Food network may have cornered the market on cooking battles, but they have not won the war. At least, it doesn’t seem the case when it comes to manga/anime versions anyway.
Shokugeki no Soma, aka Food Wars, a manga turned anime series, originally released in 2015, proves that food battling can be as intense as fighting games and just as perverse. Set in an elite cooking school in Japan, we follow Soma Yukihira, a young transfer student, as he navigates his way through cooking challenges and high school (where the graduation rate is 1%), all to one day take over his family diner and finally beat his father in a cooking battle.
As with many anime, there are some crazy hi-jinx, a motley crew of characters, over dramatized moments, lots of camera panning, and plenty of fan service (putting a whole new spin on the term “food porn”), however, above all that, we get a fun, relatable cast of characters, great cooking battles, and surprisingly, very real, practical cooking tips. As a foodie, I found the series a lot of fun to watch while picking up a few cooking tips along the way, like, honey is a great meat tenderizer, you can make a potent tomato base without the use of blanching the tomatoes first, and the list of ingredients that make a good karaage (Japanese fried chicken). The series also enjoys throwing in pop culture references such as Sailor Moon, Fist of the North Star, Street Fighter, Seinfeld, Ultraman, Ace Attorney, Yu-Gi-Oh!, Final Fantasy VII, and Dragon Quest, just to name a few.
Since the anime release, fans online have purchased the cookbook and attempted to remake some of their favorite foods from the series. Popular YouTube food channel Feast of Fiction have remade two from the series, so far, including:
Gotcha Pork Roast
and Apple Risotto
And then you also have the bevy of other YouTubers who also tried their hand at making their version of the show’s favorites.
There are fan pages dedicated to the recreation of the recipes and a pretty active reddit board that seems to focus a lot more on the manga than the anime.
Currently there are only two seasons available, however season three has already been announced and will be airing some time in 2017.
For some context, you should check out a couple of the episodes on YouTube (which is available below), however, the entire first and second season are currently available on Crunchyroll.
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