Food and sex. Folks have an endless fascination all around the world with both, and why not? They’re inextricably linked with our most basic drives, survival and procreation. The late Japanese director Juzo Itami poked fun at both in his landmark comedy, Tampopo, and who, needless to say, has not seen 9 1/2 Weeks? Now think of those themes in a fighting high school anime setting, and you are prepared for Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma. Actually, I may be overstating the case a little on the sex part of the show, but I got your attention, didn’t I?
The series’ main protagonist, Soma Yukihira, is the son of Yukihira Restaurant owner and star chef Joichiro Yukihira. Soma’s gastronomic creations have a tendency to cause diners (at least in their own thoughts) to lose their clothes and inhibitions upon their very first flavor. Naturally, he also has a tendency to take his individual food explorations into the domain of the absurd, as he does when he prepares grilled squid with peanut butter. The reactions of his unwitting victim to that special cuisine is vivid and hilarious, to say the least.
The show follows Soma’s experiences from his family’s restaurant, which his father closes in order to travel and cook abroad, to the prestigious and highly elite Totsuki Culinary Academy, in which his father registers him to complete his high school instruction. Visit this website now to learn more about www.ShokugekiSoma.com. A commoner among elites, youthful Soma understands nothing of the finer points of international gastronomy, but he does possess an outstanding gift for cooking and creating story through food, an innate knowledge of ingredients and the way they work together, and an unshakeable belief in his own means that friends and foes alike commonly error for arrogance and cockiness. He becomes the only transfer student to pass the stringent entrance exam that year, and in the entry service brazenly announces the school is just a stepping-stone for him on his path to culinary supremacy. This sets up a string of rivalries and the debut of a plethora of colorful characters who are out to destroy this little upstart commoner.
And of course, among the elites are the bad guys, most notably Erina Nakiri, the granddaughter of the academy’s director and holder of the coveted top position in the top ten pupils in the school. Soma, obviously, isn’t impressed or intimidated, and seeks the area for himself. The way that pupils compete with each other is through the school’s sanctioned events, called Shokugeki, hence the title. There are there are only three judges who determine which pupil’s cuisine is the greatest. There’s an air of Iron Chef that encompasses this competition. The cost for losing is frequently being expelled from the school and their cooking livelihood at an ending.
There is a lot going for this set. That being said, it appears the subtleties lie more in the foods themselves, and not too much in the characters. They appear to be presented more as vehicles for the food than as creations that could “walk around the corner,” as one friend of mine put it. There is a lot more information on Shokugeki Soma on this website However, this really is a very interesting series to watch, and in case you want to cook, you can definitely glean some new ideas from the foods presented, which are real cuisines from round the world.
The tasting arenas are, obviously, fan service at its most evident, but who cares? This is not an anime with some deep meaning to reveal (at least, not yet), nor is it striving to uphold some high standard of storytelling superiority. In the timeless tradition of fighting anime, the actions, characters, and the storylines themselves are blown way out of proportion, and exaggeration is part of the bargain. The real star of the show is the food itself.