Oh Food Wars. You know just how ridiculous you are and just revel in it at this point. It is sometimes hard for series to balance out the need to have something ridiculous and silly in their series as well as the more serious moments. This volume does a good job of showing both of those extremes for the series, with some standard Food Wars shots included as well.
The volume starts with the continuation of the Azami administration’s purge of the various research societies. We spend the bulk of the volume in Kurokiba’s match again Rentaro (or, as Alice aptly described him, Central’s Cannon Fodder) and their salmon battle. While an interesting competition, it doesn’t necessarily stand out as one of the stronger ones from the series. Some of this is natural, though. The last big competition we got was Soma versus Eizan, which had a huge amount riding on it and a lot of buildup. Here, while we know Kurokiba and it’s interesting to see his growth and what he took from Hayama (and Megumi to an extent, with using the spinach), we know little about his competition and care even less. Rentaro is a complete non-entity and might as well have been named “Speed Bump.” Furthermore, Alice literally states at the beginning she doesn’t care if the research society gets shut down and the whole match is just for Kurokiba’s ego. It’s understandable, though. Not every match can be against Elite 10 members at this point. The match is interesting, both dishes sound great, but it’s just not as strong or iconic of a fight as when we know and understand both characters, like we get towards the end.
The much stronger highlight of that segment was Alice’s open defiance of Azami. We knew she wasn’t going to meekly accept Azami’s rule, but the added history here and her complete refutation of Azami’s entire attitude are definitely a strong moment in this volume and add a lot to both her character and her interactions with Erina going forward. Alice is a fun character in general, and I am completely in favor of her getting more depth to go along with some of the comedy and food science explanations we typically get from her.
Similarly, we learn more about Tsukasa at the end of the volume. Previously, we’ve seen Tsukasa both in his element as a chef and completely freaking out about nothing. We knew he backed Azami and didn’t know why before this volume. During the beginnings of his match with Soma, we learn more. It becomes crystal clear that Tsukasa really does not care about anyone else’s growth, cooking, history, etc. as long as he can improve and refine his own skills. This extreme level of selfishness is an interesting contrast to Soma, who sometimes phrases things in somewhat selfish terms, but almost always has altruistic goals in spite of that. It’s a good peek into why Tsukasa is going to be an adversary going forward and the prospect of an early match with Soma is very exciting!
The art in this volume is great, as always. Food Wars does an excellent job of making food that looks appetizing, despite being completely black and white. Rentaro’s accessories might be a bit much, but again, he’s cannon fodder, so he needs something to make an impact. Otherwise, quite good.
Oh, and there’s cheesecake shots. Because Food Wars.
At least they’re somewhat equal opportunity?
Anyways, we’re 19 volumes in. Either Food Wars works for you at this point or it doesn’t. This is a good volume, but not necessarily at the level of the ones involving the previous main matches.
Food Wars - Volume 19
- Good character development for several characters
- Art is as strong as always.
- Made me really want to have salmon for dinner
- Rentaro is not an interesting antagonist
- The competition was fun, but not necessarily memorable.
- I'm not very good at cooking salmon.