Shokugeki no Souma accomplishes with entertainment not just by the storytelling but also through its characters. It has a colorful cast with a diverse range of personalities. From the prideful Erina Nakiri to shy Megumi Tadokoro, we see how their roles are played out through the series. What’s most important is how they interact with others especially in the case of Souma. Because this way, it brings out the best and worst of characters. For Erina, she brings sheer antagonism and rivalry that against Souma. From the first moment they meet, there’s a seemingly bitterness between them.
Although Souma takes it more casually, it’s Erina that acts arrogant because of her status and ability. On the other hand, there’s Megumi who is more like the antithesis of Erina. Although she has decent skills of the culinary arts, there’s a lack of confidence in her abilities. Thankfully, Souma slowly brings out her confidence throughout the show. Her partnership with Souma not only bring up Megumi’s confidence but also shows that she does have a place to belong at Totsuki Culinary Academy. At the apex of the mid-season, we see exactly how much she improves herself through experience, confidence, and a willingness to succeed.
Of course, there are many other characters that Soma meets along the way while at the academy. The staff members in particular have shown a particular interest in him such as Kojiro Shinomiya, Fumio Daimido, Senzemon Nakiri, and among others. This establishes the fact that Souma begins to earn the respect that he seemingly deserves. Throughout the show, we also see other characters that challenges him to disapprove of his ego. And this is also sometimes a fault for Souma. While he isn’t overly arrogant, Soma displays a bit of overconfidence when he faces off against certain rivals. This occasionally doesn’t work out as Soma does feels a taste of bitter defeat. The primary example is perhaps with his father as he has a long losing streak against him. Still, a good amount of focus on Souma can also be emphasized on his willingness to help others such as Megumi. He wants others to succeed and seeing them do so motivates himself to make his dream into a reality. At the best of his character, Souma demonstrates superior sportsmanship that deserves utmost respect.
As a show about culinary arts, you’d all expect a lot of the food cooked in the show to be an eye candy. After all, food is like art that can be treated as beautiful. What the show emphasizes perhaps is a bit of over exaggeration on the reaction when the food is eaten. Just a warning but you’re not a fan of sexual metaphor and satire, then this may not be a show for you. It’s clearly shown that the characters’ reactions can sometimes go overboard. The sheer effort put into the imaginations of the characters upon digesting the food is highly sensational with eroticism. While it isn’t full on nudity, it does satires the food to a point where it becomes naughty.
Despite the series being well done on most respects, it tries perhaps too much on its food war mechanics. Sometimes, it almost feels like the show is advertising itself like a sexualized commercial. There’s good amount of characterization in the series but some of the side characters may easily be forgotten once you finish the show. Plus, the characters you may remember may not be of your taste. These may include Erina whose attitude can almost feel intolerable to get accustomed to. Megumi’s shy behavior also isn’t a strong trait. Even Souma has faults too when he shows weakness.
Essentially, I wasn’t sure which studio would handle this series’ artwork. At first, Madhouse and Production I.G. came to mind with their quality. However, J.C. Staff became the engine to make this show’s artwork running. And to be quite frank, it’s fabulously well done. The character designs gives characters unique appearances that makes the most prominent ones stand out. This is especially true for the main leads.
In general, soundtrack is well done although not regarded as a prominent feature of the series. There are two OP/ED theme songs with a decent amount of focus on its coordination. It’s not a technical genius as there’s not much more to draw from the songs themselves besides some of the obvious fan service, symbolism, and foreshadowing. However, the OST delivers a good momentum that carries on each episode.