Shokugeki no Souma was a big surprise for many for 2015. What initially seemed like a weird mix of shounen, cooking and ecchi turned out to be one of the most interesting and suspenseful anime of the year. It ended up being one of the most popular anime of the year. With the first season ending incomplete, the second season’s role was to finish up what was started. Although the second season never reaches the heights of the first season due to its really fast pacing and lack of buildup, but even with a flawed adaptation, Shokugeki no Souma is some of the best fun you’ll have this year.
The story continues off right from where the first season ended. After the Autumn Election preliminaries in the first season, the series starts off with the quarterfinals, focusing on the characters that managed to get to this point. So basically, this season starts off straight into the action. The thing is that the writing in general is fairly unpredictable, unlike the first season of the anime. Maybe the one who you’ve expected to win may not. The previous series focused more on Souma and his journey in learning more about cooking. This season focuses more on all of the finalist and what cooking and victory means too them. But the series still doesn’t forget about Souma as he’s on a journey to find his own style of cooking. The season is comprised of two different arcs. The first nine episodes are the rest of the Autumn Elections arc that was left incomplete in the first season. The last four episodes is the entirety of the Stagiaire arc. Now, the series would have been a lot better if they had time to build situations up, but the rushed adaptation prevents to do so.
Those who are familiar with the first season will feel home with the second season. Back to some more shounen-style cooking with over-the-top reactions and, of course, foodgasms. The style remains the same as the previous season, but unfortunately the same can’t be said about the pacing of this season. When the episode count of 13 episodes was announced and the PVs teased the Stagiaire arc, red flags were being raised. I knew that the adaptation won’t be as good as I was hoping it to be, but I wished that I would be proven wrong. Sadly, that wasn’t the case here. What should’ve been done in 19 or so episodes ends up being done in 13. The rest of the Autumn Elections arc should’ve been done in 15 episodes, but it was pushed into 9. That means that roughly each episode adapted 4-5 chapters, which is not ideal for a manga series that has a fair amount of dialogue. A manga adaptation of JoJo can get away with that, but not Shokugeki no Souma. Due to the fast pacing, many moments that should’ve felt tense don’t end up feeling so, and the lack of buildup makes you feel less interested in the matches. The most ideal adaptation would’ve been the rest of the Autumn Elections arc, the Stagiaire arc, and the arc after that, all being adapted in a two-cour series. But unfortunately that didn’t happen.
With the second season, you’ll be seeing the old characters back in action, but you’ll be seeing some new characters too, particularly a finalist you probably haven’t seen yet. Shokugeki no Souma had a fairly huge cast, and most of the characters ended up being either memorable, interesting and hilarious. The series revolves around Yukihira Souma and how he uses his skills to succeed in the world of cooking. But it’s not just about him doing, but also about him learning. And we also have many returning characters like Tadokoro Megumi, Nakiri Erina, and many more. But a good chunk of the series mainly focuses on the finalists of the Autumn Elections, which are Souma, Megumi, Alice, Kurokiba, Hayama, Takumi, Mimasaka, and Hisako. And this season develops on those characters more than they did in the last season. You’ll be seeing backstories for characters like Kurokiba, Hayama, and Alice, and they add more of a meaning to these matches. These characters end up feeling more complex than just a simple rival. And knowing what these characters value the most makes you not just cheer for one person.
The art quality is basically the same as the previous season, and just like the previous season, there aren’t any noticeable quality drops. Shokugeki no Souma’s art style is quite simplistic and is the one you would typically see in a typical school comedy. But more detailing is put for things of greater value, like the dishes in the series. Just like the previous season, comedic moments would be shown using chibi-looking characters and that helps add to the humor of the show. The foodgasms fanservice look just as good as the previous season. The backgrounds look quite nice, though most of the backgrounds in the series is more in buildings rather than outside. When compared to the manga’s art, it is a little lacking as some facial reactions can look more badass in the manga. But that’s a situation evert anime has since a still panel from a manga enables the mangaka to put more details than an animated scene where each frame needs detailing.
The animations quality is also the same as the first season, and just like its art quality, it’s quite consistend throughout and there’s barely any quality drops. Never once did it seem like they were saving budget and cutting it short, and the same went for the first season too. The animations for the cooking moments look pretty good. The animation quality is pretty much what you would expect from J.C. Staff at this point. It’s nothing mind-blowing, but it’s not like as if an anime like these needs animations like that. My only concern is that outdoor backgrounds can look a little static, but most of the anime is taken place within buildings anyways.
The seiyuu cast remains the same in the second season. The voice acting in the first season was excellent, however most of the seiyuu are pretty unknown. Souma is voiced by Matsuoka Yoshitsugu and he does a great job as the confident, yet curious protagonist. His effort here is of course nowhere near the level of his role as Petelgeuse in Re:Zero, but it’s not like as if that’s necessary. Megumi is voiced by Takahashi Minami again and she does a very good job, even if her role wasn’t as important as it was in the first season. Taneda Risa returns to do Erina, but just like Megumi, there’s not much of her to begin with. However, characters like Hayama and Kurokiba play a bigger role in this season and their seiyuu do a very good job. Okamoto Nobuhiko knows how to do raging characters well, so he did a great job as Kurokiba. And Suwabe Junichi did a great job as the composed, yet focused Hayama. Overall, the returning cast does a great job again with their characters. The
Voice Acting: 9/10
The music was mostly excellent in the first season and the same can go for this season too. The OP, “ROUGH DIAMONDS”, is a very good song made by SCREEN mode. The music for the OP sounds like something you would hear from a battle shounen anime, but it’s not like Shokugeki isn’t as intense as a battle shounen. The ED, “Snow Drop”, was done the really loved and popular band, nano.RIPE. Though it might not be their best, but the song is pretty good. I’m not a big fan of the band’s vocalist though. The soundtrack for this anime is the same as the soundtrack used in the first season. Though I haven’t noticed if there’s any track that is new in the series. My favorite one (just like the last season), “Food Battle Start!”, is used very well in the anime to create suspense. Some of the over-dramatic music used when the dishes are being judged adds to the absurdness of the series too.
Even with the lackluster adaptation, I found it very hard not to enjoy the second season of Shokugeki no Souma. With more shounen-style cooking, mouth-watering dishes, over-the-top foodgasmic reactions, epic one-liners and references to other series, it’s got everything I expect from a sequel to Shokugeki no Souma. Although what should’ve been Shokugeki’s best arc ended up being one of its weakest do to a rushed adaptation and lack of buildup. But the characters are developed just as effectively as they were in the manga. I still enjoyed this season, and it’s one of my favorite of the year, but what could’ve been amazing only manages to be great and nothing more.
If you’re a fan of Shokugeki no Souma, chances are that you have already watched this season. But if you haven’t then you should do so. The supporting character are more developed than before and are now much more complex as characters. Even Souma got more development as his goal from reaching the top got turned into finding his own style of cooking. And you get what you know and love from the first season too. However, the really rushed adaptation makes this season lack the intensity and buildup the last season. It’s quite disappointing that the manga’s best arc got a not so good adaptation. But even with the lackluster adaptation, there a lot of find in the second season of Shokugeki no Souma.
+ The shounen-style, over-the-top cooking, and foodgasms are back.
+ Supporting characters are well-developed and some receive proper backstories.
+ The great background music used in the first season is back and new OP and ED are very good.
+ Souma is developed more as a protagonist who needs to find his own style of cooking.
- Very rushed as an adaptation and makes the series lack any proper buildup or intensity.
- Never reaches the heights of its first season, despite adapting the best moments from the manga.