Shokugeki no Soma (Food Wars!) 223-225 – Manga Review
Shokugeki no Soma (Food Wars!) Synopsis: Soma Yukihira dreams of becoming a full-time chef at his father’s neighborhood restaurant and to one day surpass his father’s culinary skills. But just as Soma graduates from middle school his father, Joichiro Yukihira, shuts the restaurant down to travel around the globe and cook for the privileged. Joichiro issues Soma a challenge, that if he can survive the most elite culinary school in Japan, where only the top 10% manage to graduate, then Joichiro will acknowledge him as worthy of taking over the restaurant.
(Warning: Spoilers to Follow)
Since that time Soma has faced countless challenges at the Totsuki Culinary Academy. He’s overcome the student body thinning training camp, competed in the school wide tournament, survived the Stagiaire event, and more. But the Totsuki institute faces a major upheaval as Erina’s father, Azami, returns from banishment. He sets about turning the elite council of ten against the Academy’s head, Erina’s grandfather, Senzaemon Nakiri and electing Azami as his successor.
But Azami’s plans don’t stop there. He sets into motion the complete dismantlement of all the Academy’s clubs, all in an effort to bring about a perfect, uniform cooking where only the best chefs create new dishes and the masses have but to learn them. Can Soma and his friends return the institute to what it once was or will they too eventually be crushed beneath Azami’s far-reaching ideals?
We open by concluding Kobayashi’s flashback from last time before refocusing again on Tsukasa and Kuga. While the majority of the chapter plays out almost entirely as expected, this chapter finally addresses the one thing I’ve wanted to see since we started this Team Shokugeki: ACTUAL TEAM WORK.
Yes indeed for the first time Subaru Mimasaka gives Kuga some much needed help in prepping his stuff. These chapters ultimately go on to downplay the idea that this’ll happen frequently, which is a shame as this remains the only instance of the Team Shokugeki meaning anything else other than an excuse to run simultaneous Shokugeki.
Still, it’s nice to actually see something different for a change.
Otherwise Chapter 224 is much more focused on cooking and technique. This chapter shifts between Kuga and Subaru, as we witness either attempting to rival their opponent. It generally flows well and while still retracing tried and true progression, is so focused on the specifics of the match ups that it feels enjoyable all the same. A real step up from the last few, intensely heavy flash back chapters.
Chapter 225 takes a much heavier focus on Subaru as he squares off against Saito. Saito has a fun quirk of being a total Samurai nut, and Subaru’s flash tracing technique also adds comedy as we’re treated to a flashback of his training. I don’t have a problem with this flashback as its short, to the point, and mostly for comedic purposes.
The chapter ends as the round begins to wrap up and we prepare to head into the judging. Overall I feel much better about these chapters than the last set. They’re still very much in line with what we’ve gotten before in the series, and hardly introduce many new ideas. Thankfully they’re focused on the actual cooking and techniques characters are using, making them more engaging and entertaining.
I think it’s likely most of the resistance members are going to lose here. Or I should say need to lose. We already trounced Azami’s first batch of bads and we need to build a sense of dread that Yukihira and Co. might lose this battle. Right now there is no dread and the series needs to bring that back by providing us with some loses. I think anything less than 2 out of 3 losses and Azami and his gang will still feel like weak villains.
Thanks for reading and please let me know your thoughts on Food Wars! in the comments section below!
Food Wars! (Shokugeki no Soma) is published weekly in Shonen Jump. Volume 19 (Chapters 155-163) released on August 1st, 2017. Chapters discussed today (223-225) will be compiled and released sometime next year.