I discovered Shokugeki no Soma thanks to Crunchyroll’s “Passport to Japan” contest way back in 2017, and I fell in love with it because 1) it’s about food and 2) the crazy (and crazily-endearing) characters. But now the Food Wars manga is coming to an end, with the last chapter publishing this month.
It was announced in this year’s 27th issue of Weekly Shonen Jump that the Food Wars manga will end in only three chapters. There doesn’t seem to be a consensus as to whether or not this week’s release was included in the three remaining chapters, but regardless, that means that Yūto Tsukuda and Shun Saeki’s manga will conclude by the end of June. The last chapter will be published either June 17 or June 24. The 35th volume publishes this week from Shueisha. The 36th and final volume will be released in Japan on October 4.
The magazine also promised a “big announcement” on the same day the manga ends – which is probably either a spinoff or a “sequel” series where the characters are older. Or it could be an announcement for a new season of the anime.
The story follows teenaged chef Yukihira Soma, whose only dream is to beat his father in a cooking contest and take over the family diner, as he navigates an elite cooking school with an extremely low graduation rate. His entrance exam is proctored by the headmaster’s granddaughter, Nakira Erina, who is appalled by her reaction to Yukihira’s “low-brow” cooking and tries to fail him. From then out, he makes an enemy of nearly everyone at the school with his devil-may-care approach to cooking and his similarly blasé attitude about the school’s pedigree.
I got into the anime first, and then I went back and binged the manga. It’s one of the reasons I subscribed to the official English Shonen Jump app, so I could read the official releases (and the older chapters) every week. There’s been concern among the fandom about the declining quality of the story, as it’s relied increasingly on ridiculous antics that seem extremely out of place in a story about cooking.
The Central arc, which is the focus of much of the latter half of season 3 of the anime, was where most people started getting worried. Food Wars had, up until then, been a relatively realistic story about a cooking school, with opponents and conflicts and challenges that were well within Yukihira’s ability to surpass. But the start of the Central arc introduced Erina’s emotionally abusive father, Azami, and brought him on as a hilariously cartoonish villain with a nonsensical diabolical plan.
WARNING: Anime onlies beware. Manga spoilers below.
The conclusion of the Central arc elevated the characters to what many fans considered unearned spots, accelerating the timeline of the series exponentially. The rebels’ win at the Regiment de Cuisine basically indicated that no other chefs at the school could surpass them, and therefore placing Yukihira as First Seat on the Elite Ten council and making Erina the new headmaster was the only option. Yukihira as First Seat was an inevitability, but I think most fans assumed that would not happen until much later in the series. After all, where could the manga go from there, as that was one of Yukihira’s goals after starting at the academy?
The current Food Wars arc has been the topic of much derision in the fanbase. The current villain, Asahi, is even more cartoonish than Azami, with an ability so ridiculous it’s not even funny. A series that used to be about Yukihira as a chef – as well as his relationships with an eclectic cast of characters – has become all about Nakiri family drama. Erina’s mother, who many assumed was dead simply because she had never been mentioned before, is suddenly attempting to manipulate her daughter the same way Azami did, and a lot of fans are concerned about the constant waffling of Erina’s character in recent chapters.
Anyway, what this long rambling mess is meant to say is that many fans agree that it was time for the manga to end, but I don’t think anyone expected it to happen quite so soon. With only three chapters remaining (and still unsure as to whether or not this week’s chapter counts as one of the three) many are now worried that they won’t be able to satisfactorily tie up the series in the time they have left.
Honestly, I will be sad to see Food Wars end. It’s been a struggle to get through recent chapters because Asahi is just such a douchebag with a god-tier ability that no one should possess in a cooking manga, but there was a lot of heart in the series and a lot of potential.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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