Food Wars! The Second Plate – Review
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma – The Second Plate:
Original Air Dates: July 2nd, 2016 – September 24th, 2016
Synopsis: Having won the right to compete in the traditional Autumn Elections Tournament, Soma now finds himself in the final rounds, up against some of the toughest first years the Totsuki Academy has to offer. Can Soma, Megumi and the others climb their way to the top and take first place in the Autumn Tournament or will Soma find his culinary skills aren’t up to the challenge?
Review (Warning: Some Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: In its effort to cram the conclusion of the Autumn Tournament and the Stagiaire Arc into just thirteen episodes, Food Wars’ Season 2 was forced to make some concessions. It’s a good idea for anyone who loves Food Wars! for its wide array of characters to keep in mind that as the tournament nears it’s conclusion, much of that expanded cast is dropped in favor of a greater focus on Soma himself. It’s the nature of the beast, and it’s not as if the manga was much different, but it’s a shift away from the otherwise large and colorful cast that drew many in. The Anime tries to alleviate this by including some extra, expanded, anime only snippets of the supporting characters, like Megumi, Alice or Ikumi but it’s really not on quite the same level.
Linny: Yukihira has always been an enjoyable and likable protagonist but it is definitely bad news for those going into this season hoping to see more of the supporting cast. Despite some exposition spent on other students this season, it’s hard to avoid the feeling that it’s all about Yukihira’s personal journey and growth in the end. It’s still an enjoyable watch but I feel it necessitates a warning to viewers who may be disappointed by the lack of their favourite supporting characters.
Tom: Yukihira’s journey is at least interesting however, as he’s forced to confront deficiencies within himself and learn that he has a long way to go to able to rival his father. After the lengthy tournament, there’s plenty of learning to be had for those who prefer the more informative, educational arcs of the series as Soma is forced to adapt to the strains of a high-end french restaurant on the fly. It’s a good shift away in Season 2’s final moments, although Second Plate is still largely dominated by the Autumn Tournament and these final episodes could do little to frustrate fans who were less enthralled by the lengthy tournament arc spread over two seasons.
Linny: It’s worth mentioning that the show DOES spend some time exploring the past and personalities of erstwhile side characters like Ryo Kurokina and Akira Hayama who had both been in the background until this season. If you were looking for characters to entertain and amuse you besides Yukihira, your options do grow. Even though this season did not have an outright arc villain, there is a clear allusion to the existence of some ill will and plotting against Yukihira. However, the show forgets it and drops the matter almost immediately after the reveal so don’t expect any major developments in that regard. It’s an issue that only exacerbates how this season is rushed and could have used more episodes or simply better pacing.
Tom: That’s the biggest issue that plagues this second season: the pacing. Initially The Second Plate was rushing through its content at a near blinding speed, adapting four-five chapters per episode as if to cram in as much as possible. Events are skipped over, entire chapters cut, and character moments are slimmed down. Eventually the series slows and then, in a bizarre twist, begins to add in little extra bits, character moments, silly references to other anime, as if it’s got time to play with. It gives it this weird rushed, yet padded feeling. It’s disappointing, and easily noticeable even for those unfamiliar with the manga, giving a sense that something feels, ‘off.’
Linny: If you’ve watched the first season of this series, the much shorter episode count this time around will most likely have you worried from the get go. There’s no denying that the second season feels rushed, especially when you can tell that there has been some serious cutting down of content early on. This season incorporated a TON of references to other well known and popular shows like Yu-gi-oh and Jojo’s Bizarre Adventures to name a few, which is sure to produce a chuckle from anime fans familiar with the properties spoofed. Soma has always been notorious for its fan service and this season feels a little toned down but not by much. The feeling probably stems from he fact that there are fewer episodes than an actual cutting down of fan service in general. The story continues to do a good job of making Yukihira feel both undefeatable and yet also like someone who has ways to go before he can be the best. Season 2 also turns up the competitive and cut throat feel of the series as the tournament arc is immediately being followed by the Stagiaire arc, which has the students battling for the right to remain in the Academy.
Tom: As adaptations go I’ve still seen worse, but The Second Plate just isn’t on par with the first season and feels, in some small ways, like a step back. It’s unfortunate, but thanks to the innate quality of the manga’s story itself, Food Wars! shines through its awkward pace none the less. And, in some ways, the anime improves upon the Stagiaire Arc by adding in those brief snippets with the rest of the cast, allowing us to leave them in a decent place considering there’s been no follow up announcement that Food Wars! will be getting a third season, and seeing as the manga doesn’t seem close to concluding its final arc, even if we do get an adaptation it could be years before it airs.
Linny: As someone who has been experiencing Food Wars mainly through its anime, it’s easier to ignore the rushed pacing when you’re unaware of exactly how much content one is actually missing out on. However, the awkward pacing and short episode count makes it clear that fans craving for more should turn to the manga ASAP. Like Tom pointed out, with no third season on the near horizon , it may be the best way to experience Food Wars!! ultimately. That said, despite its several flaws and hiccups, the show continues to deliver on all that it was loved for in the first season for a season that’s no doubt a little disappointing but helps to keep the fandom’s love alive.
Tom: Food Wars! The Second Plate offers a much needed conclusion to the Autumn Tournament and provides decent enough a character driven arc to mark an end to the Food Wars! anime adaptation. It ends on a hopeful note as Yukihira overcomes his deficiencies and prepares to face challenger after challenger on his path to the top. It’s obviously not the end of the story, but I’m doubtful we’ll be seeing anymore of Food Wars, even after the manga concludes it’s next arc. What conclusion we’re offered is probably enough for most fans however, and shouldn’t leave too many feeling cheated. Despite it’s pacing issues and questionable choices in what to cut and expand via adaptation, Food Wars! The Second Plate remains one of the more satisfying options from the Summer and is well worth watching for fans of the first season.
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma – The Second Plate is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.com.