Plot: Soma Yukihira has a passion for the culinary arts and dreams of taking over his father’s restaurant, once he can surpass his father’s skills, of course. But that dream goes up in smoke when his father decides to close down the restaurant, which means Soma will have to put in his practice somewhere else. A cooking school seems like a natural fit obviously, so Soma is sent to Tohtsuki Academy, one of the best culinary schools, but also one of the strictest. So while he is excited to learn from some true masters, Soma soon realizes the school is not the typical institution and while few are allowed to attend, even fewer make it to graduation. Erina “God Tongue” Nakiri is the harshest of the instructors and takes an immediate dislike to Soma, questioning if he really even belongs at the school at all. While the odds seem stacked against Soma, can he overcome it all and prove he is a culinary warrior?

Entertainment Value: This anime is all about the drama of culinary school, but you don’t need to be a foodie to find the fun in this one. Food Wars! is a wild comedy above all else, with ample fan service tossed in. This means the girls show a lot of skin and when they enjoy the food, they really enjoy the food. So if you don’t want to listen to girls mimic orgasms from the taste bud sensations, Food Wars! might be a little too risque at times for you. This trend is frequent in the first handful of episodes, then slows down a lot, so even if you’re not into that, don’t be concerned. I also feel like the show improves as the episodes progress, as the later season episodes are much more fun to watch than the earlier ones. I think the entire season is solid, but this is one series that gets better as time passes. The humor is broad and even slapstick in tone, so things can get silly and a little over the top. In other words, this isn’t one to watch for narrative depth, just if you want to laugh and have some fun.

Food Wars! has a good sized ensemble of characters, most of which are well designed and developed. Soma is a confident, usually even arrogant lead, which might not be ideal for everyone, but a nice change of pace. I think we’ve all seen countless shy, bumbling male leads, so to have a secure, driven one is a good switch. As I said though, some might not connect as well given how over the top his confidence can be, but I think he is well balanced for the most part. The female leads are polar opposites, with the cold, driven Erina and nervous, awkward Megumi. Again, we’ve seen these familiar archetypes before, but it all falls into place well. And the exchanges between the characters are terrific, especially when Erina and Soma face off. The visuals of the show are excellent, with bright, colorful animation that is always fluid and a pleasure to watch. This is one you need to see in HD, as the extra resolution and color depth really showcase how great the animation is. An anime about cooking and orgasmic taste treats might sound odd, but anyone into comedies and fan service will find a lot to like here.

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