Death To The Food Wars!

Not even Gordon Ramsay can save this mess.

It’s probably no secret that I’m not a fan of r/anime, but if there’s one thing that’s alright about it, it’s how it’s one of the best ways to keep up with anime news without giving clicks to the actual anime news sites. There are some issues with people submitting things that aren’t actual news and the moderators taking a long time to clean the site up, but when it’s on point, it’s a nice way to keep in touch with the community. As for why I don’t just go on the actual sites, Anime News Network has long since fallen under the acceptable level of quality, Otaquest and Crunchyroll News just plain suck, Otaku USA has been useless for as long as I can remember, and do I even have to spell out my opinion of Comicbook.com?

There was an article on ANN where the headline detailed how Code Geass would be hard to make in this day and age according to the old director, Goro Taniguchi. I was really interested to read why he thought that way, so I gave the site a click to see what was up, and the article was basically the equivalent of a half-assed tweet under a new name. It contained just one sentence from Taniguchi explaining how anime fans wanted happy things now rather than the depression that Geass creates, a Youtube video that I can’t understand, and a few sentences saying Code Geass and that Lelouch of the Resurrection movie exists. That was it. That was the entire fucking article.

How was that news? As far as anime articles are concerned, that was barely more substantial than those godawful “let’s take a few select tweets that express a common opinion, paste them on our article, and then write two sentences about them”. The Reddit discussions on the article itself were more detailed, and the fact that so many comments came from that piece of trash was the saddest thing ever. Plus, have you seen the popularity of Demon Slayer Yaiba and The Promised Neverland, Taniguchi? No wonder you haven’t had a hit anime in over a decade!

You know what is news-worthy? Food Wars getting another season in the Fall and the fanbase going apeshit like someone strangled a cat in front of them. Seriously, the only thing that would cause even more of an online explosion would be the news that more Usagi Drop was coming.

For those of you who don’t know, Food Wars has been declining in quality for the better part of a year now to the point that it ended up getting axed from Weekly Shonen Jump due to the fading popularity. If you’re not familiar with what’s been happening lately, basically the big charm of Food Wars was its endearing cast and how the theatrical cooking was somewhat grounded in reality. Like you could actually make the dishes in the manga if you were skilled enough. Well unfortunately, for some reason, the mangaka decided to throw all of that away and piss off r/manga to the point that chapter threads on that subreddit only get a few hundred upvotes these days rather than the thousands that’s typical of a popular Shonen Jump series. And Japan definitely agrees that Food Wars has become the manga equivalent of post-S2 Sherlock, because volume sales plummeted to numbers that would rival what Marvel and DC are currently going through these days. Well I don’t know if it’s that bad since I don’t keep up with comics. But you look at the below Oricon chart and try convincing me those numbers are good.

And this isn’t even unusual for a long-running Shonen Jump series like Reborn, Bleach, and Nisekoi, which are widely seen as jokes nowadays due to how they ended. Hell, Yu Yu Hakusho peaked way too early with its Dark Tournament arc and ended pretty weirdly. It’s one of the big reasons why I never really get into long-running series. Because I’m a big believer that the longer something stays alive, the more chances it’ll have to fuck up and ruin everything. I’ve seen it happen way too often with anime that go beyond the one-season mark. A lot of anime can’t even keep the energy going for thirteen episodes. And people want longer anime to make a comeback? Why?

Of course I say that, but Food Wars was at its best when it was a two-cour show that wasn’t split. And by that, I mean the first season aka the one season people stand by no matter what. If you’ve been keeping up with the anime like I have, you’d know that J.C. Staff’s adaptation has also been on the decline the longer it went on. And it nearly touched a breaking point in the third season, which had no animation unless you thought panning shots and still images were the ideal way to watch a cooking show. The series literally took a season-long break at the halfway point presumably in order to make sure the visuals were up to snuff, and when it came back, it was like each episode was completed a day before airing. The finale to Darling in the Franxx was completed at the last minute, and it had way more animation in twenty-two minutes than Food Wars: The Third Plate had in twenty-four episodes!

It hasn’t been officially announced that J.C. Staff is making the new season, but let’s be honest; who else would adapt this series at this point in time? And J.C. Staff has basically become the new A-1 Pictures ever since the latter got it in their heads this year that maybe releasing five series a season wasn’t a good idea. Hell, they and their spin-off company Cloverworks don’t even have any anime this Spring or Summer. I never thought I’d see the day when that Aniplex-owned pile of trash actually learn the definition of “quality control”.

Don’t get me wrong; J.C. Staff has always been kind of lacking as a main production company due to a lack of visual identity combined with adapting too many projects a season. Nobody watches Toradora or The Pet Girl of Sakurasou and thinks to themselves “yep this sure is a J.C. Staff anime alright”. But they used to have highlights. Hell, they had highlights just last year with Hi Score Girl and Planet With, although admittedly you’d have to go out of your way to watch those shows due to the bad promotion and lack of interest from the overall fandom despite certain influential people shilling for them.

