In the finale of the face off between Akira Hayama and Soma Yukihira, Yukihira comes out on top. Having fought for Shiomi’s right for the seminar, Hayama is surprised when Jun Shiomi tells Hayama that she wants to give it up. She would rather see him enjoying his cooking than attending their seminar. In a 2-1 decision, Yukihira wins their cook off. With the seminar gone and the pair facing homelessness, Yukihira offers to let the pair stay in Polaris.
Things don’t stay so happy for long though as Sean Aida, Azami’s assistant shows up with bad news. Alice Nakiri, Ikumi Mito, Hisako Arato, and Akira Hayama are all expelled, having failed their third advancement exams. Unable to stand by this injustice, Yukihira decides that some changes must be made. He, Erina, Megumi, and Takuni need to run for the Council of Ten and overthrow the expulsion decision.
Not wanting to take on her father in such a way, Erina tries to plead with him to no avail. Yukihira challenges him to a shokugeki, which Azami scoffs at. Only when Yukihira’s father, Joichiro, shows up with Sir Senzaemon does Azami pay attention to their request. Joichiro challenges Azami to a Regiment De Cuisine Shokugeki. In order to sweeten the deal, he offers to become one of Azami’s pawns, which Azami immediately agrees to. After deciding it will be held at Rebun Island, the groups depart to begin training.
The rest of the manga focuses on the backstory of Joichiro, Dojima, and Azami. All of their high school careers, Dojima and Azami looked up to Joichiro. Not only that, Polaris is at their prime, with students begging for entry into the dorms. Joichiro’s cooking prowess and ability to win competitions earns him a ticket to B.L.U.E., a prestigious cooking competition.
Still, being the best chef comes with its’ downsides. Joichiro can no longer make his weird mash-up dishes, instead focusing on perfecting and creating masterpieces. The pressure gets to be too much and he misses B.L.U.E. and decides to leave the school for a while. This devastated Azami, who truly looked up to and admired Joichiro, and led him down the path he’s currently on. With this new information, Yukihira and his friends can truly prepare for the challenges facing Azami will bring.
All in all, this was an incredibly riveting volume of Food Wars. We have something really special to look forward to with the Regiment De Cuisine Shokugeki. With so much at stake the anticipation is going to be hard to bear! On top of that, we learned a lot about Joichiro and Azami’s past. While being neat, this provides a clue into the motive behind Azami agreeing to the shokugeki. The only downside is we obviously don’t get to see much of Dojima and Azami’s time at school after Joichiro leaves.
One thing that really stuck out to me in this volume of Food Wars was the illustrations. The chiseled statues of Ayama after trying Yukihira’s food was both comedic and conveyed how good the food was. It’s one thing to read that Ayama considers the food a gift from above, and another to see him accepting the food in ecstasy from the gods. Another really cool thing was how they portrayed Joichiro as a weathered warrior trying his best to survive the expectations of everyone.
Food Wars Volume 23 is available for purchase in store and here from Viz Media.
Note: VIZ Media provided us with a digital copy of this volume in exchange for our honest review.