Girls’ Last Tour Episode 7: Two Types of People

Review:

It is always a bit of a risk having such a small cast but Girls’ Last Tour has managed to craft two characters that despite their moe like appearances really give the audience plenty to like and to relate to throughout their travels. Their contrasting views on a number of things lend themselves to numerous discussions that border on philosophical but don’t become preachy because both girls fairly readily admit that they don’t really know what is right in the end.

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This week begins with a hunt for the ration factory that Ishii mentioned in the previous episode and it sees Chito facing her fear of heights once again. This gives Yuuri some very good moments as it isn’t often that she gets to be the voice of reason and the calm and collected one of the pair. We also see why this partnership remains in-tact because sometimes it is difficult to see what Yuuri brings to the party but scenes like this one remind us that Chito would pretty much curl up into a ball and never move without Yuuri’s reassuring and fairly strong presence.

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However it is the discussion about the arrows that really brings their personalities into sharp relief. Chito believes it would be easy if life had arrows pointing the way but Yuuri disagrees pointing out it would be boring and wouldn’t it be more fun to see if you could get there a different way. She points to a hole on the other side of the pipe and suggests it would be better to see if they could go that way instead. I found Chito’s question of who wouldn’t follow the arrows quite amusing because I could relate so well to it. I like clear pathways and processes and when I have a marked path I’m not going to stray off of it, so I’ve found myself asking the same question of people. Why wouldn’t you follow the arrows? Yuuri however simply points out she’s a person who wouldn’t follow the arrows. The show doesn’t cast judgement on either side so regardless of whether you like marked paths or prefer to find your own way (or even if you sit on the fence) there’s something in this scene for you to relate to and to contemplate.

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All of this is wrapped up by the cooking sequence where the girls essentially make biscuits and their contented expressions here kind of says it all. They still don’t know where they are going next and they have to first find their way back to their transport. They can’t stay here because the food is almost gone but they have managed to get some supplies. Still, for the time being there is food covered in sugar so these girls are pretty happy with life. Honestly, it is impossible to watch this show and not feel better about things.


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Food Wars Season 2 Series Review

Overview:

Yukihira Souma is back in the kitchen and battling it out to win the Autumn elections while blowing people’s clothes off with great tasting food.

I reviewed this week to week so if you are interested in individual episode thoughts click here. I’ve also reviewed season 1.

Review:

Season 2’s always have a bit of trouble. Season 1 has usually used all of the real mind-blowing ideas and the fun of getting to know the characters has passed. So how do you make a good season 2? Very few shows really succeed.

That said, Food Wars Season 2 (or the second plate) really does work hard. They continue on with a competition set up in season 1, they introduce new and zany characters to try to compensate for the fact that a large number of the original cast aren’t actually involved in the competition, they ensure there is actually some sense of challenge for our protagonist so he isn’t just zooming through the competition. All of these things really should help season 2 out.

Yet, the whole way through I just found this season lacking. It was at its best when they weren’t in the kitchen and we got to see the characters interacting, but far too much time was spent in the competition. The comedy that really sold season 1 of what is essentially a cooking show was toned down and even the visuals while tasting the food seemed subdued (or at times just so bizarre that they lacked the impact they could have had).

If you are watching this show for Yukihira, then you will get a lot of him. His character growth this season is significant compared to season 1 where he only made minimal gains as a person. However, this focus comes at the expense of every other character and to be honest, Yukihira is not one of my favourite anime characters. I find him pretty obnoxious. While it was nice to see him growing up, I just wanted something to break up his screen time and there just wasn’t anything else happening this season.

There isn’t a lot more to say because if you haven’t watched season 1, this is all kind of irrelevant, and if you have you more or less know what to expect going in.

My recommendation: Can’t help you. If you watched season 1 and want to find out who wins the competition, you have to continue watching. If you don’t care who wins, then maybe give season 2 a miss because it isn’t bringing anything really new to the table and it isn’t as interesting as season 1 was.

 

Food Wars Season 2 Episode 13

Review:

They at least ended the next challenge before the season ended. That was nice of them. And Yukihira even learned something. Also nice. My real issue is that this episode lacked any kind of tension. Actually most of this season has. You can only threaten expulsion so many times before it ceases to feel like a consequence of any merit and in this case Yukihira wasn’t even close to failure. The fact that all the other members of the dorm returned is all but inconsequential when most of them have barely been bit characters during the season (in honesty I can’t even remember some of their names it has been so long since they’ve served any purpose). So, the episode is functional and brings things to a good resting point but that’s about all it’s doing. With the exception of an interesting visual metaphor that didn’t involve clothes blowing off.

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Food Wars is available on Crunchyroll.

Food Wars Season 2 Episode 11

Review:

Yukihira is back in the kitchen and this time he’s taking all new techniques on board. Seeing him focussed and serious about his craft reminds you of his more positive characteristics (rather than his cocky and obnoxious side). The montage of classmates in their placement kitchens was a nice break in the middle of what was essentially a Yukihira focussed episode. Shinomiya’s return was also welcome as it felt like his journey as a character hadn’t really been finalised and it was nice seeing the difference in his character from the first appearance back in season 1. Overall, this was a satisfying episode but my essential complaint of season 2 remains the same. It just isn’t as fun as season 1.

Food Wars is available on Crunchyroll.

Food Wars Episode 11

Review:

From a story point of view, this episode is more interesting. We have a new challenge with new rules in a new location and we seem to be progressing beyond just creating great food and now we’re actually focussing on practical cooking. And there in lies the problem with this episode. Erina. She so would have been fired if she pulled that attitude off in any restaurant. It does not matter how good you are. The chef should have shown her the door, causing her expulsion and thus ending any further need to deal with such an arrogant and unlikable character.

Soma was paired up with Arato (the secretary) and I really don’t like Arato as a character but I found the two of them worked well together and quite enjoyed the parts of the episode that followed these two.

I am looking forward to the next placement.

Food Wars is available on Crunchyroll.

Food Wars Season 2 Episode 9

Review:

Back we go to the kitchen only now the roof opens and we can see the moon. So different. And there are three people cooking. Completely different from every other match. Except that it isn’t. The show fails to raise the stakes or the tension in this finals match. More importantly, all three characters cooking are so arrogant in their opening remarks that you more  or less want all three to fail and then you wonder what would happen if all of the dishes were dreadful. Would there still be a winner? The reaction shots to eating the food were also fairly subdued compared to those we’ve seen previously. And Soma? You don’t get a do over with your dish. Serve it complete or don’t, but this after credits tag on kind of makes things even worse. With that said, I’m kind of thinking that once a winner is declared I am probably going to be even less invested in this show than I currently am. So holding out for an episode was probably a good move.

One positive: The flashback of Alice and Ryo. That was pretty awesome.

Food Wars is available on Crunchyroll.

Food Wars Season 2 Episode 8

Review:

This is the second episode this season that I have really and thoroughly enjoyed watching. Amazingly enough, the previous one was Soma’s preparation for his last match. The common theme, we don’t spend the entire episode just watching the characters cook. Soma goes to the market. We hear various opinions about fish. We brainstorm. Listen to interviews. Soma has an inspiration and we gather the troops. Things don’t work out so we start over. This is Food Wars doing what it actually does best (other than visual metaphors for food related orgasms). Giving us the characters and their interactions behind the great cooking. This is far more engaging than any of the competitive cooking and it once again got me excited for the match that will follow.

Food Wars is available on Crunchyroll.