Many years ago, in a far-off kingdom, a king asked of his subjects: "Which is stronger, fried duck or stewed tofu?" Most of his servants thought he'd gone off the deep end, and summarily ignored him. But one mysterious stranger, bearing a magic card known as a "Meal Ticket," understood him completely...and with his magic, he brought the king's dinner to life. They became creatures known as Foodons, and to this day, aspiring chefs work their hardest at preparing the best meals...for battle.
Cut to the present day. Chase and his sister Kayla are the children of the legendary chef, Jack. Unfortunately, it seems like his cooking skills don't necessarily run in the family. Now, a group known as the Gluttons has imprisoned Jack due to his dangerous cooking abilities. After managing to bust his father out from their jail, Chase begins to realize that he has what it takes to be a great chef—so he sets out on his own adventure, even though the Gluttons, especially Perky Female Minion Clawdia, vow revenge.
All of this would probably come across as a horrible mashup of Pokémon and Food Wars!—if the show took itself with an iota of seriousness. Fighting Foodons deliberately plays everything—from the concept to the characters—with as much over-the-topness as possible, making the whole affair come off as parodic. While it was not originally a very big hit, the show gained a cult following over the years. Not surprisingly, it uses (and abuses) pretty much every Food Trope in the cookbook.
Originally known as Martial Arts Cooking Legend Bistro-Recipe in Japan, Fighting Foodons was one of 4Kids Entertainment's premiere anime on the Fox Box when they took over Fox Kids. It also spawned several Japan-only video games based on the 2-volume original manga.
Fighting Foodons contains examples of:
- Alliterative Title: Fighting Foodons repeats the letter "F".
- Anthropomorphic Food: As Mons!
- Apologizes a Lot: The Meatballs: "We're sorry!"
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Beefsteak in episode 1 and Doughnasour in episode 11.
- Between My Legs: Of Clawdia in episode 10.
- Big Bad: King Gorgeous Gorge is the main villain of the series.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: A few cases due to spiked food. Clawdia and King Gorgeous Gorge's Big 4 are also such having been transformed into evil being by King Gorgeous Gorge himself.
- Brother–Sister Team: Chase and Kayla are brother and sister, and work together to fight King Gorge and the Big Four.
- Butt-Monkey: The Burnt Meatballs are so useless they're sorry about it, and constantly apologize for being worthless.
- Catchphrase: Chase uses "The kitchen... is... OPEN!" to open the Meal Cart.
- Cat Girl: Her name's Clawdia, just in case you missed the other obvious cat features.
- Cooking Duel: To its logical extension, as food that actually fights other food.
- Cowboy: Hot Doggone-It is of the gun-slinging variety and Cowboyritto uses his lasso to slam opponents into the ground.
- Cultural Translation: The Asian foods represented by many foodons have been changed in the American localization to ones more familiar to American audiences. The entire premise of "pun names" is also introduced, which not only adds humor, but can sometimes leave a bit of ambiguity regarding what food, exactly, a foodon is supposed to represent. This practice has been controversial with some fans, however, given America is not exactly a country where Asian food is completely mysterious and exotic.
- Cute Witch: Ham-Scam Witch, so much so that it is part of her attack strategy.
- Don't Go in the Woods: In episode 3, which the group have to when Clawdia have Kayla kidnapped to bait the rest.
- Drop the Hammer: Squeaky hammers are constantly used as weapons on this show.
- Even Evil Has Standards: When Oslo is thrown against a wall while captured by the Gormandizers is later seen in a cage with a cold ice pack on his hurt back. The Meatballs couldn't have gotten it, so the Gormandizers must have.
- Evil Chef: You can't be a villain in this series if you aren't one.
- Expy: Doughnasour and Beefsteak, of Godzilla. Boulderbroth is one of Gamera. And the Burger Brigade are an expy of the Power Rangers.
- Fantastic Racism: Dusty Town's populace treats foodons as slaves, and the creatures are forced to crack a smile while they do their labor or get kicked around. It gets so bad it sparks rebellion from Tacquito. It's also this reason why the populace are suspicious of Chase and Co.
- Fire-Breathing Diner: Kayla's spicy curry is really spicy.
- Food-Based Superpowers: Applied to a Mons Series in which the fighting monsters are actually food recipes come to life. A talented chef can make better Foodons, and even empower them using power toppings. The highest level of skill is actually termed Dish Wizard.
- Four Is Death: King Gorge's Big Four are his strongest generals.
- Funny Bruce Lee Noises: The only sound Fried Ricer makes in the original Japanese note
- Furry Confusion: There doesn't seem to be much of a dividing line between Foodons that are and aren't sapient. Even some of the humanoid ones can only talk in Pokémon Speak (at least in the dub anyway).
- Fusion Dance: The Pork Bullies combine to form Slop Suey
- Giant Enemy Crab: Crab Quake, a foodonized crab cake with cannons and tentacles, is this at first, but when Albert decides to help Chase it fights alongside Chase's Foodons.
