On my anime list food wars the second plate is on hold with 2 episodes left to finish. So why don’t I finish them? If I’ve seen 35 episodes already why not watch two more? The answer is a mixture of the fact that I got bored with the show and that they’re episode endings are pretty bad.
I will go into depth about explaining why I think these things, starting with the show being boring. I liked the show at the start, it introduced a legendary cooking school with brilliant chefs and fun stories revolving around the things that they did. It also had progression story’s which we’re fulfilling to watch as a lot of them were caused by the main character deciding to help someone, besides this the side story’s and extra characters fitted nicely together along with the set of cooking activities that they did. The problems started during the start of the second season where they leapt into their cooking tournament arc. It just bored me due to the structure of episodes and the formula that each one seemed to follow.
First they’d show what the characters needed to cook, this would often involve explaining the complexities of the dish and why it’s tough to make. It could also go into a characters history of cooking with similar foods. After, they’d always spend a lot of time cooking the food and showing it coming together in a competition style. Annoyingly they’d never talk about the ingredients or theories of what the other person would make as well as strategies to try and outcompete each other. As well as this every minor side character would be given the chance to cook and it’s hard to care after not seeing them for a long time. The worst part would have been Nao vs Hisako (or one that I’ve forgotten about entirely) because I didn’t care about either of them. This wouldn’t have mattered if it was interesting but I found myself just tuning out far too easily, I found the conflict a bit childish and stupid anyway.
The next stage is probably most people’s favourites however as it’s so overused I have to dislike it just due to seeing it too often. All the judges have the same boring over the top reaction that they always have so it never feels like the characters have actually achieved anything to make them stand out from the other characters. I get that the point is too make all of them look amazing but they can do that whilst still showing peoples dishes to better than others by their reactions instead of the scoring system. As well as this the judges react way too well to the food from the start, when you see these judges’ overacting in a similar way to the characters at the start it doesn’t feel like progression has taken place. The show looks like it’s trying way too hard to make each food item look even better than the previous, but it just fails. They’ll also reveal ingredients that they used here but I find that to be really dull. The steps go 1. Introduce new ingredient. 2. Explain what it does and why it’s good. 3. Have the judges react in an extremely over the top way as it it’s meant to mean something.
Now on to the main topic of this post which are the bad endings to the episodes. You may think nothing of them or that they’re actually good but they’re bad in a different kind of way to most other shows. It’s that they’re too conclusive – A very weird thing to say but please bear with me.
Food Wars is about a guy going through a difficult cooking school and facing lots of challenges and competitions. It’s a narrative that clearly goes on for a very long time yet each part feels too self-contained. They’ll resolve a plot-line (e.g a competition, cooking, and argument) and not introduce another at the end. This leads to a weirdly self-contained feeling that makes you look back on the episode as good without actually wanting to watch the next one. For an anime with short 20 minute episodes this is a pretty huge thing to lack, especially when the story clearly does carry on to be even more interesting.
The complete opposite of this idea is described in my “What I want from anime: good cliff-hangers” post where I described the brilliantness of Kaiji’s cliff-hanger endings and why they work so well. Even though Kaiji is longer I completed it in a far shorter time than I did with food wars, just because of the great endings in that show.
It’s all a matter of perspective on what you’re looking for in a show. I personally don’t like endings of this structure just because of the fact that it’s hard to carry on watching however if it’s your kind of thing then that’s fine, I can understand it if someone hates the endings to Kaiji.
This ending problem does mainly occur in the first season of food wars so it results in lots of people loving the show, yet not lots of people completing it. If you’re in the middle of watching the show I hope that you’ll see what I mean and why it’s so hard for you to binge watch it – it was and is still hard for me. I don’t see myself finishing the last two episodes anytime soon, especially when I thought episode 12 was the last one instead of episode 13 (which I didn’t know existed).