Shokugeki no Soma Anime Review (Part 1)
At first, I wasn’t expecting much from Shokugeki no Soma. I’m not sure exactly why that is. I’ve enjoyed other shonen cooking anime and manga (Yakitate! Japan and Iron Wok Jan being two that instantly comes to mind). Upon watching the first episode, I was genuinely impressed. Read on for more!
In Shokugeki no Soma, we follow the young chef in training Soma as he is sent by his father to the prestigious Totsuki Academy to refine his cooking technique. He underestimates the school at first, since he’s worked alongside his father at their family diner since he was a small child. However, despite this, he is underestimated by the elitists at the school, who believe that he’s a bumpkin transfer student that should be kicked out. Yet, challenge after challenge, he continues to impress while also learn.
What makes this show so fun is that it’s as though you combine the plot twist and suspenseful cliffhangers of Code Geass, the power fantasy and over the top battles of Hokuto no Ken, and the soft character designs and cooking edutainment of Yakitate! Japan in an anime curry roux of excitement. Just when you think Soma’s met his match in a challenge, he whips out a dish in the same way Kenshiro could come up with some over the top attack out of thin air; but wait, the head chef is displeased!? Roll credits! Sure, maybe that sounds trite, but this anime is masterfully directed in how things happen. Soma himself is almost godlike, he is completely overpowered (in video game terms) compared to the majority of the mooks and grunt students. Yet, like in Hokuto no Ken, he finds the other godlike students drawing around him, all trying to take him down. Totsuki is a school that operates as a zero-sum game often, especially during the titular Shokugeki challenges. Students are often encouraged to fend for themselves and rarely help others. Hence, Soma’s repeated rescues and bailouts of galpal Megumi makes him a big target.
However, don’t think Soma always wins. There are times he loses too. In-between all of the challenges and competitions though, is a wealth of character development. Soma, even when he “wins” realizes that there is far more he should and can learn. He has his limits and his faults, and that’s part of what makes the show so much fun. Soma is a character who isn’t aiming to win a series of competitions or beat a culinary rouges gallery. He’s fighting against himself to become a better chef.
In general, the first cour of episodes is extremely enjoyable, and some of the best anime to come from Shonen Jump material in years. Even if food or cooking based anime don’t excite you, this show provides enough excitement and energy to keep you watching and wonder all week long about what happens next. The second cour of episodes is promising a lot, and has so far delivered and improved. Highly recommended.
Wanna check this show out now? Head on over to Crunchyroll to watch it now!