Food Wars! – Shokugeki no Soma (Seasons 1-3)

Genre(s): Food, Shonen, Comedy, Ecchi, School

Age-Appropriateness: 16+ (Very frequent suggestive themes, mild language)

Platforms: Netflix, Crunchyroll, Hulu

Episodes: 61 (+5 OVA)

TheAwersome Rating: 9.2 / 10 (A definite gem, though not for everyone)

Premise: Soma Yukihira wants nothing more in life than to one day surpass his father’s cooking skills and take over the family restaurant, but one day his father has to leave the country for work and closes down shop. Soma’s father tells him to enroll in Totsuki Culinary Institute, a cutthroat school with less than a 10% graduation rate that produces the world’s greatest chefs and where students settle disputes in cook-offs called Shokugeki.

TheAwersome’s Thoughts: This is it. If you’ve ever watched anime and said “Dang, that food looks and sounds great!” then prepare yourself for the ride of your life. If you enjoy watching any kind of cooking show, be it Cutthroat Kitchen, Chopped, or the sweet and tame British Bake-off, you NEED to watch Food Wars, because they’ve done their research more than I’ve seen in almost any American cooking show. The challenges presented to the students are practical with real-world application (not just “make something using chicken nuggets but you can’t use an oven” or such nonsense), there is wonderful character development, heartwarming and touching moments, and the drama is better done than most battle anime. You also learn a great deal of culinary history, terminology, methods, etc. The only hitch is the ecchi aspect. To demonstrate how good specific dishes are, characters will frequently have “foodgasms” and be shown having their clothing figuratively explode off them as they relish the afterglow of flavors and textures. It’s a bit stronger in the first few episodes than most of the show, but it is a staple. Brings new meaning to the term “food porn.”

The story of how this manga came to be is rather hilarious. The original manga artist decided one day that he really wanted to draw girls essentially orgasming over delicious food. His friend, a sports manga writer said “Hey, that sounds great, I’ll write something that can work with that.” Then they teamed up with a professional chef who makes EVERY SINGLE DISH in the show and gives them the run-down on how it works so they can then draw it. It was a hilarious win-win-win.

Season 4 is confirmed for Fall of 2019.

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