VIZ media held a Shokugeki no Soma stage event at the biggest anime convention in North America, Anime Expo 2017, with Yuto Tsukuda, the author of the manga , and Tomohiro Ueno, an editor from Shueisha, as guests.
Shokugeki no Soma takes place at a prestigious cooking school, Toutsuki Culinary Academy, and revolves around a young boy named Soma Yukihira who aims to be a chef. The manga depicts Soma in fierce competitions with his colleagues as he polishes his cooking skills. The popular manga has been serialized in Shueisha’s Weekly Shonen Jump since 2012 and has been collected into 24 paperback volumes with over 1.2 million copies sold (as of May 2017). There have been two anime adaptations and on 26 June, it was announced that a third season, called Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma: The Third Plate, will air from Fall 2017.
Tsukuda took to the stage saying, ‘I couldn’t bring [the manga’s illustrator, Shun] Saeki-sensei along with me’, inviting laughter from the audience. Next, VIZ media’s editor, Jennifer Leblanc, asked, ‘Soma’s mother hasn’t been in the manga thus far but are there plans for her to make an appearance?’ Tsukuda replied, ‘Soma’s father, Joichiro says, “Soma’s talent is something I didn’t have.” So that means you should look forward to future developments’, causing a buzz of excitement from the fans.
Also, in response to the question, ‘Is there a food you would like to try while in America?’, Tsukuda said, ‘Hamburgers. I want to put the ideas I get the from the many hamburgers I’ve eaten here into the manga.’ Hearing this, fans among the audience called out the names of hamburgers they recommend.
A fan of Shokugeki no Soma asked, ‘Are the reactions of characters after eating the food thought up by Tsukuda-sensei? Or are you leaving that up to Saeki-sensei?’ Tsukuda replied, ‘Usually they are my ideas but when I can’t think of anything, I ask Saeki and the editor. But things like the magical cabbage were suggested by me and worked on by Saeki. I said to him, “This will increase your workload but is it okay?” and he said, “It’s alright!”’
After the Q&A corner came ‘American Junk Food Wars!’, a corner where the two guest tried junk food from North America, known as the kingdom of junk food. The two guests tried foods that are very familiar to North Americans. When Tsukuda tried candy corn, he said, ‘It’s sweet. My mouth has dried up.’ Ueno, who tried a pop tart, said, ‘It’s good but I definitely don’t want it to be exported to Japan.’
After tasting the junk food from North America, Jennifer introduced her favorite reactions scenes. When she explained why she chose each scene, Tsukuda also explained the circumstances behind the production of the scenes. Tsukuda said, ‘I can ask Saeki because I have faith in his art’ and explained that Shokugeki no Soma exists because of the trusting relationship they have.
After the behind-the-scenes talk and the reaction scenes came the results of the video contest in which passionate fans participated in. Fan movies inspired by Shokugeki no Soma were gathered beforehand and the winning video was screened as Tsukuda watched with a smile on his face.
Tsukuda gave his final greeting, ‘Thank you for such a fun time!’ and the fans saw him off with warm applause.