In Food Wars!, Takumi Aldini underwent a trial by fire and became a better chef, growing in ways he never could have imagined.

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma follows the headstrong young chef Soma Yukihira as he enrolls at the Totsuki Culinary Academy and faces many challenges as a budding chef. But Soma’s story isn’t the only one being told. Takumi Aldini, a blond chef who hails from sunny Italy, has an exciting character arc of his own.

At first, Takumi establishes himself as Soma’s one-sided rival, with his brother Isami trying to keep the peace (to no avail). He initially seems like a simple parody of the “shonen rivalry” concept, but before long, Takumi’s character is deepened significantly, and five major scenes, moments and events showed there’s much more to him than his competitive drive.

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Tying a Food War With Soma At Training Camp

Early in Food Wars!, the first-year Totsuki students traveled to a huge, private hotel to undergo a week-long training session. During this time, Takumi formalized his fierce rivalry with the brilliant but unpredictable Soma Yukihira. Soma impressed the exam officials with his creative fish-based dish, making use of snack crackers to make breading, and Takumi took this chance to challenge Soma personally.

Soma was clearly a worthy rival as he and Takumi fought to see who could create the better dish with the ingredients on hand. But before the judge could deliver her verdict, the exam was over and no winner was declared. This only fueled Takumi’s competitive drive and put him on Soma’s radar as a worthwhile classmate. It also proved that Soma can’t win cooking battles that easily, and it suggested that Takumi had a real chance of winning. It would be no fun if Soma just stomped Takumi every time.

Losing To Subaru Mimasaka In The Autumn Elections

The autumn elections event was a classic shonen tournament arc, with only the eight best students outside the Council of Ten making it to the final phase. In his first round, Takumi went up against Subaru Mimasaka, who had spied on Takumi earlier and copied his cooking style down to the finest detail. Then Subaru added his own twist and beat Takumi at his own game.

This defeat stunned Takumi, forcing him to realize that he had become complacent with his talents and his festive Italian cooking style. He even lost his prized knife, the curved mezzaluna, and sank into despair. But this was not the end — Takumi would learn many lessons from this food war and begin his true climb to the top.

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Refusing To Accept His Mezzaluna From Soma

Takumi’s next big moment arrived not long after the previous one. In the autumn elections tournament, Soma defeated the gastronomy expert Alice Nakiri, then moved on to face Subaru Mimasaka himself — and won. As the duel’s terms dictated, Subaru had to give up every knife that he’d ever claimed from his opponents in previous shokugeki matches, including Takumi’s prized mezzaluna.

But Takumi refused to accept it. He didn’t want Soma to reclaim his knife for him — rather, Takumi’s pride demanded that he win the mezzaluna back from its current holder fair and square, and that meant defeating Soma one day. This showed Takumi’s pride and principle as a chef, and that his rivalry had become more mature and nuanced than before. It also hinted at his and Soma’s cooperation with the mezzaluna in a later story arc.

Defeating Etsuya Eizan In The Regiment De Cuisine

Later, during the fateful Regiment de Cuisine cooking battle, Takumi Aldini proved just how far he had come. He learned much from the experience of losing to the mimetic chef Subaru Mimasaka. Takumi had to face Etsuya Eizan of Central, who was known for his underhanded cooking ways (he’s supposed to resemble a mobster).

Etsuya thought he had the edge when he used artichokes to sabotage the flavor of Takumi’s own dish, but Takumi was actually one step ahead the entire time and beat Etsuya at his own game. His dish easily won, not only proving Takumi’s growth but also demolishing Etsuya’s position as the mobster chef. Humbled and impressed, Etsuya would stand down and later rejoin the Council of Ten alongside Takumi, and he proved a grouchy but cooperative and reliable ally. Takumi tamed the beast.

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Sharing His Mezzaluna With Soma In The BLUE Tournament

takumi soma food wars

Takumi qualified for the BLUE Tournament alongside Soma and Megumi Tadokoro, and about halfway through he faced a Noir chef by the name Don Kama. Don had a handful of chefs to back him up and had also captured Isami, leaving Takumi all alone with no chance of winning. Until Soma showed up.

Despite their rivalry, or perhaps because of it, Takumi and Soma joined forces to take on Don and his squad. Takumi trusted Soma with his mezzaluna in Isami’s place, showing that Takumi deeply trusted and respected Soma as a proper rival and equal, not as a bitter enemy. Takumi’s and Soma’s energetic relationship climbed to yet another level, and they worked seamlessly in the kitchen to make a dish that could defeat the crafty Don Kama. Isami would be proud.

KEEP READING: Food Wars!: Saiba’s Crossed Knives Technique is Fraudulent After All

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