Food Wars! The Third Plate – Anime Preview
Synopsis: Shokugeki no Soma centers on Yukihira Soma, a middle school student who is determined to surpass his father’s culinary skills. One day, his father decides to close down their family restaurant and hone his skills in Europe. Before leaving he enrolls Soma in an elite culinary school that is extremely difficult to enter with a graduation rate of only 10 percent. Will Souma be able to improve his skills, or will the kitchen prove to be too hot? (Official Crunchyroll Synopsis)
1st Episode Review (Warning: Minor Spoilers to Follow):
Tom: Food Wars! Season 2 suffered a rapid pace and cuts that left many feeling like the season was rushing through things. Season 3’s first five minutes do nothing to alleviate that feel. We rejoin Soma and Megumi as the two discuss and flashback to events unseen on screen. It feels more like a recap for an unaired first episode than a true start to the season. It’s disorienting and disappointing and has more troublesome after effects as we get farther into the episode, even as the pacing returns to a more normal speed.
Linny: Season 3’s first few minutes have to be one of the worst ways to return to a story this side of the anime world. The show heavily relies on its audiences’ knowledge of the manga in advance as it speeds through flashbacks and introductions. I’m sure a good number of the audience ARE fans of the manga as well but for anyone who’s anime only or hasn’t read the relevant chapters recently, it is going to feel rather disorienting. And even though this was only the first episode, we already get a healthy dose of the naked bodies, boob and butt jiggles that Food Wars! is loved and loathed for by so many.
Tom: Due to the cuts, the first episode is almost entirely centered on Soma, with only the most casual of drops/inclusions for other fan favorite characters like Megumi and Erina. While it’s great that the main character is getting such attention as we gear up for this new arc, we cut the introductions for our upcoming villains, the council of ten. This makes these individuals feel quite nebulous and unfamiliar, since we jumped past their initial introduction. The only one of these new ‘baddies’ we get some familiarity with is Terunori Kuga, Soma’s up and coming opponent.
Linny: Terunori Kuga seems to be the playful but strict and cruel antagonist, someone who switches between acting cute and turning cruel in the blink of an eye. He comes close to feeling like a bit of a cliche. Unfortunately, other than him, none of the other new cast additions get any proper set up. In some cases, the audience barely even gets a chance to read their names before we jump away, so have your remote ready to pause the episode if you actually want to remember any names.
Tom: While the premiere mostly straightens itself out after the initial pre-credits sequence, I don’t have a lot of high hopes for this season. That feeling comes from having read the manga, and knowing that this season will be adapting what many consider to be the manga’s weakest content. While the first few episodes focus on an altogether decent arc, the next set will be diving into a long ‘dark’ period where the manga really loses itself and has now been forced to double down on its strengths. This season is likely to test anime fans as to just how wrapped up in the world of Soma they truly are.
Linny: As someone who falls into the anime only group for this series in particular, it’s not a great start to this season for me either. With each passing season, Food Wars! seems more and more devoted to adapting content for fans of the manga than to offering new fans a complete experience. There’s no crime in that but it also means that if you wish to truly soak in the story, you’re going to have to turn to the manga as supplemental reading. Other than that, if you loved the show for its flirtatious fan service content and over the top cooking, looks like Season 3 is poised to deliver.
Food Wars! The Third Plate is available for streaming via Crunchyroll.