As the title likely gives away. Food Wars(Shokugeki no Soma) The Second Plate is the second season of the food based Shonen series Food Wars. Second plate picks up right were the first season left us, focusing on the semi’s and grand final of Tohtsuki Acadmy’s Fall Election cook offs.
Being a shorter season at only 13 episodes compared to the first season’s 24 it wastes no time getting into the swing of things and it’s near non-stop cooking action from the start of this set to the very end. This makes the first season an absolute must watch before jumping into this set as it starts mid way through an important arc and assumes you remember all the characters and back stories introduced in the first 24 episodes.
While it doesn’t retread existing backstories of the main cast, this season does a great job further adding to and developing many of the characters, especially Soma and the spice king Akira Hayama we we’re introduced to in the later half of last season.
Second plate is broken up into two main content arcs. There’s the completion of the Fall Elections which takes up the majority of the season and it’s followed by the Stagiaire arc. Not much can be said about the Fall Elections arc without spoiling the outcomes of the rounds but just know that the food created and the processes behind doing so are just as interesting and mouth watering as they were in the first season. I don’t know how they do it but the images of the completed dishes in this anime always have the ability to make me instantly hungry.
The second main arc which takes place directly after the grand finals of the Fall Elections and concludes by the end of the season, the Stagiaire arc is a nice break from the action and drama packed, cook off battles the first 9 episodes brought to the table and instead focuses on the students of Tohtsuki Academy completing work experience at a number of restaurants specialising in various cuisines. These episodes did a great job of still having food at the focus of the story line but at the same time letting us see new aspects of existing characters and providing a heap of character development providing a good starting platform for the future third season.
As I mentioned in my review for the first season, I love food/cooking shows and anime so when the two of them are combined so well into one product I was bound to like it. But Food Wars! is more than that. Food is at the forefront and is the driving factor behind most of the plot, but it’s large and interesting cast of characters and brilliant writing are what allows this series to truly excel. The creators of the original manga consult with real world food experts that fact check & assist much of the ‘foodie’ aspects of the show and it really shows. As someone that has watched cooking shows for most of my life and consider myself to have higher than average food knowledge it was great to see that the food facts so often spoken in this series, especially during judging sequences are all correct and well researched and not just molded and shoehorned into an extravagant anime series that shouldn’t be taken seriously.
Another big plus, at least for me with this season is that the famous ‘Food-Gasm’ scenes have been dialed back a bit. They are very much still there but occur less frequently and don’t have the transcendent representation that often accompanied the tasting scenes of season one. Some of these scenes were quite funny and I understand some people may have loved them much more than I did but for the most part I found many of the extended tasting scenes of season one to be quite awkward to watch so for them to dial that back a bit has made me like this show I already loved so much better.
The home release set is light on special features to keep you entertained after completing the 13 episode collection, which has become quite standard with Sentai dub releases unfortunately. Featuring only a clean opening and closing animation. Some behind the scenes of the English dub or interviews with the Japanese staff would have been a welcome addition but it seems Sentai’s focus is solely on the anime episodes which at the end of the day is what we buy the sets for.
The Blu-Ray contains all 13 episodes of Second Plate across 2 discs and features both the original Japanese audio with English subtitles or the English Dub.
If you watched and enjoyed season one of Food Wars! you should definitely take the time to watch The Second Plate. It concludes the main arc of the first set and further fleshes out many of the characters introduced plus introduces us to a few more that look to be joining the main cast going forward in season 3. Just make sure you eat before doing so because watching this series on an empty stomach should be considered some form of torture with the food looking absolutely delicious.
I’m looking forward to jumping into the third season of Food Wars! It’s become one of my favourite series of the past few years for good reason.
A Blu-Ray review copy was provided by Madman Entertainment for our Food Wars The Second Plate Review