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Let The (Food) Battles Begin!! - Shokugeki no Sama Manga Review

Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma (食戟のソーマ) has been serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump since late 2012, and is written by Yūto Tsukuda and illustrated by Shun Saeki. An interesting thing to note is that the recipes are provided by an additional collaborator, Yuki Morisaki.

Shokugeki no Soma has all the elements of a solid, good shōnen manga: Great art, somewhat simple but entertaining humor, cool “battle” sequences, well-paced story progression, and a cast of likeable, non-complicated characters. And of course, the amazing amount of fan service and perfectly drawn panty shots, which will seem ridiculously over-the-top to my fellow female readers. The ecchi is strong in this one. Brace yo’ selves.

Yeah, that's a totally normal reaction...

Kyaaa ~ I wanna be kissed by Prince Apple too!! *swoon*

I’m not a particularly avid reader of the shōnen genre but I had a hard time putting this one down. That’s right, even the sea of D cup boobies couldn’t deter me. Because this isn’t just any shōnen manga. It is a… (Say it with me, guys) COOKING shōnen manga!! Sorry, I’m just feeling very emotional right now, I love food so, so much. Live to eat, not eat to live, you feel me?

The basic premise of the story revolves around Soma Yukihira, who is an aspiring chef hell bent on surpassing his father’s cooking skills and taking over their restaurant. Hey, who said you could yawn! I know it’s a cliché set-up, but cliché doesn’t equate to bad. Especially when food is involved.

We all look like those two guys right now, don't even deny it.

The story moves at a super-fast pace, making for great development, and within the first few chapters, we’re taken through a whirlwind of events. We see Soma’s dad very unceremoniously kick his son out of the restaurant and move to America to cook at a top class hotel, while a bewildered Soma gets swept into enrolling in an elite culinary school where the graduation success rate is, get this, only 10%.

Damn, son. You can have a seat on me any time AHEM *cough* Geez, who said that.

A key focus in the plot is something you can find in the manga title itself: “Shokugeki”. This is the term used for one-on-one cooking challenges conducted by students in the academy. If one wants to officially settle a dispute or challenge a rival, the Shokugeki is the only way to do it in this school. But if you’re on the losing end, the consequences are dire and often irreversible.

Essentially, you can see Shokugeki no Sama as a light-hearted, battle-centric shōnen manga with a food twist. Oh, and highlights include 10/10-would-bang eye candy, as well as the ludicrous food tasting reaction drawings (See second and third pictures). Not to mention the generous amount of hashtag-worthy food porn.  

To sum it up...

Plot: 7/10 – Simple in concept but works beautifully through great art and great action. No plus points for originality here, but that’s not a bad thing in this case. Still, in a way, I feel vaguely unsatisfied with the manga so far. There’s no “kick” or rather, lasting impact that I get from reading it. You don’t get that distinct, intense surge of emotions like you would with some of the classic titles in the same genre such as One Piece or Slam Dunk.   

Art: 9/10 – The artist has some serious drawing skills. If you’re picky about art, this definitely won’t disappoint you. But like I said, there is a lot of senseless ecchi. But since when does ecchi make sense anyway, right?

Characters: 6/10 – Nothing to write home about. However, in a story like this which is meant to entertain and not to be thought-provoking, it would probably backfire if the characters were too complex. The characters are easy to like and understand but they’re not exactly memorable.

Personal enjoyment: 8/10 – I have a soft spot for stories that centre on cooking and food, so I enjoyed this manga. It doesn’t skim on quality art too, which makes for a great read.

Overall rating: 8/10 – It’s no surprise that the volumes of Shokugeki no Soma have been flying off store shelves since its first Tankōbon release, with more than a million copies sold to date. It has all the qualities that a manga needs to be commercially successful and appeal to younger audiences. I was debating between ‘7’ or ‘8’ as an overall score, but I decided to give it the higher mark in the end because it is well-done. If you’re a food lover who’s searching for an entertaining read, look no further and give Shokugeki no Soma a try.

If you decide to pick it up, do leave a comment and let me know your thoughts. We can drool over the recipes together, or like, fangirl over Prince Apple. I'm cool with anything.  

Written by Faelan

Note: This review was written at the time when 92 chapters had been released. 

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