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Chefs who will become the greatest in the futurenote From left to right: Takumi Aldini, Ikumi Mito, Isami Aldini (rear), Alice Nakiri (front), Erina Nakiri, Megumi Tadokoro, Soma Yukihira
"Children, 99% of you are nothing but common rocks. You exist solely to grind to perfection the 1% of you who are diamonds!"
— Headmaster Senzaemon Nakiri
Soma Yukihira's dream is to surpass his father's culinary skills and become a full-time chef at their family restaurant Yukihira. However, just as he graduates from middle school, his father Jouichiro Yukihira decides to close their shop to work in the United States. Before leaving, he challenges his son to survive at "Tootsuki", an elite culinary high-school where only 1% of the students graduate. Is he going to survive its elitist environment and the animosity of the headmaster's granddaughter Erina Nakiri?Shokugeki no Soma is a high-stakes cooking manga written by Yuuto Tsukuda (in collaboration with Yuki Morisaki, a chef who comes up with the series' recipes) and illustrated by Shun Saeki. The series makes liberal use of Ecchi and a variety of other visual metaphors to make preparing food, cooking food, tasting food, and merely talking about food intense enough to make you think you're reading a shonen battle manga. Not to mention that the food itself looks gorgeously mouth-watering.The series is currently serialized in Weekly Shonen Jump, both the Japanese and English magazines. Viz Media is currently releasing it in North America under the title Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma. A TV anime adaptation has been scheduled to air sometime in 2015.Compare with Toriko, another Shonen Jump series about Food Porn, and Yakitate Japan, a series with similar themes, except with impossibly delicious bread.Character related tropes should be placed in the character page.
Jouichiro to Soma, with surpassing his father being Soma's primary motivation.
Despite her enormous arrogance and flustered nature (around him), Erina befits her reputation to Soma. Of course, whether her culinary skills are better than him is unknown, especially since she enjoyed his dish as an application prerequisite.
Isami Aldini considers his older brother Takumi Aldini as the one to surpass, as well. In the Training Camp, he prepares an aigamo perfectly, yet admits Takumi can do it much faster. Later in the Fall Classic, he smiled when his brother surpassed him once again.
Answer Cut: Towards the end of the first chapter, Jouichirou tries to tell Soma the secret to becoming a good chef: to find a woman that will make him want to give all the food he makes to her. The next page cuts to Erina's first appearance in the manga.
Arc Words: At the end of the first chapter, Soma cuts the phone call before his father states, "The secret to becoming a good chef is meeting a woman that will make you want to give all the food you make to her". This idea returns after the Fall Classic preliminaries, when Megumi Tadokoro tells a group of children (and Soma) during a cooking lesson, "Just make it while thinking of a person important to you". This is a point where her affections for Soma are beginning to bud.
Arrogant Cooking Guy: A lot throughout the series; note this includes Soma, though he's at least humble when defeated and willing to learn from a loss to improve.
Badass Minds Think Alike: Soma and Akira Hayama make curry dishes for the Fall Classic preliminary using an aroma surprise factor.
Barbie Doll Anatomy: Usually, the breasts of all females will be covered when they have "foodgasms". With the exception of Alice Nakiri in chapter 66, where she has... no nipples. Strangely enough, her "foodgasm" does not end there and continues in the beginning of chapter 67, where her breasts are covered.
Bleached Underpants: Illustrator Shun Saeki was former ero-manga artist "tosh". Amusingly, if this series is given a green light for an Animated Adaptation, it won't be the first of his illustrated works - that goes to one of his previous Hentai worksnote Harem Time.
Cheaters Never Prosper: In the first cooking test after the opening ceremonies, two students, miffed at Soma's entrance speech, try to sabotage Megumi and his beef bourguignon by adding extra salt. However, Soma not only passes but is complimented by the professor for his improvised version of the dish. The saboteurs wind up gawking for so long they neglect their own bourguignon and leave it cooking too long, earning them an "E".
Cooking Duel: The titular "Shokugeki"; stakes can get exceptionally high, ranging from club rooms to a spot on the Council of Ten Masters. The finals of the Fall Classic are cooking duels as well, but they are not formal Shokugekis unless two participants want to hold a formal one.
Costume Porn: Provided by the foodgasms and the artwork, which features a lot of them, from traditional folklore japanese outfits, Shout-Outs to other series, magical girl outfits, stylish kimonos, a kaiju costume, yakuza styiling, and so on...
