Shokugeki No Souma

May 29, 2016

Are you hungry for more anime? Can’t get enough of anime despite tons of them airing every season? Good animes, mediocre animes, passable animes, sh*t animes. So many types of animes out there and you still can’t get enough? What does it take to satiate that hunger? Hey. I know. How about another food themed anime to satisfy your craving. Yes people. It is time for another cooking anime that revolves around food. I know the last of such food anime was Koufuku Graffiti back in early 2015 but that is without all the brutal competition and was just so mild and passive (despite the food still looking good), it feels like a show for a gentle housewife instead for teens with raging hormones. That is why we have Shokugeki No Souma. A school where the best and upcoming cooks and chefs with superbly promising skill go to hone their skills and blow away all competitions (and your stomach) with their outlandish dishes.

Of course with shows like these, you have to add in the seemingly average dark horse that nobody looks up to, to wow and amaze them, shutting them up with his cooking. I guess things are better when food enters your mouth instead of insults flying out from your mouth. Oh, add a few colourful weirdoes and characters he’ll meet and challenge, they grow together, they become friends, they become rivals, as they make their step closer to become the world’s best chefs and put all those fake master chefs on reality TV to shame. Ah, such a typical shonen anime. Food version. So get ready to feast your eyes on the most awesome dishes that you’ll never ever taste in your life and hope you carry an additional empty stomach because one bite is not enough. I can guarantee you that.

Episode 1
Souma Yukihira is in a cooking battle with his dad, Jouichirou. A female classmate tastes it and declares Jouichirou the winner. Souma’s losing streak continues. So as not to make him feel bad, she also praises his cooking but he makes her taste his new squid dish. That feeling of being tentacle raped by it… Souma hopes of one day taking over his father’s little kitchen so when Yaeko Minegasaki of the urban development for the umpteenth time comes in with her goons to try and convince him to sell his place so they can develop some high luxury condo, he shoots her down. The day he will close down this place is the day they can’t serve their customers what they want. Really? You really mean that? That sneaky look… Next evening when Souma returns from school, he is shocked to find the signboard smeared and all the meat in the kitchen tarnished. Then Minegasaki comes in to order some meat. What’s that? Can’t make any meat? Well, looks like you have to close down this place. But Souma isn’t backing out and takes the challenge. How can he make meat without any decent ingredients? He had some bacon strips he saved for breakfast. He wraps his pork roast in potatoes but Minegasaki clearly tells him she wants meat and not vegetables looking like meat. But can she resist this good smell? Having a bite… OMFG! It’s that orgasmic feeling! Souma then taunts her if she wants more, she’ll have to never come back here again. She succumbs to her temptation as she and her goons experience the ultimate goodness of the juicy meat. So good that they are butt naked in their fantasy! And yet another satisfied customers… Better than sex, eh? As Souma cleans the signboard (he must really love it for putting in this much effort), Jouichirou returns to inform him he is going to close down his shop! Seems he will be leaving overseas to help a friend in favour. But Souma has always wanted this restaurant. Dad wants Souma to move on and has him enrolled in the super elite culinary school, Totsuki Culinary Academy. His thoughts of it aren’t high until he sees students agonizing over the hellish entrance exam. And desperate people trying to pay money to be admitted back in. Oh sh*t! This school is like a mini kingdom of darkness of its own! Oh, did dad mention about the graduation is less than 10%?

Episode 2
Erina Nakiri must be one of those elite goddesses because you can tell how she chastises bad dishes (or those not up to her super high standards) when she can imagine paradise followed by a jukebox falling on her head or suddenly finding a gorilla bathing next to her! Jouichirou is currently calling Souma from New York. He is making such great cuisine that even the frail monk denounces his faith to eat his meat!!!! Souma meets the other students who are enrolling here. Each with some sort of prestige pedigree in the cooking world. But when they find out he is a commoner, they become abusive. When the hopeful learn Erina is their examiner, they start freaking out! When Erina gives them the chance to withdraw, all of them start crying father and mother and run away! Wimps! Only Souma remains. It is a good thing he doesn’t know who this b*tch is, right? Yeah, something about having born with the finest palate to mankind. A divine tongue that makes her some sort of genius taster at a very young age. Oh, did you know she is also the granddaughter of this academy’s director, Senzaemon? Whatever. Too bad Erina’s yuri time with her assistant, Hisako Arato has to be cut short when she realizes there is still a candidate left. She doesn’t have high expectations of this commoner. Souma gets to work in making a dish with eggs as it was the condition of this test. Although it comes out plain and before she could fail him, Souma teases her about its true form. The rice soon starts to change into a juicier form. Sucking in her pride, Erina tastes the dish. It’s that ecstasy feeling coming! Little Souma angels molesting her naked body!!!!!!!!!! Erina true to being a b*tch, cannot accept this despite she finds it delicious. She fails him! B*TCH!!!!! Later she calls her grandpa to inform that nobody passed the exam. Souma sits in dejection and shock, pondering about his dark future. Senzaemon, who has been observing Souma’s cooking, takes a bite himself. Looks like he has a different idea about Souma’s application.

Episode 3
2 years ago when Megumi Tadokoro left her family filled with hope to become the next best chef when she returns, things are looking bleak because she has been scoring streaks of E’s. And now she receives a note that if she gets 1 more E, she will be expelled! Can’t blame her for feeling nervous and pessimistic. Senzaemon addresses the first year high school students and doesn’t hesitate to mention that 99% of them will fail and become sacrifices for the remaining 1% who will hone their best skills (cue to briefly glimpse at the possible 1% of weirdoes). A transfer student is introduced to give his speech. Erina cannot believe it is Souma. To keep his speech short, Souma irks everyone by claiming he will be the top. Erina wonders how he got in when she clearly failed him but it seems Souma has got an acceptance letter subsequently. Megumi continues to tremble about her precarious position and avoid any unwanted attention like being associated with that transfer student. Unfortunately she ends up in the same class as him and is paired as her partner. Doom! Their first class is under this French chef, Roland Chapelle. He never smiles and any dish they make less worthy of an A will automatically be given an E! You scared, Megumi? They have 2 hours to make some braised beef. Megumi is getting paranoid while Souma plays cool. More like he is being a carefree idiot. A team who dislikes Souma sabotages their preparation. There is not enough time left and Megumi is left to rue her cruel end. But Souma isn’t defeated yet. With spare ingredients, he is still going to make the dish. Surprisingly, Souma finishes making it even before those saboteurs. Seems he used honey which quickly breaks down some protein and tenderizes the meat. Time to taste. Because we don’t really want to see naked middle age French guys, the reason why Megumi is also invited to taste. Yeah… Sweet honey melting all over her naked body! Even more shocking, French guy is smiling! Automatically an A but he laments he has no authority to give them a higher grade. Megumi has her hopes up again with Souma as her partner. But then… He wants to celebrate their partnership by making her taste his new honey squid dish! OMG! Tentacle rape scene!!! How about peanut butter squid now? Oh sh*t… When Hisako reports to Erina about Souma receiving the highest rating from Chapelle, she becomes so pissed and incensed and doesn’t want her to ever speak of that name before her again.

