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Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma, Vol. 22 Paperback – Import, 6 Feb 2018
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About the Author
Yuto Tsukuda won the 34th Jump Juniketsu Newcomers' Manga Award for his one-shot story Kiba ni Naru. He made his Weekly Shonen Jump debut in 2010 with the series Shonen Shikku. His follow-up series, Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma, is his first English-language release.
Shun Saeki made his Jump NEXT! debut in 2011 with the one-shot story Kimi to Watashi no Renai Soudan. Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma is his first Shonen Jump series
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Soma on the other hand, actually faced adversity and sees how much he still has to learn to be a good chef. Before now, Soma was sort of a boring hero, in that he never really lost. The only time he struggled was when he had a tough opponent but still handily beat her. And let's face it, we all knew he would beat Nikumi.
As the last volume ended and this one began, Soma was in real danger of expulsion because he was about to fail a test in the hellish do-or-die training camp. His experience as a chef/cook in the family diner, and his creativity, so beneficial to him up until now, were drawbacks here as he didn't know just what it took to create a buffet style meal.
Faced with the prospect of failure and Erina's taunting at the other table, Soma is near despair, until he remembers a childhood pep talk from his dad about handling stress and anxiety. He follows the tips and gets it together to plan and execute an incredible comeback. And boy, does the manga make desperate, fast-paced cooking look compelling and badass.
The contrast between Megumi and Soma was obvious and compelling. While humble (and far too much so to an unhealthy degree) Megumi had to learn self-confidence, the talented, confident, and experienced Soma had to learn that, well, he has a *lot* to still learn.
One aspect of Soma's character is highlighted, and that is that he holds no anger or such over his near-failure, but looks back on it as something that helped him to learn, which is good. He might be full of himself sometimes, but he does apply the same standards and philosophies of improvement, hard work, so on, to himself that he does to others. That is actually a refreshing side of him.
While we saw other characters, other than some peeks into the previous generation, there isn't much to see other than Soma and Megumi, and a little bit of the Aldini brothers and Nikumi. At least this is the case in terms of characterization. I mean, they were there, a bunch of characters were, but didn't do much. I know from spoilers that this will change. I look forward to seeing other characters fleshed out more, and to seeing some of the mystery of a certain photograph revealed.
Fun manga, good story, and hilariously well-done (not a purposeful pun) premise. Highly Recommended.
Rating: 5/5 Stars.
Food Wars! isn't the easiest manga out there to read, but few great mangas really are. There's a lot of dialogue and inner monologue on each page, and I usually put off reading Food Wars! for a month or two before I finally get around to it. I'm glad that I did finally read Vol. 5 (I bought it the week it came out, which was a month and a half ago). It's funny and inventive, a pleasure to read. ****3/4
I really like the characters, each brings their own thing and their interactions are educational.