‘Food Wars‘, or Shokugeki no Souma, as the title suggests, is all about food battles, foodgasms and a whole lot of food porn. From the very beginning, ‘Food Wars’ has followed a rather clichéd linear shounen-based storyline where the characters battle against one another to be the best. But what makes this anime incredibly amazing is its strange yet entertaining depiction of food and also, the reaction of the characters to food. With its delicious meals and even more appealing recipes, ‘Food Wars‘ is more like a satirical shounen that will certainly make you crave all the food that is being portrayed.
Produced by J.C Staff, the first two seasons of the anime have all the promised mouthwatering action that the show can offer and along with all of that, even the character development in both is quite appreciable. But, for me personally, with the first two seasons, the anime was starting to get a bit too repetitive with its standard approach where, Soma, the main character, would face new opponents and usually win in an ultimate cook-off. But that’s when season 3 dropped in and changed everything. ‘Food Wars’ now has an actual antagonist who poses a real threat to not just the protagonist, but to everyone around him as well. So overall, it seemed like the anime was at the peak of its true potential with season 3 but now that season 4 is out, let’s look what new does the show have to offer.
In season 3, Soma manages to rattle the new corrupt foundations of Tootsuki Academy that are being ruled by the renowned Elite Ten and bands an ultimate team of his own allies to fend off the rule of Azami’s regime. Over the past few seasons, we have seen several intense Shokugeki between the characters of the series but season 3 ends with the most epic food battles between the Elite Ten and the Team Rebel. Surprisingly, Season 3 ends on a very good note where the first two battles of the tournament are won by Team Rebel, but they are still far away from being free from the nefarious Azami.
Season 4 Episode 1 starts off with a tiny introduction to what has happened previously and with some foreshadowing in context with Megishima’s character—who later becomes a part of Team Rebel—the anime brings in its new opening theme. The episode starts right off with the portrayal of the growing tension between the two teams where Team Rebel is busy strategizing on there next move. Meanwhile, the members of the Elite Ten seem to be more pressurized than ever because of their first two loses. Without wasting any more time, the tournament ensues and the characters who will be battling one another are introduced. Megishima will be facing Kobayashi Rindo from the Elite Ten, who is the second seat holder; Mimasaka will be facing Saito, a fourth seat holder; and Kuga will be competing against the very best of the Elite–Tsukasa Eishi.
The rest of the episode focuses on the battle between Megishima and Kobayashi where the two of them have to use Cayenne Pepper as an ingredient to prepare their respective dishes. While Kobayashi decides to prepare something with alligator meat, Megishima sticks to his own specialization of Ramen. Both establish their unique skills of cooking, scaling, skimming, trimming and slashing and while they’re at it, the spectators can’t help but admire their expertise.
First things first. When it comes to the animation style and quality of this season, everything is exactly the same; which is obviously a good thing. J.C Staff has always done a great job with the series and its good to see that it is still maintaining the same consistency. What I truly loved about this episode is that it wastes no time with recap fillers or any other unnecessary story arcs. It instead dives right into all the action that makes it so amazing. The first thing that most viewers will notice about this season is, of course, its opening theme. The current opening is easily the best compared to all of its predecessors and I will certainly not be skipping it for atleast the next 5 episodes.
With season 4, ‘Food Wars’ brings in recipes that seem even more complicated where competitors have to rely on core ingredients such as green tea and Cayenne peppers to prepare dishes. This just makes everything more intense and for obvious reasons, more enjoyable. While the previous seasons had a very linear storyline, season 4 has taken a distinctive approach where it attempts to shift between timelines.
As mentioned in the Recap section, the anime does some initial foreshadowing with respect to Megishima’s character but never truly reveals how he became a part of the Rebels. After establishing the right atmosphere for the battle between Megishima and Rindo, it takes you back to the part where Soma challenges Megu and somehow convinces him to give up on his idea of peace. This approach brings in a sense of mystery to the anime and also makes it a lot more interesting to watch.
Everything else, from the process of cooking to the bizarre fan service to the character development, is all pretty much the same as the other seasons. The episode ends the battle midway with an amazing undertone of “Good vs Evil”. It is looking more and more now that season 4 could potentially be the best one yet.
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