Episode 4
Souma makes his way to Polar Star Dorm. If this creepy place with weirdoes don’t creep you out, maybe this old lady caretaker, Fumio Daimido will. As requirement to stay here, he must cook a passable meal for her. Too bad Souma didn’t hear anything about it and risks staying out in the cold. But when he learns there are leftovers in the kitchen, he takes up the challenge. That meat patty he made is from mackerel while the soup base is from squid (see, squids aren’t always that bad). Long story short, Fumio becomes enchanted with the test and even more so he made something out of so little. Because we don’t appreciate naked bodies of old ladies, instead we have Fumio reminiscing the past where she is hot and sexy, making out with her boyfriend!!! What’s so bad about this? Old lady in her fantasy is trying to kiss Souma!!! Megumi thought the dorm is her place of solace. No strict teachers, no Souma. You don’t say… Then Souma accidentally barges into the bathroom where she is taking a bath. Oops. Fumio must have forgotten to tell him about the bath times. It’s ladies’ turn now. Souma is then invited for a welcoming party with the rest of the dorm’s equally weird dwellers. Zenji Marui is pissed because everyone loves to hold parties in his room and interrupt his study time. Aside Megumi, the other dorm students are animal crazy Yuki Yoshino, the level headed Ryouko Sakaki, Shouji Sato and Daigo Aoki who love fighting each other, the quiet Shun Ibusaki and the-guy-who-likes-to-crawl-through-the-roof-to-deliver-messages and wear-naked-apron-to-show-off-his-butt-while-cooking Satoshi Isshiki. Souma asks about Totsuki’s Elite Ten Council whom Erina is part of. They comprise of the best students of their academy. Their decision making is final and their authority is only second to the director. I guess that says a lot about this bunch. What would be a party without the gang trying each other’s food, right? And they risk trying Souma’s honey squid… Deep in the night, Isshiki lets Souma tries his Spanish mackerel dish. He is blown away by the awesomeness. But this is just a warning to him. Because Isshiki is part of the Elite Ten! He is looking forward to taste his dishes.

Episode 5
Souma takes up the challenge to cook the same theme as Isshiki. He cooks enough for the rest too. As expected, a lovely heavenly taste. We get a little explanation about the French poele technique used by Souma from Isshiki. As expected too, our naked ladies fanservice when they taste the dish. Since Souma’s dish is also quite worthy, the match ends with a draw. Souma then asks how to get into the Elite Ten. His reason for wanting to aim for the best is because he is currently in a fight with his dad. He needs to pull off something major if he is to get his respect. He wonders if he challenges and beats Isshiki, will he get his seat in the council. Isshiki didn’t say since the night is getting late. Next day, Souma eagerly waits to challenge Isshiki for his seat. Sorry to rain on your parade. That is not how it works. He explains some of the rules. When one challenges another, they have to wager something of equal value. For Isshiki’s seat, not even Souma’s expulsion would suffice. That is how great the seat on the council is. Isshiki can accept his challenge but since he wouldn’t want him expelled, the showdown will never happen. There are also other conditions. The main ones are having adjudicators to certify a formal challenge, judges for the challenge and agreement of the conditions by the challengers. Once all are met, you can challenge anyone in the academy. This traditional cooking duel of Totsuki is called Shokugeki. Speaking of which, Erina is engaged in one against some sumo guy. Because she wants to tear down his historical club house to make way for another of her personal cooking wing. Eventually sumo guy unanimously lost. Erina can tell all the errors he made in his dish and on the other hand he is just in ecstasy to taste hers. Like the autocratic demon she is, she immediately has her men teardown the clubhouse. No mercy. Souma looks disappointed with those set of Shokugeki rules because he really wanted to challenge Erina. Ibusaki believes Isshiki wasn’t being serious and didn’t go all out with his dish although Isshiki disagrees he gave it his best. Erina is going to move on to her target to rid the academy of unworthy weaklings (I suppose Totsuki must always be perfect) but this American chick, Ikumi Mito wants to do the next honour. Erina agrees but warns about the consequences if she fails.

Episode 6
Yuki shows Souma around the dorm’s farm that they tend to and raise. Isshiki farming only in his fundoshi… Megumi learnt from Souma and incorporates honey into her breakfast which surprisingly tastes very good. So why can’t she imitate this during class? Stage fright. Totsuki has many cooking research societies. They are like what clubs are in high school. Megumi takes Souma to visit some. His first stop is the Don Research Society. But looks like the president, Kanichi Konishi is in doom and gloom. The club has many exquisite don recipes and could have flourished if not of Erina. Yup, it’s that b*tch again. He explains Erina’s workings first by cutting down a club’s budget. Once cornered, the club has no choice but to initiate Shokugeki and this will only have Erina make more demands. This has been her way of getting rid of clubs she doesn’t like. Mito and her contractors come in to survey the place for teardown. Mito mocks Konishi’s lowly dish not worthy of Totsuki and naturally Souma can’t let this slip and wants to fight her in Shokugeki. Souma agrees to leave Totsuki if he loses but if Mito loses, she must join this club. She agrees and sets the Shokugeki theme as meat. It’s going to be tough since Mito is known as the meat master. Now the entire academy is abuzz with this upcoming battle in 3 days. Konishi explains the meat grade that makes it good and tasty and worthy of the don. However Souma won’t use premium beef because like Konishi said, don is about the speed, taste and affordability. Can’t compromise on your principles now, can we? Mito was just making fun of them of using premium meat. Besides, her family is the king of the meat industry. So she has all the money and facilities at her disposal. As Shokugeki requires participants to get their own ingredients, the club has not enough funds. Souma wanted to use his own money but father is a penny pincher in sending him living expenses. I don’t know how but they manage to get the ingredients. Based on the recipes of the club, Souma tries to create the ultimate don for Konishi to test but there is just something missing. Megumi’s dish gives Souma an idea about tenderizing the meat. He creates a Chaliapin meat. So soft and tender that you can break it with your chopsticks. And yes, tastes good too. But is it enough to beat Mito who is guaranteed to use her premium beef.

Episode 7
Cutie Urara Kawashima hosts the Shokugeki. Boys mesmerized and loving her. Girls jealous and brewing hatred. Mito is the crowd’s favourite while everyone is just booing Souma. So typical. Gracing the event is Erina who is here to see Souma’s humiliating defeat. Some cocky words from Mito before they start cooking. While Mito’s beef is superb quality premium, everyone is shocked to see Souma’s meat is from a convenience store’s cheap sale! Dish tasting time. Mito goes first. Good reviews. As expected. Souma’s turn. The judges don’t think highly of it after tasting Mito’s one. As expected. But once they pop it in their mouth, they find it so delicious that they cannot stop eating! OMG! They finish the bowl clean and are asking for seconds! Although his cheap sauce and tweaking of the onion did the trick, but the one that sealed the deal was the pickled plum paste he used in the rice. Mito is worried as she realizes her rice portion is left unfinished. As Souma explains, the don must come as a whole as a package. So when he heard Mito was going to use premium meat, he was worried about what she was going to use for the rice because by beefing up and amplifying the rice with her meat, both will start to compete instead of complementing each other. Still not interested? Why not have a try then. She takes a bite. And then she cannot stop! So good that she remembers her sad past of her strict lady-like upbringing. Yes. The don is making and telling her it is okay to be herself! Clearly the winner is Souma. Shocking upset? To the audience. Hardly to me. Oh dear. Erina is not looking pleased… When Souma would like to taste her dish and mentions she looks cute, her heart skips a beat and she runs away. Next day, Mito prepares to enter the don club. She can’t help think about Souma and I think this is her motivation of showing up. But where is Souma? Well, Konishi breaks the bad news that Souma told him he only came to check the club out and not join it. So mad and so upset that she became more violent than before.

