Anime Reporter churns out a third review of Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma (chapters 15-21). If that name seems entirely unfamiliar to you, then just scroll on down the home page or click here to find my review of Volume 01.
Well, Soma and his classmates are in for a scare as well as a surprise as their boot camp takes place in one of the largest, most extravagant holiday resorts Japan has to offer. They won’t have time to enjoy their luxurious surroundings as they’re catapulted promptly into their first challenge. Making things wonderfully intimidating is the fact that their assessors are all graduates of Totsuki Academy who have the right to fail or expel a student for absolutely anything that they deem to be unworthy.
Anyone who’s been paying attention to the series so far is probably expecting Soma to just boldly rush into this new challenge with a sense of wonder and excitement and no feeling of hesitancy or fear… and you’d be right. This kid is everything we’ve come to expect from a shonen protagonist: brave, determined, generally clueless but incredibly talented at his chosen field and has a, hmm… actually, we kind of do need a devious rival whose skills and attitude directly challenge Soma’s. Ah, now who’s this?
Takumi Aldini and his brother Isami, (though mostly Takumi), are determined to meet the challenge Soma made in Volume 01. They aim to be top dogs and, what’s more, some of the similarities in their pasts mean that the Aldinis are perhaps the only people in Totsuki who can entirely relate to Soma’s approach to cuisine, something which means that they’re pretty much forbidden by manga rules from ever being anything other than bitter competitors, so, you know, yay! (The temptation to say “Now we’re cooking!” after every sentence of this review is unbearable).
Soma and the ever shy Tadokoro team up for their first challenge, which involves cooking a meal to meet their assessor’s standards using whatever ingredients they can gather from all over the resort. Their time is limited so they can’t spend too much time gathering ingredients and with so many teams competing, they’ll have to really stand out to make a great impression. This is where the Aldini brothers really have a chance to turn up the heat, (don’t look at me like that. I’m just a person. There are limits to pun-resistance!), while Soma and Tadokoro will really have to think on their feet to stand out from the crowd.
Once the first challenge comes to a close, there’s still no time for any competitors to rest, with a mountain of food to prepare before they’re allowed to soak their feet and bemoan their chosen profession. Then task two begins. While the first task was demanding, the second proves only more rigid and some of its events mean that Soma’s as of yet unseen angry side may have to come bubbling to the surface.
As of the 4th of June 2015, Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma Volume 03 is available in English from Viz Media. You won’t have to wait too long for Volume 04 either, because that was released on the exact same day and my review for that should be available very, very shortly.
Character Development: 8
76%- “Now we’re cooking!” (Damn it…I’m just a man!) Food Wars! Volume 03 expands on the competitive nature of Totsuki Academy and throws our protagonists into the first of many arenas. This series is beginning to showcase the true mettle of its characters, something which should sustain it for far longer than its cuisine-based theme or its ecchi imagery, which it has (mostly) started to leave behind.