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Did Food Wars’ Final Arc Need a Soma/Erina Romance?

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Food Wars was once an incredibly popular anime and manga franchise, with the combination of funny characters and mouth-watering meals keeping many fans coming back for seconds. One area that upset most people’s taste buds, however, was the ending of the series.

Food Wars‘ ending failed on a multitude of levels, but its biggest criticism was that Soma and Erina didn’t officially become a couple. Given the trajectory of the series, the fact that there was no payoff for this plot point was deservedly hated. However, this wasn’t the ending’s only issue.

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Food Wars Ended Without Soma and Erina Becoming an Official Couple

erina nakiri one fang

Food Wars is very much a shonen battle manga in its format, simply replacing punches with food. The premise involves young chef Soma Yukihira being sent to the prestigious and cutthroat Totsuki Culinary Academy. Hoping to surpass his dad’s cooking level, Soma quickly gains a rival in the form of Erina Nakiri, the granddaughter of the school’s director. Due to her refined, picky palette, Soma makes it his mission to not only be even better at cooking than his dad but also cook a dish that even Erina would like.

With this premise set up early on, it’s obvious that Erina and Soma is the series’ endgame relationship. That’s especially true given that so many other potential relationships are quickly thrown away. Despite this, neither the anime nor the manga has the two become an item. The anime hints a bit more that there could be a relationship between Erina and Soma beyond cooking, but even this is vague. Soma’s secondary driving force is to cook something great for Erina, and yet this is never done. Given this promise and the obvious romantic tension between the two, it’s no wonder that fans were left cold on how the show wrapped up. However, even if this development was taken and made more explicit, the series finale for Food Wars would have still likely disappointed.

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Food Wars Was Past Its Prime By the Final Episode

Food Wars Souma vs Akira vs Ryou

As aggravating as the series finale of Food Wars was, this downturn in quality wasn’t exactly new. The anime and its manga source material had trundled downhill in quality long before that point, focusing more on one-dimensional and ridiculous villains. As mentioned, there are other relationships besides that of Soma and Erina, with none of these really going anywhere or receiving adequate development. There is also a significant lack of tension in many of the high-class cooking matches, making what was once a highlight of the series a lot less interesting to watch.

Even the pacing isn’t up to par with the series finale, with Food Wars skimming through the ending of the manga. Given that said ending was already criticized in itself, cutting away its narrative issue makes the anime version even worse. This makes the lack of much development for Erina and Soma even harder to deal with, as their absence of romantic fulfillment is only one of several issues with an ending that simply comes to a close instead of coming to a real conclusion. The series creator had wanted to fit them being married into the conclusion, but this didn’t come to pass in either media.

It could be argued that Soma finally cooked that incredible dish for his rival and the two officially fell in love. It’s just as possible that both remained as they were, never going beyond their fierce friendship. This never took place, but the lack of any real romantic focus shows just how haphazard the finale moments of the series are. Thus, while Erina and Soma not becoming an official couple was a huge problem in the finale for Food Wars, it wasn’t the only issue — it was perhaps simply emblematic of how bored the series had become with itself.

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