Episode 8
There is a training camp coming up but it is no walk in the park. This is where hell begins. This is where the downsizing of students starts. Based on last year’s camp, many who failed the camp’s test were expelled. Megumi can’t stop shaking… She can die any time… So while this camp might look grand and luxurious (heck, the entire resort is owned by Totsuki), everyone there is just damn gloomy. They know their head is on the chopping board and it gets gloomier when they see Souma. This year’s camp will be special because the alumni of Totsuki has come back to help. Yup, the greatest chefs of the academy are here to torture everyone like the demons they have turned into. Too harsh? Well, take a look at this. There is this one kid whereby a chef immediately expels him because he could smell his hair scent shampoo that would interfere with his food aroma! Of all the great alumni, the greatest of them all is Gin Dojima and he wastes no time in telling them if they cannot satisfy the minimum requirements, out they go. I’m sure Megumi is glad she is paired up with Souma again. But bad blood is brewing when half Italian Takumi Aldini and his fatty twin brother Isami purposely step on Souma’s shoes as a declaration of war. Their class is headed by Hinako Inui who tells them to make a Japanese cuisine based on the natural ingredients found in this area. They have 2 hours. This causes panic as the students rush to get them. This is of course a ploy to weed out those who cannot handle such pressure. Because everyone is busy fishing, the twins came back with duck meat and other forms of meat. They use their fast chopping skills as they mention their restaurant for the masses back in Italia which is pretty much similar to Souma’s family restaurant. They finish the dish fish and Inui tastes the incredible duck meat (Pavarotti singing opera in a duck mask?!). Even the seemingly Italian sauce is an improvisation to turn it into a Japanese version. Safe to say, they pass. What you gonna do Souma?

Episode 9
3 years ago in Florence, Italy, the Aldini brothers were already pros in their cooking. Yeah, they’ve got girls and even gays asking them out! However, their father thought they lacked something from the heart despite their skills and sent them to Totsuki to find a worthy rival. And when Souma made that aggravating statement, it just riled Takumi up. Inui agrees to judge the competition and the loser will kneel and admit he is the loser. Souma gets started and due to the ‘loophole’ in Inui’s rule, he takes her kaki no tane tea snack as his ingredient and lets Takumi hold on to it. While Megumi looks for ingredients and Souma finding chicken eggs (chicken attack!), the other teams begin to finish but Inui is not impressed. Those people have no idea and made the same grilled fish. Despite only having 15 minutes left, that is enough time for Souma to finish. He makes a breaded fish dish using kaki no tane as the breading. Crunchy and tasty of course! It sends Inui into a mermaid delusion reaction. I wonder how mermaids have sex… When it is time to judge whose is better, Inui can’t make up her mind. Then she gets a call from fellow alumni, Koujirou Shinomiya that she is late since all groups have to return to the hotel at a certain time. As she hurries everyone back into the bus, what about the decision? Well… She’ll just postpone it and revisit it another day. Hah. An excuse to run away and this sure doesn’t leave a good taste in Takumi’s mouth. I guess the suspense will continue to kill them. Although no formal decision was made, Takumi felt he lost. If you think the students are going to get their deserved break back at the hotel, think again. With the university clubs staying nearby, they have to make 50 servings each before retiring. Oh, they have to make their own food too. It is going to be a mad rush feeding all those macho men! Bodybuilders, wrestlers and American footballers… Feel the machoism! Those who fail will be expelled immediately! It becomes a mad rush. Souma becomes the first complete his task. He uses his free time to head to the bath but guess who he bumps into on his way in? Oh, it’s that b*tch Erina…

Episode 10
Erina is embarrassed that Souma caught her humming and prancing happily. It even gets worse when Souma use ambiguous words explaining to Hisako like as though he pushed her down and did something! When Souma heads into the bath, he sees Dojima flexing his muscles. Man, this guy should have been a bodybuilder. Usually Dojima takes his bath while the students cook up those 50 servings. Not many can finish before he gets out. Last year it was Isshiki. This has Souma realize that this means Erina finished faster than him. Then he hears certain stories about her divine tongue that includes one whereby she accurately identified correctly the origins or each salt dish in blindfold. Souma and Megumi are now in Shinomiya’s class. They are to make some vegetable dish based on his recipe, terrine. Megumi thought she could rely on Souma again but here’s the bad news. Shinomiya will not allow team work. This is an individual assignment and no help is allowed. This means even if you help point out something is doing it wrong slightly, you both get fired! Poor guys… Megumi realizes she can’t depend on Souma and must use her creativity to figure this one out. Especially when she is left with some ingredients that are already not fresh. Speaking of which, the fight gets even tougher when students have to fight for the ingredients when Shinomiya tells them to treat each other as enemies. Tasting time. He fails many. Souma passes of course. Megumi finally finishes hers and is the last to present. He tastes it. He fails her! OMG! What in the world?! Care to explain? No doubt she used vinegar to preserve the freshness, she altered his recipe and he this is not allowed!!! WTF?! Souma does not accept and instead points out Shinomiya’s responsibility to prepare fresh ingredients as some of them weren’t. Is he a failure as a chef? Then Shinomiya admits why he put some vegetables that weren’t fresh: So he can limit those he needs to pass! Usually those who panic or slow ones will be those who will go. Souma argues Megumi’s creativity to cover for that but Shinomiya will not allow any changes to his recipe. As the top chef, he has the authority to even fire him! So one more complaint… Souma is seething with anger but Megumi doesn’t want him to risk it on her behalf. But after all her smiles, you think Souma gives a sh*t about this crap? Only one thing left to do: He challenges Shinomiya to Shokugeki. If he beats him, he will rescind Megumi’s expulsion.

Episode 11
Did you know Shinomiya was the former number one seat of the Elite Ten? Oh, who cares? At least not Souma. However Shinomiya has no intention to accept this Shokugeki and Megumi’s expulsion is final. But Dojima holds his horses and not be too hasty. Inui is quite fond of Megumi so she is trying to put childish pressure on Shinomiya to reverse his decision. Not working. Dojima suggests an unofficial Shokugeki beneath the hotel’s annex and since they can’t interrupt the camp, they’ll have to do it after the afternoon session. Shinomiya still won’t accept this but that glaring stare in Dojima’s eyes tell him to f*cking accept it. The other alumni guys are also here as judge. Too bad Inui is reduced to a spectator since we all know her bias towards Megumi. Dojima lays down the rules. They will use the leftover vegetables from that session to make another main vegetable dish. However there is a condition for Megumi. She is the lead chef and Souma is only her assistant. This means she has to decide and make the call. No doubt Souma called on this challenge, if their team wins based on his decision, it would mean Megumi was just riding on to him and it won’t be long before she gets expelled. She must prove herself if she wants to continue to stay. If Souma cannot trust her cooking, then he should withdraw from this match. Megumi becomes panicky in trying to think her next step. She’s thinking she has gotten this far thanks to Souma. But after he slaps her hands to calm her down, he makes her think of all the good cooking she has done. Don’t care what the enemy is doing. Focus on your own. It brings her back to all those good memories as she gets her confidence and starts her preparations. Souma proves himself worthy as her assistant as he prepares all the necessary ingredients in great timing. Time to judge. Shinomiya goes first. You know it tastes good when you see that naked delusion reaction. In short after all that explanation, his dish is like magic! So much so the judges turn into a magical girl unit! HOLY CRAP!!! Safe to say that his dish lives up to expectations but Dojima is a bit disappointed because he was expecting him make his signature dish from his restaurant. However Shinomiya’s arrogance means he didn’t think it was necessary against a student. Now it’s Megumi’s turn to present. Still nervous? Don’t falter after coming this far. Everyone is surprised she makes that terrine dish.