Unfortunately, their recent adaptation of Index was atrocious and kickstarted a bad 2019 for them. Their new season of Date A Live made the girls look like gorillas. Their One Punch Man adaptation isn’t the worst thing ever, but it’s still not what most people consider acceptable. They have so many other recent projects that are too low-profile to care about, and they have even more on the horizon.

Basically, their quantity over quality approach to anime is affecting the quality of shows that people actually care for. I’m not too worried about the new Hi Score Girl since it’s a CG show made on the cheap, but if that new season of Danmachi doesn’t satisfy the fans, it’ll be the final nail in the coffin created by Geno’s poorly animated scrap of a body. And I’ll be laughing the entire time, because I’ve been making fun of J.C. Staff for years and a lot of people defended them with statements like “J.C. Staff isn’t so bad. You should leave them alone”. So I did and turned my attention to A-1. And now we’ve come full circle about half a decade later.

But when it comes to Food Wars, even if J.C. Staff does manage to put out the same visual quality that people loved from the first season, with the way the manga has turned out these days, it’ll just be polishing a turd. They’d have to either literally end the anime after the latest arc that the third season didn’t finish properly reaches its conclusion, or make their own original take on the story after the fact in order to keep people satisfied. And from what I’ve been told, Food Wars: The Anime has mostly just existed for the sake of existing. It hasn’t done a great job of selling blu-rays or promoting the manga, and now that everyone in Japan hates the manga, what’s the purpose of even having a new season in the first place?

I don’t know. The anime industry has always been pretty backwards with its logic regarding what to actually make. It’s part of the reason why Berserk still hasn’t managed to get a good anime adaptation after so many attempts. And to be fair, there are a lot of fans who haven’t caught up on the manga and mainly love how it used to be. Although once they inevitably near the conclusion, I’m going to feel so sorry for them when they discover what Food Wars has turned into. I mean I’ve only confirmed it second-hand since I don’t read the manga, and while there’s definitely a lot of nuance I’m missing as a result, you’d be hard-pressed to deny the stupidity of a knife that can literally steal the cooking ability from someone with one touch. It’s like that stupid sword that can steal all of your chakra with just one touch from Naruto that caused me to give up on the manga in high school. How was that weapon fair in any conceivable way?

Personally, I’ve been burned too many times by this sort of shit happening to really care myself that Food Wars isn’t good anymore. And it also doesn’t help that I was never exactly a fan of the series. It was a mildly enjoyable show, don’t get me wrong. I do want to rewatch the first season some time. But I just can’t trust long-runners anymore. It’s a big reason why I refuse to give Hero Academia any more attention on this blog, even though I still watch the show whenever a new season comes out. And don’t even get me started on Netflix shows that I used to like, as well as a few HBO shows that had really strong debut seasons but couldn’t come up with new ideas to replace the old ones in subsequent seasons. That said, I’ll probably still watch Strangers Things S3. Unlike Black Mirror, it still seems like it has some ideas, plus I don’t think it’s going on for much longer.

Long-term investment is such a gamble in so many things. Relationships. Your career. And fiction is no exception. Obviously it’s something to celebrate if you can accomplish it, but that’s a big “if” in my experience. And at the end of the day, nothing lasts forever. Even though I wasn’t fully into it, I did want to see the manga succeed. I wanted to see Soma and Erina go somewhere. I wanted to see the side characters find their own paths in life. I wanted to see the school’s strict hierarchy get taken down a peg or two. And it’s a real shame that instead, the only enjoyment from that mess is watching the one popular Food Wars thread in r/manga crying online tears at how bad things have gotten. These days, it seems the only long fictional thing I can completely trust these days are Japanese games, because at least those are finished beforehand for the most part, and social media makes it easy to learn if it ends horrendously before you even buy the goddamn game.

Of course, I’m still going to watch Food Wars’ fourth season when it comes out because I shouldn’t judge the anime based on the source similar to how people who hate the last few seasons of Game of Thrones don’t hold George R.R. Martin responsible. Hell, I’ve been revisiting the Steins;Gate 0 game as of late, and even though Leskinen is still a piece of shit villain that’s nowhere near as complex as fans say he is, it’s so much better than that horrible anime adaptation it’s not even funny. And maybe J.C. Staff will get their magic back for this season? That said, I’ll probably wait to binge it because weekly watching is just getting to be more of a pain with each passing year. I’ve been keeping up with Demon Slayer Yaiba weekly, and I wish I could just watch the next episode after it ends so I can see what happens next. Not interested in discussing how annoying Zenitsu was in his introduction. Just want to see him show off why he’s the second most popular character in Japan.

So are you guys looking forward to more Food Wars? Or has all the bullshit surrounding that announcement driven you insane to the point that you’d willingly eat Panda Express? Acknowledge the existence of this practically dead blog if you have thoughts and I’ll see you next time.

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  • I can’t actually prove that the mangaka was forced to axe Food Wars, but I read the final chapter and it screamed “rushed” to me.
  • Now if Tosh decides to go full-on hentai for those epilogue chapters, maybe Food Wars can be somewhat redeemed.

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