What They Say:
The Seductive Karaage
Shokugeki no Soma centers on Yukihira Soma, a middle school student who is determined to surpass his father’s culinary skills. One day, his father decides to close down their family restaurant and hone his skills in Europe. Before leaving he enrolls Soma in an elite culinary school that is extremely difficult to enter with a graduation rate of only 10 percent. Will Souma be able to improve his skills, or will the kitchen prove to be too hot?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
School’s out for a brief vacation, so Soma takes the opportunity to visit home and tidy up the diner a bit. His life is now one surrounded by cooking challenges from all directions, though, so even this setup doesn’t allow for a moment’s rest before the next mission springs itself upon him. It’s a classic tale: the humble local folk just want to keep their businesses viable, but some big guns with more money and marketing savvy have trampled over their territory and snatched their customer base away. What can they do to avoid completely falling victim to the overwhelming force from outside and going under? Fortunately, the name of the game is cuisine, and a certain expert in the matter happens to be visiting, one who loves nothing more than helping those in need. Soma isn’t going to quite let this be a completely isolated excursion, and instead calls upon one of his best associates from school lacking in recent screen time, Nikumi. Hometown admirer Mayumi was always a phantom figure, plainer than Megumi and without the element that makes her so impressive and allows a deep connection with Soma, but when Nikumi shows up at the diner in her flashiest attire, Mayumi might as well just fade away.
This all sounds like it could be a bit less interesting than the intensity of Totsuki’s cutthroat curriculum and the dramatic showdowns Soma and company often find themselves embroiled in. But beyond Soma’s aptitude in taking things to the next level and turning what would seem like a trivial squabble into a battle that may be on the level of a Shokugeki, this entire episode is full of some of the finest comedy in the series. The laugh-out-loud moments were remarkably numerous, often from the simplest of interplay between characters but timed and executed flawlessly. Subtlety and nonchalance are almost always the key factors, and no gag even gets close to overstaying its welcome, instead only leaving you wanting more. Even brief on-screen text provides commentary that will resonate with the viewers’ amusing thoughts enough to work.
Perhaps most surprising given the unassuming start of the episode, it would appear that everything is in fact intrinsic to the overall plot, as later developments in the episode hint at. Unbeknownst to him, Soma is starting a battle against his prospective greatest opponents, and moreover it’s all tying into the next big arc that has been foreshadowed since the end of the last. As always, Food Wars! knows how to leave off on the most effective and exhilarating cliffhangers.
Food Wars! takes an episode or two off from the school affairs, but by no means does that mean a decrease in quality or even importance. The series has reached a level of deft mastery allowing even the most seemingly mundane events to be presented with wonderful finesse, and as it turns out, nothing is as negligible or disconnected as it may first appear. The excitement never lets up.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Roku 3, Sceptre X425BV-FHD 42″ Class LCD HDTV.