Episode 12
Everyone is singing praises over Megumi’s dish. They’re even fighting what kind of cute fairy deity she is supposed to represent! But ultimately the final decision has the judges voting for Shinomiya. A unanimous decision! Gasp! It’s heartbreaking to see her in tears. Dojima despite not a judge, puts his single vote for Megumi. What is the meaning of this? He tells him to look into Megumi’s dish and believes Shinomiya’s skills as a chef is stagnating. 10 years ago when Shinomiya graduated from Totsuki and flew to France to begin his dream, he quickly earned praises from customers for his dishes. However jealousy soon abound as his own chefs sabotage his recipe. Then the complaints came piling in and Shinomiya is driven to a knife’s edge. In a desperate move, he kicks out all his staffs that were against him and became absolutely strict with those under him. It’s his way or the highway. Shinomiya rebounded and became even more popular than ever till he won the prestigious Pluspol award. Dojima believes ever since he got that award, he has lost sight of what is most important. Thus the reason he doesn’t want to use his signature dish was because he didn’t want them to find out his cooking has hit the wall. Shinomiya is forced to try out Megumi’s dish. As usual he complains at what it lacks but something that makes it as though the dish is speaking to him from the heart. So the flashback with his mom in his paddy field was just to tell us the cooking reminds him of his mother’s tender love? He is so touched that he votes for Megumi’s dish! He realizes some sort of spice that Megumi put in her dish. She explains that all the judges have been eating and judging various foods since yesterday and this spice is to ease their digestion. How thoughtful! With Inui putting her vote for Megumi, the match is now at a tie. I guess this means nobody gets expelled, right? Dojima praises Megumi’s hospitality as a valuable edge. Now she is in tears again. Heck, I thought she is either crying or nervous throughout the entire time. With Shokugeki over, Dojima’s plan to save both chefs worked out well. Shinomiya has once again discovered his hunger to learn and absorb everything again. Although Megumi thanks Souma, personally that guy feels bitter because he considered this draw as a loss. He had intended to win. They return to their friends who have been worried sick about their fate. Yeah, the tension almost killed them.

Episode 13
Isshiki welcomes his fellow dorm mates back. But wait! Souma is buffed up like a Super Saiyan and the rest turned into delinquents! Except for Ibusaki who regressed being a caveman and Marui reduced to being glasses! Thank goodness it was just a dream as everyone is still at the camp. Everyone thought they will have a well deserved rest. Till Dojima tells them to gather at the hall. He mentions the next challenge is to come up with an innovative breakfast menu that will be served by 6am. The main ingredient is egg. So you either use the remaining time to experiment or rest. Well, sh*t… Of course Souma gets cracking and he remembers his dad’s advice of why he cannot simply introduce a new dish for the sake of having something different. It must be something familiar and yet have the element of surprise. Next day, everyone gets ready to start their buffet breakfast. Erina is irked when Souma’s counter is just right next to hers. Dojima then makes the announcement the judges will be by the people who made the ingredients and their family. Yeah, a huge crowd of commoners streaming in. Also part of the judging will be the service staffs of the hotel. Another criterion for passing is that they must serve 200 servings. So we have all our usual suspects like Takumi, Mito and even Megumi getting praised with their innovation. I guess you can tell Megumi improved a lot when the grandpa wants her to marry his grandson!!! And of course the best praise still has to go to Erina whose Egg Benedict dish has everyone bowing before the queen b*tch bee. But how is Souma doing? To everybody’s shock, he has less than 10 servings made! Something is wrong!

Episode 14
Souma realizes why nobody is picking up his soufflé. Because his diner is always served after customers made their order, in a buffet, it is the customers who decide when they pick your dish. And his soufflé has to be eaten piping hot otherwise it will lose its texture. Furthermore, Erina is stealing his customers. I’m sure she would love to rub it in his face but he is deep in concentration remembering his dad made him multi-task but he ended up panicking and confused. He was told about focusing the task at hand so Souma looks at the time left (30+ minutes) and how much time is needed to make his dish. All he needs to do know is attract one customer. He weaves his ‘magic’ in front of a little girl. So when she tastes it, it attracts others to try out his dish. The crowd soon gathers at Souma’s counter to watch him multi-task and create his awesome soufflé. While all of our usual characters have already passed the 200 servings mark, everyone is anxiously waiting for Souma to do that. Right at the dot before time is up, he reaches the target. Phew. Close shave. Before Erina can start b*tching about whatever, then pops up this girl, Alice Nakiri. Not too say she is impressed with Souma but she didn’t really expect him to pull off this ‘magic’ in such limited time. If her name sounds familiar, she is Erina’s cousin. As Erina is the only one who surpassed the 400 servings, Alice is second place with 380 and could have gone beyond that had she not ran out of ingredients. She calls Souma’s live cooking show as an outdated circus show because she believes in cutting edge cooking. Then there are some ramblings about her parents making Denmark as their base for some cutting edge food research, blah, blah, blah. Then there is that rivalry with Erina since young and she came here to crush her and take top spot till Souma showed up. But surprising her is how Souma owns up to his failure and mistake and how he learns from failures. The hellish training camp continues with more tasks in the next few hours. Just when all the students are tired, they are called to gather at the hall. First, Dojima talks about the harshest path that the chefs go through, blah, blah, blah. And just when everyone thought the final task would be the most daunting ever, it is actually a congratulatory meal created by the alumni for them! Congratulations to all 628 who survived and passed this training camp. I guess it is worth the reward to be treated like honoured guests. Souma now believes his dad was right in sending him here.

Episode 15
As the students are leaving, if you’re wondering why Inui is bugging Megumi aside her obsession over her, as we find out, this camp also serves as a place for the alumni to recruit future potential chefs. Without a doubt Souma has his but he has his family restaurant now and his goal is to make his dad acknowledge his skills. Souma forgot his headband and when he returns, he got on the wrong bus. Filled with old folks! They tasted his dish and loved it. They hope he could use their ingredients in his diner. With so many buses, Souma got confused and lost. Then he missed it. Coincidentally, Erina also returned to retrieve something and missed the bus. Not this jerk again. Luckily somebody manages to hire a car for her. Oh, you know what this means. The duo are in an awkward position the entire ride. If only Souma could stop talking… Then he has to flout her high and mighty attitude by telling him the camp wasn’t just to weed out weaklings. There were guys at the camp judging strong students as candidates for the autumn gourmet festival whereby such students can exercise their skills with other heavyweights in the food industry. Erina disagrees with Souma’s thinking about learning via failure. Because failure is not an option for chefs. Failed foods should not be out there to serve customers. We learn what Erina went back to retrieve was a precious photo of her young self and Jouichirou! If she only knew…

Speaking of which, Fumio thought the kids have come back but it looks like Jouichirou is back in Japan and at Polar Star’s doorstep. So naturally the kids are surprised to see him. What is more surprisingly learning he is Souma’s dad? He is an alumnus of Totsuki, stayed in this dorm and the second seat of the Elite Ten! Too much for you to handle, Souma? He cooks for them a feast and safe to say that he has them (how come we only see the girls get the reaction?) dreaming on an Egyptian adventure. He is so good that the girls probably are starting to have hots for Souma! Of course there is a dish which is purposely the worst. Marui had the dishonour to taste it… More revelations about this guy. He went by the name Jouichirou Saiba then and a good friend to Dojima. Oh, he stayed in this dorm too and was the first seat of the Elite Ten! The duo were a formidable team. They won every Shokugeki and turned this land into a self sufficient nation! So all the farms, barns, coops and whatever facilities you see around Polar Star is all thanks to them. Souma gets more surprised when he learns Jouichirou stayed in the very same room he is staying now. Yeah, those marks on the wood are from him. Interested, he spends the rest of the night learning about his days in Totsuki. Next morning, Souma thinks Jouichirou woke him up to help make breakfast. To his surprise, Jouichirou wants to see how much he has improved and thus a cooking contest. Is this why he returned to Japan? Why you look so shocked, Souma? Didn’t see this coming so soon?

