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
"99% of you are sacrificial stones in order to polish the remaining 1% gems."
— Headmaster 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. Viz Media will release it in North America, both physically and digitally, under the title Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma.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 irritating 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 Autumn Election, he smiled when his brother surpassed him once again.
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 Autumn Election 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 Autumn Election preliminary using an aroma surprise factor.
Barbie Doll Anatomy: Usually, the breast 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 Elite Ten Council.
The finals of the Autumn Election are cooking duels as well, but they are not Shokugeki.
Covert Pervert: Every character with his/her orgasmic or naughty reactions qualifies. Especially blatant that this kind of "foodgasms" happens only to teenagers and adults, but not to children whose reactions are entirely innocent.
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 Autumn Election 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!"
Double Meaning Title: Shokugeki no Soma directly means "cooking spirit", yet it can be interpreted as "Souma of Shokugeki". The word "Soma" is a pun on Souma's name in the Japanese version, and a direct reference to his name in the English localization.
Dream Sequence: Isshiki has this while worried if the rest of the dormitory will come back complete, as he imagines Soma a lot more muscular, Megumi turned into a Japanese Delinquent, Shun completely scrawny and the only remains of Zenji being his glasses.
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 by any "foodgasm".
Souichirou 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 Souichirou'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.
While most of the "foodgasms" are Ecchi, other "foodgasms" are anything than that. In recent chapters, some of them actualy resemble shounen battles. There are also "foodgasms" that are just plain funny.
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 Polar Star Dormitory during their middle school and high school semesters.
Exposition Party: After the preliminaries of the Autumn Election, the Polar Star 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.
Fanservice: Par for the course with an Ecchi series, but both genders are applicable.
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 Polar Star Dormitory girls trying to cool off using an inflatable pool in the dorm garden.
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 Elite Ten are discussing about the Autumn Election 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.
Impossibly Delicious Food: The descriptions of the dishes is often complicated, but judging by the in-universe reactions, such as a priest discarding his religious vows just to eat a dish, it's enough to make the reader drool.
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.
Jerkass: This manga is full to the brim with 'em. Not only the students, but also some of the adults who are in gastronomy business who aren't part of the Tootsuki.
Loads and Loads of Characters: By the Autumn Election, 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.
During preparation for dishes, simple culinary techniques are done with this trope.
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.
In the breakfast buffet trial using eggs, one splash panel features a personified egg wearing a cap and cape similar to M. Bison, with Soma wearing a Hachimaki and outfit akin to Ryu.
During Gin Doujima's speech in chapter 33, there is an imagination shot of Soma wandering in a desert with sandstorm, while wearing clothes similar to Ging Freecss'.
During the cooking lesson with the children post-Autumn Election preliminaries, Soma carves several vegetables into figures, one of them being a very detailed Zeta Gundam. Not to mention that one of the boys is playing with a Gundam figure and wears a Cundam shirt.
The book that Marui is holding in chapter 55 is called Le Guide Culinaire by George's Auguste Escoffier, a cookbook that streamlined French cooking.
In the flashback of chapter 69, the rules in Ryou's restaurant are similar to that of the "soup nazi" from Seinfeld.
Chapter 71 concludes with Ryou Kurokiba and Megumi Tadokoro facing off JoJo's Bizarre Adventure style with Stands that yell "EBI EBI EBI" and "HOTA HOTA HOTA" as they punch.
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, but the judging panel from the Autumn Election, who rarely hands a score above a fifty out of a hundred out of 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 Autumn Election 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: Anyone who makes it towards second-year at Tootsuki qualifies, but the Elite Ten, 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 Autumn Election, any participant scoring 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 Autumn Election preliminaries, Shun and Zenji's entries are this (the performer and technician, respectively).
Tournament Arc: The Autumn Election - 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 a so badass thing that people get orgasms or other incredible imaginations whenever they eat food. Cooking is so important, there is a ridiculously rich and influential school where people from all over world are studying or teaching cooking there.
Chapter 20: Just as Megumi is finally getting confidence in herself and determination to stay with her friends at Training Camp, she is suddenly expelled during 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 Autumn Election 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.
World of Badass: Despite its premise, Shokugeki no Soma is not an action-based manga, but the combination of Awesome Art and Mundane Made Awesome is displayed in a way that young chefs look so Badass when they're cooking. The students possess Battle Auras, giving an atmosphere akin to Iron Chef. While the story takes place at Tootsuki for most of the time, 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.