Want a FOODGASM? Enter the Food Wars!

A spoiler-free review of the spring 2015 anime “Food Wars! Shokugeki no Souma,” produced by J.C. Staff, based on the manga by Yuuto Tsukuda and contributor Yuki Morisaki.

I like to cook. Granted, I’m no master chef, nor do I really know what I am doing half of the time, but I find enjoyment in starting the rice cooker and chopping up some lettuce. Lather on some soy sauce and you’ve got yourself some tasty stuff. In fact, I’ll be right back . . .

*with mouth full of food* Now wheh wur we? Oh, wat’s wight. Food Wars!, baby! PREPARE YOUR ANUS FOR ALL THIS ‘FOOD PORN.’

Shokugeki no Soma centers on Yukihira Souma, a 15-year-old practically raised in his father’s local Japanese restaurant so that he’ll one day take over the family business. That’s no fuss for Souma because he loves cooking and dreams that nothing will ever change. But when his sly father suddenly closes down shop for a bit to play chef in America, Souma is challenged by his old man to attend Toutsuki Culinary Academy, which considering its incredibly slim 10% graduation rate, is basically hell itself! As Souma dives into delicious, daily tests and mouthwatering missions, he makes new friends and even more enemies, but will his father’s teachings be enough to pull him through the first semester? As long as he wins the Shokugeki!

So what is a Shokugeki? It’s a famous Toutsuki tradition that has withstood the test of time. Essentially, it’s a cooking duel initiated when two persons need to settle a dispute. They are judged by an unbiased panel and all the clashing chefs have to do is muster their culinary expertise to best their opponent AKA a game of whose food tastes better. This is where the anime gets its fire. The acclaimed battle-roulette shounen is fueled by these steamy competitions of trial-and-error and sheer willpower!

Aw yeah, here we go!

Aw yeah, here we go!

Shokugeki proves that resolution and “courage” are not enough to win one’s case, however, and that’s what makes this anime excel from other shounen with the same stunts. An incredible amount of cooking skill, familiarity in the kitchen, and knowledge of spices that I’ve honestly never even heard of are necessary to simply blend in with the crowd, let alone actually surprise one of the scary judges! I mean, it’s still a school, so I would hope that they are learning to grill my steaks properly.

Souma thinks he’s a wise guy, taking after his son-of-a-buck father. He’s pretty damn smug during his entrance speech, proclaiming that he doesn’t plan on losing to “some bunch that has never stood in front of clients” – That’ll earn you a rep no doubt, because now the entire student body wants to slit your throat! Cocky as he seems, Souma’s got one thing that none of the others have. Passion? Nope. Talent? Not that. A hot body? For this spiky redhead, hardly. Souma wants to support others, and when your egg omelet determines your fate, that’s a rare treat in a guy. Even though he’s a dumb fool, ‘he helps others find their feet so that they learn to stand up on their own’ (as one reviewer sorta put it), specifically speaking, the clumsy yet sweet Tadokoro Megumi.

The rest of the characters are pretty much store-bought stereotypes, but in the case of Shokugeki, that’s not a bad thing at all! There’s the tsundere “God Tongue” Erina Nakiri, the critical queen of Toutsuki who seriously needs a new nickname; Nikumi the “Meat Master,” a busty servant of Erina who trust me, knows her way around meat; Tadokoro Megumi, the already-mentioned endearing ‘freshmeat’ of the pack who, at first clings to Souma’s apron like a stain, builds her own uniqueness and learns to fight on her own turf like a pro; Lastly Takumi Aldini (the Italian stallion) who remains Souma’s poke-fun-of rival in this shounen.

Better start learning how to shine shoes because she’s several feet over our heads

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Aww, what’s wrong? You’re looking a bit flushed there, Mr. Aldini

I didn’t even get to mention the cool Polar Star Dormitory pals, but there are so many other exaggerated and outrageous cutouts that benefit this particular story genre. If you know shounen anime enough, then none of these characters are necessarily fresh. That doesn’t stop these chefs from being entertaining and downright amazing in their own right, though. Their uniqueness often adds an extra layer of hilarity!

