First Impressions – Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara

There were certainly no beats missed with the return of Shokugeki no Souma.  It’s as if the series has never been away, and that’s a good thing because there’s nothing else out there quite like it.  Souma is loud, bright, brash, delicious and incredibly fun.  For the life of me I’ll never understand why this smart and sexy adaptation of a very popular manga tanked on disc, but fortunately the manga is the main concern here for the production committee and it remains highly successful.

That Ni no Sara is only one cour is a bit of a disappointment, and perhaps reflects that the manga didn’t receive a great sales boost, only a good one.  I suppose in light of that one can’t assume we’ll be seeing a full adaptation of the manga, though I certainly hope we do – it seems to put the onus on the audience to appreciate the series for however long it lasts.  Fortunately that’s easy to do – I’m pretty convinced that Shokugeki no Souma is both the most lavish and the most stylish series J.C. Staff has produced for TV, and if there’s been any cutting of the budget it certainly wasn’t apparent in this beautiful premiere.

We’re pretty much right where we left off – in the middle of the “Autumn Elections” arc.  And the first matchup is between Souma-kun and the redoubtable Nakiri Alice, a fierce and talented competitor and my favorite Nakiri.  Alice scored highest in the prelims, if you recall, but the draw for the finals doesn’t favor her – Souma is not the opponent you want in the contest built around bentos.

We’ve seen this basic formula before – Souma facing off against an opponent flashing superior technique and sophistication (in Alice’s case, certainly focused on the latter) but overcoming it with earthy, sneaky-smart practical brilliance and heart.  But as so often with Souma, it’s all in the execution.  If you’ve seen one shokugeki on this show you know basically how it goes, and the theatre of it never wears on me.  I love the erudite inventiveness of what Alice creates with her molecular gastronomy, especially contrasted with Souma’s levelled-up soul food, which always seems to get the point better than the opponent’s dish.  It’s great to have this series back, even if only for one season, and it’s a pleasure to see that it hasn’t lost an ounce of its appeal.

OP: “ROUGH DIAMONDS” by SCREEN mode

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5 comments

  1. T

    I’m so glad this show is back, although I really wish it was 2 cour. Was it just me or did the episode feel a little bit rushed? Maybe I should rewatch some episodes from S1 to get back into the swing of things again, but I felt some of the charm that I’m used to was lost with the fast pace. I feel like an episode like this would have been 1.5 – 2 episodes if it was paced like it was in S1.

  2. g

    Yeah, I felt the pace was faster than in S1 and I understand it as necessary – it has only 13 episodes but there wasn’t a build up to the match with Alice and frankly it felt little as she was some fodder and Souma breezed through it. I can understand they cut an extra chapter 61, even if Megumi again lost the most from the decision, but they cut the preparations both of Souma & Megumi, which made them look more hard workers and their strategies as carefully thought out.

  3. D

    I think my favorite part of the episode is when Senzaemon started to flex after he ate Soma’s bento. Makes me wonder if he does that every time he eats something good. If I had muscles like that,I know I would.

    And why are old men in anime always so buff?

  4. Seems like this one-cour season thing is getting fashionable, even Haikyuu!! is doing it so I wouldn’t be too worried.

  5. F

    I’m pretty convinced that Shokugeki no Souma is both the most lavish and the most stylish series J.C. Staff has produced for TV

    <<<<<< To me, Utena was both more lavish and more stylish than this.

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