Food Wars Volume 13
Story by Yuto Tsukuda
Art by Shun Saeki
Review by Mara Wood
I made the mistake of reading this volume of Food Wars while hungry. Generally, that’s a mistake for any installment in this series following Soma as he builds his skill as a world-class chef at Totsuki Institute. Volume 13 is no different from the previous volumes, especially since it features Soma growing more and more as a chef. That’s my favorite part of reading Food Wars: seeing how each student responds to the cooking challenge presented to them.
Soma is still cooking against Akira and Ryo, two other students who have particular skills to their advantage. Each boy is putting their spin on pike for the judges. The result presents a brand-new challenge to Soma: the dish a person eats has to bring the face of the chef to their mind. I love this added element; Soma has concentrated so hard on outmaneuvering his father’s legacy instead of concentrating on making his dishes essentially Soma. Soma’s response includes introspection and collaboration, and I’m excited to see more of where this comment from a judge goes in future volumes.
The students of Totsuki are constantly told to up their game, and the Stagiaire challenge will prove to be the best indicator of how they will fare once school is over. Since some of the sites require more than one student, it is a great excuse to pair up some students who rarely spend any time together. Food Wars has never been just about one student’s success but also about students building each other up in the kitchen.
Food Wars’ action scenes are much different than other shonen stories because they are…cooking. But many of the same artistic cues for action are used during the cooking scenes. Speed lines, angles, and darker lines convey the intensity the characters feel as they try to put together a dish that will impress the judges. Food Wars does not rely solely on the action scenes in the kitchen; much of the progression of the story takes place after battles. The cast of characters have different responses to the same ingredients, and their responses are a reflection of their personality. They learn in groups, sharing their knowledge and incorporating the pieces that work into their future dishes. By the time you get to know the others, you spend just as much time rooting for them as you do for Soma.
Buy. If you’ve been reading Food Wars up until now, it’s kind of a no-brainer. Readers who have not cracked open a volume may want to check out a few of the earlier volumes to get to know the characters and structure before reading this one. I found volume 13 to be a great addition to the Food Wars series with the right balance of progression and development.
Thanks to Viz Media for providing a review copy of Food Wars volume 13. The banner image comes from Viz.