Day 8 – Wait! This Is Going to Actually Work?! – The 12 Days of Anime

Know thyself!!

Today’s post will be short-ish since I did not plan ahead enough to address the typical low battery feeling of Monday; so, I’m going to pick a moment that is well-known enough that it needs little introduction.

One of the things “everyone” knows about anime that is actually true (as opposed to the false ones like: it’s only for kids, it’s just animated T & A, it’s super violent) is that anime contains some very odd shows.

These odd shows don’t always work, but, often enough they do. I, therefore, make sure to check out these strange series at the start of each season. The question that I ask myself is – Is this show going to work? In the case of this year’s Ninja Slayer, the answer was no. For Yamada-kun and the Seven Witches the answer was kind of. For Show By Rock!! and Joukamachi no Dandelion the answer was yes.

Today’s moment is the moment where the most unlikeliest series convinced me that it was going to work. That anime was …

Shokugeki no Souma.

Even after finishing the first season, I still can’t quite believe that Shokugeki no Souma turned out as good as it did. Not, it was a pretty good show given what it was but Shokugeki no Souma was a genuinely good anime series. I would easily rank it in the top 2 or 3 series that JC Staff has produced in the last 10 years.

And the moment was in the first episode towards the end where Souma had just upheld the honor of his diner and saved it from the wrecking ball by serving a meal that the agents of the developer found eating to be the most pleasurable experience they ever had. And it was the shot of them laying on the ground, completely satisfied that convinced me this series was going to work.

[FFF] Shokugeki no Souma - 01 [E0EB3DC4].mkv_snapshot_18.40_[2015.04.17_02.48.16]

I think this scene convinced me of the merits of the show because they were careful to show the affect of eating Souma’s meal as affecting everyone, not just the girl. The equal opportunity fan service (or, at least, the attempt at it) signaled to me that Shokugeki no Souma was going to not merely be a vapid fan service series. I still wasn’t convinced that it had the meat juice to go the distance but if it failed it wasn’t going to be because of it’s decidedly odd setup.


2 thoughts on “Day 8 – Wait! This Is Going to Actually Work?! – The 12 Days of Anime”

  1. There were three shows I watched this year that I ended up liking way more than I expected to, and Food Wars was one of those.

    I had low expectations of Food Wars for the same reason I had low expectations of Saekano: I’m not big into fanservice, because too often it’s just used as a crutch to prop up an otherwise totally forgettable show. With Saekano, I knew I was watching something legitimately good around episode 2 or 3, when I caught on that they weren’t just throwing in fanservice gratuitously, but that it was actually serving a storytelling purpose to help communicate Aki’s discomfort and self-consciousness around these girls to the audience (a lot of those scenes took me straight back to my awkward teenage years when I’d find myself near an attractive girl and have no idea where to put my eyes).

    The fanservice in Food Wars is a little more gratuitous than Saekano’s, but I think because they were always private fantasies taking place in the taster’s imaginations, for the most part it didn’t that same feeling of objectifying the characters that I usually get from the more common “male gaze” fanservice. It also helped that it was generally equal opportunity, as you noted (aside from the tentacle assaults, which I really could have done without). I also liked that overall the women were shown to be just as competent and capable as the men. Even Megumi wasn’t lacking in talent, just confidence, and watching her blossom was one of my favorite things about the whole series.

    The third show I enjoyed much more than expected was Danmachi, but that was for totally different reasons.


  2. @WingKing: Megumi was one of my favorite characters of the year. I loved how she’d honor her hometown in her style of cooking. And yes, how Megumi was handled is a great example of how strong the core storytelling ability of the show actually was.


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