Comic Book Spotlight of the Day: Food Wars! – Shokugeki no Soma Vol. 21 – December 2017 (Viz Media)

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TITLE: Food Wars! – Shokugeki no Soma Vol. 21

YEAR: December 2017 (USA Release)

COMPANY: Viz Media

Story by Yuto Tsukuda

Art by Shun Saeki

Contributor: Yuki Morisaki

With Azami Nakiri having taken over the Totsuki Institute as the new dean, his underlings are now trying to do all they can to get Soma and his friends (known as the Resistance Fighters) kicked out by putting up challenges that should be guaranteed to fail.

But for anyone knows Soma, he always finds a way.  But this time, they are to embark on the first two parts of their exams and in the first exam, Soma’s group must take part in a salmon challenge and are given bad salmon by Professor Hiroi.  With salmon season almost over and impossible to acquire fish that will meet the standards of the exam, does Soma’s team have any chance?

In the second exam, another professor puts up a noodle challenge.  But what happens when Soma’s team are “late” and all available noodles and no flour to make any noodles.  Can Soma’s team find a way to craft noodles for this challenge?

And just when you think the first two exams are tough, what happens when Soma and others find out that the third part of their exam is to take on a member of the Council of Ten?

All this and more in the 21st volume of “Shokugeki no Soma”!

What is “Food Wars! – Shokugeki no Soma” about?

In 2012, writer Yuto Tsukuda and artist Shun Saeki created their manga series “Shokugeki no Soma” which continues to be serialized in “Weekly Shonen Jump”.

The manga was voted #3 in the Nationwide Bookstore Employees “Recommend Comics of 2014” in Japan and voted #12 in the 2014 “Kono Manga ga Sugoi!” Top 20 Manga for Male Readers survey and continues to be a popular series in Japan.

With a total of eight tankobon volumes released in the U.S., Viz Media will be releasing the first manga volume titled “Food Wars! – Shokugeki no Soma” in North America in August 2014.

The series revolves around a young teen named Soma Yukihara who works for his father, chef Joichiro Yukihira, at their local restaurant.

Trained to cook at an early age and known for trying to combine various foods together as experiments, Soma has been known to cook dishes that make people feel they have tasted the best food ever to touch their tastebuds. But his goal is to someday beat his father in cooking.

But with landsharks trying to get control of the land to build condo units where the restaurant is located, one day while returning to the restaurant, everything inside is removed.

While Soma wants to rebuild, his father tells him that he will be closing the restaurant for two or three years to travel and as for Soma, he is enlisted in Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute where the elite of the elite attend and less than 10% of its students ever graduated.

But his father gives Soma a stern message, if he can’t make it at Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute, he will never beat him.

Determined to prove to his father that he can graduate as an elite cook, Soma is still looked down by his fellow students and faculty because unlike them, he is not wealthy and his family did not own a four or five star restaurant.

But Soma is determined to prove them wrong.

In volume 21, Soma and friends are part of the Resistance against Azami Nakiri, the new Dean of Totsuki Institute.  The Totsuki Institute are doing all they can to undermine Soma and friends.

And now with the exams kicking into full gear, Totsuki Institute professors loyal to Azami are going all out to make sure that things go bad for Soma and friends by making sure they are not getting the best ingredients or no ingredients.

Can Soma and friends find a way to pass their exams?

As a big fan of manga series about food and the culinary industry, “Food Wars! -Shokugeki no Soma” is a series that I absolutely enjoy.

For one, you have an antagonist that was cooking since he was young, often experimenting on different foods, even know that all his combinations are not always successful. But he also was brought up in a family restaurant and has to attend a school of elitist who think their food is the greatest and that they are more refined because they are wealthy.

So, it’s pretty awesome to see how far these people will put him down and until they eat his food, their reaction, and probably this may be the best word to describe their reaction to his food as “orgasmic”.

With the 21st volume, if you thought that Azami and the new Totsuki Institute professors were unfair and harsh, now it’s exam time and they are really trying to make sure that Soma and friends don’t pass.

But one thing that Soma and friends have proven, no matter the challenge, they find a way.

But with the first exam requiring fresh salmon and a second exam where all noodles are depleted and Soma and team must create noodles, what are they going to do?

This is where being creative and skill comes to play because Soma and friends must be on their A game to pass their exams!

For volume 21, the storyline by Yuto Tsukuda has been nothing short of enjoyable. This is a fun manga that left me craving for more and Shun Saeki’s artwork is energetic, fun and the more suggestive artwork that was seen in earlier volumes are not too extreme (in terms of fan service and sexuality).

Overall, “Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma” is a magnificent manga for those who love cooking, cooking competitions and underdogs faced with the challenges of taking on the top chefs at a prestigious cooking academy. Highly recommended!


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