick and Jacob discuss what's made the show so delectable so far and what they hope to see from the Elite Ten this season.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the participants in this chatlog are not the views of Anime News Network. Spoiler Warning for discussion of the series ahead.


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You can read our weekly coverage of Food Wars! The Third Plate here!

Jacob
Food Wars. Food Wars never changes.

Nick D
For being the Meat Master, Nikumi sure seems to be made of Jell-O.

Mysterious alien breasts aside, I'm glad to have Meat Angel back. We have similar feelings toward sweet delicious animal flesh.

Y'know, after so many monster girl shows, it's honestly comforting to have just a regular kind of horny show back.

And is Food Wars ever horny! This is definitely the most carnally motivated shonen adventure I can think of. It often seems weird to me that it runs in a kids/teen magazine. The reasons I watch it are almost entirely id-based: dumb jokes, delicious food, ridiculous fanservice.

I've been a fan of the manga for a while myself - while I could take or leave most of the anime boobs, I do really like most of the cast, and having a sports manga about competitive cooking is really novel in JUMP. Granted, I know nothing about cooking that doesn't involve a toaster oven, but Food Wars does a pretty good job of always telling me WHY somebody's lasagna or whatever is so good that it makes people cream their cheese.

Oh yeah that's the magical thing about it. I eat corn dogs for lunch and burritos for dinner day after day, and I can't make anything more elaborate than cold cereal without birthing a biohazard.

But like this food tho:

THIS FOOD THO

t h i s f o o d t h o

Sorry, I'm kind of a meat and potatoes guy so my food lust repertoire is limited. But all of it looks incredible! So that's the main draw for me. I could take or leave most of the characters, with two exceptions that I think anchor the whole thing really well.

One of them better be Megumi.

Yup! Precious anxiety bumpkin~

She's easily my favorite of the cast. Part of that comes from her eternal underdog status - in a cast that's mostly superpower-level genius chefs, she's the anxious rookie just trying to get by while everyone else hurls sudden death challenges and stakes their lives on bake-offs. The other thing is that she's the center of my favorite moment in the entire series. Her unofficial shokugeki with Shinomiya during their training camp is one of those classic Shonen Moments that have sustained my interest in the genre for so long. So much of Food Wars' cooking is about spectacle and showing off, but she "wins" by putting her heart into the food she makes, and she helps reminded a jaded adult why he fell in love with cooking to begin with, which is far and away the most sentimental moment of the whole series.

It's a real Ratatouille moment for sure. She has that "a good cook can come from anywhere" thing going on where the only reason she's not as good as all these puffed-up elite chefs is that she lacked the resources and competitive atmosphere they were given at a young age. Now she's getting that opportunity at Totsuki, and while it daunts her at first, she's blossoming.

This is also thanks to the other character I care about in the show:

ah yes, Cooking Kirito

Kind of? That was definitely a flaw of the early series that almost made me stop watching, where it was just a series of snobs monocle-popping at this backwater kid's AMAZING COOKING SKILLS. I didn't have much patience for that.

Oh, I like Soma too. I'm mostly making a joke about his seiyuu XD

Oh right! That makes sense! XD In fairness, he does have that insufferable "I just know I'm the protagonist" attitude at all times, that part of his chuuni nature doesn't change.

But as time went on, the obnoxiousness of that chuunibyou facade began to give way to something more sincere in its silliness:

His confidence becomes valuable in the context of Totsuki Academy, cuz his passion comes purely from a love of making good (and sometimes even bad!) food, not the love of having a five-star legacy and serving famous people or whatever. Most of the other Totsuki chefs are ridiculous at best, insulated by their world of elite cooking to the point where they're hyper-specialized weirdos, or they're insufferable gatekeepers at worst, who demand everyone cook to their specific ideas of what haute cuisine should be. Soma busts that system wide open by being both adaptable and non-elitist. He wants to be a jack of all trades, and he wants to make food that anyone can enjoy, even on a budget. And that's what brought me back into the show when detailed pictures of food and admittedly hilarious foodgasms weren't going to be enough on their own.

