Manga Review: Food Wars! Volume Nine

Originally written for WatchPlayRead.com

Food Wars! Volume 9 focuses on a student named Soma Yukihira. He attends the prestigious Totsuki Culinary Academy, and is participating in the school’s Fall Classic competition.

Food Wars! Volume 9
Written by: Yuto Tsukuda
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: December 1, 2015

Volume 9 starts out by continuing the match between Soma and Alice Nakiri. It seemed to be a given who would have to win the match at the end, since Soma is the main character of the series. However, I think that Alice has started to slowly learn a much needed lesson of humility when all was said and done. I have to admit that I kind of wanted her to get knocked down a peg because of her attitude toward Soma during their match.

But most of Food Wars! Volume 9 focuses on the match between Megumi Tadokoro and Ryo Kurokiba. During this match, there was some great backstory about Ryo and how he first met Alice Nakiri when they were kids. This backstory helps the reader to better understand who Ryo is as a character, and it helps to break up the match and all the explanations that are provided as they’re preparing their respective ramen dishes. This is another match that ultimately ends the way the reader expects, but Megumi displays more confidence and seems to have grown as a character by the end of it.

Right near the end of Volume 9, another Fall Classic match between Hisako and Hayama begins. The two of them must prepare hamburgers for the judges, and we see Hisako make a hamburger with some very unique ingredients. Her entry is judged, but the volume ends before Hayama can present his creation to the judges. But having these two particular characters going up against each other is an interesting pairing, since Hayama focuses on spices and how cooking affects the sense of smell, while Hisako focuses on medicinal cooking and how food tastes. For their match, it looks like it’ll be decided by whether the food simply tastes good, or if its smell is just as important. Unfortunately, that question won’t be answered until Volume 10.

With Food Wars! Volume 9 still focusing heavily on the matches for the Fall Classic, it means that there are still a lot of explanations being included during the three matches that are shown. While these explanations help the reader to understand the food the characters are preparing and why they’re preparing it in that manner, all that exposition starts bogging down the story after a while. When the vast majority of a 192 page manga includes this kind of exposition, it has the tendency to make it feel as if it’s taking longer for the reader to make it through the volume than it really is.

When it comes to the art, the panels that stood out to me were the close-ups of young Ryo from the flashback that appears during his match. There’s just something about his character design as a child that instantly grabs the reader’s attention. It should also be noted that there are a couple of scenes in Volume 9 that include some kind of “fanservice” for its male demographic.

Food Wars! Volume 9 has a similar issue that Volume 7 had with pacing. But at least with this volume, there aren’t as many matches that are being shown since there are only eight finalists instead of all of the students who participated in the first round of the Fall Classic. This volume will be best appreciated by readers who are already fans of Food Wars! or have an interest in food and how its prepared.

The reviewer was provided a review copy by VIZ Media

Additional posts about Food Wars!:

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