Oh yeah, there’s this woman, too . . .

So the story is nothing new and the characters aren’t original, either. How’s the animation fair? SWEET MOTHER OF EGGS! J.C. Staff has taken food to a whole new level and MY GOD things are so juicy! Now why do people keep calling it “food porn?” It’s the way the characters revel, squirm, and orgasm on their own taste buds. Apparently one of the key animators worked with hentai, so that’s probably where the show gets its inherent sex drive. Besides being ridiculously over-the top, I found the sensual reactions to be another one of Shokugeki’s winning attributes. The exploding articles of clothing and intense moaning reveal what an A+ dish can truly do to your body – make it foodgasm. The science of good food is also thoroughly explored, so by entering with an engaged mind, you might learn a thing or two.

This one’s actually not a foodgasm. He just gets this way . . . sometimes . . .

Composer Tatsuya Kato is a genius, simply put. I especially loved the way he incorporated Western-inspired tracks to this show; the soundtrack only makes it more flavorful (awesome trumpet and strings)! Disappointment, rage, awkwardness, celebration, competition, grandeur – it’s all here, and expressed with such invigorating fervor. While watching, I wanted to stop and scream just how incredible this OST is, but then I’d be missing out on another bite of excitement.

Check out “01. Towards the Horizon of Cuisine,” “06. The Texture of a Decisive Battle,” “07. Go Study Both Sour and Sweet!,” “08. God Tongue,” “09. Disgusting!,” “18. The Heat of Confrontation,” and “25. The Secret Ingredient Named Victory” to get a lick of Souma’s world!

And all of these delightful features are carried by tasty openings and endings. My two favorites were the first two, opening “Kibou no Uta” by Ultra Tower and ending “Spice” by Tokyo Karankoron. Watching this anime each Saturday morning as a simulcast, this opening was such a great “good morning” call that I had to download it as an alarm. My sweet little “Spice” also charmed me early on, and I loved the dinner table scene at the end.

With incredible amounts of five-star food, unnecessarily high degrees of tension, and FAN SERVICE OUT THE WAZOO, Shokugeki constantly delivers fun and flavor! At the end of the day, it’s all about a boy who practices to surpass his father. So rather than blindly recommending this fantastic treat with two open thumbs up, I instead refer Food Wars! to those who want fun, but don’t want change.  The outrageous reactions to the food, the bouncy animation, the blazing competition – It’s all to delight in! But the story of the Shokugeki is much more than that; it was the incalculable trial and error – blood, sweat, and tears – over and over again that made this anime shine above the rest. “…repeating trial and error and failing many times…it’s that process which makes the dishes shine.”

While characters know hardships, the show never lowers its light to become a negative influence. Take it like a nice, home-cooked meal: The food is ever-changing, but the heart never falters. I also learned some neat kitchen tricks! If you’re looking for some grilled competition and true comedy, yet ecchi fan-service doesn’t bother you too much, then try dipping into Food Wars! You’ll find that it doesn’t need any extra salt. The flavor is just right.

“Don’t think of unnecessary things, just make a dish that suits you!” – Souma to Tadokoro

+ Yukihira Souma is a character that you’ll naturally want to cheer on, which is the goal for any shounen anime

+ Entertainment value is through the roof, so long as you don’t mind ecchi, umm, ‘plot’

+ Animation quality is absolutely incredible! The food will make your mouth drool and characters will make you giggle so hard you vomit

+ A soundtrack so fitting that it elevates the stakes on every front, yet knows when to be playful, witty, or heartwarming

Thanks for reading my review, and I hope you liked it! “Happy to serve!” You can let me know your thoughts by dropping a comment below and/or sautéing that like button! The café rates this anime with a gratifying 9/10, so if you’re interested in Food Wars!, the entire show can be viewed on Crunchyroll for FREE! Now you’ve got nothing to lose but your appetite! Until next time everyone, this has been

– Takuto, your host

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Yamada’s First Time (B Gata H Kei) Review

“B Gata” meaning “Type: B” and “H Kei” meaning “Style: H.” Make of that how you will.

