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Food Wars! – Shokugeki no Soma Vol. 1 (Story by Yuto Tsukuda and Art by Shun Saeki) (a J!-ENT Manga Review)

August 17, 2014 by  



foodwars-1

“Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma” vol. 1 has turned out to be one of the enjoyable first volume manga which I have read in 2014. It has fascinating character, a great storyline and artwork and I’m looking forward to volume 2! Highly recommended!

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© 2012 by Yuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki. All Rights Reserved.

MANGA TITLE: Food Wars – Shokugeki no Soma Vol. 1

STORY AND ART BY: Story by Yuto Tsukuda and Art by Shun Saeki

FIRST PUBLISHED IN JAPAN: SHUEISHA, Inc.

PUBLISHED IN USA BY: VIZ Media, LLC/Shonen Jump Manga

RATED: T for Older Teen

RELEASE DATE: August 5, 2014

Soma Yukihira’s old man runs a small family restaurant in the less savory end of town. Aiming to one day surpass his father’s culinary prowess, Soma hones his skills day in and day out until one day, out of the blue, his father decides to enroll Soma in a classy culinary school!

Can Soma really cut it in a place that prides itself on a 10 percent graduation rate? And can he convince the beautiful, domineering heiress to the school that he belongs there at all?!

In 2012, writer Yuto Tsukuda and artist Shun Saeki created their manga series “Shokugeki no Soma” which continues to be serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump”.

The manga was voted #3 in the Nationwide Bookstore Employees “Recommend Comics of 2014” in Japan and voted #12 in the 2014 “Kono Manga ga Sugoi!” Top 20 Manga for Male Readers survey and continues to be a popular series in Japan.

With a total of eight tankobon volumes released in the U.S., Viz Media will be releasing the first manga volume titled “Food Wars! – Shokugeki no Soma” in North America in August 2014.

The series revolves around a young teen named Soma Yukihara who works for his father, chef Joichiro Yukihira, at their local restaurant.

Trained to cook at an early age and known for trying to combine various foods together as experiments, Soma has been known to cook dishes that make people feel they have tasted the best food ever to touch their tastebuds.  But his goal is to someday beat his father in cooking.

But with landsharks trying to get control of the land to build condo units where the restaurant is located, one day while returning to the restaurant, everything inside is removed.

While Soma wants to rebuild, his father tells him that he will be closing the restaurant for two or three years to travel and as for Soma, he is enlisted in Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute where the elite of the elite attend and less than 10% of its students ever graduated.

But his father gives Soma a stern message, if he can’t make it at Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute, he will never beat him.

Determined to prove to his father that he can graduate as an elite cook, Soma is still looked down by his fellow students and faculty because unlike them, he is not wealthy and his family did not own a four or five star restaurant.

But Soma is determined to prove them wrong.

As a big fan of manga series about food and the culinary industry, “Food Wars! -Shokugeki no Soma” is a series that I absolutely enjoy.

For one, you have an antagonist that was cooking since he was young, often experimenting on different foods, even know that all his combinations are not always successful.  But he also was brought up in a family restaurant and has to attend a school of elitist who think their food is the greatest and that they are more refined because they are wealthy.

So, it’s pretty awesome to see how far these people will put him down and until they eat his food, their reaction, and probably this may be the best word to describe their reaction to his food as “orgasmic”.

Literally, Shun Saeki draws these characters in so much pleasure that it’s rather humorous and possibly why the manga series is rated for Older Teens.

While the concept of cooking manga series has been around for decades in Japan, the fact is that there are only a few that have been released in America.  “Oishinbo” by Tetsuya Kariya and Akira Hanasaki is one of the most popular cooking series of all time as it details a writer for a food magazine and also son of a notable food critic (who he does not get along with).

You also have “Toriko” but the cuisine is more fantasy than realistic.  “Yakitate” which focuses on bread.  And of course, there are cooking manga series popular in Japan such as “Cooking Papa”, “The Antique Bakery”, “Kitchen Palette”, “Kitchen Princess” to name a few.

But “Food Wars! -Shokugeki no Soma” has a fascinating way of combining the underdog storyline that we often see in sports manga series, bringing it to a cooking storyline but also add a few features that are not too mature but suggestive.

While Soma is the main character, you also have characters such as Erina Nakiri, the food critic that has the “God’s Tongue” and her review can easily destroy the career of any chef.  And as part of the Elite 10 of Soma’s school, she has tried her best to get him disqualified because of his status but each time she has tried his food, she is even surprised by Soma’s talent but also his carefree attitude.

You also have Megumi Tadokoro, who came up in last place in the Institute’s high school advancement exam and has partnered with Soma and her fear of getting expelled due to her number of bad grades, has put her on the edge.  But she learns that being partnered with Soma is not so bad after all.

The storyline by Yuto Tsukuda has been nothing short of enjoyable.  This is a fun manga that left me craving for more and Shun Saeki’s artwork is energetic, fun and also suggestive (which I suppose is subjective to the individual).

Overall, “Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma” vol. 1 has turned out to be one of the enjoyable first volume manga which I have read in 2014.  It has fascinating character, a great storyline and artwork and I’m looking forward to volume 2!  Highly recommended!

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