Shokugeki no Soma (Food Wars!) 238-241 – 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?

Review:

Like I feared, these latest chapters are highly predictable. With Aldini having won his match up against the ever losing Eizan, Tadokoro stands no chance of winning. While it’s great that we’re not having yet another shut out with one side trouncing the other in all three match ups, this plays out in the most predictable fashion.

Tadokoro’s near entire purpose in Soma seems to be the girl who tries hard, but never quite manages to win. Sure there’s a couple cases where she passed and advanced, but this is yet another loss in the long line of Tadokoro coming in second. There isn’t much for me to say as Tadokoro’s battle against Momo-Senpai takes place over three chapters and the only back and forth is the classic “wait there’s a secret to this dish.”

One day you’ll live up to the badassery of your imagery, Tadokoro. One day.

There also isn’t much to say about Chapter 241, as it’s mostly Somei Saito’s dish presentation and how it absolutely wows the judges. A classic tactic in Soma to build up one side as undefeatable, before someone like Soma can come in and steal victory away from, seemingly, certain defeat.

We do get a seven page flashback offering up Saito’s past, heavily tinted by his ridiculous samurai motif that makes for a rather absurd origin story. I want to stress that none of this is bad, it’s all competently written, but like I’ve been saying for quite a few reviews now, it’s so predictable. Sure the formula stretches periodically. Tadokoro’s match up didn’t proceed in the ‘first person is built up as victory, and than loses in a surprising fashion’ with Tadokoro losing despite her ‘comeback.’ but there’s other problems with the match up, namely the way Tadokoro’s character tends to get utilized.

So much violence, Tadokoro!

Since I don’t want to beat a dead horse every month or so, and I’m sure that gets boring for people to read, I’ll move to reviewing Soma only when something interesting and new happens. The series finishes this generally disliked arc? I’ll talk about it then. Soma comes to a surprise conclusion? Expect my thoughts. The series takes a sudden, surprising turn? I’ll be there. But as it is I feel like I’m just saying the same thing again and again with these articles and that wastes everyone’s time.

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 22 releases on February 6th, 2018. Chapters discussed today will be compiled and released sometime next year.

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