Everyone has sexual tendencies, but is it natural for a virgin teen girl to want to bang 100 guys her first year in high school? Well, Yamada is 15 years old, and this is her goal. She’s beautiful, popular, athletic, smart, and even musically talented – so why the sudden urge? We quickly discover that she has no sexual experience whatsoever when she corners a boy in the library and flashes him. But hey, as the saying goes, “The journey of a hundred miles starts with a single step.”

Like so many, I judged this show just hearing the title. After actually watching it, however, I was in love by episode one. This plot is definitely a hit-or-miss for some, considering its mature themes, but the show goes beyond that. While Yamada’s First Time lacks the actual sex, it teaches a valuable lesson about rushing into things, and how you might want to rethink things through before you do something regrettable. This anime is a one-of-a-kind gem that shines best when it strays from its goal.

Yamada is an interesting character, that’s for sure. She’s slutty, perverted to the max and simply a disaster. But despite her intriguing plot involvement, she is a really enjoyable character. Yamada can be the “go get em’” girl all she wants, but deep down she is only a teenager – she’s still growing and learning. Her lust to lose her V-card results in her chasing down the most unremarkable boy in her class, Kosuda, and she begins to realize that she might have feelings for him.

Kosuda (“cherry boy”) is doomed to her by the first episode – that innocent boy in the library, but he sure doesn’t think that! Kosuda is bland, boring and honestly looks like a background character. He represents the average boy in many ways, but stands out because he gets so freakin’ nervous about most everything related to Yamada. In that, he’s quite hilarious to watch.

While it’s fun following these two chase after each other, you realize that by the end of this short anime, Kosuda is all Yamada’s gonna get. The anime loves teasing its viewers with X-rated hot stuff, but then quickly pulls up its pants before anything unfolds. After watching so many ridiculous scenes with the two, you really want them to have sex – you do and you know it!

Accompanying the lead couple is Yamada’s enduring girlfriend Takeshita who advises her through her journey, Yamada’s Eros Deity, the brash and sexual embodiment of her darkest desires that promotes her banging boys, Kosuda’s quiet childhood friend Miyano who crushes on him the entire series, the perfectionist transfer student and rival of Yamada, Kanejo, and so many more. What can I say? Yamada’s First Time has an ensemble cast that manages to entertain and keep you laughing.

There’s not much to say regarding the animation. It lacks much detail in background scenery, but it gets the job done. You can tell the animators put extra work into making Kanejo and Yamada appear cuter than the others, as it shows when the two face off in various activities.

The OST is spicy and dramatic, fitting the tone and adding to the overall flavor of the series! Argumentative scenes are well supported while the softer romantic scenes strike the heart. I especially enjoyed the opening and ending, “Oshiete A to Z” and “Hadashi no Princess,” both by Yukari Tamura. The opening is just so catchy and tons of fun! J It reminded me of other S.A.V.E. titles like Strike Witches or Negima!?.

Yamada’s First Time is by no means a full-blown hentai, but rather a more playful ecchi. The show teases its viewers and services the fans. It’s a guilty pleasure that I enjoyed probably way more than I should have >.< Because of its mature content, the anime is not for everyone. But my god do I recommend it – absolutely. Yamada’s First Time is a precious and lovable anime. “Sometimes you just have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down.” – Kobi Yamada

While I don’t currently own a copy, Yamada’s First Time in FUNimation’s S.A.V.E format is on my Amazon.com cart! For less than $15.00, it’s a must buy! Also, Brittney Karbowski’s role as Yamada is really good ~

Thanks for reading as always and be sure to check out other reviews for more recommendations. If you had similar thoughts or were inspired to watch this anime, then go ahead and hit that like button or drop a comment below! I welcome all new customers (followers) to the anime café and until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host

 

 

 

TRINITY SEVEN Review

Harem anime rely on three concepts to succeed, regardless of how stupid the plot might be:

1. A decently likable lead that undergoes some sort of personal growth throughout the show
2. An even more enjoyable and interactive ensemble cast that is attracted to said lead for some odd reason
3. Humorous dialogue and decent amounts of fan service

. . . Or so I thought.

