I’ve spent most of the last two weeks stuck on my couch fighting off an awful cold. With that comes a lot of passive free time- where I can’t do much physical work, but I can’t sleep either and thus end up watching a lot of tv.
Food Wars is an anime that came out a little less than a year ago, and I had watched a few episodes here and there when it came out and thought the concept was fun, but just didn’t make the time to dig into it. Now that I’ve had the time, I’ve been watching through it again and really enjoying the ride!
Firstly, this anime is absolutely about food- cooking it, specifically. It follows the (mis)adventures of Yukihara Soma, a high-school boy working his father’s family restaurant who ends up going to one of the top culinary high schools in Japan. Many of his fellow students come from cooking dynasties or have been exposed to ingredients that Soma couldn’t even dream of affording, but his down-to-earth approach to food actually gives him a leg up in many of the cooking showdowns he faces, and each episode showcases a unique recipe he creates to overcome a challenge.
Secondly, this anime is total silliness. The plot premise really doesn’t even make a whole lot of sense (the dad just up and leaves his restaurant and happens to get his kid into a top culinary school with almost no effort and no money? What the heck is this school anyway, do these things even exist?) and one of the unique “features” of the show are the scenes showing characters eating Soma’s food and their reactions (often picturing them naked or in various compromising scenes) to show that Soma’s food stimulates all of their senses. This might be off-putting to some viewers.
However, beyond the silly antics of the plot and over-the-top scenes there are actually some really fun ideas with food, and some viewers might even find themselves learning a few things about how different ingredients work, or new recipes to try.
As a self-professed foodie and someone who enjoys cooking, I have to say that the techniques presented in the show are occasionally innovative. While some concepts presented are fairly rudimentary, I really appreciate the broad knowledge presented in the writing of cooking applications, ingredients, and different cuisines. The fact that it’s not limited to Japanese food and in fact branches out to all different cuisines of the world is actually pretty nice!
If you can get past all the ridiculousness, I really love the food-centric nature of the show. It’s now available on Hulu for streaming with subtitles if you want to give it a shot!