I had never read Food Wars! until volume 33, but I think I’m hooked for life. The blending of underdog heroes who cook so well they literally blow people’s minds is an exciting angle for storytelling, especially with food television being so popular. In the latest volumes of this series, the main characters are competing in an international food competition against a colorful set of villains who go work as team noir. Witness a woman who cooks with a chainsaw, a juggling clown who cooks with special balls, and more. It gets weird, it gets intense, and it’s all kinds of entertaining!
This volume opens where we left off with all the contestants required to make signature dishes only they could make. This puts extra focus on the Noir characters as they all have over the top methods of cooking to show off. The first is a woman who is armed with a special cooking chainsaw. Next up is the creepy clown with special spheres to juggle food in, and another has a special backup of syringes to inject stuff into the meat. If you haven’t guessed yet, this series is way over-the-top, and for the most part, it’s hilarious when it goes all-in with these ridiculous gadgets. The judges are helpful, too. These characters eat the food and practically orgasm from it since it’s so good. Artist Shun Saeki draws them in these dream-like states where their clothes are blown off by the deliciousness, or they’re already naked and writhing from the food. It helps that Yuto Tsukuda’s words hammer home the deliciousness via well-done descriptions of how the food tastes. I dare you not to get even a little hungry after reading this.
That goes for the art too, which typically depicts the food as glistening and delicious. Generally, characters are drawn realistically save for an over-the-top reaction shot straight out of anime. Techniques are also rendered well–some of which much harder than others–and you’ll be a believe these chefs are truly special thanks to that.
After the opening, there are two major head to head battles. One involves making a Christmas cake and the final battle is a team competition. The final battle involves crossdressing men which are depicted somewhat disrespectfully for laughs. Thankfully characters in the room don’t reflect poorly on their dress, but their demeanor is very exaggerated. These battles do very well to capture the art and beauty of the food being cooked.
There is good development of character in this volume. Soma Yukihira is the main character and we get to see his upbringing play a part in his win. That connects well with his father who is used to cut away from the action. Takumi Aldini is also featured quite a bit and he gets to show off a grater sword that’s pretty impressive.
I can’t tell you how much fun I had reading this book. More than once I felt compelled to read the rumination on the food to my girlfriend out loud since they were laugh-out-loud ridiculous. The visuals are great, too. I must admit, there is nothing else quite like Food Wars!.