Episode 16
Fumio, Isshiki and Megumi are lucky to become the judges. The theme will be breakfast that will invigorate their body. Father and son face off and after an hour, Souma serves his apple rice. Good praises and everything. Now it is Jouichirou’s turn. Fumio is sceptical as he has a habit of adding random bits into his dish. So when his ramen dish pops up, they think he is fooling around. Till they try it out… Suddenly they cannot stop eating! It must be damn good. To their surprise, there is no meat whatsoever in this completely vegetarian dish despite its texture looking like so but that is only because he was using soybeans via traditional Indonesian way. In the end, everyone unanimously votes for Jouichirou. Souma’s 490th straight loss. Although after tasting Jouichirou’s dish, Souma’s one feels less appetizing, it isn’t actually that bad. Just that it seemed lacklustre. Father and son are so deep into their challenge that each even record the event in their notebook! As fast as he came, Jouichirou soon leaves. Fumio could guess this match was partly to encourage his son as he will soon face many cooking battles at Totsuki. Oh, he left a message for him: Go air the diner once in a while. Fumio suggests Souma return home on the next holiday. Erina thought she spotted Jouichirou walking by. She has her driver stop the car as she runs out to the middle of the road. Thank goodness this isn’t a busy street. But could she be seeing things? No Jouichirou in sight.

Episode 17
Plain girl, Mayu Kurase, Souma’s old classmate has been sighing each time she passes the closed Yukihira diner. So irritating that her friend, Aki Koganei had to tell her off about her crush on Souma. To their surprise, Souma just opened his store. He’s back! Then the other shopping district guys start rushing to him and want him to cook for them! They really miss his cooking. While they enjoy his dishes, they mention a recent problem plaguing the shopping district. A recently opened store at the railway station that sells the best karaage has been stealing their customers. At this rate, they’ll close down. I guess it is up to Souma to save the day. Since the rest have got to work, I guess the only person left to become his taste tester is Mayu. Leave it to Aki to pressure her into it as it will be her only chance to get close to him. Souma thinks hard. He needs more knowledge on karaage and how else specializes in meat? He calls Mito who is irritated somebody is calling her this late. Well what do you know? She is sitting up after hearing Souma’s voice. She’ll gladly lend her help and go to his place. She means it. She’s coming back no matter what! Mito and Mayu meet for the first time and you can tell they’re sizing up each other if this is the girl Souma likes. They visit the karaage specialty store, Mozuya. Run by Kinu Nakamozu, they have won the national karaage contest for 3 straight years and are destined to win it again this year. They notice the shopping district chairman, Yuu Tomita is here disguised to check things out. Too bad that disguise couldn’t hide a thing. In fact, Kinu even lets them try the awesome karaage, divulges some of the ingredients used to make it and then badmouths the shopping district. When Souma proposes about coming up a better one than them, Kinu almost turns into a monster telling him off he doesn’t know anything as a kid. So scary. At least from timid Mayu’s perspective. Souma and Mito get working on their karaage. Although delicious, it still doesn’t quite match up to Mozuya. Souma thought of using Mito’s expensive beef but it’s costly even after all that discount. When Mito notices lost of students passing by at this hour (club activities and the likes), this gives Souma a great idea. He was thinking too far outside the box. They don’t need to fight on their turf although they’ll still be using karaage. They’ll use the shopping district’s potential and come up with the best way to have people enjoy karaage.

Episode 18
Souma explains Mozuya wraps and boxes their karaage for take away. Therefore people tend to take it home and eat. A shopping district won’t have this problem as people can walk and eat. This is how they’ll fight them. Despite coming up with some samples, the karaage still can’t beat Mozuya. After brainstorming with the ladies, Tomita comes in believing he has the secret solution that will work. He presents karaage in an onigiri! However the girls point out they’ve already seen this in stores. Unoriginal. But Souma gets an idea from this so everyone starts working overtime to put their karaage operation into action. Aki notices that more and more people are holding wrap rolls and passing by her store. With her sales in steady decline for the 3 days, those who stop by her store are those asking directions where to get this wrap roll! Aki must find out what is happening at the shopping district and to her surprise, it is brimming with life. Souma and co are making those lovely karaage wrap rolls that everyone couldn’t get enough of. Thanks to their great business, the domino effect has other stores in the district to also experience brisk business. I guess Souma can’t help rub it in when he sees her amidst the crowd. Don’t get mad, aunty. Have a taste. And as expected, the awesome fantasy reaction when she takes a bite. It reminds her of some Vietnamese dish. More importantly, the taste evokes the liveliness of the busy shopping district. Screw profits and returns! It is the taste of youth! You lose, lady. While Souma praises Mito, Mayu can’t help today is her last day to be with him. Surprisingly he asks her help. Actually to help part time at Tomita’s store since his store is the flagship store of the karaage wrap roll. Mayu is honoured that despite never talking much with him during school days, he always noticed and observed her hardworking habits. Without hesitation, she accepts to try out. Mito, you feeling jealous? The food critic rates this new delight as 20 points. Out of ten! When Souma returns, he is brought to see Etsuya Eizan. He is a consultant responsible for Mozuya’s expansion among many other food chains. He heard how Souma’s exploits put a dent to his reputation. So is he going to beat him up? Actually, he wants Souma to work for him. Of course he refuses as Souma’s goal is to carry on his family business. Eizan then mocks his limited thinking in his limited world. Unlike others, Eizan is not a chef but a consultant so his goals are different than everyone’s. He warns Souma about the Autumn Elections. Although he has been selected, it will mark his downfall (why do they always say this and count their chickens?). He will make him pay for staining his career. Oh, did he mention that he is on the 9th seat of the Elite Ten. Only ninth? Heck, I thought he was at least second or third if not first.

Episode 19
During the Elite Ten’s meeting to select those for the Autumn Elections, Erina was against Souma’s participation. But this only makes the rest think something happened between them for her to object. In order not to reveal more and because majority wants him in, that’s how Souma got nominated. As usual, the names of 60 candidates split into 2 groups are announced. The top few in each group will advance to the final that is believed to be the precedent for those who will end up on the Elite Ten’s seat. So we have our usual like Souma, Mito, Alice and the Aldini brothers as well new faces like Miyoko Hojo (another one interested in Megumi but feels disappointed when she claims Souma helped her during the Shokugeki with Shinomiya), Nao Sadatsuka (a Sadako-look-a-like who fawns over Erina and hates Hisako for being close to her idol), Ryo Kurokiba (Alice’s lackadaisical assistant) and Akira Hayama (tanned guy). As the theme for the preliminaries is curry, Souma remembers Jouichirou told him if he needs advice for spice, go to see Jun Shiomi who is the queen of spices. Mention his name because Shiomi was his junior. So at this rundown lab and messy room, Shiomi is a petite girl despite being 34 years old?! Did time stop? Or is it the spice of youth? But when Souma mentions he is the son of Jouichirou, Shiomi punches him! She hates that guy and will not have anything to do with his family! Here’s why. She stayed at the same dorm with him and was subjected to his terrible food experiments. Yeah. I guess that’s where the trauma comes from. Hayama is also working here as her assistant but it looks like he is the one who is wearing the pants around. While Shiomi starts her boring incomprehensible lecture of spice on the whiteboard, Hayama prefers to let Souma experience curry spice and lets him savour the various curry dishes he made. Even Souma is not spared from that delusional naked reaction. Of course after all that testing, Hayama still thinks Souma is lacking to be the top dog of this school. This sets the tone for their rivalry as Souma will make a better curry dish than his. Hayama still doesn’t think so because his nose is special and that fragrance is the key to victory.

