Review: Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma Season 5

This blog is a review of the 5th and final season of Food Wars. This blog will have full spoilers for the entire series, so do not read any further unless you have seen all the episodes of the show.

I discovered Food Wars very recently (only 3 or 4 months ago). I binged through the first 2 seasons on Netflix (with the English dub). Then I discovered that there were 2 more seasons available on Crunchyroll (with English subs) and I binged through those. As I was watching them, I saw a 5th season was slowly being added. I have now seen every episode of the entire series and I’m here to share my thoughts with you.

Let’s start with the series as a whole. Broadly speaking, I absolutely loved this show. It was a total celebration of food. You might not know just from reading this website, but I love to cook. It’s one of my main hobbies. Since I love film and TV as well, it should come as no surprise that I love cooking shows (Top Chef is my favorite show on all of television).

What I love about this series is the attention to detail. It is so thoroughly researched. You can learn real cooking techniques from watching it. For example, I learned that honey can act as a meat tenderizer. I didn’t know this before. When I heard it mentioned in the show, I googled it to see if this was fact or fiction. It’s completely real! This is just one example of the reverence Food Wars shows for cooking.

This is coupled with the most incredible illustrations of food I’ve ever seen. Food in this show looks as good (and sometimes better) than food in real life! It’s astonishing. The attention to detail. The careful drawing of every single grain of rice in a rice dish is a regular occurrence.

How about characters? This show has huge cast of characters. Admittedly, most of them lack depth. But they’re nearly all compelling. I like spending time with them. Soma is a fine protagonist. He’s likable. It’s easy to root for him. It’s easy to admire his ceaseless determination to be the best. Megumi Tadokoro is the real heart of the show (at least in the first couple of seasons). She is absolutely adorable. Her empathy and love toward everyone are her greatest tools in the kitchen. Erina Nakiri is a pretty classic case of a beautiful woman with a frosty exterior, who slowly softens over the course of the series. We grow to love her as she learns to love others

I like many of the side characters as well. The Aldini brothers, Isshiki, Ikumi Mito, Ryo, Alice, and Akira are all highlights. Most of them are interesting enough that they could be the protagonists of their own shows.

I think the biggest downside of the show (and this statement will be controversial, I’m sure), is the lewdness. It adds so little to the show. And if you think very long at all about the ages of the characters, it becomes gross pretty quickly. I would prefer that the show had been made without these elements. If it had been, I could recommend this show to viewers of all ages and tastes. However, I can’t do that as it stands. Far be it from me to tell an artist how to make their art, but I think this element of the show artificially limits the audience that it can reach.

Finally, let’s talk about season 5. I have to be honest. This season was a serious step down from the prior seasons. It was almost as if it was written by a totally different team.

The first and most fundamental problem is that the show is no longer about the food. Compared to the prior seasons, hardly any of this season is spent talking about the food, how it’s cooked, what makes it delicious, and why that’s important. The food part of Food Wars took the backseat. I understand why this was done (to focus on wrapping up characters arcs, I think), but it was a mistake.

Directly related thereto was a loss in the dedication to accuracy. This season no longer slavishly represented real cooking techniques. I mean, the girl who cuts meat with a chainsaw? Really? Much worse is the guy who has a backpack with syringes that supposedly draws out blood from meat, seasons it, and then re-injects it. Why is this nonsense? Well, meat doesn’t have blood in it. When an animal is slaughtered, they are bled. If the blood was not removed from the animal prior to butchering, the meat would spoil extremely quickly (no, the red juice in steak isn’t blood, it’s a substance called myoglobin; blood is hemoglobin).

Even worse are the unnecessary stakes for this season. Saiba Asahi is a terrible villain with a stupid goal. Far dumber is Erina’s decision. Saiba confronts her and demands that she marry him if he defeats her at BLUE. She has absolutely no reason to agree to this wager. She gains nothing from agreement. For a character as intelligent and strong-willed to cow to the whims of such a preposterous demand is unbelievable. This plot-line exists only to raise the personal stakes of the BLUE tournament. It makes absolutely no sense.

On the whole, season 5 is very weak. I do, however, like the ending. I appreciate where our characters end up. I like that Soma is able to dedicate himself to growing perpetually as a chef. Erina is able to open her heart to friends and family. It’s pretty great all around.

The only flaw is that Soma really should have ended up with Ikumi Mito (hot take, I know).

What did you think of the final season of Food Wars? Let us know down below!

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