Shokugeki no Soma is an anime series based on a manga of the same name written by Yūto Tsukuda and illustrated by Shun Saeki and with collaboration with real-life chef Yuki Morisaki. There are two seasons currently released, with season 2 aired in 2016, but it will not be reviewed in this column and will be getting its own soon. Season 1 contains 24 episodes and 2 OVAs, and now we shall get into the review!
The basic premise is set in the modern Japan where a school known as Tōtsuki Culinary Academy is held as being the forefront of Japanese Food Industry. Every single chef that has gone famous worldwide has graduated from the school. Now, a student, Yukihira Soma, who works in a casual dinner with his father becomes enrolled in the school when their diner closes down because of his father’s disappearance in his mysterious trip around the world. In the school, competition is fierce and plenty, and there exists an organisation known as Elite Ten, where they are basically kings of the school and gain controls and privileges to the school’s facilities and contacts with the culinary world in and outside of Japan. He strives to take the First Seat and along the way meets loyal friends and enemies/rivals.
Shokugeki no Soma uses bright colours palette for almost all of its scenes. The usage of such bright colours conforms to most current animes that also employ a similar style. However, Shokugeki has a unique art style that differs from the other animes. Its characters are pretty detailed, with eyes and hairs vary widely between characters. The same goes for the background scenes which are quite detailed as well, with a mix of watercolour and simple hard brush. What I like is the way all of these colours combine to form pleasing scenes to the eyes, and also makes certain scene quite flashy and cool.
Animation wise, there is limited use of CGI, with most scenes looked hand-drawn, which I prefer. It only uses CGI 3D effect when it’s absolutely necessary. Some scenes have pretty slick animation especially when it involves cooking, where the knife skills and cooking skills become flashy and bad-ass. With that said, there are not many actions, but this is understandable as it is not a battle manga (sort of).
Man, Shokugeki no Soma has lots of characters. However, the usage of colours and also hairstyles and body builds enable each character to be unique. This even applies to some more minor characters. Because of its distinct art style, each character is easily recognisable from a scene that is filled with many other characters. What I also love is the fact that almost all characters have different specialties, personalities and even some of their backstory. With each character possessing different weakness and strengths that cover up one another, this creates interesting interactions and also relationships between them, making this anime much more lively with genuine comedic and also bad-ass moments.
wise it’s a typical shonen type narrative of the character battling a stronger opponent until he reaches the First Seat. However, what sets this apart is how the ‘battle’ is actually an exaggerated cooking competition and there are so many real-life foods created that you actually start to learn about their existences from this anime. Also, the main character himself is already fairly powerful that can create many interesting dishes but also learns from his mistake. This makes him a more believable character that grows stronger from just friendship or shouting in anger etc. He actually learns from his past experiences to become stronger, which I heavily praised the story for.
Music wise there are some pretty suitable J-Pop and J-rock tunes that hype up the fights etc. But most of them are not truly memorable and even the openings are not particularly impactful. Thankfully, some of them enhance the several fighting and comedic moments to a certain extent.