Covert Pervert: Every character with his/her orgasmic or naughty reactions qualifies. Especially blatant that this kind of "foodgasm" happens only to teenagers and adults, but not to children whose reactions are entirely innocent.
Crossover: There is a two-page Jump special where Kusuo Saiki (from Saiki Kusuo No Sainan) and his dad visit Soma at the Yukihara restaurant for a bite to eat. Unfortunately, Saiki's psychic powers grant him the ability to view every mental "foodgasm" at the restaurant, and he promptly loses his appetite after seeing what his father's looks like.
During the opening ceremonies for the high school first-years, Headmaster Senzaemon Nakiri reiterates, "99% of you are sacrificial stones to polish the remaining 1% gems. Devote to your studies. Become one of that handful of chefs!"
Before the Fall Classic preliminaries, Natsume Sendawara of the judging panel states, "Listen well. This country's curry industry went throught a great expansion during the post-war period. By now, curry has completely matured and became something loved by all citizens! This current state bores me. I'm looking for it! As a manager, as someone who loves curry, I'm looking for an idea that will open up the future of Japanese curry. Now, show me a curry dish that will make me shudder!"
Decomposite Character: From the pilot One-shot, we got a character named Julio Rossi Saotome. Even thought the character was Adapted Out for the main story, many of his elements were used for other characters:
His role as Erina's secretary and Undying Loyalty was given to Hisako Arato instead.
He also was defeated by Soma in a Shokugeki, even thought his entry was made of more expensive ingredients, like Ikumi.
His character design was a more butch version of Former Legendary Alumni, Donato Gotouda.
He is also half-Italian, like the Aldini twins.
Double Meaning Title: Shokugeki no Soma directly means "cooking spirit", yet it can be interpreted as "Soma of Shokugeki". The word "Soma" is a pun on Soma's name in the Japanese version, and a direct reference to his name in the English localization.
Early-Bird Cameo: In chapter 3, we see several characters who won't be introduced until later, including Yoshino, Kurokiba, and the Aldini brothers. Most likely, the other standout faces from this chapter will be introduced at some point.
In the first chapter, artist Saeki covered Minagesaki and her men's bodies entirely with screentone when they have their "foodgasms". He never does this again for any "foodgasm".
Jouichirou told Soma that only 10% can graduate from Tootsuki. Three chapters later, Senzaemon Nakiri tells the students that only 1% of them will graduate. This might be justified, considering that there is a gap of 22 years between father and son's school time at Tootsuki. Either there weren't so many students in Jouichirou's generation who entered the first high school year or the standards of Tootsuki have become so high that even more students will be expelled than before.
Elaborate University High: Granted, Tootsuki is managed by the richest people in Japan and most students come from big name restaurants or food companies, which allows the school to extend miles and have a private resort with a large green area for ingredients.
Everyone Has A Special Move: Aside from Soma, whose specialty is learning from experimenting, other students have a special forte, ranging from smoked dishes, poultry, using their own produce, molecular cuisine, spices, Chinese culinary techniques, and so on.
Everyone Went to School Together: The Living Legends and many of the Tootsuki professors. Jouichirou, Gin Doujima and Jun Shiomi were roomates at the Polaris Dormitory during their middle school and high school semesters.
Exposition Party: After the preliminaries of the Fall Classic, the Polaris Dormmates (plus the Aldini twins and Ikumi Mito) celebrate Soma, Megumi and Takumi making it into the next round. Additionally, this serves as a Breather Episode.
Family Business: Most of the Tootsuki students come from Family Businesses with the intent of keeping up with their traditions or up the level of their restaurants.
Fanservice: Par for the course with an Ecchi series, and both genders are applicable.
Fan Disservice: Also happens during foodgasms of some male characters, where they get naked or in female costumes.
It first looks like that the Sumire District arc has nothing to do with Soma's school life, but Soma's duel with the Mozuya is the origin how he and Etsuya Eizan will meet in the next arc and why the latter is interested in him. Also, the Council of Ten Masters are discussing about the Fall Classic in this arc.
And later, when Soma and Megumi are teaching children in a cooking school, it looks like a random Breather Episode, but there are two important plot points. The sweets Soma receives from the kids give him the idea what kind dish he has to make for his cooking duel with Alice Nakiri. And Megumi starts to realize that she might have feelings for Soma.
