These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
The first arc exhaustion came about during its preliminary challenge where ten or so chapters are devoted to showcasing every curry dish made by the major AND side-characters introduced from the first-year students. Fans agree this is to invoke Character Development, but some just wanted the plot to move along and re-focus on Soma.
The second exhaustion is the tournament itself due to dragging on for over 40 chapters, with each match requiring explanations and fine detail; the result is three to five chapters each. By the time of the finals, readers were wishing for the story to just move on from this Tournament Arc.
Subaru Mimasaka coming out-of-nowhere to take one of the eight finalist spots for the Fall Classic is seen as this for readers who would rather see someone they'd gotten to know over the course of the manga to battle in the finals, the largest one being Shun Ibusaki getting the shaft in favor of the former. Subaru becoming a huge Base Breaker later on did not help matters.
A portion of the fans are less than happy about how the Shokugeki between Subaru and Takumi Aldini went, not necessarily due to the results, but from the former's dish - in the words of some, it's a "Deus ex Machina it-has-everything" dish.
Either Erina is an excellent rival and female heroine to the series or she doesn't deserve the spotlight because of her Jerkass qualities and rarely appears in the plot; what doesn't help is she gets top billing in promotional materials. Many consider Megumi Tadokoro to be the real heroine thanks to ascending to Deuteragonist by the Fall Classic. On the other hand, Japanese readers love Erina, having placed second on the first popularity poll. It's a well-known fact Japanese fans adore the Tsundere archetype, and Erina has shown several signs of being one despite coming off as an AlphaRich Bitch to the rest of the fandom. Worth noting is Megumi was only fifty votes behind in third.
Some have actually found Megumi to be a very boring character for just being there as a means to fill out the Shrinking Violet cliche amongst the cast, and not offering much else to distinguish herself from other obvious examples in this trope such as Onedera from Nisekoi. However, her Character Development as the series moves along has kept a plethora of these people satisfied for the most part.
Subaru quickly became a despised character after his "perfect" win over fan-favorite Takumi. It doesn't help he's established to be a great cooking competitor, yet comes out from nowhere to take the eighth spot in the Fall Classic finals. Additionally, he doesn't follow usual culinary methods others find to be biased and unfairnote In-Universe, it's not illegal to make the same dish as your opponent during a Shokugeki, nor does Subaru have a food-based Signature Style like the rest of the students. On the other hand, others state this simply propels Subaru into Magnificent Bastardry: he thrives on the fact a Shokugeki is simply, at its core, "which dish tastes better" and runs with it. Beating Takumi isn't entirely an Ass Pull when the judges state Subaru goes above and beyond with the recipe to surpass and outstrip Takumi's own. Effectively, the win is Subaru's Establishing Character Moment, setting him up as a top contender and rival to the rest of the first-years.
Akira Hayama had a large enough fanbase to earn him the ninth spot in the first popularity poll (despite being a newly introduced character at that point), and many do still like him for his looks and cool, helpful attitude. However, a fair share of detractors believe his overconfidence in his sense of smell is obnoxious, or find the way his specialty in aromas and spices seem to give him almost effortless victories boring. With the Fall Classic ending with him at the top, readers can expect more of this from Akira.
The title for the official English translation "Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma". Many hate it for attempting to be "extreme" in a time when that is looked down upon, while some defend it for being an accurate translation.
Who's the true female lead - Erina or Megumi? Discussions are often coupled with Ship-to-Ship Combat.
The winner of the Fall Classic's preliminary curry challenge. For Akira defenders, many find him being the winner is a given since his Signature Style is creating curry dishes, but having him lose so suddenly to a group of amateurs in what he specializes in is unrealistic by a story standpoint. However, in Soma's case, people tend to argue that while he did lose by a single point, he received the second highest overall score on a dish he had only begun working on for a few days, and is warranted to be a greater overall achievement compared to Akira's winning dish. LampshadedIn-Universe, as the judges debate this among themselves.
How Subaru wins his match in the Fall Classic main tournament. Some think it's a believable follow-up to his pre-established Signature Style, while others see it as an Ass Pull of massive proportions.
The final results of the Fall Classic; the fact a Flashback is used before the judges make their decision in order for readers to sympathize with the winner's motivations isn't sitting well with some readers; accusations of the writer rubbing it in against the one fans wanted to win is abound. Additionally, the judges using the criteria of "specialty" to determine the winner is another Ass Pull, when the same method wasn't used anywhere else during the Fall Classic Arc.
Crazy Awesome: The vast cooking techniques, culinary know-hows, knowledge of food and multiple ingredients and the orgasmic eating. There's a reason why this series is a contender for being Trope Codifier of Food Porn for manga.
