Review: Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma Vol 14

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Soma Yukihira’s old man runs a small family restaurant in the less savory end of town. Aiming to one day surpass his father’s culinary prowess, Soma hones his skills day in and day out until one day, out of the blue, his father decides to enroll Soma in a classy culinary school! Can Soma really cut it in a place that prides itself on a 10 percent graduation rate? And can he convince the beautiful, domineering heiress of the school that he belongs there at all?!

81v9owd7ttlHaving passed the first challenge of the stagiaire program, Soma moves on to his next assignment—working for Totsuki Institute graduate and former first seat Shinomiya at his brand-new Tokyo restaurant! Excited by the challenge, Soma dives into the assignment hoping to find new ways to improve his cooking. But the way Shinomiya runs his kitchen is unfamiliar to Soma—only the best of the best stand a chance of keeping up! Does Soma have what it takes to pass this next challenge?

Of all the places Soma could have been sent for his final stage of the Stagiaire, it had to be Shinomiya’s Tokyo restaurant. Things are not going to be easy for Yukihira. Prior to the big opening, Shinomiya does several pre-open days to perfect the menu prior to the official opening. Yukihira learns quickly that the pace here is far beyond anything he has dealt with so far.

Yukihira’s poor performance prompts Shinomiya to warn him that he should probably leave. If he cannot change quickly he will not remain until the final day of the pre-opening. Shinomiya’s other chefs ask why he won’t give Yukihira any advice, but he won’t share with them the real truth. When they come in the next day Yukihira hadn’t slept but had all the pre-work done and ready for the day much to everyones surprise.

An entirely new Yukihira had appeared and managed to keep up with every request in the kitchen, earning himself high praise from almost everyone. The final day comes and Yukihira has made it this far but in order to pass he must still come up with his own dish, something uniquely his. After the final customers leave, some current and former teachers from the school arrive to try out the new menu and decide to stick around to taste test the new items created as part of the contest.

Some of the teachers remember Yukihira and the challenge he had against Shinomiya, but everyone attempts to keep that from Shinomiya’s mentor and the others in the kitchen. Its the reason he knew Yukihira would be able to survive this long. A boy who no matter how many times he lost only become more determined to win. Yukihira’s recipe is revealed and everyone is in awe of the unique mix of french cuisine and some elements from the Shokugeki against Shinomiya.

Shinomiya is a bit too proud to say that the dish is good enough to be on his menu. So instead he offers to give Yukihira advice on how he would do the same dish, advice Yukihira welcomes eagerly. And it was with that and the fact that the modified dish made it on the menu of Shino’s Tokyo, that Yukihira passes the final stage of Stagiaire.

I love the dynamic that Shinomiya and Yukihira now have. In a lot of ways Shinomiya finally respects him and requests he take the top seat or it would look bad on his restaurant. The chapter ends with Yukihira and the others who passed going to a meet and greet with the current top ten seats of the school. Not at all shocking is the fact that Yukihira challenges all of them.

The anime also left off here, but before they meet the top 10 seats. That has me a bit concerned on whether they will continue the anime for another cour. However, the anime is very popular as is the manga so chances are still good they will continue it. They will need to wait for a few more volumes to come out but they have plenty of material.

This series is incredibly fun and addicting for a cooking manga. Whether its the actual recipes in the manga or the camaraderie among all the students. The moment I finish each volume I quickly go and watch the anime to hold me over until the next one comes out. With the second season over and the next volume not out until December, I am going to have to wait awhile sadly.

Food Wars Vol 14 lands on October 4th. Pickup your copy on Amazon.com

Robert Prentice