Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma – Season 2

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma – Season 2

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Soma Yukihira is a middle school student who is determined to surpass this father’s legendary culinary skills. But not all things go to plan. Suddenly, Soma’s father decides to close down their family restaurant and travel to Europe to hone his skills even further. Before he leaves, he enrolls his son into an elite culinary school with a notorious reputation: only 10 percent of each class is actually good enough to graduate. Will Soma be able to improve his cooking skills, or will the kitchen (and the competition) be too hot?

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After taking a week off after the first series everyone’s back in the kitchen once again. In that one week of anime-food deprivation I was already beginning to miss it and, as soon as that first episode of season two kicked off, I was instantly reminded of why the antics of Yukihira and chums was such a valuable addition to my anime queue. It has improved so much in such a short amount of time and I was expecting some exciting scenes and watch this one progress to new heights and root for the members of Polar Star as they undergo the trials and tribulations of having their cooking recognised.

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We are not let down as we see the great cast of characters facing challenge after challenge: making 200 portions of an egg-based dish for a buffet breakfast, creating popular dishes for on the go in order to bring back custom to the Shopping District and we even see a return to Polar Star Academy by one of its most famous residents, Joichiro Yukihira – one of the legendary Totsuki chefs!

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What I like most about Food Wars is the effort that is taken to make all the characters so different with their own style and techniques when it comes to cooking. Some have been friends with Yukihira from the beginning, some have been won-over by his disarming charm and genuine passion for food, and some are still trying desperately to keep him at arms length – such as Erina. However, we are even seeing chips in her defensive armour as she finds herself again and again impressed by his talents despite his very short duration in Totsuki Academy.

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The most gripping event so far this season has to be the Autumn Elections, were every pupil has to make a curry dish for the preliminaries and impress a panel of culinary professionals and celebrities of the food world, where only the top eight students can progress to the final tournament. I never thought I would become so engrossed in an anime that was focused around food preparation. Just by watching Food Wars I feel like I have learned so much about food – so many different dishes, how they can be prepared, what ingredients to use.

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As the Autumn Elections progress, we get to see not only the preparation phase but the initial judging sessions that allow us to delve deeply into the intricacies that each young chef has woven into their respective recipes. This is what I truly love about this anime, seeing some amazing food creations that I never had dreamed possible (though my culinary skills and knowledge are noticeably below average). Better yet, the drawing style makes for some of the most delicious anime food I have ever seen.

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This also gives us a chance to see just what some of the supporting characters have up their sleeves such as Yuki, Ryoko, Shun and Zenji as they have their time to shine and show the viewers why they have really earned their place in Totsuki Academy. I thought this was a great touch a brought their individuality to the forefront, having them graduate from just being supporting characters and comic relief. The nicknames they get given in the prelims are absolutely brilliant.

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Food Wars continues to go from strength to strength, using any lulls in cooking competitions to develop major character revelations and cramming them full of intrigue. And then we have the nail-biting action of the culinary challenges and the relatable characters that you all want to see succeed (even the ones that don’t particularly like Yukihira). Having just watched the penultimate episode to this season, I can’t wait to see what Yukihira serves to the judges and who will be the eight chefs to get thought to the main tournament – it’s truly got a unique brand of tension down to an art. After this season finishes it looks like I’m going to have to pick up the manga in order to keep getting my Shokugeki fix.