TRINITY SEVEN demonstrates what happens when an anime relies too much on its harem, sidelining any plot explanation, and ultimately pays a heavy price for such unbalanced writing.

Arata Kasuga’s world literally comes crashing down on him when an apocalyptic event known as a “Breakdown Phenomenon” destroys the whole world and throws his cousin Hijiri Kasuga into a different one. Unable to get Hijiri back nor stop the catastrophe, Arata finds himself enrolling in a magic school, Royal Biblia Academy, that houses the great “Trinity Seven,” seven girls who have mastered their own “Thema” and are ace magicians. From here, Arata plans to “learn the magic” of these powerful ladies and control his “demon lord candidate” abilities in order to bring back his beloved cousin, Hijiri.

What caused this untimely “Breakdown Phenomenon?” What did the caster gain from this tragedy? How does one learn the complex system of magic?

These are just a few of the many reasonable questions that get little to no answer. Crucial explanation is tossed out for exploding clothes, bouncing boobies and nude scenes of Arata and the girls. I enjoy my fair share of fan service as much as the next guy, but TRINITY SEVEN has way way too much of it! I grew really tired of it :/

Unnecessarily convoluted plot aside, the show might score a win with its characters.

The lead boy Arata Kasuga appears to be your typical pervert, but he’s surprisingly different. He’s honest about his attractions, never stuttering while apologizing a thousand times; we’ve all seen it, don’t lie, it gets really old. “Thank you for the feast” is one of his quotes to witnessing nudity. Kasuga was a fresh harem lead, and I enjoyed the fact that he doesn’t use the Trinity Seven, but instead fights even stronger alongside them. Plus, his voice actor is Yoshitsugu Matsuoka (Kirito-kun) – you can’t get much better than him!

While a couple of the Trinity Seven are cutout characters, the ones that I found myself drawn to were Lilith Asami, Levi Kazama, and Akio Fudou.

First off, Lilith-sensei is one of the teachers at Royal Biblia Academy, and as such is Arata’s #1 tease. She wields a magical rail rifle weapon and knows how to fire it quite well. I love the concept art of her character, red-braided hair with blue eyes and a monocle on occasion, as well as her hate/love relationship with Arata. The two get along well, and by the end, hold respectful positions with each other. Also, Arata loves her giant jugs – the best out of the Trinity Seven 😉

Levi and Akio act more like supports for Lilith and Mira Yamana (the cute yet stern tsundere leader) respectively, and as such are mainly “power houses.” They both have their own motives, yet go along with Arata’s teasing. Truly a hidden comical duo!

Another one of the show’s better features was the animation by Seven Arcs. While intricate CGI architecture made up the school and its majestic hallways, characters had matching and rich color designs, be it in uniforms, hair color or eyes. The ecchi hot scenes are also a beauty; graceful curves and shining skin really do go a long way :3

OST-wise, the soundtrack contains lovely violin melodies for both combat and relaxation. Sometimes rap-like chanting is sung to help fill the space. It’s unique and adds its own touch to this anime.

The opening “Seven Doors” by ZAQ is freakin’ amazingballz! By using chromatic scales to create a haunting undertone, and mixing that with a sweet, reminiscing melody, you get a super cool song! Check it out – it is a must! BTW, I love Hijiri’s cute face when the verse starts ~

Now back to the rant. TRINITY SEVEN is nothing but boobs, attempted serious magic, exploding clothes, then more boobs. It’s awesome for a while and really could have been so much more, but by episode 6 or so I was utterly lost and just done. To be honest, I can’t believe I stuck it out, but then again, I’m a completionist, so yeah. “Connect to blah blah – Execute Thema!” Or whatever the hell it is.

Thanks for reading! Remember that these are my own thoughts, so feel free to drop a comment with your own. Until next time, this has been

– Takuto, your host