- Hurricane of Puns: Almost every character and Foodon's name is a food pun.
- In Medias Res: The first episode begins with an invasion of a prison camp, with Chase and Kayla attempting to free their father.
- Kid Hero: The main character, Chase, is 10 years old.
- Lethal Chef: Literally, as horrible food generally equals a very nasty monster.
- Lethal Joke Character: For most of the series, Chase's first Foodon, the Burnt Meatballs, seemed to be completely useless. That said, since they're immune to fire (due to already being burnt), they ended up becoming the final piece needed for Chase to fuse Festivus, his Infinity +1 Sword.
- Let's Meet the Meat: In the video games, you get rid of unwanted Foodons by eating them.
- Magic Feather: As thanks for saving his life, Oslo gives Chase a turbo-powered Meal Ticket to make him a good chef. Chase successfully creates Fried Ricer, only to be told after the fact that there's no such thing as a turbo-powered Meal Ticket.
- The Mentor: Oslo, who mentors Chase in the art of cooking.
- "Miss X" Pun: One of King Gorge's Foodons is Sir Loin, a cow-like warrior made from animating a kobe steak.
- Mon: In this case, the Mons are animate food.
- Mooks: There are several Foodons that fit the bill. Among them are Curry Ups, Tropical Punches, Pork Bullies and so on. There are even human examples in the Gormandizers.
- Multiple Head Case: The Chowderheads. One talks like John F. Kennedy, the other talks like Joe Pesci. They are both so dysfunctional that they always end up fighting each other.
- Mundane Made Awesome: If you thought your average Cooking Duel took things way too seriously...
- Oh, Crap!: In one episode Shrimp Stompura gives this when he tries to tackle Fried-Ricer, who grabs him and does a pile diver. As they come down there is a close up shot of both of them. Shrimp Stompura is waving his arms wildly and has inverted eyes.
- Our Ghosts Are Different: Slice and Frenchy Le Toast who are actually foodons mourning thier creator. Definitely Le Toast due to the way he scares others.
- They initially dress like Bedsheet Ghosts to scary people.
- Our Monsters Are Weird: Nothing can be weirder than monsters created from food using magical cards.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: Chef John. Really, they try to play it straight, but it's pretty obvious it's Chef Jack if you look close enough. The body build is the same, too.
- Peaceful in Death: In episode 3, the ghost of the chef and his Foodons can finally be at peace when Kayla (who resembles the princess he served for) says she likes the pizza he made.
- Perky Female Minion: Clawdia.
- Pity the Kidnapper: In episode 3, while tied to a chair, Kayla keeps kicking Clawdia after she fell to the floor from the roof. Later Kayla also throws her shoe at Clawdia's head and even strangles her with her legs.Clawdia: Apparently, you're not familiar with the role of the hostage.
- Pokémon Speak: On and off. Some Foodons, such as the Burnt Meatballs, are able to speak intermittently, while others can only recite their names in classic Poke-style. Others can speak fully, like humans.
- The Pokemon speak really only apples to the dub, however in the original Japanese, this isn't the case, for example, Fried Rice just does Funny Bruce Lee Noises in the original Japanese.
- Public Domain Soundtrack: In the dub, the ending of "Orpheus in the Underworld" is used for the show's intro.
- Pun-Based Title: Several of the episode titles in the English dub are food puns ("Rice to Meet You", "Mushroom With a View", etc.).
- Quintessential British Gentleman: Sir Dumpling spouts off an endless stream of "pip-pips" and "cheerios."
- Quirky Mini Boss Squad: King Gorge's Big 4, who each specialize in a different kind of food.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: Beefsteak, Boulderbroth, Applegator, and many more.
- The Rival: Albert is everything a shonen rival usually is in his first appearance: Cocky, smarmy, and begging to be taken down a notch. However, he actually does get taken down a notch in the episode after he's introduced after learning his rival is the son of his idol, and becomes a nicer sort of foil. Also Coco at first.
- Second Episode Introduction: Pie Tin is introduced in the second episode.
- The Sheriff: Sheriff Zuke Squash from episode 11.
- Strong Family Resemblance: Chase and his dad could be clones, especially with their ridiculous two-tone hair. Kayla, presumably, takes after their mother.
- Tag Along Kid: Pie Tin; even more so when the protagonists are already young.
- Team Pet: Omelet.
- There Was a Door: The first episode has this exchange as the team tries to get the Meal Cart outside of a prison.Kayla: How we gonna get it out of here?
Chase: The window!
Kayla: There is no window!
Chase: There is now!
- Unconventional Food Usage: The whole premise revolves around food being used as Mons.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Sgt. Marinara was last seen on the S.S Food Fight, piloting himself and the rest of the Big Four. After Chef Jack blew up the Glutton secret lab, no mention of him was made again.
- Hot Doggone-It, one of Chase's Foodons, appears to have vanished after the ramen contest of episode 17.