Episode 20
There aren’t many weeks left to the Autumn Elections. Everybody is trying hard as usual and some take the chance to go back to their families. Souma as usual stays up all night to find a new inspirational dish. He definitely needs to sleep on it. Meanwhile, we detour to a few other characters like Miyoko who enrolled at Totsuki to earn some credibility so she won’t be bullied by men when she returns to her home, and Nao cooking some witch broth inside her creepy room that has posters adoring Erina and as well as curses for Hisako the b*tch. All 60 candidates gather at the hall where Senzaemon starts off with his manly speech. Only 4 from each group may proceed to the final. Do the math and this means only 8 of them will progress. I have a hunch who will make it… The most shocking thing everyone finds is how Isami has slimmed down that he looks like a different person! Must be the summer heat burning away those fats… Nobody is interested in you, Takumi… Both groups separate into different halls and start working their magic. Expect to see lots of dramatic cooking effects. Also, bigwigs from the food industry from old geezers to obnoxious broad moguls watching and counting their chickens which candidates they like for the finals. In group A, we have Souma, Mito, Ryouko, Ibusaki, Marui, Ryo and Hayama among those we know. For group B, Megumi, Yuki, Alice, Takumi, Isami, Hisako, Nao and Miyoko. The big shocker when everybody notices Souma sleeping on the job!!! Is he serious?!

Episode 21
Souma springs to life when the fragrance from his pot is cooked. We take a detour to see how Megumi is doing. Clumsy as usual. Everybody is shocked and wondering how she is going to cut up that giant monkfish. That flashback of how she was harshly trained to do so since young is perhaps the reason why we now understand she could cut it up like a pro. Time is up and time for judging. All the low level failures will of course go first. Despite the praises, they get very low scores because those judges deal with professionals every day so their dishes do not really stand out. Nobody has broken into the 40 points threshold and some even got a single digit. It is Nao’s turn to serve. Her dish stinks like hell! Is it made from sewer and toilet?! Does she plan to kill the judges?! But when they taste it, it tastes delicious! Despite its stinking stench, they can’t help become addicted to eating it. Eventually she scores a high 84 points. Now it is Hisako’s turn. Two years ago, the duo had a showdown in a Shokugeki in which Hisako won. This meant Nao had to stay 50 metres away from Erina but the deal had a loophole so Nao continued to spy Erina from afar and sent her 30 letters a day! The judges taste Hisako’s dish and their bodies turn muscular! In short, her dish contains medicinal spices in which she specializes in. Nao can’t believe her curse has been undone so Hisako lets her taste her dish. It’s so good that it purifies her evil! The damning blow is when Hisako tells her that Nao’s cooking is only about herself whereas Hisako has always had Erina in mind. That is the difference between them. Hisako jumps to first place with 92 points. But you know what is even scarier? Nao is now looking up to Hisako as her one-sama!!! Oh sh*t!!!

Episode 22
Miyoko scores 87 points with her pineapple curry fried rice while Yuki scores 86 with her duck curry cutlet dish. Isami hands the judges his version of Italian curry bread and scores 87 points to tie with Miyoko. Takumi serves curry pasta with parmesan cheese to take his total up to 90 points. And there is this short flashback how Isami always wanted to break away from Takumi’s shadow. At one point he earned the ire of his dad when he changed the recipe just to be different and risking the customer’s trust. Takumi consoled him and told him that they will move forward together. But looks like today, Isami still has a lot to catch up. Alice serves some strange indescribable dish. She assures everything is made out of curry. Oddly, the judges who have been so vocal in explaining every damn dish suddenly are lost for words! It is so good that they can’t describe it! Tongue tied?! Because of that, Alice takes the opportunity to explain all that scientific molecule crap. WTF?! I didn’t know food was that complicated???!!! She jumps to first place with 95 points. Since 4th place is a tie between Miyoko and Isami, there is going to be a vote off. But how could everybody forget Megumi existed? She wasn’t that exciting, huh? Yeah, they don’t put much hope on her and want to be quick about it. But when they taste her monkfish curry nabe, they feel all the warmth in it. With her explanation of her hometown ingredients to boost everything, what score will she receive? I guess all those flashbacks serve as dramatic effect as Megumi gets… 88 points!!! OMG! She just snuck into fourth place! She dumped favourites Miyoko out! And it is sure one hell of an odd scene to see Miyoko and her manly monkfish teachers together. I can only think of some weird porn of a young girl surrounded by old men… Really! Meanwhile judging for group A is even tougher. Because we have a judge who is more b*tchier than the rest and has not given any score except zero!

Episode 23
Ryo serves his lobster curry with cognac and for the first time evokes superb reaction from the judges. It’s not over yet because they need to put droplets into the lobster head and it made them slurping like gluttons! Lobster ship blast off to space! How can you even be naked in space?! For this heavenly dish, he scored 93 points! Next is Mito with her curry meat layered dish. Good enough for 86 points. Then there is Ryouko with her natto and soy sauce curry dish that also earns her 86 points. Marui shows his research on taste in a dish that has the judges slurping without pausing. That itself is worth 88 points. Now herald Ibusaki, dubbed the Prince of Smoke because everything in his dish is just smoked. Really. He scores 88 points too. Now it is Hayama’s turn. They expected some curry fish head but what the heck is this, uhm, cupcake? It is actually naan and they have to start off by breaking its crust with the spoon.

Episode 24
It’s a bomb fragrance! OMG! Bomb appetite! Haha! And yeah, we have all that explanation about some super spice he uses but who cares. Even b*tch judge wants him to be hers but that loyal guy says he only belongs to Shiomi. Hayama jumps to first place with 94 points and for the first time 2 of the judges gave him perfect score! With group A finishing early, they rush over to group B because they are all eager to know how Souma is doing. Yeah, that guy… Hold on to you horses, guys. His turn is coming up. Hmm… Omelette dish? It’s another bomb fragrance! OMG! Bomb appetite again! Haha! This time the first time they put it in their mouth, they felt a punch! Yes! A punch! Punch line? I guess they’re okay being masochists. And yes, another hell of an explanation of some super spice and manga he used. Blah, blah, blah. Okay, okay, we get it. So what is his final score? 93 points, a tie with Ryo. Not bad, right? Well, if you consider Souma who is seriously out to win. But the judges are fighting among themselves over Hayama and Souma’s curry!!! The other should be better!!! Back at Polar Star, all our related parties are invited for a big party. Miyoko made peace with Megumi and will root for her at the finals. Erina is a spoil sport and won’t join Alice and Ryo in whatever celebrations citing work. But she did congratulate them and Hisako for making it. But something bugs Erina even more. During Souma’s dish, she got raped by his fragrance bomb! Oh no! Not that feeling again! As usual, she hates him. Souma and Megumi talk about how far they have come. Especially Megumi who almost came close to expulsion but look where she is today. Yeah, it brings back memories. She has him to thank for. They are interrupted when everybody joins in for a second round of party. Souma wants to cheer everybody up with his dish. Oh no. Squid yoghurt! OMG! Megumi got tentacle raped!!! Yeah, it brings back memories after all. One big bugging question: WHO THE HELL IS THE FOURTH QUALIFIER FROM GROUP A SEEING MARUI AND IBUSAKI TIED AT FOURTH PLACE??????!!!!!!!!!!! P/S: Actually I went online and did my research but I won’t spoil it by putting it here. Consider it my way of leaving a little end season tension and cliff-hanger ;p.

