The fall classic continues at Totsuki Academy as fan favorite Takumi Alidini takes on Subaru Mimasaka, a chef who battles his opponents by utilizing a copycat technique: he is able to mimic the primary recipe, and then makes subtle improvements to ultimately put him over the top. After insulting Takumi’s younger brother, Subaru successfully goads Takumi into a shokugeki (kitchen duel) in addition to the standard bracket matchup, the latter betting his prized mezzaluna. After Subaru’s shrewd tactics lead to Takumi’s defeat, Soma takes the opportunity to challenge Subaru personally. The stakes couldn’t be higher as Soma puts his career as a chef on the line in exchange for not just Takumi’s mezzalina, but the other 99 knives that Subaru had claimed in previous shokugeki matches.
Food Wars! continues to be an entertaining journey into the world of high-end cuisine; though the elongated explanations of flavor building and/or techniques continues to tread a fine line between establishing an authentic universe and boring readers to the point of skipping ahead a few pages. The continued development of Subaru as a worthy villain to Soma is executed well, with his sociopathic taunting of Takumi and expert emotional manipulation, he draws him into an elaborate and well-devised trap. The challenge that then presents itself to Soma is how to counter Subaru’s methods.
In the midst of this challenging match up we’re introduced to a new character: Mitsuru Sotsuda, a reporter for the school newspaper, the Totsuki Spotlight. With Takumi defeated, and Soma betting his professional career on the upcoming shokugeki, Mitsuru wishes to capitalize on this chance to cover Soma exclusively in the week leading up to the challenge. The introduction of this observer creates an opportunity for more explanations regarding Soma’s strategy behind the upcoming match, but not much else. Unfortunately, while our current villain enjoys some quality development, Soma appears to be running on a treadmill for the majority of this volume. Then again, perhaps once the actual shokugeki takes place, we’ll see some more progress on that front.
Overall, a solid entry in the series. I certainly look forward to Soma’s matchup in volume 11, which is due out in April.