Welcome back to the exciting world of cooking with Food Wars! A brand new and major story arc is looming on the horizon and it’s time to check it out.
Food Wars! Shokugeki No Soma Vol. 6-7 (Viz Media)
Written by: Yuto Tsukuda
Drawn by: Shun Saeki
Translated by: Adrienne Beck
It’s that special time of the year for the Totsuki Institute. The Fall Classic has arrived, a special event that allows the best of the best First Year students to compete against one another to show off their skills and impress the cooking world. This is where most of the past Council of Ten members were first exposed and anyone who does well in this event may have a chance at winning one of those seats in the future. There are sixty students competing; only eight will pass onto the next round, and the first dish they’ll have to make is curry-based. Will Soma stand a chance amongst this crowd? Who will actually continue onward?
Let’s break these two volumes down together. Volume 6 is all about setting the stage for the Fall Classic with introducing some brand new characters that we’ll be seeing during this event, establishing some new concepts when it comes to food and cooking with spices, and showing where Soma himself currently is with his skill level. Volume 7 drops us right into the middle of the competition and we get to see a lot of the characters in action. We learn about each of their individual styles, how unique they are, and see most of them present their dishes to the judges. Both volumes are rather slow in some respects when it comes to the story and development. The sixth volume spends most of its time on setup and doesn’t really progress the story until the very end, while the seventh volume spends most of its time introducing the characters and delivering a ton of exposition to explain them and their cooking style. This really brings the speed of the story down and makes the manga a chore to read through at times when the exposition all ends up sounding the exact the same way.
Someone get that poor man a can of Red Bull. He looks like he is about to pass out.
Despite all of that though, these are both still very enjoyable and engaging editions to the series if only because they are rich in character growth and development. Volume 6 focuses on developing Soma more and again, showing off where he is currently with his skills as a cook. While his personality is still the same, you can see some differences with his cooking and how he’s taking the time to learn new techniques on how to improve. This volume also reintroduces his father and expands a bit more on his past and their bond as father and son. It’s funny yet serious, but also sweet in its own way.
Volume 7 is great with developing the entire supporting cast as a whole from the various characters in the Polaris Dorm where Soma lives to the new ones introduced not that long ago. You really see why they were all picked to be a part of this competition, learn more about their backstory, and even see some continued growth with them (like with Ikumi on a small scale and Megumi on a big scale with how they both approach their curry dishes). Hell, outside of Erina, probably every single member of the supporting cast who is a student got some focus and development of their own. Probably the only negative side with the character focused approach in these two volumes is the ton of exposition that has to be dropped and that Soma fades completely into the background in the seventh volume.
Yeah, let’s get away from the creepy lady.
Writing-wise, the quality is at the usual level that you come to expect from the series. The storytelling and structure are still excellent, as is the pacing for the most part, but again, it can really grind to a halt when we start getting dumped on by a lot of exposition in the seventh volume. Speaking of which, the dialogue is a mixed bag this time around. When the characters are holding a regular conversation, the dialogue is fine and engaging, especially when it sprinkles in some characterization. When it starts going on about food technique and explaining people’s styles of food, the dialogue and narration become tedious and dry. At points, it’s not bad, but when you constantly have these discussions back to back, it really wears thin on you after a while. The humor is still really funny and there are a lot of great lines and moments throughout that can give you a laugh. Outside some areas, the writing in general is still top-notch.
Shun Saeki’s artwork is still very excellent and wonderful to look at. The characters are drawn well and easily distinguishable from one another, just having a really great amount of expression and emotion (a lot of which does help the humor at times). The layouts are great and put together well, making it easy to read and follow, even with all of the text and dialogue in the pages. The food and cooking still looks incredible and is downright mouthwatering thanks to the attention to detail. Now, the fanservice did jump up quite a bit in these two volumes, especially in the seventh when everyone is taste testing the food and there are multiple foodgasms at once. If you were hoping that the manga was starting to slow down on that, these volumes really ratchet up a lot and while these moments can be quite funny at times with how bizarre they are, it’s understandable if these moments don’t work for you like they do for others.
Oh, looks like Samara has moved on with her life and changed her name. Good for you videotape girl.
Food Wars! Shokugeki No Soma
Vol. 6 and 7 are enjoyable books by themselves, but are great to get together. While the exposition is overwhelming and the pacing struggles at times, this new direction the series is taking is exciting and engaging. I’m looking forward to the eighth volume for sure and where it goes next.
Food Wars! Shokugeki No Soma is available from Viz Media with the eighth volume coming out in October. The series is currently available in digital format and as each new chapter goes up in Japan, a new chapter becomes available to read here in Weekly Shonen Jump. There is a light novel of the series being released in Japan as well. An anime adaption is currently going on in Japan and has been licensed for an English release by Sentai Filmworks.