Food For The Gods
I hope you still have stomach for more because there is good news that there is going to be a second season! So you think that watching this first season is the entire main course? Nope! This is just actually the appetizers! Yeah. With so much potential for just about everything, it is no surprise that another season is much needed. I just hope that we do not have to wait long between the appetizer and main course. You know how it could be irritating waiting in between the food. You finished your appetizers too fast and already in the mood for more but you have got to wait and hope that you won’t lose your appetite while doing so.

Shokugeki No Souma’s storyline and direction of the plot isn’t anything original and it could be as predictable as its other similar genre counterparts like Chuuka Ichiban and Yakitate! Japan. It is so typical, cliché and predictable that perhaps this is the only way to go when you do this kind of genre. I mean, how else is there going to be to make a food battle exciting? That is why Souma as the main character sometimes feel generic in this sense as he is some sort of an outcast compared to the rest of the cast who has some sort of pedigree and rich colourful prestige from their family background. Because it is always more exciting for the dark horse to win and shut up those cocky chefs who are high on their horses, right? Even as typical as any other shonen anime, he fights in challenges and makes friends and rivals along the way. He always comes up tops with his creation that wows and blows everybody away. In the end, he still isn’t perfect and has a long way to go because like Jouichirou’s role as his super chef dad is to remind us that somebody will always be better than you and thus the need for Souma never to rest on his laurels and do better. I mean, isn’t it so typical and cliché that having such strong rivals always motivate you to do better? And oh, the dish that always gets tasted first always loses. Yeah, the most typical of the lot! How else would our main character surprise everybody with his super come back? And maybe the judges forgot how the earlier dishes tasted because this awesome one is so recent in memory it just wipes them out from their memory and records.

When you have such a food competition where people fight it out via cooking and judges to judge them, it goes without saying that the exaggerated reactions to describe how f*cking delicious their food is a given. It is also a cue for me to laugh at all the silly reactions that I see because seriously, even if I get to taste the best food ever in the universe, I know I’ll never ever do such a thing. Okay, maybe I have never tasted the best :’(. But still, it is really funny to see the sort of creativity that they put in for those ‘victims’ to come up with flowery description just for this dish. And sometimes if the judge involves a woman, you’ll definitely get your naked fanservice reaction. Yeah, so good that you need your body to breath! And that is why, such reaction segments are like food porn. Heck, it even borders close to being hentai. Especially some female characters already look so slutty and like a porn star. Whatever heavy breathing and reaction they do here only serves to look like porn and hentai. Really. If this could actually replace sex, it would have been done a long time ago. Speaking of fanservice, I suppose that provides many of the fanservice scenes of the series. So you’ve heard of tentacle rape. But via food? That’s something… For high school students, girls really have a big bust like Mito that keeps bouncing from time to time to distract our eyes from the food to her melons. Yum?

One thing that really bugs me throughout the series is not the delusional reactions or the amazing food that they make. It is the way that they portray such a heavenly cooking that they make it as though only the best would do. Don’t get the wrong idea. Good cooking is definitely what everyone deserves (even a basic human right) and crap cooking should be weeded out. However the way I see in making and preparing these dishes, it just feels impossible to be practical for the masses. It doesn’t help with some snobbish and obnoxious characters like Erina and Shinomiya having such a very high palette that decent good food just doesn’t cut it. I know they want the best and to maintain that standard worldwide. But they have got to understand that everybody is different. Not everybody has such a high godly tongue like that Erina b*tch. Not everybody is a perfect machine that could live up to expectations like in Shinomiya’s case. They want food that is so freaking high in every aspect that it is just f*cking hard to please them just a tiny bit. Then what is the point of everything then?

Therefore Totsuki feels like a place for making food that commoners (which I believe occupy a greater part of the world) out of reach. They think their creation is ultimate and it is a pity that they are clouded by this vision that makes them unable to have a wider range that opens their eyes and mind. That is why my only grouse with this anime is the way food is portrayed so grand and majestic and the standards that must go with it, it is like mocking us commoners that we do not have the right to taste or even savour such cooking. That is why we need a little shake up when God sent Souma over to Totsuki. And the other little thing is that despite the title of this anime, we just had one stinking Shokugeki. Yes, just one. Don’t count that unofficial Shokugeki whereby Megumi was going to get her ass handed to her if she failed and besides, that wasn’t a Shokugeki that Souma was the star. I mean, he has got his name even in the series title, right? That is why the only Shokugeki showdown was with Mito and in the early episodes. Cheated? Disappointed?

But aside these little complaints of mine, all the food looks really great and delicious and sometimes I caught myself drooling and my stomach actually growled! Wow. Talk about how effective their cooking looks even if it is just 2D animation. They did put in some effort to make them look good. But thankfully no matter how good or ‘real’ it looks, at least I didn’t have that feeling of wanting to take a bite off the monitor! That would be tad embarrassing. Okay, so this leads to another little ‘complaint’ of mine. I WANT TO TASTE THOSE DISHES THAT THEY MAKE!!! Even the curry dishes at the Autumn Elections also made me want to try. I am not a person who likes spicy stuffs and any curry dishes I would automatically stay away with extreme prejudice. But with the creativity of these budding chefs, it really made me want to taste them. Of course in real life I still stay away from curry. I just wanted to taste THEIR curry.

The characters are a mixed baggage. There are a handful of them although mainly it is about Souma. Well, he has got his name even on the series’ title, right? As typical as he can be, like many protagonists, he is scorned by many who don’t know him just because he doesn’t fit or pass a certain criteria (he is just like that guy in Mahouka Koukou No Rettousei in this sense) but in this case he just pissed off everybody with is opening statement. A statement enough for every minor background character that will not go further and for sacrificial purposes to hold a grudge on him forever till they get kicked out. I mean, really. Why the animosity of what he said? If you don’t like it, then prove it! Probably the reason why Souma excels is his density in not knowing much about the protocols of everything. Things that others are expected to know. This is both good and bad thing because this makes him less stiff as he is able to go in his own pace and creativity. Unlike silly wuss who shiver in fear of great names, Souma is just blur of whom this supposed famous character is. The other bad thing about him is his very bad foods. Everybody has their virginity violated tasting it. How can someone so good be this bad? Well, nobody is perfect.

