Shonen manga/anime is often about fighting, but overall, it’s really about the spirit of competition and proving oneself to the world. Some popular shonen series are based not on magic powers or fists, but on competitive arts like cooking. Take Food Wars! as an example, a popular recent anime that feels 100% shonen but swaps fistfights for pots and pans.
The hero is the creative and cheerful Soma Yukihira, the newest student at the elite Totsuki culinary school. He’s made some friends and rivals along the way, from Megumi Tadokoro to Erina Nakiri and the half-Italian Takumi Aldini. Takumi and his younger brother Isami are experts on Italian cooking, and they’re some of the strongest chefs of their class. But they’re not invincible in the kitchen, and they’re looking for ways to push their cooking skills even more. Which five student chefs could Takumi defeat in a Shokugeki? And which five would teach him a lesson?
10 Can Defeat: Megumi Tadokoro
Megumi is an interesting case. She started off as the worst student in her class, a nervous wreck who was on the verge of flunking out. But she learned courage and confidence from Soma, and now she can use her home-style seafood cooking style to its fullest potential.
This earned her the #10 spot in the Council of Ten, but Takumi is also in that Council, at rank #7, proving himself the stronger chef. His Italian cooking style is too delicious to ignore, and his heart burns with a competitive flame that isn’t easily doused.
9 Can’t Defeat: Erina Nakiri
This is practically a given. It seems that not even Soma Yukihira, the new #1 member of the Council, can match the sheer cooking prowess of Erina Nakiri. She wields the God Tongue, which makes her palate so sensitive, no flavor can escape her.
That, combined with her incredibly broad knowledge of cuisine and her impeccable skills, makes her a culinary fortress that not even Takumi can c0nquer. In this matchup, even the best Italian fare is going to fall short.
8 Can Defeat: Isami Aldini
Sometimes he’s big (more to love), sometimes he’s slender, but some things are perfectly consistent. Isami is an adoring younger brother (calling Takumi “nii-chan”), and his finely honed Italian cuisine skills. He becomes a sharp-toothed monster when the cooking starts.
All of this puts Isami on the map, but alas, he is certainly standing in Takumi’s shadow. More than once, Takumi qualified for high-level competitions when Isami narrowly failed to enter, such as the BLUE preliminaries and the Autumn Elections. In a friendly brother-vs-brother shokugeki, Takumi is bound to win.
7 Can’t Defeat: Akira Hayama
Although Akira and Takumi both took part in the Autumn Elections and both made it into the Council of Ten after a point, Akira is most likely the superior chef. He was even invited to join Central, and dueled against Soma on Azami’s behalf before quitting Central.
He uses fragrances to their maximum potential, and defeating him in a shokugeki is a very tall order. Soma pushed himself to the limit to defeat him, and based on what the anime has shown, Takumi couldn’t do the same. He’d lose to Akira for sure, and fragrances would win the day.
6 Can Defeat: Ikumi Mito
This lively, tanned girl was one of Soma’s earliest rivals, and she is an expert on cooking meat, especially high-caliber beef, like A-5 cuts. She did lose to Soma, though, when she got complacent, and she hasn’t notched many notable victories after that, either.
Ikumi knows her stuff, but she falls short of many of her most esteemed classmates, and Takumi has proven himself in ways that Ikumi certainly has not. In a shokugeki, Italian cuisine would triumph over beef, and Ikumi would no doubt research new ways to try and beat Takumi next time.
5 Can’t Defeat: Alice Nakiri
This girl is the cousin of Erina Nakiri, and half-Danish (hence her fair hair and skin tones). Unlike the brutish Ryo Kurokiba, though, her cooking method is precise and delicate, being based on the science of gastronomy.
Alice likes to calculate her victories and prepare food in odd but savory ways, often using lab equipment as kitchen appliances. While Takumi is a skilled chef, he doesn’t have a way to beat calculated flavors like those just yet.
4 Can Defeat: Ryoko Sakaki
This girl is often a background character, but if she were to suddenly vanish, everyone would miss her. Her cooking style is based on fermenting ingredients, and she often does this on soybeans to make the perfect flavor.
Ryoko is a calm and friendly girl, like a big sister, and she’s a beloved member of the Polar Star dormitory. If she got into a shokugeki against Takumi, though, not even the best-fermented soybeans would triumph against his ultra-advanced Italian cooking.
3 Can’t Defeat: Rindo Kobayashi
This outgoing redhead was the #2 student in the original Council of Ten, and she 100% earned that high spot in such an esteemed group of student chefs. Her cooking style is based on rare and exotic ingredients from all over the globe, ranging from crocodile meat to ants.
Rindo knows exactly how to make the best dishes out of such bizarre ingredients, and she has a curious mind, too, exploring untamed jungles and sampling food stalls all over the Moon Festival. Her skills and broad range of culinary knowledge are too much for Takumi to beat.
2 Can Defeat: Nao Sadatsuka
Nao is quite the character. She is obsessed with Erina and spies on her (totally creepy), and she seems to have few friends. Her cooking style is a truly strange one, which involves food that looks and smells absolutely terrible.
But her food tastes much better than one would think, and this allowed her to earn the first big score in the Autumn Elections prelims. Still, despite her eccentric skills, she can’t handle the prince of Italian cuisine, Takumi. The classic, warm flavors and aesthetics of Italian food are sure to win over the judges.
1 Can’t Defeat: Tsukasa Eishi
Rindo Kobayashi is fearsome as the #2 member of the old Council of Ten, but now it’s time for the #1 chef, Tsukasa Eishi. Although meek and modest most of the time, once he starts cooking, his confidence is like steel.
He “communicates” with his ingredients to understand best how to use them, which translates into outstanding food that is downright perfect on the plate. Even Soma was blown away by Tsukasa’s refined cuisine, and Takumi has no chance of beating him in a shokugeki.
Takumi from the anime Food Wars is an expert of Italian food, but who can he beat in a battle & who would he lose to? From Tsukasa to Nao, let's see.