Saturday, December 19, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: FOOD WARS! Volume 34


STORY: Yuto Tsukuda
ART: Shun Saeki
TRANSLATION: Adrienne Beck
CONTRIBUTOR: Yuki Morisaki
LETTERS: James Gaubatz; Mara Coman
EDITOR: Jennifer LeBlanc
ISBN: 978-1-9747-1171-0; paperback (February 2020); Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”
192pp, B&W, $9.99 US, $12.99 CAN, £6.99 UK

Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma is a shonen manga series written by Yuto Tsukuda and illustrated by Shun SaekiYuki Morisaki also works as a contributor, providing the recipes for the series.  Food Wars! was serialized in the Japanese manga magazine, Weekly Shonen Jump, from November 2012 to June 2019.  VIZ Media published an English-language edition of the manga as a paperback graphic novel series from August 2014 to June 2020 under two imprints:  first, “Shonen Jump Advanced” and then, “Shonen Jump.”

Food Wars! focuses on teenager Soma Yukihira.  He grows up cooking in his father's Yukihira Family Restaurant.  The 15-year-old wants to be a better chef than his father, Joshiro Yukihira (Saiba), so he hones his skills day in and day out.  His father decides to enroll him in a classy culinary school, Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute, a place that prides itself on a 10 percent graduation rate.  If Soma Yukihira really does not want to attend Totsuki, how can he succeed?

As Food Wars!: Shokugeki No Soma, Vol. 34 (Chapters 291 to 299; entitled “Crossed Knives”) opens, the “Blue,” a world-renowned cooking tournament for the best of the best young chefs from around the world, continues.  This year, for the first time, traditional chefs will clash with the “underground noir” (or “cuisiniers noir”) chefs.  Soma, eager for a rematch with the noir, Asahi Saiba, who defeated him, heads to a certain famous old castle in a famous city where the event will be held.

Much to the chagrin of the noirs, some traditional chefs have survived the “three gates” challenges and are now in the finals.  They are Totsuki's brightest:  Soma, Megumi Tadokoro, and Takumi Aldini, as well as recent Totsuki graduate, Eishi Tsukasa.  They are joining their classmate, Erina Nakiri, who got to skip the early stages of the “Blue” because of her past achievements.

Now, these traditional young chefs must take on the “freakishly” talents noirs.  First up, Soma faces “Sarge” of the cuisiniers noir!

[The volume includes recipes and miscellaneous illustrations and two side-stories (“Treated Like a Child?” and “A Christmas Recipe”) and a bonus short, “Yukihara the Diligent.”]

THE LOWDOWN:  The Food Wars! manga races towards its conclusion.  The narratives continues to delve into the mysteries of the “cuisiniers noir.”

Food Wars!: Shokugeki No Soma Graphic Novel Volume 34 is pure shokugeki shonen battle manga.  Writer Yuto Tsukuda and artist Shun Saeki offer some of their most surreal and oddly crazy cooking battles to date.  It is hard to tell, though; this manga has always been packed with crazy cooking competition, but Vol. 34 offers a baker's twist.

Adrienne Beck's translation keeps up with the crazy, and letterers James Gaubatz and Mara Coman create the fonts for the unusual declarations of these unusual battles.  Dish by dish, Food Wars! continues to be both a unique and an entertaining reading experience.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Readers hungry for good manga will want the “Shonen Jump” title, Food Wars!: Shokugeki No Soma.

9 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for syndication rights and fees.


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