I binged on all five seasons of Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma in two weeks. But as I watched the final season, I found myself mentally listing all the things that ruined Food Wars season 5. And in addition to texting my friend about it, I found myself in need to express these thoughts via article.
This is your one and only SPOILER warning! Read at your own risk. 😉
What made Food Wars season 5 AKA The Fifth Plate suck? Let me count the ways.
Noir as an antagonist group was a joke and wasn’t explored properly.
The Chefs and their “abilities”
Most of the Noir chefs, at least the ones that participated in the BLUE competition, exhibited a special “ability” making them top chefs.
- Sarge uses a seasoned chainsaw (don’t get me started on that unrealistic tool of a weapon).
- Marcanta the Kitchen Clown (a name too much on the nose) uses a bunch of juggling sphere-shaped pots to heat meats evenly.
- Claude Ville extracts blood via syringe to utilize blood as a flavor.
- Bunny Hare uses a guillotine to slice meats thinly.
- Lastly, Saiba Asahi, the leader of Noir, has his “Crossed Knives” ability where he uses other chefs’ tools/weapons to perfection.
All of these “abilities” are ridiculous. The characters are just flat, caricature villains to fill out a group. But if we had more episodes in season 5, I feel the writers could’ve explored many one or two of the Noir chefs into more detail (aside from Asahi). Sarge seemed to have had the most history with Asahi and he definitely trusted and confided in her the most.
So many questions about Noir!
Also, the fact that all of the other Noir chefs that were not participating in BLUE met up in secret locations dressed in black robes and red masks and point hats gave me disturbingly KKK vibes… Attire aside, Noir was a cult for chefs that didn’t belong “above ground.” Background-wise, I think the writers could’ve explored more in that direction. Asahi is pretty young to be the leader of Noir, so my question is: Who started Noir? How did Asahi become the leader? What’s the end goal of Noir?
The writers sidelined our favorite supporting characters in Food Wars season 5.
They did my boy Hayama wrong!! Not to mention, we got way less Ryo this last season. 🙁
Since the main focus of the much-too-short season 5 was on the BLUE competition which featured our main characters Soma, Erina, Megumi, and Takumi, there was very little room to highlight what our supporting characters were up to. We don’t even learn about the B plot until the series finale. The info dump about their plan to deal with Noir was unnecessarily rushed at the very end. Season 5 would’ve been a much more enjoyable journey had the writers sprinkled in some of the B plot along the way.
The BLUE competition setup was unfair and inconsistent
The First Trial
Everyone in the first trial at the first gate were split up into three groups and tackled on three different “topics.” Soma ended up in the group that had to come up with a “Last Supper” meal for an elderly man. Takumi ended up in the group that had to come up with food for babies without using ingredients that evoked allergies. Megumi ended up in the group that had to come up with food for both dogs and their owners. I’d say Takumi tackled the hardest topic…
Some chefs were exempt from the first trial, such as our Former First Seat of the Elite Ten, Tsukasa Eishi, which made sense. But what exactly was the process to allow them to be exempt? Call me a stickler for rules, but they never explained that part.
The Second Trial
At the second trial, the participants had to come up with a meal that cost more than $100 using only ingredients found at a convenience store. I actually loved this trial and I did think it was fair of the judge to allow everyone two chances. However, a normal convenience store would typically re-stock items. So hypothetically, there’s 50 participants and each chef gets two chances, with a total of 100 chances. Items run out of course, but that was just another unjust obstacle.
Erina’s battles as The God Tongue
Erina having to take on dozens of other chefs ALONE reminded me of young Joichiro’s one shogugeki when he beat 50 other chefs. CRAZY STUFF. I wasn’t as upset with this set-up, given that Erina’s got the best skills and expertise. But the whole thing was definitely just for dramatic effect.
The Gifting and The Bursting
Fans already know about The Gifting. We saw it with Erina’s grandfather Senzaemon during the Fall Selection. We saw it with Erina’s elitish villain of a father Azami during the Team Shogugeki in season 4. But Erina’s mother Mana has both The Gifting and The Bursting, so the writers took it a step further. I thought The Gifting was pretty ridiculous to begin with but they wrote in The Bursting as a way to show the viewers who wins at the end.
Though I didn’t mind see Takumi in boxers. 😉
And lastly, Saiba Asahi was a terrible villain for Food Wars season 5.
Where do I even start with Asahi?
He managed to infiltrate Totsuki Academy, one of the top culinary schools in Japan, as a TEACHER WITH A FAKE NAME. Totsuki Academy did absolutely 0 research on “Suzuki Asahi.” Also, he was still competing in cooking competitions, ones that Joichiro also competed in, which he entered with his actual name Saiba Asahi. If Totsuki academy actually did their research, they would not have found any culinary-related under his fake name because he would’ve been competing under his real name.
He was an utter creep!
We discover very quickly that Asahi is a creep and wants Erina as his “bride.” And he thinks he can just WIN HER IN A COMPETITION LIKE SHE’S A PRIZE? What. The. Fuck.
But of course, this is anime so he’ll get a good ending too
What bothered me the most about the reveal of Asahi being Erina’s older half-brother was that it was unnecessary. The writers managed to connect the dots in the end when Erina’s mother Mana says the dish from Asahi she tasted was void of feelings, same as Erina’s father Azami when she tried his first dish. THAT IS A STRETCH. COME ON.
I understand the desire to provide a happy ending to all characters in some fashion, but I think Asahi’s story would’ve ended better had he just left our heroes and embarked on a journey to better himself. It would’ve given fans the open-ended sense that he could be redeemed in our minds. He got a happy ending with a family trying to heal themselves as a whole, which isn’t terrible, but it just doesn’t have anything to do with his person, his character.
Not to mention it also makes the fact that HE WAS SEXUALLY ATTRACTED TO HIS YOUNG HALF-SISTER EVEN MORE DISGUSTING. Neither character knew about their actual familial relationship but still. Unnecessary.
Concluding Thoughts On Food Wars
I’d like to wrap up on a positive note though. Despite a mediocre, rushed final season, I still love Food Wars as a whole! Soma’s journey and background resonates with hard-working people. His friends are all so fun and diverse in their knowledge and skills. Even some of Soma’s antagonists and the Elite Ten members didn’t seem so bad in the end (cheers to a redeemed Mimasaka and Eizan-senpai). I found more hot anime characters to be attracted to and wish I could afford collectible figures of (*swoon* Joichiro, Hayama, Ryo *swoon*). I learned so much about cooking and thus feel guilty AF about being lazy but I’m also ok with that.
What were your thoughts on Food Wars season 5 or on the anime as a whole?
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Featured image credit: J.C. Staff Studios