I also like that Soma's not totally unflappable underneath all that. He's cocky and impulsive, but he does get taken by surprise, makes mistakes, and even gets beaten a few times for good measure. What's more, he takes those losses personally - his private tantrum after losing to Shinomiya was the first time he felt like a real character to me, and his rejuvenation after the Autumn Elections was easily the strongest moment of season two.

I was really happy with his ultimate defeat to Curry Daddy at the end of the tournament. He who controls the spice and all that.

Jake, not everyone is Daddy.

I mean, Akira certainly is! That boy has lived a FULL life, and that's why he deserved to win. He worked his way up from even more humble origins than Soma and gained more experience to adapt in a pinch (of seasonings).

Well lemme just say that if you dig Akira, you might be in for a treat this season.

Awesome! I am curious about what's coming up, since my enjoyment of the show is p heavily tied to the tension of its underdog story. The Autumn Elections and general shokugeki stuff were a thrill for me, but the stagiare or karaage stories? Not so much.

Well thankfully we've just introduced like seven new characters for Soma and company to go up against. All mostly off screen, but they're there. Waiting. Sharpening their (cooking) knives.

It was definitely a dramatic entrance! I don't expect us to plow through them all in one season, but Food Wars! isn't the kind of shonen to do things that way anyhow. If Soma beats one of these guys at his own game, the rest are going to sit up and take notice, so the whole dynamic will probably reshuffle in interesting ways. At least I hope so?

Oh it definitely reshuffles. Whether it's interesting or not is uh...debatable. To be as spoiler-free as possible, the second half of this season hits the point where Food Wars opinions become decidedly more polarized.

Ha ha. "Polar"ized. I get it.

But for now we have the pleasure of watching Soma set up a competing hot dog stand with Yu-Gi-Oh!.

Yeah, I can't wait for him to wipe the smirk off Kuga's face. And that's basically what I tell people who are wondering if they should get into Food Wars! Everyone has their own reasons, but these are mine: Do you like food porn? Do you like regular porn? Do you like seeing salt-of-the-earth talents take down big prestigious muckity-mucks? Then this show is for you.

But seriously, the regular porn part is worth emphasizing because uh

The manga author was largely a doujin artist before this, right?

Still is, too.

Ah, living the dream.

Yeah, I'd be lying if I said I'm not a little bothered by some of the Foodgasms.

The show tries to be equal opportunity sometimes? It makes an attempt, whether it's good enough or not is certainly debatable.

My favorite is Isshiki's ole boob and butt pose:

Isshiki is a blessing and the show is absolutely better for having him, yes.

But I'm much more a fan of when the show gets absurd with the food reactions. Like the time Soma made all the judges think they were at Offbrand Disneyland.

Oh yeah, many of them are pretty chaste and wildly imaginative! I certainly hope I never get served soup with an aftertaste so bad that it goes from feeling like a hot springs vacation...

...to whatever THIS is supposed to taste like

But as long as you can find humor in all the lewd absurdist imagery, I'd say the foodgasms are more a boon than a detriment to the show. Just know what you're getting into, don't watch it in public, etc.

There are a few that step past my personal line, but yeah it's mostly harmless T&A to go with the food porn overall. I'm just firmly in the Goofy over Sexy camp.

Though there are exceptions

coughs

I have trouble getting worked up over the Worst Part of the show in human form but diff'rent strokes. I've heard Erina may have a redemptive arc coming up for season three tho, right?

Oh yeah, she's got an arc coming up alright. Skirting spoilers here, but it turns out there's a worse thing you can be than a food snob in a cooking manga. You could be Hannibal.

what what what WHAT WHAT? O_o??? Uh. Well, now I'm definitely curious.

Let's just say that S3 is likely to tackle the series' most ambitious parts yet. At the very least it'll be interesting for newcomers to see. XD

Oh wait, I almost forgot the best thing to look forward to:

coughs

Hey, if she's a step above Erina, I'll take it.

The world is not ready for Rindo-senpai.

Well, my plate is already gonna be FULL of new anime this season, but since it's improved so much over its first two seasons, I'm happy to make room for more Food Wars!

Sweep me away, my scrumptious prince~

Okay maybe I'm wrong about this show being regular-horny.

Is this better?



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