By Dustin Cabeal
Hey, remember the Fall Classic? When Soma was up against Subaru? Yeah, this is pretty much the same thing. The entire issue is dedicated to the build-up of the battle between Soma and Akira. Granted, the build-up isn’t much of the story because Yuto Tsukuda really likes spending a lot of time with the cooking and the judges.
The first part is Soma and his new best frenemy looking for a bear to shoot. They won’t do the shooting, but the guide they’ve paid will kill them a bear. They don’t find a bear, but the trip isn’t a complete waste, as Soma, of course, finds his dish. After that, we learn who the judges are, and there is, of course, a nice twist there. Let’s just say that they keep it in the family. Once the competition starts they beginning making it seem like Soma is going to lose, but we learn that it’s just one leg of the judging. The outcome should be pretty obvious, but like most things in Food Wars, it’s the journey and the character development that matter.
Frankly, Akira can go to hell. His character ran its course with this storyline and hopefully they’ll give him a nice long break or do what they did with the Aldini bros and just have them be in the background here and there. Soma, on the other hand, is finally making great steps towards being a great chef. The reliance on gimmicks and snack food was getting a little old, but now they’re breaking it up and making it interesting to see what he cooks. I will say that you can skim most of this volume. If you’ve read the previous twenty-one volumes of Food Wars, you can glean the big spots in the story and be safe reading just those spots. The rest is just the hyperdetailed cooking explanation that you either love or hate by now. I’m more on the hate side as it’s never that damn interesting.
The artwork is of course wonderful. Shun Saeki is a marvelous talent and manages to make both people and food look great. The kids still look way too old, but hey that’s an industry problem and not one that this group is likely to care to solve. I don’t know where contributor Yuki Morisaki is working, but they’re obviously delivering stellar work as well.
It’s a find volume. If it didn’t bear (pun intended) so many similarities to the Subaru volume I would even give it a perfect score, but ultimately the journey feels repeated. If it wasn’t for the ridiculous judges and supporting characters, it would have been average but combined, and it works. Here’s to a quick ending to this round of battles, but something tells me we’re going to get at least another volume of Elite battles. Hopefully, they’re not dull because they’re not all going to have hilarious judges to save them.
Food Wars! vol. 22
Story by Yuto Tsukuda
Art by Shun Saeki
Contributor Yuki Morisaki