Creepy Awesome: Subaru, the "King of Stalkers", who often has the expression of a devil, but the fact he's so adept at stalking it rivals or surpasses the level of Yuno Gasai.
Dude, Not Funny!: Some fans weren't pleased to see an angry Ryou Kurokiba intimidating judge Sonoka Kikuchi when she couldn't decide whether his or Akira's dish is better. On the other hand, the reaction is justified, since there's a reason why an odd number of judges are on the panel. In-Universe, the audience becomes similarly agitated and wants a decision.
As of the first popularity poll, Shun was placed tenth despite having few lines of dialogue and scenes. Likewise, Akira was placed ninth, even though he's one of the last first-year students to be introduced.
Jerkass alumni Koujirou Shinomiya is ranked fifth; the unofficial Shokugeki between him and Soma/Megumi helped, but also because of Character Development. Western fans seem to be more receptive to him, to wit his Chou Farci dish is placed second in the dish poll.
Alice Nakiri and Ikumi Mito have been gaining a noticeable fanbase, too, largely from the former being The Ace and The Tease, the latter being Ms. Fanservice, and both having occasional Ship Tease with Soma.
Soma/Erina vs. Soma/Megumi is theShip-to-Ship Combat debate on discussion boards, often coupled with the "heroine" issue.
Soma/Alice has garnered a following throughout the Fall Classic; working off one another as if they've been friends their whole life. On the same page, Ryou/Alice is a favorite after more of their back-story is revealed.
Some Ship Tease was thrown in Chapter 96 regarding Shun/Ryoko Sakaki, with the former being a Tsundere and the latter being The Tease. Fans didn't let this go unnoticed, and while some would rather see Ryoko as part of Soma's growing Unwanted Harem, others appreciate seeing a bit more variety.
Erina/Soma, fueled by the Irony Erina has a platonic crush on Soma's father Jouichirou Yukihira.
Takumi/Soma, to the point Takumi can't stand Soma having other rivals but him.
By the Fall Classic, Akira/Soma
Given they had an unsanctioned Shokugeki, Koujirou/Megumi
Before the Fall Classic final, shippers also started to do art of Ryou/Akira. Both developed a fierce rivalry during their match and, once they make it to the finale against Soma, they dismissed the latter's relevance as a rival to focus on each other, instead.
Takumi/Soma, arguably the biggest one online courtesy of the Jump Yaoi Fangirls. He is obsessed with Soma and does not appreciate Soma taking any other rivals, but himself. Make of that what you will.
Satoshi/Shun, after a brief interaction where the latter ousts the former he wasn't really giving his best in his impromptu cook-off with Soma. Additionally, Satoshi is the one whom Shun has talked to the most.
Some have also begun to think that the "Shokugeki no Soma is a cooking manga" meme has run it course. It's why some readers started going with the second version of the meme.
Jerk Sue: Erina is arguably the best cook of the first-years, has god-like sense of taste (hence, "God's Tongue"), beautiful, the granddaughter of Headmaster Senzaemon Nakiri and part of the Council of Ten Masters, meaning she can virtually do whatever she wants at school and get away with it; rarely does she get called out for anything. Her only "human traits"? She's a Tsunderewith a crush on Soma's father.
Foodgasmnote For bloody obvious reasons. The meme itself, however, existed before this series began.
Shokugeki no Soma is a cooking manganote Whenever readers come across a panel of two characters "fighting" during an Imagine Spot, their reaction is usually to remind themselves that what they're reading is a cooking battle.
Shokugeki no Soma is a _______ manga.note A branch off of the original meme where readers will actually describe the image they are looking at rather than claiming it's a cooking manga.
Poor turtlenote The reaction of many readers when a living turtle is beheaded by Hisako to be made into a hamburger dish
Viewers Are Morons: Nearly everyone in the audience, including the judging panel, are surprised when Megumi cuts and prepares a monkfish live in the preliminaries, as if no one believes it can work with curry. However, a search online about "curry" and "monkfish" yields the following results...
Megumi: there are times where readers just want to give her a hug for all the negativity she's forced to endure, with a prime example being Koujirou setting her up for expulsion during the Training Camp Arc, despite doing the right thing for her test dish, and for the amount of heckling she receives throughout the Fall Classic Arc for "being in a position she doesn't belong".
The turtle from Chapter 73 butchered without hesitation by Hisako while it was alive. It becomes part of a hamburger; Double Standard ensues as readers have already seen plenty of dishes containing other bizarre animal meat (such as monkfish).