Girls' Night Out Episode/Beach Episode: Chapter 52.5 focuses on Erina and her cousin Alice Nakiri going to a public pool, with small appearances of the Polaris Dormitory girls trying to cool off using an inflatable pool in the dorm garden.
Hoist by His Own Petard: Some of the chefs in the series end up at a disadvantage due to their reliance on their specialties. Notably, Ikumi and Alice both make delicious dishes in their respective duels, but fail to grasp the central theme of their battle.
Hope Spot: Takumi thinks that incorporating some last minute olive oil from a flask that he keeps with him for good luck can improve his dish and gain an edge over Subaru, whose cooking style involves making the exact same dish as his opponent and improving it a step further. Unfortunately, it's not enough to beat his opponent, who predicted this maneuver as well and prepared for it accordingly.
Impossibly Delicious Food: The descriptions of the dishes are often complicated, but judging by the in-universe reactions, they're enough to make the reader drool.
In the first chapter, a devout priest finds Mr. Yukihara's dish so delicious that he discards his religious vows just to eat the dish.
Played with regarding Erina In-Universe, due to her sensitive palate: any dish she eats must be this trope. Just imagine how well a strawberry cake or a cup of tea must taste for her to even sample it.
Erina, Miyoko Hojou and Ryoko Sakaki have their respective fanclubs, much to Urara's annoyance...
Takumi Aldini has also a fanclub.
Japanese School Club: Tootsuki has many researching societies specializing in particular cooking styles. It's possible for a student to challenge an entire club to a Shokugeki just to make more room for themselves or for their club.
Loads and Loads of Characters: By the Fall Classic, most characters have been introduced. However, the current cast are largely first-year students, with only a few second-years, and no third-years in sight yet. Naturally, the plot is still developing and Soma is a first-year himself, with no idea how skilled his seniors are until he builds his reputation at Tootsuki.
Overshadowed by Awesome: Felt by some of the Polaris Chefs during the Fall Classic. Ibusaki and Marui nearly make it into final tournament before being upstaged by Mimasaka.
Overused Running Gag: When people taste delicious food, they're always put into imagine spots that tend to involve them naked and blushing or in cosplay outfits. During the Fall Classic, Senzaemon gets a page of his traditional clothing exploding off of him. The next page reveals what really happened. He really does strip when he tastes delicious food.
Picky Eater: Mostly the special guest judges to the big Shokugeki, composed of food critics, cooking masters, food suppliers and so on. Erina, on the other hand, is a specific example because of her fine palate.
Red Baron: Any high-level chef will get a nickname. By the unnofficial Shokugeki against Koujirou, the Legendary Alumni are already picking one for Megumi.
Red Shirt Student Body: At least 90 to 99% of an entire generation will be expelled before graduating Tootsuki, due to its curriculum's competitive, cutthroat nature.
Refuge in Audacity: In Chapter 80, Mimasaka Subaru reveals that he and Soma will be facing each other in the next round of the Fall Classic. He attempts to bet Takumi's mezzaluna against Soma's cooking knife. Soma not only agrees, he takes it a step further, betting his cooking career against all 100 tools Mimasaka has stolen. And then he tells Mimasaka what he's going to make.
Both In-Universe and for the readers: Takumi gets beaten by Subaru Mimasaka, even when Takumi tried to improvise with an alternative for the dish at the last moment upon learning of Subaru's method of ripping off and then improving on his opponent's style. Everyone, including the judges, were shocked and angered by Subaru victory.
Another In-Universe example which is dealt by Soma against Alice, who got the highest score in the curry rounds, in the quaterfinals of the Fall Classic. Next, Subaru in the semi-finals, who was favoured to win against him.
Shout-Out: The series has so many of them that they have been moved to their own page.
Smug Snake: The female owner of the Mozuya specialty shop; visually Lampshaded with a forked tongue in one scene.
Stern Teacher: In general, all Tootsuki professors. The judging panel from the Fall Classic are especially strict and rarely hands a score above a fifty out of a hundred out for the competitors. It becomes a really big deal when certain students are awarded above 80 points during the preliminaries.
Straw Loser: Many in the audience often comment how some of the Fall Classic contestants are useless, such as Megumi's "dunce" status of having the lowest grades or Zenji's physical struggle during Training Camp, yet these are the same students not selected to participate in the Election at all.
