The Best Part of Food Wars: Populism
Since starting Food Wars and admitting to my friend Sean that I had unnecessarily judged the show based on the infamous “Foodgasm” scenes I have come to really love the show for a couple of reasons. One, because basically everything in the show so far, as of episode 10, looks amazing, and because Soma as a character is a lot more likable than your average shonen protagonist.
Sure, if you were to base his character on just the first couple of episodes then you might be able to say that Soma is extremely stereotypical, but what has become apparent as I reach the end of the first cour of Food Wars’ first season is that Soma represents a lot more than just a shonen protagonist who is good at cooking.
The best thing about Food Wars so far isn’t that it’s about cooking, or that the school’s system of competition actually leads to some genuinely interesting ideas for food that I otherwise would not have known about, but rather that Soma is a populist hero rather than a normal one.
Totsuki, the world-renowned cooking academy, in many ways represents the interests and the ideas of the elite and the food establishment. Most of the students who go there are rich, and a lot of the people early on who we see as having a significant advantage over other students are the ones who have money.
Many of the students and faculty who attend the school also have an idea about cooking that only dishes that fit the mold of “fine cuisine” are fit for consumption. The show demonstrates this idea in the first episode when Soma sits down next to someone who is obviously rich and the two start talking. When Soma tells the student who is attempting to transfer to Totsuki that he works in a small diner, the student immediately kicks him off the bench and starts telling him how worthless he is.
This sort of elitism and snobbery throughout the show so far has made Soma, without even taking into account his own personality, a much more relatable character, but what makes Soma even more enjoyable is a character is the way he embraces his populist ideals.
Being a member of the elite of the food world is never something Soma strives for. All Soma wants is to surpass his dad in skill, and to return to Yukihira, their restaurant, and cook for people. He has taken pride in his cooking style and the unique mix of culture he brings to the table.
Food is food, and no matter what a person chooses to eat they should not be shamed for liking it. Soma’s brand of cooking populism is something I can one-hundred percent get behind. Not only does it make a great underdog story, but it adds a unique dimension to Soma’s character that would not be present otherwise.
How do you feel about Food Wars? Is Soma’s character good? Bad? Let me know in the comments. Thanks for reading and bye for now, Friendos!