Publisher: Viz Media
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Volume 14 is packed with excitement. After passing the first stagiaire challenge he’s faced with a new assignment. The next restaurant he is sent to happens to be a new Tokyo spot prepping for its grand opening. It is owned by none other than former first seat Shinomiya, whom readers will remember from the unsanctioned shokugeki. Obviously, Soma is beyond excited to intern at the new restaurant. Unfortunately, he discovers that the kitchen is run like nothing he has seen before. As a result, he asks too many questions and falls behind when it’s time to serve. Soma cannot keep up with demand of this kitchen. Of course, he finds a way to adapt after losing sleep to studying the techniques he needs to survive in Shinomiya’s kitchen. This challenge is only a foreshadowing for the trials ahead at Totsuki Institute.
The first half of this volume is truly scary for both the reader and our hero. Soma is drowning in a kitchen meant for the best. I knew he would pull through because failure would result in expulsion. 14 volumes in I must admit that formula is getting stale. Yes, it’s still exciting to watch him and survive in intense situations. As usual he’s capable of absorbing information and growing as a chef. I still enjoy reading about different cooking techniques that he learns along the way. The suspense is still there but at the same time you just know he’s going to make it. The only time he loses is when there is no risk involved. There is simply no way he’s going to get kicked out of the institute. That said, something needs to be added to the series so that it is less predictable.
I really think the stagiaire challenges are a great new way to challenge Soma and the rest of his cohort. The future of his studies are no longer dependent on winning a shokugeki. Instead, Soma must survive in real life situations that represent possible encounters in the real world after graduation. So far Soma has worked in two very different restaurants – one that was failing but had free-spirited and open minded staff, and another filled with elites who work in intense, high pressure situations. I really enjoyed watching Soma suffer and adjust to Shinomiya’s kitchen. The biggest challenge for Soma wasn’t cooking, but discovering how he could adapt and find his place in a kitchen where he was unwelcome. At the end, Soma develops greatly by discovering a sense of self in his cooking. Although the formula in this series is getting old, I still recommend it to anyone who is looking for a foodie oriented manga. It is still enjoyable despite the predictability.
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**This item was provided for review.