Shokugeki no Souma – 06

Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -4 Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -14 Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -18

There was nothing useless about that meat.

I’m still on the fence with Shokugeki no Souma, even after six episodes.  I like it, and in fact I liked this ep quite a bit.  I know the manga does get better over time.  There’s also the fact that it airs on a day when I have nothing else on my plate anime-wise, which makes it a more attractive follow candidate.  But it doesn’t strike me as a show that’s terribly conducive to analysis – I don’t think Souma makes much secret of what it’s on about, and that’s one of the things that makes it enjoyable.

This week’s effort was thoroughly enjoyable, while illustrating the point.  We start out with some almost slice-of-life moments in Polaris Dorm, which while seemingly atypical for Souma are actually one of my favorite sides of the series.  Then we get some more manservice from Isshiki, this time tending the Polaris vegetable patch in a fundoshi (which barely covers his own patch).  Nothing remotely subtle going on here, but there’s a heartfelt quality to the goings-on at the dorm I really like – these people are genuinely fond of each other as well as sharing a common passion, and Isshiki is a pretty funny character in all his peculiarities.

The central conflict of Shokugeki is likewise impossible to mistake, given that the villains do everything but twirl their moustaches (which I’m sure they’d do if they weren’t so far all hot chicks).  The latest is the buxom Mito Ikumi (the two or three of you watching Tribe Cool Crew may take some amusement in the fact that Ishigami Shizuka also plays Haneru in that series – are there two more opposite characters on a resume?), who introduces us to the details Erina’s scheme to expand her empire by hounding and haranguing the less-powerful clubs into fighting hopeless shokugeki in order to try and save their meager holdings.  The latest in her sights is the Donburi Research Society (Donmono) headed by the hapless Konishi Kan’ichi (a very funny Kawada Shinji).

Here’s the thing about Souma – I almost feel guilty giving a damn about all this, because it could hardly be more broadly played.  Plucky sad sack poor kids being bullied by privileged ojou-samas with personalities from Hell?  Yet I do, and that’s the peculiar alchemy of this series’ cooking.  These snobs really are vile, and the good guys really genuinely likeable.  Konishi is a preposterous lump, with his half-severed pompadour, fits of depression and his obsession with rice bowls, but you can’t not feel for him.  And the food, as usual, is fabulous – and not just Nikumi’s A5 Wagyu, either.  Everybody knows a cheap cut of beef actually has more flavor than a princely prime cut – or at least, she’s about to find out.

“Shameless” is the word that ran through my mind watching this ep, manifesting itself in many ways.  From Isshiki’s exhibitionism to the Nikumi’s jiggling niku to the sledgehammer-subtle class warfare and most of the comedy, Shokugeki no Souma makes no apologies for what it is, and I think that’s the secret to why it works.  It’s not easy to balance on the line between straight and parody so consistently that you find yourself wondering over and over which one you’re watching, but this series does it about as well as any I can remember.

Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -7 Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -8 Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -9
Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -10 Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -11 Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -12
Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -13 Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -15 Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -16
Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -17 Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -19 Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -20
Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -21 Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -22 Shokugeki no Soum - 06 -23


  1. G

    I watch Tribe Cool J too ! It's harmlees fun and has some nice life lessons! But nice too see the VA doing good work on both.

    Yes Food wars is predictable to an extent ! Like you said it's get more interesting as it goes on ! Actually very intersting ! But the cookoffs are so much fun to watch!

    I agree with you that the Polar Srar Dorm is a unique but actually very homey! The dorm garden produces high quality vegetables! Also Megumi shined with her cooking to which Soma asked why can you do this in class!

  2. E

    I'm glad that Shokugeki is a comedy, if a show tried to play all those tropes straight I'd probably tear my hair out. Nikumi's jiggling boobs are usually the death throes of any show, but since she's a villain I more or less accept it because it makes her a lot more comedic and easy to hate with those unrealistic physics. Next episode should be really fun, can't wait.

  3. S

    "and easy to hate with those unrealistic physics"

    – She's a criminal!
    – A criminal? What laws did she break?
    – Well… the one of universal gravitation, for a start.

  4. E

    Kinda sad this sort of LN-wannabe thrash is among the most popular shonens these days. For a cooking show it doesn't even bother to do anything interesting with cuisine, aside from gross oversimplification, fixation with 'miracle ingredients' instead of technique(no, tenderising beef bourginon with honey isn't going to make it taste like honey and if it does, you added far too much and just ruined the dish) and an overall air of staggering ignorance.

    Kinda surprised you like the show Enzo, given your usual dislike of pandering fanservice shows.

  5. I think if you've read my posts (it doesn't sound as if you have to be honest) I've made it clear why I do sort of like Souma despite my issues with it. And as for the cooking side, sure it's an oversimplification – it's in WSJ. But as someone who cooks a fair bit, I can say I'm quite satisfied with the way the series approaches the technical side of things. They have a professional chef as a co-author, and from what I've seen even most critics of the series are generally OK with the cooking side.

  6. S

    I don't know why you classify this as LN-wannabe, this is following the script for every sports manga ever to a T. In this sense it's very manga-like. It has the fanservice elements of course but that's not something manga ever shied away from either… and as for the other elements of bad LN tripe – harem & bland overpowered protagonist – I'm ready to bet neither will be there. Female characters are there for fanservice but don't seem to all have the hots for the MC, and while Souma's still undefeated without effort it's because this is the typical introductory phase to a shounen, the "let's show off our protagonist" part. After that come the hardships, I'm pretty sure he's going to at least struggle (and at some point maybe also lose) in the future.

    Which doesn't mean this is a masterpiece or anything, it's a very cliché shonen with lots of fanservice and mostly worthy as a sort of guilty pleasure show, I just don't see the similarity with LNs. This wears its manga origin on its sleeve.

  7. C

    This episode was just a build-up for the next one, but so well-done, entertaining and fun, you can't help but love it. I thank God and whoever is penning the script that J.C. Staff is not rushing the pace with this show; it's flowing beautifully. For being a generic shounen MC, Soma is just too likeable.

  8. e

    Even the opening is already a good comedy. With a scene of Nikumi intimidating the pompadour guy, saying "Hey, are you going to do it with me or not~"
    And we saw close up pics of her meat.

Leave a Comment