Title: Food Wars Volume 12
Author: Yuto Tsukuda
Publisher: Viz Media
Page count: 192
Genre: Comedy, Shonen
Publication Date:June 7, 2016
The highly climatic and exciting Fall Classic semifinals draw to a close with a three-way battle in the final round. The key ingredient chosen for this historic event is pike – an ingredient that calls to all three talents and interests of the contestants. However, pike is known for is difficulty in picking – the right fish can yield a delicious meal and one that is slightly off can ruin everything. With a strict time limit in place, what will Soma, Hayama, and Kurokiba create?
This volume really focuses on a part of Soma we didn’t see before – his weakness. Even until the very last page it is unclear if Soma has the ability to win the Fall Classic. If I had to choose a volume where our main character really develops and changes, I’d pick this one. In the previous 11 volumes, we saw an impulsive and brash cook who threw ingredients together on the spot and somehow made it work. With the main ingredient being pike – Soma now has to focus on quality, freshness, texture, and flavor. He always managed to skate by in previous challenges with cheap ingredients and tricks. With selecting pike, Soma is really at a loss. He doesn’t have the trained eye of his opponents and he is under pressure to figure out how to compensate. He still wants to win any way he can and through unorthodox methods he certainly does give it his all. The majority of this volume follows Soma to the fish market and to Polaris dorm, where he spends all of his precious time brainstorming and cooking. In good ol’ Soma fashion, he eventually picks the most unorthodox recipe he could come up with.
There really isn’t much to discuss in terms of the other characters as the spotlight is really on Soma in volume 12. Hayama and Kurokiba don’t even see Soma as a worthy opponent in this round because they know he can’t pick out a good pike. Instead of worrying themselves, they focus on defeating each other. Of course, forgetting Soma is in the fight as well could work to his advantage…
This volume was very educational. As always, the details about cooking in this volume are factual and can be looked up and verified. Through Soma’s struggle to pick out a good pike, readers can learn all about the dedication and detail that goes into a restaurant’s preparing of a fish based meal. Additionally, this is the one volume so far that suggests Soma can’t win.
After a few volumes, most series get repetitive and boring. While Food Wars is definitely formulaic and repetitive, it’s done in such a way that I’m still entertained with each volume. This series is definitely still worth checking out if you haven’t done so already. If you’re a foodie, I don’t know why you’re not reading this yet.
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**This item was provided for review.