I shall give credits to one of my otaku buddies in the town who enthusiastically recommended Shokugeki no Soma just a month ago. I’m not into culinary or whatever that associates with that type of specialty, but as far as I remember way back my younger years, I enjoyed watching those old long run anime series like Cooking Master Boy and Yakitate Japan on local TV networks, and so, that was the irony. Those anime series offered a lot of excitement that brought me to the most adventurous world where the mouthwatering aroma of foods diffused in every corner. With Shokugeki no Soma, my appetite has just increased little by little.
The story starts off with a simple yet sought-after diner, the Yukihira’s diner which is managed by Joichiro Yukihira who is a professional chef, and his son, Soma Yukihira, the main protagonist of the story, who helps his father to cook various delicious foods in the diner. Without a prior notice, Yukihira’s father needs to leave the place for a new job that requires him to travel around the world. His father then challenges Yukihira to enter Totsuki Academy, an elite culinary school, to pursue a career to become an outstanding chef. Without even being aware what the academy would offer him, Yukihira soon realizes that he enters the most challenging yet adventurous journey towards his career where he meets different types of elite people who are high class when it comes to skills and background as a chef. But of course, our young boy wouldn’t allow himself to be on the bottom line. And so, let the cooking showdown begins!
Shokugeki no Soma, also known as Food Wars!, is blended with comedic adventurous spices to savor deeply and to satisfy your cravings for a good series. The 24-episode anime (season 1) is enough to fill up your gastronomic emptiness with various heavenly menus and fragrance from those dishes will stimulate your olfactory receptors while it reaches your nerves all over your system. Every episode triggers your hunger mechanism with a battle between knives, introducing different styles of dishes from Asian cuisines to European style to Western style. So, you just have to sit and do nothing, just swallow and drool over the floor.
This anime introduces a new world of food which is far from other series of the same genre as a cooking battle. The strong point of the series is the fact that it allows the viewers, either a food enthusiast or not, to understand the reality of dishes and the challenging career of a young chef. From the presentation of various ingredients while showcasing their own methods of cooking through the sharpened edge of knives until they finally present their finished recipe to the sensitive tongue of the panel, everything is filled with realistic vibes for a cooking showdown. I consider the anime as one of the best shounen battles because it does not only deliver a realistic battle of foods, it also shows the actual feelings of a young chef, the breath-taking battle against a strong opponent and the pressure from the chants of the big crowd. It’s way too realistic for a cooking showdown that gives an ultimate chef-like feelings especially for viewers who are into culinary arts. After all, food is the center throughout the show that speaks louder more than any encounter in the series.
The story flows smoothly fine. It is simply about young students working together towards their dream to become a prodigy while battle continues among these aspiring chefs. The plot is quite mainstream as there is the idea of a character who is trying his best capabilities to surpass something, and that can be seen in various shounen series. Despite the overused idea of the creator, the good thing is, it does not only focus on Yukihira’s path, but also the entire series gives highlights to other characters such as Megumi Tadokoro, one of the main heroines, who has one of the highest character development in the series as she gradually learns to overcome her fears as episodes go further; Mito Ikumi who is a meat specialist and also helps Yukihira for a good choice of meat to his recipe; the cheeful Yuki Yoshino who gives that dynamic ambiance in the group; the comical Satoshi Isshiki who takes a big role in the group and is a also a perfect source of attention among viewers as he, most of the time, wears nothing but a little clothing of apron; Takumi Aldini, the ultimate rival of Yukihira yet a worthy competitor for a challenging showdown, and other supporting characters are also given the chance to show their best role on screen.
Incorporated with a good comedy, the series is given a plus factor towards the success of the entire season. With Yukihira’s dorky personality yet has a good sense of humor from his confident eyes and his all-for-nothing disposition, everything is surely a boredom killer. Every character in the series, behind their serious dedication towards their career as a chef, has an entertaining side that they want to be known by others. You will surely laugh at their comical moments, too.
Apart from the good blend of comedy, the most sizzling aspect of the show is the ecchi genre. I believe fanservice is also an effective way to grab the attention of seventy-five percent male viewers out there. Female characters in the series have this hyperbolic expression upon tasting a delicious recipe, and of course, exaggeration is a part of the show and I can’t see nothing wrong about it because although you’re only visually attracted to those delicious dishes on screen, you can also relish the reality of dishes from top to its bottom part by just the response of their god-like taste buds.
I particularly like the character of Yukihira Soma. He may seem the wimpiest character as those average type of male protagonists in most shounen titles but there are lots to discover behind those playful eyes. He contributes different life lessons throughout his experience in the academy, and a common example that everybody should ponder upon is that, we learn from our mistakes. Yukihira always shows his determination to become the best chef as his father. He simply accepts his weaknesses and easily tries to renew things from those scratches and that makes his edge among the elite students in the academy including Erina Nakiri, who in contrast to Yukihira, has a high expectation for herself, a total perfectionist to simply define her.
J.C. staff produces another series with a decent animation. They make everything excellent from the way they portray the characters to the highly anticipated cooking showdown. Their animation becomes more decent these days, particularly on how they showcase those scrumptious dishes which is impressively realistic, including those superb moves of the characters, the presentation of different cooking methods such as roasting, boiling and frying.
The first opening theme for the first fourteen episodes is titled Kibou no Uta by ULTRA TOWER which is just enough to satisfy your ears with its entertaining tune, a complete shounen package that introduces various characters in the TV length video and what to expect with their role. The second opening theme for episode fifteen and onwards, titled Rising Rainbow by Misokkasu, is also good to listen which makes your craving, to its highest extent, for more delicious dishes of various style. However, I prefer the first theme rather because it gives more a greater excitement and anticipation for a good shounen series. Whilst the first ending theme, Spice by Tokyo Karan Koron sounds lively and has a soft, cutesy melody by the performer. The second ending theme Sacchan’s Sexy Curry by Seiko Oomori gives that shoujo-like feel that at least ends the show with a delighted mood that the anime would simply offer.
If you’d like to enter a world where foods exist a lot in every corner more than how you have imagined, then Shokugeki no Soma is the perfect series for you that provides a wide variety of spices. Whether you are a food enthusiast or not, you will simply love this entertaining show. So, let the food wars begin!