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First Impressions: Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara

In a parallel, magical world where food causes sexual responses within the general population, the students of Totsuki Academy are competing for the top spot of their prestigious culinary school. It’s only three weeks into the Summer season and already Shokugeki no Souma has swept me up in the familiar hype. Forgoing all exposition entirely, the second season dives straight into the next stage of the Autumn Elections, where the majority of contestants have already begun to be thinned out.

If you’re a fan of shounen anime then I can immediately recommend Shokugeki to you. At first I was put off by the sheer amount of unprecedented sexuality that was presented in the first episode, but once I powered through the introduction I just couldn’t handle the weekly anticipation. I had never personally experienced the excitement of watching a shounen of this scale as it aired, but after watching Shokugeki no Souma, I wholeheartedly expect it to become a new staple series, perhaps even rivaling the big names in the genre. Although, to be honest, it’s difficult to compare this to something like Bleach or Naruto. It’s like nothing I’ve ever been subjected to before in an anime.

Containing all of the intense fighting sequences that a shounen should, but without any of the actual violence, Shokugeki no Souma presents action in an enticing way. The rivalries and the confrontations are all there, but take place in the kitchen, rather than a battlefield. Souma, our overpowered protagonist, enters the school expecting to study the basic fundamentals of cooking, but soon encounters a vast array of similarly experienced chefs, all at the ripe age of 15. From early on, the show begins to snowball into pure hype, and now it’s at a point where I genuinely don’t want it to end.

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My favourite character is now out of the competition, while another of my favourites has advanced to the next round. All the while, an entirely new character has been introduced to cause some chaos. All of this has happened in the span of three episodes, and the pacing couldn’t be any more enjoyable. Shokugeki no Souma just keeps progressing at a pace that never feels too slow or too fast. The rate in which this show develops perfectly leads into discussions that are never dull.

Unfortunately, if you can’t stomach the ecchi genre, then you’ll probably never become enveloped in the story. The nudity in the show juggles tastefulness and outright vulgarity at times, though I personally find it to be handled comically. It’s also refreshing to see both genders at mercy to the artists’ lewd whims, but I completely understand the contempt that many anime connoisseurs would view this show in. There’s just something about the inner visualisation of how squid sauteed in peanut-butter tastes that rubs people the wrong way.

The animation is beautiful, the writing is entertaining, and I constantly find myself salivating at the dishes that are created, to the point that I am seeking out the recipes online to try them myself. Not much has really changed in comparison to the first season, but nothing ever felt like it needed to change. Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara is more of the same, and there isn’t anything I wanted more for the second season of this fantastic show.