Supreme Chef: Virtually every character in the series who attends or works at Tootsuki Academy. Of course, there's a handful of chefs who stand out above the rest.
Anyone who makes it towards second-year at Tootsuki qualifies, but the Council of Ten Masters, Tootsuki Alumni and Soma's father all cook incredibly well. Jouichiro's cooking is so great it's addictive, and can make a priest throw away his religious beliefs, even though it forbids him to eat food!
For the Fall Classic, any participant who is able to score eighty points or higher is considered this.
During the unofficial Shokugeki against Koujirou (the technician), Megumi improvises the previous terrine exercise to fit her cooking style, making her the performer.
In the Fall Classic preliminaries, Shun and Zenji's entries are this (the performer and technician, respectively).
Soma himself generally lands on the side of performer. In the Fall Classic match against Nakiri Alice he makes a dish that is perhaps not better tasting than hers and certainly less interestingly designed, but receives a much better score. Why? Because she forgot the point of the match: Making a bento. She may have broken no rules, but she completely failed to consider the point that the meal is supposed to portable, fairly simple and easily eaten, not a fancy item to be served in a five star restaurant.
Tournament Arc: The Fall Classic - sixty students are selected among the first-year students. For the preliminary round, participants are divided into the "A" or "B" Block with thirty students each. Only four students with the highest scores in each block can move to the the main tournament.
Title Drop: "Shokugeki", the cooking duels at the Tootsuki Culinary Academy. It's a long-standing tradition that allows students to settle arguments and debates through a formal duel of their culinary prowess.
Training from Hell: The "Tootsuki Friendship and Rapport Training" is literally referred as this. Not only must first-year students cook at least 150 to 200 dishes per day, those who can't are expelled. Every year, at least half of the first-years are eliminated.
Widget Series: A series where cooking is so badass that people get orgasms or other incredible visions whenever they eat food. Cooking is so important that there is a ridiculously rich, influential school where people from all over world gather to study or teach cooking.
Chapter 20: Just as Megumi is finally gaining confidence in herself and the determination to stay with her friends at Training Camp, she is suddenly expelled on the second day..
Chapter 25: Soma and Megumi actually lose the Shokugeki against Koujirou. If it weren't for Gin, they'd have been expelled, and Soma is frustrated with the result.
Chapter 62: The first match in the main Fall Classic tournament begins, and it's Soma against Alice. Most readers thought he would meet his opponent in the final round.
Chapter 67: Megumi's opponent is Alice's assistant Ryou. While this doesn't sound like much of a wham, it's implied through Alice and Ryou's conversation that Ryou is a better cook than Alice.
Chapter 76: Subaru Mimasaka challenges Takumi to a Shokugeki with Takumi's prized mezzaluna on the line. Subaru's dish turns out to be one of Takumi's recipes; both competitors are making the same dessert.
Chapter 79: Despite Takumi's improvisation from the original recipe, Subaru is awarded the victory, even though the judges state their distaste for his culinary methods.
Chapter 92: The match between Hayama and Kurokiba was so close, that a suggestion was made to consider them both winners of the match. This means there would be a 3-way final match between Kurokiba, Hayama, and Soma himself, the first ever in the history of the Fall Classic.
World of Badass: Shokugeki no Soma may not be an action-based manga, but it manages to use Awesome Art and Mundane Made Awesome to make young chefs look incredibly Badass while they're cooking. The students even possess Battle Auras, giving an atmosphere akin to Iron Chef. While most of the story takes place at Tootsuki, the gifted students and professional teachers come from all over the world, and the alumni have established top-class restaurants abroad, playing this trope as straight as possible.
Writers Cannot Do Math: During the cooking buffet challenge at the Training Camp it's mentioned that the minimum required dishes served to pass is 200. Afterwards, it's mentioned that there are 628 students left at the end of the training account. Putting these numbers together that means that there had to have been enough people to serve 125,600 dishes to, adding on Erina and Alice going over at 407 and 380 respectively that totals at least 125,987 dishes (and likely much higher when you consider other people who went over the limit and those who didn't manage to make it to 200 dishes). Even assuming every person ate at least 6 dishes, that still means that there were over 20,000 people at the resort which nowhere near matches the amount of people we actually see onscreen. Either everyone in the Shokugeki no Soma universe is a natural Big Eater or Tootsuki has manpower equivalent to that of a small country.