Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma is a Japanese shōnen manga series written by Yūto Tsukuda and illustrated by Shun Saeki. Yuki Morisaki also works as a Contributor, providing the recipes for the series. Individual chapters have been serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump since November 26, 2012, with tankōbon volumes being released by Shueisha. As of May 2018, 29 volumes have been released in Japan. The series is licensed by Viz Media, who has been releasing the volumes digitally since March 18, 2014, and released the first volume in print on August 5, 2014.
The manga began as a one-shot in Shueisha’s Weekly Shounen Jump in April 2012 and then began as a series in November 2012. The first tankōbon volume was published on April 4, 2013. As of October 2018, thirty-one volumes have been published. Viz Media has licensed the manga for North America and published the first volume on August 5, 2014.
Teenager Soma Yukihira aspires to become a full-time chef in his father Joichiro’s family restaurant and surpass his father’s culinary skills, but Joichiro gets a new job that requires him to travel around the world, and closes his shop. Joichiro has Soma enroll in Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute, an elite culinary school where students engage in food competitions called shokugeki (anime: food war). He secures himself a spot at the school, despite the objections of Erina Nakiri, the talented granddaughter of the school’s dean. Soma is assigned to Polaris Dormitory where he meets other aspiring chefs, including Megumi Tadokoro. The story follows his adventures as he interacts with his peers and challenges Totsuki’s students as well as others in shokugeki competitions. Learning that his father was not only a student of Totsuki, but also the second seat in the Council of Ten; Soma plans on becoming the best at the academy.
Soma and the other first-year students participate in a cooking camp judged by the school’s alumni that expels about a third of the entering class. He enters the Fall Classic, a competition that takes the top 60 first-year students, pares them down to eight students who then compete in a single elimination tournament. The first-years then participate in week-long stagiaire internships at local restaurants, as well as a large-scale school-wide Moon Festival. When Erina’s father Azami takes over the school, Soma and Erina form a rebel faction to challenge the establishment.
Characters and Setting
The series is set mainly at Totsuki Saryo Culinary Institute, an elite culinary school located in Tokyo, Japan, which only a handful of students graduate each year. Its students mostly come from Totsuki’s junior high school, but transfers are taken provided they pass the entrance exam. The campus is a wide-ranging resort with many research societies (clubs); cooking classrooms, and large arenas used for competitions. Housing varies, but the most affordable is the Polaris Dormitory, where characters have to impress the dorm matron with a dish in order to secure residence. Totsuki also runs a chain of resort hotels; with the biggest being the Totsuki resort; run by Gin Dojima, which is visited during the course of Soma’s first year at Totsuki.
The top student chefs occupy seats on the Council of Ten Masters. Students can initiate a shokugeki with any other student or alumni; a cooking fight with stipulations on the line. Battles fought in this way could be for cooking utensils, research society facilities, council membership, or even expulsion from the school.
It was number twelve on the 2014 Kono Manga ga Sugoi! Top 20 Manga for Male Readers survey and it was number three in the Nationwide Bookstore Employees’ Recommended Comics of 2014. The Anime News Network gave the anime series a B; citing the art as being very good, and that Soma is a very likeable protagonist. They however opined that the amount of fanservice might put some readers off, and considered some instances of fanservice uncomfortable and unnecessary.
Volume 1 has sold 139,657 copies as of April 28, 2013; volume 2 has sold 176,682 copies as of June 16, 2013; volume 3 has sold 238,590 copies as of August 18, 2013, volume 4 has sold 252,975 copies, as of September 22, 2013; volume 5 has sold 271,570 copies as of December 22, 2013; volume 6 has sold 277,726 copies as of February 23, 2014; and volume 7 has sold 279,364 copies as of April 20, 2014. As of May 2, 2018, it was revealed that the manga had 14 million copies in print.