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I Watched My First Anime And I Liked It (Surprisingly)

For the longest time, I refused to watch any anime. 

I wasn’t a fan of the art or animation style and I avoided them all my life. I started watching two anime shows last year but they were just okay and didn’t really grab my attention. 

A week or two ago, I set down on the couch for my regular Netflix dinner session after a long day. I was in the mood to start a new show and I decided to randomly start “Food Wars,” an anime one of my friends told me about. 

To say that the first episode was……weird is an understatement. But like many other shows, I was hooked. The next thing I know, I finished the two seasons that were available on Netflix.

Released in 2015, “Food Wars” is an anime adaptation of a Japanese manga series. There are currently five seasons and the episodes are around 20 minutes — perfect bite-size episodes.

The anime follows high school student Soma Yukihira, who’s father just enrolled him in an elite Japanese culinary school, Tōtsuki Culinary Academy. With a background in cooking at his family restaurant and having grown up cooking alongside his talented father, Soma thought he knew everything about cooking and that enrolling in this culinary school was a waste of time. He realized how wrong he was after meeting his fellow schoolmates at Tōtsuki Culinary Academy. The competitiveness of the culinary world finally dawned on him. 

Students at Tōtsuki Culinary Academy were extremely talented, skilled and possess comprehensive knowledge in various areas of cooking, whether it’s herbology, international cuisine or culinary theories. Soma was very behind. However, that didn’t stop him from rising towards the top. He and fellow cooks at the academy participated in training camps and battles and improved their culinary skills every day. And his confidence, resourcefulness and willingness to learn from mistakes helped him along the way.

When I said the anime was weird, I meant W-E-I-R-D. In the “Food Wars” universe, the way people enjoy and appreciate food was through climaxing. There are always random semi-explicit scenes whenever people do food tastings and they get transported into a whole new universe in their mind while savoring and analyzing the rich flavors of the food. And the overly-dramatic effects and dialogues didn’t help either.

I didn’t understand the point of that aside from the fact that it was very “anime-like.” However, over time, I actually started to understand it more and developed a newfound appreciation for anime and food. 

Though explicit and weird, it was a unique way of expression. Through the scenes of food tasters climaxing and being transported to another world, I was able to feel the impact of the food through the screen. 

The characters on the show were lovable (and some I love to hate!) and the show had a great Japanese charm to it. It also shed light on the intricateness and extensiveness of the culinary world. 

As a beginner cook who found a passion for cooking during COVID-19, I was mesmerized by the different areas of cooking the show explored. Even though I will never be able to replicate their cooking, it was inspiring learning everybody’s cooking techniques and how they enhance their food flavors in their own unique way. I loved learning alongside the aspiring chefs at Tōtsuki Culinary Academy. 

“Food Wars” was exciting and there was never a dull moment. Whether you’re watching an intense food war battle between Soma and a highly skilled chef with his enrollment at stake or if you’re watching everybody struggle to reach a minimum amount of dish during the training camp, this show keeps you on the edge of your seat and provides you with the satisfaction you cannot get elsewhere.

Anime can be tricky and takes time to adjust to. Once I pushed past that initial stage, the show made me appreciate cooking and the culinary world on a whole different level and quite frankly, made me rethink my prejudice towards anime I had all my life. 

Collegiettes, if this show sounds interesting to you but you didn’t want to watch it because of the anime aspect, give it a try. You never know unless you try — something that I’ve learned recently. :)

Marina Li

George Mason University '21

Marina is a junior at George Mason University studying Communication with a concentration in Public Relations with a minor in Marketing and Tourism & Events Management. She is a social media coordinator, content creator and event planner. She is the kind of person who would burst out singing Disney, musicals, and Christmas songs out of nowhere. In her free time, she likes to watch corgi compilations, read, watch Netflix, think about life and experience repeated existential and identity crisis. Her dream job is to work with Pixar or Disney Studios.
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