Welcome to our 2017 Fall Anime Reviews. We’ll be tackling a few of the new shows airing this season in fairly brief reviews. The reviews will only cover the first episode of each series unless one catches our eye.
I won’t lie; I’m hesitant to get my hopes up. While the first season of Food Wars! was quite enjoyable, the second season suffered from rushed pacing throughout most of its run that left it feeling kind of hollow. This first episode of season 3 starts out similarly, as it rushes to set up Soma’s inevitable clash with Elite Ten member Terunori Kuga. It settles into a little bit of a slower, more character-focused rhythm during its second half, which gives a glimmer of hope that this season might be more evenly paced than the last one. That’s not to say the first half of the episode was not enjoyable; it simply seemed to rush to connect several dots without utilizing much time to build up any sort of tension.
In any case, I’ve been waiting for this for a while. Kuga is far and away my favorite character in the series, so I’ve been excited to see him animated for a while. That being said, he was actually animated for an OVA already that covers the Autumn Leaf Viewing event mentioned by Soma and Megumi at the beginning of the episode. (There are actually a couple of OVAs that bridge the two seasons.) The existence of that OVA leaves quite a gap in the story, as it introduced many new characters and set up a few rivalries as well. So anyone unaware of its existence, as it is not available on streaming services, will be utterly confused during this episode. I’m not sure why the decision was made to include content important to the narrative in an OVA, but whatever the case, it’s sure to throw people for a loop as they wonder just who in the world Kuga and Eishi are. Hopefully English viewers will receive this content soon in some form, but that remains to be seen.
It’s no secret Food Wars! loves to sexualize its cast. And usually it’s not a huge issue since practically everyone gets that treatment at some point. However, the continued focus on Hojo’s breasts still leaves a sour taste, considering her character is mainly about breaking through gender barriers. Given the show’s history, there are certainly worse ways Hojo could have been highlighted, but the emphasis on (and animation of) her endowments seems to downplay her as a character. Speaking of breasts, the animation department again tries to add some sort of reflective shimmer to Ikumi’s, and while the spots at least look less like pimples than they did in the last season, they still look fairly lazily added on. But I digress.
The Third Plate premiere is a bit of a mixed bag due to some problems in both the directorial department and storytelling department. While characters are all pretty entertaining, they still seem somewhat like two-dimensional cutouts. Even Kuga’s hyperactive exterior is only a mask for pretty much the same elitism we’ve seen countless times before in so many other characters. (I still love him, though.) I’m excited for this season since it contains some of my favorite parts of the manga, and I just hope it doesn’t entirely fall flat on its face. It possesses the necessary components to form a successful show, but the execution of those pieces is going to be the deciding factor in its success.
I’ll probably continue to review this series, at least for the time being, since I plan to watch it anyway. Consider it my penance for not writing up anything about the second half of My Hero Academia’s second season.