Food Wars! Season 1 is proof that an over the top battle anime can be made out of anything, including cooking. The series follows main character Soma as he attends an elite cooking school. One important aspect of life at this school are the titular food wars, contests between chefs to see whose cooking is better.
These food wars are treated with the same dramatic weight as a battle between characters in an anime that is about fighting. This dramatic tone extends to cooking in general. Throughout the show the characters are constantly set challenges by their teacher that will result in their expulsion if they fail. Because of this every time we see a character cook the stakes are high.
The show has a main character in the form of Soma, and at first it looks like this character will take too much focus, to the anime's detriment. Food Wars! Season 1 avoids this in two ways. Firstly, Soma doesn't always win. The character always loses to his father, and he battles another chef to a tie more than once. Secondly, the show occasionally puts its focus on someone besides Soma. This results in Food Wars! ending its first season with a more fleshed out cast than it started it with. Occasionally Soma seems too good to be someone at a food school, but this is a side effect of the anime's focusing on the students proving they are already great, rather than being shown to learn.
The cooking itself is completely over the top. Any little flourish the characters might make is animated as dramatically as possible. When someone tastes food they really like, their reaction is extreme, and often sexual. Such scenes usually play out like overdrawn orgasm metaphors. This is usually bizarre enough to be funny, but it happens so frequently that it sometimes comes across as overdone. Seeing a character's clothes come off as they explain why they like someone's cooking starts to feel a bit routine a few episodes in. This is a problem that Food Wars! struggles with during the second third of this season.
The special features on offer here are typical for what can be expected of an anime release. There is the option to watch both the opening and closing animations without the credits. There are also previews of upcoming anime. These videos are a good way to check for potential shows to watch after Food Wars! Season 1.
Food Wars! Season 1 is bizarre. The characters and situations are constantly presented in an exaggerated fashion. It supports this with a strong set of characters. Underneath all the strange antics, Food Wars! is ultimately a show about a group of people who overcome constant challenges, and grow for the better.
Special Features: Clean opening animation/ Clean closing animation/ Also available from Sentai Filmworks
FOOD WARS! SEASON 1 / CERT: 15 / DIRECTOR: YOSHITOMO YONETANI / WRITERS: VARIOUS / STARRING: BLAKE SHEPARD, JAY HICKMAN, STEPHANIE WITTELS, BRITTNEY KARBOWSKI / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW