The conclusion to the second season of Food Wars has finally arrived. Soma survives the last day of the pre-open for Shino’s restaurant, and competes against the staff to have their dish on the menu. This season finale wraps up more than just Soma trying to find his signature dish.
Shinomiya’s Wholesome Side
When Food Wars last introduced Shinomiya, it was during the camping arc from season one. The showcased him as a harsh, unforgiving force in the kitchen. He would fail and expel students on the spot during the challenge. It wasn’t until Soma faced against Shinomiya that the audience learned Shinomiya’s motivation both as a child and Totsuki student.
After they became friendly rivals at the end of that arc, it was satisfying to see the two interact again on better terms. Shinomiya gets a lot more screen time than past alumnus, even more than Soma’s father. It is probably because of the parallels that the two share. They both grew up in humble beginnings and have a competitive drive to be the best in the business. Even their approach to cooking is similar.
Shinomiya says the reason why he’s opening his second SHINO’s restaurant in Japan is because he wants to return to his roots. He wants to prove that he can heighten French dishes with Japanese twists. Something only he can do. Soma meanwhile wants to break out of Japanese cooking alone. He wants to incorporate all different kinds of styles from other people and cultures into his dishes. Soma wants to be more than the best diner chef in his small Japanese upbringing. He wants to be as cultured, educated, and experienced in all kinds of cooking like his father and Shinomiya.
The New Soma Blossoms in Food Wars
The ending theme gets called back finally when Soma is about to prepare his signature dish for the employee cooking contest. Soma is in the middle of a flower field, where fancy cutlery appears as he names off French cooking terms. Metaphorically, all the cutlery stabs him all over to disintegrate the old Soma. The old Soma would just improve existing dishes. The shining new Soma will still embrace his Japanese diner roots, but will become more original when creating dishes. He’ll soak up all kinds of techniques from books and his superiors in order to become better. He’ll take everything he’s learned from his experiences to create dishes rather than repurpose them, like a real professional chef.
This transformation is remarkable to see in Soma compared to his skills from season one. In the beginning, he cooked dishes that were either featured at his family diner or created a homestyle twist to existing high class dishes. Like the one Totsuki teacher who visits Shino’s restaurant says, Soma is skilled working under pressure and improvising than creating a dish from scratch. Now, Soma understands now that he needs to use his experiences from this Academy to create an identity for himself in the cooking world. Which is a good rule of thumb in any profession. Learning from others both in the classroom and in the field is key to becoming successful in any career.
Final Thoughts on Food Wars Season 2
Even though the Autumn Elections felt rushed at in the beginning, the overall pay off of this season of Food Wars was well worth it. If it was just the Autumn elections alone, this season would just feel like a cooking version of the average anime competition arc. Sure, cooking styles get explored and backstories of characters are introduced, but it wouldn’t be anything new. Food Wars on the other hand made it its own.
Even though the advertising gives hints on who is going to be in the final three, the main protagonist doesn’t win. It’s extremely refreshing to see a main character not succeed all the time. Other anime obviously have arcs and times where the main character struggled or failed here or there, but it felt very calculated. As if you know that in the end they’ll be the very best. Food Wars approaches that very differently in this season.
Soma doesn’t win the elections and becomes the very best chef on campus. He loses to someone who genuinely is better than him. Akira developed a dish that was purely his using his strengths. Soma meanwhile was so concentrated on proving himself to his father, he forgot that this competition is meant to better himself as a chef. The Stagiaire was my favorite part of the series. Seeing the students both in and out of their element trying to work in the real world is a great way to show natural character development.
Kiss Him Not Me + More Episode Reviews!
All in all, it’s great to see an ambitious character like Soma. We saw him both succeed, fail, learn and improve all at once in only thirteen episodes. This concludes the Food Wars: The Second Plate review series. Check back in next month for when I review every episode of the new Fall anime, Kiss Him Not Me. For a summary of that show, check out the Fall Previews article for a sneak peek of all the anime being reviewed by our writers!