Anime Review: Food Wars! Season 2

By Drew Hurley 05.08.2018

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Food Wars! Season 2 (UK Rating: 15)

Food Wars! was a surprise hit when it first launched in Shonen Jump. The first few chapters seemed to bill it as a gag ecchi manga with some great art, but it quickly proved it was so much more. With acclaimed hentai artist, Shun Saeki, showing there's more to his portfolio than pantyshots and downblouses, there is some superb art across the board and the food especially looks absolutely mouthwatering. This is helped by the recipes coming from Japanese celebrity chef Morisaki-sensei. The real surprise, though, was the story, which has been genuinely captivating. The series has been running for six years now and continues to surprise and impress. It's been almost a year since Manga UK brought Food Wars! to the UK, with the first season being released 28th August, 2017; this latest collection is finally available from 13th August.

Food Wars! follows a boy named Soma - a kid who was happy working day after day in his father's little local restaurant, Yukihira. He's helped out there since he was little and planned to one day take over his father's place. His father wasn't happy with this, though, as he wanted more for his son; wanted him to broaden his horizons, to see the world. Therefore, he forces Soma's hand. Soma's father closes the shop and sends Soma off to a culinary school. It's not a typical school, though, as this is Totsuki Fine Dining Academy, a place where only the best of the best can even pass. With a graduation rate of 10 percent, can Soma keep up with the best the world has to offer?

The first season saw Soma cause absolute chaos when he arrived at the school; a brash, arrogant youth with no formal training suddenly climbing the ranks and taking on some of the best junior chefs in the world… including taking part in some of the titular "Food Wars" - a challenge where two students face off as a method of settling disputes. Soma met some new friends, a few enemies, and most importantly plenty of rivals. Soma took plenty of classes, relearning the craft and ever-expanding, constantly risking expulsion, taking on cooking challenge after cooking challenge. The series culminated in the "Autumn Elections" - a grand culinary competition that showcased the best the show had to offer, giving each of the expansive cast an opportunity to shine as they attempted to get into the main event. The first season concluded just before these finals began; now, from the first episode, they begin in earnest.

This competition makes up the entirety of this second season and serves as the perfect opportunity to show off what makes this show so great: the recipes, the gorgeous art, and the great cast. Like all shonen, the protagonist of the show is always surrounded by an extended cast of friends and rivals. Each was introduced in the first season but not all of them received their character development. They take the spotlight here, instead. The demure Megumi is finally out of her shell and faces off against Alice's aide, the ferocious and passionate Ryo in a Ramen cook-off. These episodes give a glimpse into the child prodigy of Ryo who crushed a rough port of seamen beneath his young feet. Ryo seems a real challenger for the top spot, but so does Akira, who also gets some considerable character development in this episode, showing his rough childhood in the slums and explaining his love for his saviour, Jun.

There are some fantastic cook-offs in this collection, made all the better with the utterly enticing recipes. Celebrity chef, Morisaki-sensei, delivers some mouth-watering dishes that will inspire a ravenous hunger in the viewers. In the characters in the show, the dishes inspires a huge reaction, making them live out the metaphor of the flavour. It's funny; the method of massively exaggerating actions has become something of a parody of anime, with even the wider masses being aware of these overemphasised moments. Whether it be Light eating a potato chip or Yugi Moto playing a card. Food Wars! fully embraces this style to the same degree as the legendary Jojo's Bizarre Adventure. Not just the "Food Reactions," which see the characters burst into metaphors of the flavours of their dish, but the characters regularly explode into dynamic poses. Heck, it does it proudly; there's even a Jojo reference in the very second episode!

The first season of the anime received a full 24 episodes and, sadly, this is receiving only 13 - strange really, considering that the third season that just concluded last month in Japan received a full season once again. It wraps up this part of the story nicely, at least. Finishing off the Autumn Elections and also giving a few extra episodes to set up the next big part of the story… so, 13 episodes in this collection, in both the original Japanese dub and the new English dub once again. The English dub again suffers from the same problems as in season one; some enjoyable performances from the main members of the cast, but the extra, smaller characters, being particularly low quality.

Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10
Like the first part, it's easy to compare Food Wars! Season 2 with Gintama; silly, absurdist, comedy, and yet it becomes so much more - an absolutely wonderful show with so many likeable characters. This part of the story goes a long way to developing those characters and setting the groundwork for the big story developments to come, revealing the council of ten, beginning the grand Moon Festival for more snacking showdowns, culinary competitions, and Food Wars!.

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