By Dustin Cabeal
Bombshell, bombshell, bombshell… bombshell! There’s probably more than four bombshells in this volume, but you get the idea of just how important this volume is to the series. When last, we left Soma, he was facing off against the leopard tank top wearing douche in a rigged Shokugeki. Everything was on the line, but no true outcome insight.
Outside of the volume in which Soma faced off against Subaru, there hasn’t been a volume I’ve been dying to read as much as this one. Obviously for the series to go on there would need to be a favorable outcome to Soma, but how? The judges were bought, the house is being taken over by thugs, who the fuck does Soma win with chicken wings? The answer to that question won’t be found in this review because it was one of the most rewarding battles that have occurred in this series. It is hard to top it due to the amount of drama that’s tied to it, that and the food actually sounds amazing to eat which hasn’t been the case lately with this series. It’s been like watching Master Chef, sure some of the food looks good, but for the most part, you can see why they spent two seconds showing a judge eating it and moved on to something better. My point is that this dish is delicious.
Without spoiling the hell out of the story for you, there’s not much else to say about this volume. There is one story connection that is finally threaded together, but it’s reveal brings forth two new questions that will drive any reader mad. Especially since Soma’s carefree nature makes him uninterested in finding out the answers. Damn you, Soma, why can’t you give a damn about the drama!
The only thing that this volume lacks in is the set-up for the next volume. That doesn’t mean it’ll losing points in the grading because that’s the nature of the beast. Not every volume is going to find the perfect cliffhanger ending to tease the next volume. That and it could be personal taste that makes it difficult to care about sub-characters when they’re not facing Soma directly. The simple fact of the matter is, the cast is bloated and looks to get bigger as it dives headfirst into this new story arc.
The writing does remain sharp throughout the volume. The fine details that are revealed in this volume my not being dramatically revealed, but they are organic and fit the flow of the scene. It would be nice if the rest of the details were revealed sooner than later since it’s taken 18 volumes to connect one dot, but we’ll just have to wait and see. Unlike other Shonen newcomers that tend to blow through their reveals and focus on character development, Food Wars is still a bit old school in its formula and likes to draw things out. Which is okay as long as you get a volume like this sooner rather than later.
The artwork is also on point this volume. It’s clean, detailed and of course beautiful. The food still looks separated from the rest of the art in that it doesn’t match the true style of the rest of the world, but it’s 18 volumes later so nothing that can be complained about at this point. The only thing that’s starting to lack is the character designs. There’s a slew of new characters introduced at the end of the volume, and some of them are starting to feel a bit generic. Maybe that’s what the series needs though, generic bad guys rather than memorable rivals that become a part of Soma’s crew. Hell, even Subaru is at Soma’s beck and call, and he seemed like the perfect mid-card bad guy.
Food Wars will likely always be good to great. It’s hit its stride and really only time will tell if people are tired of its formula or not. That’s the only thing to judge at this point, is the formula holding up? The answer to that question can be found in the score.
Food Wars! Vol. 18
Story: Yuto Tsukuda
Art: Shun Saeki
Contributor: Yuki Morisaki
Publisher: Viz Media