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Food Wars Vol. #31 Manga Review

4 min read
A new dawn, a new day, a new order of things at the Totsuki Institute as Soma and the others begin their second year. But has anything really changed?

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma Manga Volume 31
A new dawn, a new day, a new order of things at the Totsuki Institute as Soma and the others begin their second year. But has anything really changed?

Creative Staff:
Story: Yuto Tsukuda
Art: Shun Saeki
Contributor: Yuki Morisaki
Translation: Adrienne Beck
Production: James Gaubatz, Mara Coman (Touch up art and lettering), Alice Lewis (design), Jennifer LeBlanc (editor)

What They Say:
After a long, hard-fought battle, Soma and the rest of the resisters claim victory in the Régiment de Cuisine, formally disbanding the Azami administration. A new Council of Ten is born, and the first-years advance to their second year at the Totsuki Institute. But the peace doesn’t last long. A few months into the new school year, the aroma of trouble once again wafts through the air!

Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
In many ways, one would not have been surprised if Yuto Tsukuda had chosen to end his long-running series Food Wars with the end of the Régiment de Cuisine. A massive battle with everything on the line that ends in success for our plucky band of rebels against the authoritarian nightmare that was Azami Nakiri would have been good enough. A short coda could have ended things.

Instead, we are brought forward into the next school year where Soma Yukihira has achieved his goal of becoming the First Seat of the Council of Ten Masters at Totsuki Academy. If you are thinking “How could he have bested Erina Nakiri, she of the Divine Tongue?” Very simply…Erina herself declines to take the First Seat because of Soma’s role in the massive Shokugeki. In response, however, Soma helped push Erina to succeed her father as the new Dean of the Totsuki Institute, as Senzaemon is enjoying his retirement and does not want to return to active duty and it has been tradition to have a Nakiri at the head of Totsuki. So, Erina it is.

If that was all there was, if we just get a brief look at the future and then wave our little cooking friends goodbye, I think I would have been down with that. The issue at hand, however, is that our author has decided to tell more story.

But isn’t that good? More adventures to be had?

It might have been…if this new arc in the making were more interesting and believable than it is so far. For Erina sends out the members of the Council on a mission to discover why apparently foreign chefs with no ties to Totsuki have been invading Japan and challenging local chefs to Shokugeki. Soma and Megumi (on the Council, indeed) have been sent to a famous hot springs resort with ties to Totsuki, where an establishment has suddenly closed up shop. Through the course of their investigation, they discover it was a “tourist” who is actually a Chef of the Underworld who challenged the owners and forced the place’s closing.

There’s an Underworld of very talented chefs………

Yes, my head hurts.

Okay, fine, so there are these cooks to the crooks (these chefs who serve the Underworld make their living by providing sumptuous meals to leading crime families and such; failing to please results in more than just a damaged reputation). And after several of them are apprehended by Soma and the other Council members, it’s discovered that they’re coming to Japan because one of their fellow chefs in the shadows has been telling them about Japan and Shokugeki. And the name of the chef who has been doing this?

I will leave that out for now. The major surprise reveal at the end…it made me shake my head in disbelief.

Let me just say that I have some serious issues with this Mysterious Evil Chef, his background and his abilities. And that leads me to have serious questions about this entire arc that we are now embarking upon. I think my biggest problem is that it feels so far-fetched, such a desperate ploy to string out a new story since just about every other line of advance is to some degree cut off (not because there are no other ways to move forward, but because none of those other paths likely contain enough conflict to throw any dramatic tension into future events), that I instinctively wonder “is this really a thing?”

It’s not horrible, but it’s all just so…

Yuto Tsukuda might yet pull things off so that they don’t feel too awkward and far-fetched. I’ll just have to see.

In Summary:
Soma and the gang are now all second-year students at Totsuki. He’s become the new First Seat and Erina is thrust into an even loftier perch as the new Dean. Is it just a glorious golden age of culinary creativity? Alas no, a new danger threatens from afar. A danger so personal……I mean really? We have yet to see where this is headed, but I am not buying into this start so far.

Content Grade: B
Art Grade: A-
Package Rating: A-
Text/Translation: A-

Age Rating: Teen+ (16+)
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: August 6th, 2019
MSRP: $9.99

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