Summer Anime: Nudity and Regrets

I would like to talk about two specific animes that are being released this season: the second season of Shokugeki no Souma (Food Wars) and Orange. I have read the manga for both of these series, so I have an idea of how things are going to continue. I would like to give a personal impression on how I see the representation of these two series taking form (and the hurdles to overcome when making an anime series based on a manga) and my own thoughts about these series.

Let me start by saying that a post like this would not have been possible without something that happened fifteen years ago. Fifteen years ago, I made a decision I would regret for the rest of my life. The decision was to “follow my heart”, as TV usually tells you to do. It’s one of the most used lines in existence, after all. Who could ever go wrong by following their hearts? I did. As a consequence, I ended up abandoned, with no clear road or destination ahead.

Orange is about decisions like that. It’s about how those little every day regrets can build up and become the difference between a person’s life or death. The premise of the story is simple: a young 16-year-old girl receives a letter from her future self that warns her about her future regrets and instructs her on what to do to avoid having the same kind of regrets in the future.



The manga is a very sweet slice of life story where the only sci-fi element is the nature of the letters. It reminds me a lot of series like AnoHana and Ao Haru Ride. I have yet to watch or read ReLIFE, but I find it amusing that we get two series this anime season that talk about second chances in life after failing the first time around. That said, I thought the way the manga tackled the idea of having these kinds of regrets was well done: Where most series tend to talk about past regrets as unclimbable obstacles and traumatic experiences that lead characters to be unable to cope with their lives, Orange portrays regrets as missed opportunities that characters wish they had done different but that altogether lead to different paths to happiness. The fact that you made a mistake does not mean that you will never be happy, or that you’ll never find love again. If your first love failed, you can still have a happy family in the future. Life goes on and there is no certain road to success. I like this message.

Having said that, I feel that the anime adaptation of this series suffers a lot from the difference in mediums. In the first episode, there’s a lot of reading and the montage of the group of friends going around and playing felt a bit odd paced. Well, in general, I’m not a big fan of the animation of this series, but since I don’t know much about film and art composition, I would not dare to pinpoint exactly my discomfort. If possible, I would advise people to read this series rather than watch the anime. Although the anime seems to be a lot faster paced than I remember the manga being. I can imagine there will be a lot of details that will be lost to anime viewers. All in all, I will continue to watch this series with a tissue box at hand. Mostly because I’m a big Suwa fan and I really don’t care much for Kakeru. I wonder if this anime will allow the main character to be happy no matter what her decisions are.

I thought that it was nice that there were things that could be changed because of the letters and things the main character would struggle to change or that even if she changed them, some things would turn out the same. How much of the things that happen are up to you to change? How much is predetermined? I like that this series sets this question and I like it that it never answers it. I think answering it would cheapen the overall experience.00aa

On a whole different spectrum is the second season of Shokygeki no Souma. The reason I decided to talk about it here (aside from the fact that it is a summer anime) is that the person who originally recommended this title to me is one of the people who I met after making that one huge mistake in my life. He was a huge influence when it comes to me becoming the geek/otaku that I am today and I can honestly call him one of the main influences in my current life. Without having made past mistakes, I really doubt I would have met him, so I am glad things happened the way they did.


He’s a chef and studied cuisine for some time, so when he recommended the manga to me, I was curious. He said much of the theory in the manga was based on real culinary theories, in spite of the exaggerations. I decided to give it a try and ended up facing something akin to tentacle porn. needless to say, I was shocked enough to stop right there and then.

Then came the anime version and I thought, well, some series are better as anime than they are as manga, right? They wouldn’t put as much sexual content in an animated version, right? The answer is, they actually put more fanservice into the animated series than they did the manga. Not only that, but they added a whole first episode to showcase a strange S&M event that does not really add to the series as a whole.

The only way I can justify all the nudity in this series is that the author probably really likes cuisine theory and between his action-packed arches he likes to explain why things work the way they do, but then catches himself talking too much about cuisine and makes up for it with naked women instead of potatoes. My friend likes to defend it saying that there’s also naked men, but to be honest, the ratio is completely wrong and the type of men that are mostly depicted are hardly eye candy for women (mostly old men).

This upcoming season will continue the tournament arch. I wonder how far after the tournament will the anime go. So far the anime is following the manga step by step, which I am glad of because, as I said before, I was not a big fan of the extra fanservice the animators tried to cram in the series. In spite of it all, I am looking forward to this series, I just need to make sure to have a full stomach before each episode.

Here’s hoping for a good summer anime season.