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Food Wars! (Shokugeki No Soma) Volume Five and Six – Review

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Madman Entertainment continue to roll out fantastic releases each and every month, but none more exciting than that of Food Wars! (Shokugeki No Soma). Why though? Not only is it a fantastic Shonen Anime that somehow relates the culinary world with that of a treacherous battlefield…but Madman are releasing two volumes at a time! Don’t you get what this means? It means we’re getting double the usual amount of Food Wars! media which means I’m spending double the time being engulfed by this fantastic series.

Calling it a “fantastic series” shouldn’t be too much of a review-spoiler by now seeing as I’ve already critiqued each and every volume up until this point in time and have loved it all the way. We’re now up to volumes five and six; a pair of volumes that, together, perfectly set up the coming arc which I’m lead to believe wont come and go as all the others have done in the past. This is the calm before the proverbial storm…and it isn’t even that peaceful. I guess that’s why it’s called Food Wars!

The assignment is to invent a new dish worthy of appearing on the high-class Totsuki Resort’s breakfast menu. To create their dishes, Soma and his friends use the combined knowledge and confidence they’ve gained while at the cooking camp to individually pass the challenge – everyone, that is, except for Soma! Having made a critical error, he finds himself behind with little time left. What can he do to overcome his biggest hurdle yet?! – Volume Five

The contestants for the Totsuki Institute’s annual Fall Classic have been chosen! A decades-old event, the Fall Classic has been the grand stage for fierce cooking battles for years. The chosen participants, each aiming to be crowned winner, begin their training! But as they do, someone special visits Polaris Dorm. – Volume Six

At this point in time, saying literally anything specific about the more recent events of the series would be giving away critical sections of the story that would most likely ruin your personal experience of the Manga, so I’ll try my darnedest not to wreck what has become one of the most popular Manga series’ in recent times.

Volumes five and six continue in much the same way as volumes one through four: The story, as in any good Manga, has continued evolving alongside the characters within it. What makes Food Wars! great is that writer, Yuto Tsukuda, has continued to keep things fresh while still maintaining themes similar to the beginning of the Manga. This gives Food Wars! an odd level of understandability, with audiences comprehending each and every single situation without feeling as though they’ve seen this before or that they can guess what exactly comes next…just like cooking. I’ve eating Spaghetti Bolognese a thousand times in my life, but when it comes to trying someone’s personal recipe, one that I’ve not tried before, I understand that it will be similar to what I’ve tasted in the past…but not quite the same, which gives the experience an air of the unknown. It’s a strange contradiction to attach to this series but I believe it’s one that makes a lot of sense if you just ponder it.

Together, volumes five and six take the story of Food Wars! through three different arcs: It ends one, begins another, and then sets up a third. All of which, may I add, blend into one another almost seamlessly. The way the story has been written, there’s no way the arc at the end of the volume pair could have been introduced if it wasn’t for the short arc that came before it, and the arc that was left over from volumes three and four had to come to a natural end for their to be the intermediate arc, so yeah…it all just felt right!

The one thing I didn’t like about volumes five and six was that it was sometimes far too busy to be able to properly digest. This is also the fault of series illustrator Shun Saeki who is in charge not only of the drawing present in Food Wars!, but the visual layout of the series as a whole. Often, pages were filled to the brim with a great deal of information and overlapping visuals that made this Manga very hard to read, often leading me to put the book down so as to rest and rejuvenate; something you shouldn’t need to do while reading through a Manga.

Thankfully, Shun Saeki’s overall illustration mastery made the rest of the Manga such an enjoyable one to read through…as always. Since the very first volume of the series, Saeki has proven that he is the perfect artist for this series. Not only does he draw in a similar fashion to many other Shonen Jump artists, he also understands how to illustrate incredibly impactful cooking scenes that come across more as battles then they do as simple food preparation.

Food Wars! has been such an enjoyable Manga series, starting from the very first volume. It’s never had a huge dip in quality, always getting better and better, and it continues to keep me excited month after month. The issue of page crowding is one that did irk me considerably, but it thankfully wasn’t a constant issue, with many of the chapters being quick and easy reads that allow the audience to glide through the Manga with full comprehension of just what is going on. Look, Food Wars! is a brilliant Manga that has found it’s home at Shonen Jump and, unless some drastic shift in tone happens to befall it, I can’t imagine it will be loosing steam anytime soon. It’s never too late to jump on board and experience a Manga, so don’t wait any longer than you have to.

Volume Five: Click Here

Volume Six: Click Here

Grade: B+

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