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Published May 19, 2017

Food Wars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Yes I will keep repeating the title like this. The amount of exclamation marks represents the over-the-top nature of this anime), is kind of repetitive. Sorry for that let down of a response. It doesn’t feel that there are stakes, it doesn’t feel that there are lasting consequences for its main characters, and it seems that the protagonist never truly learns anything. In terms of journey’s, this is one that is still ongoing. It does not appear to have a definite conclusion in sight. It feels like this is an anime that can easily devolve into a 100+ filler-riddled slog that wastes the viewer’s time.

But holy crap is it ever entertaining.

I don’t think cooking has ever engaged me as thoroughly as Food Wars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! has. That is actually a high compliment, coming from somebody who has seen way too much of the Food Network in his lifetime. I always enjoy watching cooking videos at night. They help me sleep, and sometimes, I actually learn something helpful for when I prepare lunches for work.

Anime has poured millions of dollars into making food look good.

However, Food Wars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! has no time for education. It only has time for entertainment, and I enjoy that. Personally, when I watch a cooking video, I hardly retain any of the information. I always believe that it has no practical use to me because I have no money, access, or enough time to make something lavish. I don’t have a massive crock pot to create a roast for my four children. Thankfully, Food Wars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! takes my apathy into consideration by creating a show that exists solely for entertainment purposes. I enjoy the lists of ingredients and cooking methods because they are representative of characters and show their strengths. I am not here to learn how to cook, I am here to have my brain rotted by Food Porn and (almost) Porn.

So tip #1 for watching Food Wars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! is not to expect a genuine cooking show. Tip #2 is as follows:

D O N O T W A T C H F O O D W A R S W H E N Y O U R P A R E N T S A R E T H E R E

Sorry for showing this.

If you haven’t seen the show, this probably sounds absurd. Why would a cooking show have nudity in it? And then you realize midway through that sentence, that you said “show”. You didn’t say “anime”. And now, it all makes sense.

See, the absurdity and the lack of censorship for ridiculous ideas is why I love anime. Japan does have tropes endemic to their own media, but it also seems that there is more freedom in their animation to explore more themes. This is likely because it is an art form that is respected by adults and children in its homeland, while the western equivalent of cartoons has the stigma of children’s entertainment. Because of this, I have been acclimated to simplistic plot lines and my nation’s own lingering tropes for animation.

Without delving into specifics of the content in Food Wars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, let me inform you that the term “Foodgasm” has never been so literal.

But what is Food Wars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! even about? Well, it tells the tale of a boy named Yukihira Soma attending the top culinary academy in Japan: Totsuki. The only catch is Soma grew up in rural Japan, and his father had been the owner of a casual diner. A food inspector comes to antagonize the Yukihira Diner to force it to move locations, and against Yikihira’s will, his father closes it. To make things worse, Yikihira’s dad, Joichiro, moves to France to work there, leaving Yikihira alone to attend Totsuki Academy. Totsuki’s acceptance and graduation rate is incredibly brutal; think of it as the Harvard of fictional anime culinary schools, minus the ability to buy your way in wait WH-

Yukihira now has to claw his way through the school using only his cursory diner cuisine knowledge, while combatting students who have been undergoing formal cuisine training their whole lives. Needless to say, it puts the protagonist in a stressful position.

#IvyLeagueSquad

I love this set up for the show. It gives an opportunity for Yukihira to learn and develop his techniques, circle of friends, and knowledge. He will have to face opponents much stronger than he is if he is willing to survive expulsion.

But it is through this set-up, that my biggest problem with Food Wars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! appears: Yukihira is too overpowered for the first 15 or so episodes. Sure, he has to utilize a lot of cunning and critical thinking to succeed, but he never ceases to make the best dish out of 100. He is always in the top percentile for any challenge. Because of this, it takes away a lot of that initial tension by conveying that Yukihira will never fail.

I also feel that the theme of Yukihira being an outsider could have been explored more thoroughly. On his first day, Yukihira provides a speech, informing his entire year that he is easily going to crush them. This, of course, enrages all of them and turns almost the entire grade against him. This could show Yukihira having to claw his way to making friends and earning the respect of others.

However, shortly after this occurs, Yukihira is placed in his dormitory, and they all welcome him with open arms. He immediately has a trusting, loyal clique of friends (who are incredibly underdeveloped), and the topic of others ostracizing him is rarely implemented again.

Another issue is the massive list of characters in this show, and their subsequent lack of development. The massive amount of side characters means that, for them to stick out, they must all have defining characteristics and designs. The option that Food Wars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! goes for, is to define them all by a single culinary technique, or trait, and never develop it more. Almost every side character is flat, and, for a show that looks to run for many more episodes, that is a problem. I recently completed the second season, and there are budding developments for recurring characters, but for a show with nearly 40 episodes, it hasn’t really developed anyone outside of Yikihira. Instead, Food Wars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! is determined to introduce more characters to display their own cuisine and skills. This is both a bad and a good thing. It is good because it gives new conflicts and new methods for Yukihira to overcome. It keeps the show feeling fresh, and the multitudes of real-life cuisines to take inspiration from compliments this form of progression. However, this only adds to an ever-growing list of characters, each one seeming more underdeveloped.

All very distinct designs, but not personalities

The issue of new characters wouldn’t be so egregious if Food Wars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! didn’t insist on making them recurring. This shows that they have the potential for their own growth and stories to flourish. And yet, I know just as much about the majority of Yukihira’s friends by episode 36 as I do on episode 4. That is not a good thing.

It somewhat feels like the show goes through arcs, but it doesn’t feel like these arcs have lasting effects or really change anything for its characters. This is bad for a show that paces itself deliberately.

But…despite that storm of negativity, I still love this show for pure entertainment. If you want something that will make you smile, something that will help at the end of a long day, something that will make your parents question your lasting existence in their household, then Food Wars!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! is perfect for you.

I’m rolling out, I’ll be looking for you all next time on Nolan’s, Nerdy’s, and Knowledge.

*cue theme song*

 

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