Shokugeki no Souma – 03

Shokugeki no Souma - 03-9 Shokugeki no Souma - 03-14 Shokugeki no Souma - 03-23

You can’t spell “Shameless” without without the “SH” in “Shoukugeki”. Or something…

I’ll give J.C. Staff credit here, because they’re delivering the goods with Shokugeki no Souma for better and worse.  This is a studio known for faithful adaptations (along with Pierrot probably the most faithful on average, I’d say) and with a manga as popular as this one, they were smart enough to realize that no major tweaks were necessary to sell it to an anime audience.  Not only are there legions of manga fans, but the material is among the most anime-friendly of any series in WSJ.

That entails some frustrations for me, but they’re the same ones as with the manga so it’s no discredit to the anime.  The characters are generally stock (and not soup stock, either), flat-out archetypes we’ve seen a thousand times before.  The plot is cliched and utterly unsubtle.  But the extent to which Shokugeki carries out these cliches is part of what saves it, because it ranges into the realm of satire a lot of the time.  That, and the fact that it delivers the goods in terms of pure sensory delights.  Shamelessly.

The waifu wars are already raging hard among viewers of the anime, just as they did when the manga started.  Having introduced the ultimate vile tsuntsun stereotype in Erina, Shokugeki now (naturally) gives us her diametric opposite – the mild, shy, nervous and timid Tadokoro Megumi (Takahashi Minami).  She’s certainly no less a trope than Erina, but for me at least a lot easier to like.  She’s a small-town girl gone to the big city to try and make her village proud (yet another chestnut), and always on the verge of flunking out.  She’s almost as aghast as Erina at Souma’s appearance during the orientation, and vows to avoid any contact with him so she can lay low – so naturally, they’re assigned as partners in Souma’s very first class.

Erina and Megumi stand as markers on either extreme of the character spectrum, with the rest of the cast destined to take places somewhere in-between. The French cooking class with Roland Chappelle (Mizushima Yuu) – the “teacher that never smiles” – is pretty predictable.  Souma has no idea how to make Beef Bourguignon but is fully confident in his ability to wing it.  A couple of resentful fellow students sabotage the dish, forcing Souma to adjust on the fly – and in the process he makes a dish even more delectable (using protease-rich honey to tenderize and flavor the meat quickly).  The chef is impressed as hell, and the saboteurs flunk.

Here’s the thing, though – when you order an item off a menu at a restaurant, do you complain when you get what you ordered?  No – not if it’s prepared well.  And as with cooking, even with mediocre raw ingredients you can deliver a pleasant anime dish if the execution is good enough.  All of the food porn sequences, the exacting detail of the cooking process itself, Souma’s relentlessly unruffled badassery – it’s very well-executed, and occasionally even inspired.  I think in that way this series is quite like the humble teishoku-ya Souma’s family ran – the menu may be humble and familiar, but the experience itself is surprisingly pleasant.  The hardest thing for me is dealing with the borderline LN-level cliches, but ultimately I think the final product is good enough to suffer through.

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Shokugeki no Souma - 03-13 Shokugeki no Souma - 03-15 Shokugeki no Souma - 03-16
Shokugeki no Souma - 03-17 Shokugeki no Souma - 03-18 Shokugeki no Souma - 03-19
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Shokugeki no Souma - 03-25 Shokugeki no Souma - 03-26 Shokugeki no Souma - 03-27


  1. i

    This sums up Shokugeki no Souma: "…the menu may be humble and familiar, but the experience itself is surprisingly pleasant."
    I can only repeat that J.C. Staff is delivering in the execution by being faithful to the manga.

    Thank you for the post, Enzo!

  2. f

    last time i liked a JC staff work was 2 years ago with railgun s, it's good that they're rolling again wiht souma

  3. Z

    The last time I liked a J.C. Staff series was in 2003.

  4. C

    Waifu wars? Please, the best waifu has been present since episode 1 and that's Soma.

    As a manga reader, the best part of the episode was seeing the soon-to-be familiar faces of the lovable cast scattered throughout the ceremony audience.

  5. D

    If it really weren't for Soma, I wouldn't be watching this series or reading the manga. I don't like the female characters, but Soma is very badass and so much charisma that it's quite contagious. I loved his speech and how he presented himself during the ceremony. It's scenes like that that keep me around.

  6. S

    There is another plus to this anime compared to other shounen though. Yesterday evening I tried "Roast Pork – Just Kidding!" for dinner (the dish from ep.1). Even with my modest cooking abilities, and without any true recipe other than a few pages of manga, it wasn't half bad – I especially enjoyed the red wine, soy and butter sauce. So yeah, at least there's something useful to be learned here and there XD.

  7. R

    I've actually tried making a few of the recipes from the manga (which does have little short cooking corner like pages with the recipe and instructions written) and have been generally very happy with them. I can't cook to save my life so that's an accomplishment.

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