Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma Volume 4
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma volume 4 resolves the danger nice country girl Megumi faced in the third volume. Bad boy protagonist Soma has challenged the judge/instructor who threatened to expel her to a cook-off.
For some reason, the former graduate judge is stubbornly refusing to reward creativity or initiative until overruled by his boss and forced to participate in the contest. That raises the stakes, since if Soma can’t rescue Megumi, he’ll also be out of the prestigious school. Making everything about head-to-head competition certainly ratchets up the drama.
The boss has one good observation, though. He won’t let Soma be the one determining Megumi’s fate — since that would just mean she’d wash out later if she wasn’t able to succeed on her own skills. Although she would never have spoken up in the face of authority, now that she’s in this situation, she has to demonstrate her own value.
The competitions are the most attractive scenes to me. They’re where the drama comes down to the basic question of “who wins”, plus, they are the sections most focused on actual food. I learn things about various cuisines and how to prepare and combine ingredients, and the taste descriptions are ridiculously over the top. There are even recipes included!
I was pleasantly surprised by how the book later provides an explanation for the judge’s arrogance. He’s a cautionary tale of placing the drive for success over everything else (even when stubbornness is necessary in the face of prejudice). In contrast, Soma and Megumi’s relationship (as well as their other friends) will, we’re led to assume, prevent Soma from making the same mistake.
This volume also sets up the next challenge, one where everyone individually competes to make a new egg dish for a fancy hotel breakfast… after staying up all night! Typically, we’ll find out the results in the next book.
Thankfully, the only significant fan service this time is on the cover. I’m not sure why the need to advertise something that isn’t even reflective of the contents, but I suppose some people will buy the book for that reason. Regardless, I keep coming back for the food and the face-offs. (The publisher provided a review copy.)