Manga Review: Food Wars! Volume Eight

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Food Wars! Volume 8 focuses on a boy named Soma Yukihira. He’s a student at the elite Totsuki Culinary Academy, and he’s currently participating in the school’s Fall Classic. Soma is hoping to make it to the finals.

Food Wars! Volume 8
Written by: Yuto Tsukuda
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: October 6, 2015

Volume 8 starts off by finishing the first round of the Fall Classic. It’s down to the last two contestants in the A Block, Akira Hayama and Soma Yukihira. Not surprisingly, Soma is saved for last. Like with the other contestants, time is spent explaining their dishes and the effects of their various ingredients and techniques. When it comes to the judging on their dishes, both of these characters got the reactions I had expected. Obviously, Soma would have to progress to the next round, since he’s the main character of the series. It’s an unwritten rule that the lead character in a shonen manga can’t be knocked out of a contest in the first round.

Afterward, Soma reacts in a way that readers would expect: he’s a little disappointed that he didn’t come in first, but he’s still looking ahead to the future and wanting to become an even better chef. This is followed by an adorable story of Soma and Megumi helping to teach a kids’ cooking class. It’s a nice change of pace from all of the cooking contests and explanations that have been so prevalent in recent chapters. This story with Soma and Megumi was also amusing, since we get to see Isshiki, who normally only wears an apron, all dressed up in a suit. The reactions this elicits from Soma and Megumi are priceless.

But the break doesn’t last. Soma and the other contestants for the quarter-finals learn who their opponent is and what food they have to prepare. Soma’s match is the first one up, and he finds himself up against Alice Nakiri, one of the geniuses among the first-years. We get to see Soma and Alice work at preparing and presenting their bento boxes. But the volume ends with Soma presenting his bento to the judges after going through a long exposition with Alice’s bento boxes boxes, so we don’t get to find out who wins the match. But the volume ends with enough of a cliffhanger that readers will want to see the next volume to find out what will happen.

Food Wars! Volume 8 also includes a side story, “Erina’s Summer Vacation.” Since Erina isn’t participating in the Fall Classic, she finds that she has nothing to do. Her cousin, Alice, decides to use this as an opportunity to give Erina a hard time by taking her somewhere that “regular people” go to. Tsukuda and the artists also used this as an opportunity to provide plenty of “fanservice” with swimsuits, since both Erina and Alice are busty girls. It was a slightly amusing read, but I’m not convinced it truly added much to the series in the long run.

Food Wars! Volume 8 is an improvement over the previous volume, since it’s not a bunch of cooking contests and explanations back-to-back. At least we get the kids’ cooking class story and Erina’s side story to help break things up more. Volume 8 should appeal to readers who are fans of Food Wars! and follow the series.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

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