The way “Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma” was set up, a second season was inevitable. And here you are! A second season! Or a Second Plate.
This season contends itself with the Autumn Elections, to see who is the best. Since our hero, Soma Yukihira, (ginger in the middle) is still seen as some kind of cooking prole, better suited to work at Denny’s or Wagneria (that’s the restaurant in ‘Working!!”), he is readily dismissed by the conceited prats that infest this show (like the one against his back).
I get the feeling that these people are cooking to show off that they understand food best and certainly better than you. Look, all you need is to plunk your Canard Apicius in front of someone and they immediately reach for the salt and destroy it. It’s just that I feel these people invest far, far too much emotionality into their dishes and if the dish is a failure, THEY are a failure.
And the signature reaction of this show still remains, but now even more ridiculous. Whenever the judges eat something amazing, they have a foodgasm, as their clothes are mentally shredded and they stand there, naked, as the elements that made up the Soupe de Poisson Ramen they have consumed swirl about them in a dizzying display of sensory and sensual overload. They revel in the stunning confluence of spices and meat cuts and broth and freshness, which elevates eating from mere stuffing it into your gaping pie hole into a transcendent experience, albeit a naked one
On the one hand, it is nice to see the commitment and dedication to making food something more than burgers and fries. However, if I do not pick up on the subtleties of the spice blend or the special way you cut and fried up the onions, then it’s just fuel, and over-priced fuel at that. Are you feeding my soul or feeding your ego?
Do understand that I really enjoy this show and with the Third Season confirmed, we may reach the real end of this series with Soma achieving his goals, but the methods that the judges used to make their conclusions are based more of a ‘gut feeling’ (Hahahahaha!) than anything genuine. And we still have a massive array of buttheads littering up things. This gets back to the idea that they are showing off, rather than providing real food to eat. And once you are done being a jerk, where do you go from here? That might get answered in the third season. Certainly the ending arc of this season gives Soma pause to ponder why he is here in the first place.
In fact, I wonder why any of them are here? I mean, considering some of the talents that the capacious cast possesses, they might be wasted in a food industry job and may find something more lucrative and less stressful than the restaurant world. Remember: 90% of all restaurants fail within the first year, but that is due more to a lack of capitalization than an inability to find a niche. It almost feels that once Soma concludes his time here, it’s back to the family restaurant and serve up some very fine ramen.
I do not see these people in class. I assume it would help for them to know how to select the best cut of beef or understand how spices work together and in tandem and even how different cutting techniques can alter the flavor of a food. But we don’t see that. This is kind of like “Dragonball Z”, but instead of endless fist fights, it’s endless food fights and we do not see them growing and maturing as people. Some of these folks are weird with a beard, as they are beset and consumed by their own demons and The Queen (on Soma’s back) is becoming more hard-hearted as things progress.
I can only hope that things settle down and we get some solid story-telling…but that not might happen. We will have to see. And if you want to see it all at once, go ahead. The plotting seems to really be enhanced with a run of episodes, as we get a strong feeling for the day-to-day workouts that all of these folks have to go through and the slow path to culinary maturity (Emotional maturity? That’s for another day). My only concern is that the foodgasm loses its edge pretty quickly via overuse.
On a scale of 1 to 10:
Artwork 8 (Still showing some solid art decisions)
Plot 7 (Kind of faded this go-around)
Pacing 8 (Overworked, but needed)
Effectiveness 7 (Uncertain as to their overall goals)
Conclusion 5 (It reaches a ‘coupler point’, but hasn’t ended)
Fan Service 5 (A similar show would be “Maburaho”)
Bingeability 9 (A worthy candidate)
Overall 8 (It is holding strong, despite internal weaknesses)
And remember, it’s first run until you’ve seen it. I challenge you!