Then there is Megumi who is always a bundle of nerves. She is such a worrywart that she might start losing her hair at an early age or at least have them all turned white. Panicking is her main trait as you never fail to see her in such distress whenever she is going to face such tough crap. And always she pulls off an incredible come back feat thanks to Souma at first and finally by her own accord. It is a great achievement to see her crawl out from her shell, someone who is failure material to someone who can stand among the ranks of the best chefs. Heck, aside Souma, she is the only other Polar Star member who made it to the final round of the Autumn Elections. Am I right? I guess the rest are just for ‘sacrifices’. I suppose that even if many of the characters feel so cliche, it is the only thing you can do for variation in the characters department so that it won’t be unbalanced whereby the food tastes and looks great but the characters are so bland. So from top b*tches like Erina, her loyal yuri assistant Hisako, stalker material Nao (who is now so much into Hisako), cocky Alice, split personality Ryo, exhibitionist Isshiki, eternal passionate rival Takumi, fiery meat expert (in all aspects) Mito and the whole lot bunch of other characters that haven’t appeared yet including a big majority of the Elite Ten.

Some feel like running jokes like those brawling bros of Polar Star whom I can’t be bothered to remember their names because all they ever do is fight among each other even if it is just the norm and their way of communicating. I’m sure they have some skills too but they are the lowest compared to the rest that they have been relegated to just comical characters and cheerleaders for the final arc’s competition. Then there is this penchant of using Marui’s room to gather and have fun while leaving that studious guy dead as a zombie. It’s more fun bugging him, right? Why study all alone? Come join the fun! Then there is Urara who is the cutie host whom every boy would love to drool over and girls love to hate and kill. Yeah, this girl loves the limelight and feels vengeful if it is taken away from her when her due is not over.

These kids are so great and since they are only first year students, they even have silly nicknames that coincide with the food they specialize in! I mean, who the f*cks give them these nicknames?! It’s just funny that they are so good, they are still in school instead of out there in the world showcasing and mesmerizing hungry gourmet people. I guess you can’t do that without a graduation certificate. It enhances your credibility. I mean, would you rather hire a new employee with a degree or one that has none? But these kids already so good and some of their reputation precede them so there should be no problem if the public eat their food, right?

You can’t have food talk and battles all the way so perhaps a little distraction in the romance section might add and give a little character and plot development. Heh. Like we’ll ever believe that. Although nothing solid is seen, but we viewers can’t help speculate Souma x Megumi because for a girl who is close to failing and this guy is like her prince in shining armour, always coming to her rescue in her hour of need, typically doesn’t this sow the seeds of love? And with Erina being a tsundere, it should make sense every main character should have his little diverse harem. Plain girl Mayu and the American chick Mito. Oh yeah, almost every girl loves him. If you don’t want straight romance, how about a little yuri, girl on girl romance? Is there? Well, if you’re talking about Erina x Hisako (well, it looked like yuri) as well as Hisako vs Nao over Erina just rings it. How about bromance? Yeah, those brawling dudes of Polar Star might be it but we don’t care about them, do we? It might be more probable for Takumi and Souma. You know how annoying that Italian kid is trying to get Souma’s attention and bragging about his future win, right? Well, let’s hope something more won’t turn out of it and make fujoshi fans die of nose bleed to death. Don’t get me started on Isshiki’s naked butt. So the romances between characters aren’t this series’ strength to say the least. So if you want romance, just stick to the food.

Art and drawing feels okay. Characters look like your conventional Japanese anime although some designs are meant to give the character, uhm, character. Like Souma as your typical hero must have spiky hair although they aren’t that towering. Some have strange designs just for differentiation like Konishi with his pompadour hairstyle and Ryo with his dark bags under his eyes so much so I thought it was just black war paint. If the character designs aren’t giving you visual candy, then it must be the food then. It goes without saying. Like I have said, there have been efforts in making the dishes look sumptuous and good enough. Too bad as a viewer we can only watch all the goodness and it is sad we can translate all that by tasting them.

With an amazing amount of characters, main, supporting and even extra background ones, it is no surprise that the cast list is a long one. Therefore quite a number of recognizable seiyuus from the line up. Like Yoshitsugu Matsuoka as Souma and although this isn’t exactly one of his many typical heroic hero roles as he is pigeonholed into, it is still nevertheless the main character with so called hero-like qualities. And of course, I am so glad to hear my favourite Mamiko Noto as Inui and thanks to the nature of this series, I can be rest assured they won’t kill off another character. Nobody dies in this anime, RIGHT???!!! Unless… The rest of some of the veteran seiyuus I recognized include Rikiya Koyama as Jouichirou, Takehito Koyasu as Dojima, Yuuichi Nakamura as Shinomiya, Junichi Suwabe as Hayama, Tomokazu Sugita as Eizan, Takahiro Sakurai as Isshiki and Mikako Takahashi as Shiomi.

The rest of the casts are Minami Takahashi as Megumi (Saturn in Hi-sCool! Seha Girls), Risa Taneda as Erina (Yukina in Strike The Blood), Chinatsu Akasaki as Alice (Yasuna in Kill Me Baby), Shizuka Ishigami as Mito (Stella in Rakudai Kishi No Cavalry), Natsuki Hanae as Takumi (Inaho in Aldnoah.Zero), Yuuki Ono as Isami (Moral in Hamatora), Saori Oonishi as Hisako (Eriri in Saenai Heroine No Sodatekata), Nobuhiko Okamoto as Ryo (Accelerator in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Ai Kayano as Ryouko (Inori in Guilty Crown), Maaya Uchida as Yuki (Rikka in Chiinibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Taishi Murata as Ibusaki (Utami in Noragami Aragoto), Yuusuke Kobayashi as Marui (Sougo in Comet Lucifer), Asami Seto as Miyoko (Chihaya in Chihayafuru), Saori Goto as Nao (Barasuishou in Rozen Maiden Traumend), Ai Kakuma as Mayu (Est in Seirei Tsukai No Blade Dance) and Rina Hidaka as Urara (Airi in Ro-kyu-bu).

I like the first opening theme song, Kibou No Uta by Ultratower. Although it sounds like a guy who had been drinking a lot since last night, but at least the tune of the song is quite reasonable to hear as it also gets you into the mood of what this anime is all about. Even the first ending theme is not bad. Spice by Tokyo Karan Koron is exciting because of the nifty electric guitar play in the background. The thing to note in this ending credits animation is that the Polar Star members are depicted as Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper painting. I hope I am just thinking too much and isn’t some sort of prophecy of something for them. Personally, I feel that the themes don’t sound as a good when they changed them halfway. Rising Rainbow by Misokkasu as the second theme has turned into some sort of dark dramatic rock music. Perhaps it is to foreshadow the direction of the competition but I don’t really like it. ‘Too much noise’. The same sentiments can be said for the second ending theme, Sacchan No Sexy Curry by Seiko Oomori. Despite this is a slow and nearly calming ballad, I somehow find the singer isn’t suitable in singing this song. Something about her voice that just doesn’t feel right. Maybe because there are too many words she is trying to sing and cramming into a line? Otherwise, it would have been an okay song.

Overall, this anime is exactly like what some of the judges’ reaction when they eat a very good meal: They can’t stop eating and want even more even if it is finished! It is a long course meal and the food journey has yet to reach its max in satisfactory yet. There is still room for more of everything and I hope that it doesn’t take too long that my stomach has digested everything and I am back to square one of being hungry all over again. Though this series is not entirely perfect and still has its flaws, but it is highly recommended for anybody who loves food. I thought it would help food lovers and gluttons watch their weight seeing this might be a visual distraction for their stomach but then again, the effect might be totally opposite and make them crave to eat even more. Some people have all the luck. They live to eat instead of eat to live. Say, when is Jouichirou coming to my town to serve up a delicious dish for me?

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