Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma is a Shonen series written by Yūto Tsukuda and illustrated by Shun Saeki. The first volume published in 2012; however, Viz Media has given the manga a new bump in sales by promoting it heavily in the United States to celebrate its publication overseas.
Food Wars is about Sōma Yukihira, who dreams of becoming a full-time chef in his father’s low-key, Japanese restaurant. He also fantasizes about surpassing his father’s culinary skills. The first volume starts out with Sōma graduating from Middle School. He is excited at the prospect of using his new freedom to practice his culinary arts. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t work that way. While his father is away on business, a gang set on obtaining the land the family restaurant sits on tries to push them out through vandalism and other forms of harassment. Sōma literally fends them off with his amazing cooking skills. A little while later, Sōma learns that his father enrolled him in an elite culinary school. While he is in school his pops plans to serve up amazing dishes in New York City for high-profile clients. Sōma is immensely disappointed and is forced to temporary close the restaurant he just defended.
This culinary school is no ordinary high school. Less than 10% of the students graduate and Sōma must prove that his “low-bred” rural Japanese cooking can compete with the richest ingredients used by his peers in the culinary school from hell.
Food Wars is light-hearted and funny. Readers can learn a bit about Japanese cooking while laughing at scenes that depict food tasting as orgasmic rapture. Apparently, Sōma’s cooking is so good that it can rip your clothing off. I get hungry just by turning the pages. While this is an amusing and fun read, readers are reminded that the focus of this series is the growth and improvement of the young chef, who is often times arrogant or downright mean. Will he mature into a first-class culinary artist? Will he protect the honor of his family restaurant? Or will the odds be against him?
If you’re looking for something fun to get into, now is the time to check out Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma. Volume 2 publishes in the US October 7th, 2014.