Food Wars’ Subaru Mimasaka can copy anyone’s cooking style and put his own twist on it, but he couldn’t fool Soma so easily.

The story of Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma is all about elite cuisine and kitchen creativity, and every main character in this hit shonen series has his or her unique cooking style. Some chefs prefer certain types of ingredients, certain ethnic foods or even particular kitchen implements. Subaru Mimasaka, meanwhile, tends to copy other chefs’ specialties instead.

Imitation is a form of flattery, and creative workers in any field can’t help but draw inspiration from their peers or forebears. Subaru takes this to an extreme in Food Wars!, honing his mind like a knife to study his opponents’ cooking styles and everyday lives before making his move in an official cooking battle. For 100 straight matches, Subaru’s method worked perfectly.


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The Motives & Methods Of Subaru Mimasaka, The Copycat Chef

Subaru Mimasaka, like many Totsukis students, grew up in a family of chefs, and his father ran a restaurant, similar to how Joichiro Yukihira and his wife ran the Yukihira diner. A young Subaru proved adept at perfectly replicating cakes and similar dishes just by sight or by glancing at a recipe, although his strict father urged him to develop his own style before long. The final straw came when Subaru mimicked, then slightly improved, Mr. Mimasaka’s best cake and Mr. Mimasaka’s clients liked Subaru’s cake better. Mr. Mimasaka couldn’t stand the shame and sent his son to Totsuki simply to get rid of him, or perhaps to broaden Subaru’s horizons by meeting so many chefs his age.


Whatever Mr. Mimasaka’s intentions, Subaru went in a different direction. While at Totsuki, Subaru started working for the gangster-like student Etsuya Eizan, who was almost like an underworld chef. Most of all, Subaru honed his copycat method rather than abandoning it, developing what he called the Perfect Trace. With it, Subaru can stalk a chosen chef for weeks and learn everything about their personality, behavior and everyday life. Then, Subaru will replicate that chef’s signature dish and enhance it, using that copied dish to defeat the other chef in a cooking battle. In this way, Subaru has won 99 such battles in a row, always claiming the other chef’s most prized knife as a trophy. He continued to do this in the main events of Food Wars!, but eventually, his enemies caught on to him.


Subaru Mimasaka Vs Takumi Aldini & Soma Yukihira

subaru mimasaka

Subaru fought several major cooking battles in the story of Food Wars!, the first two being the most significant to his character arc. His first cookoff pitted him against the half-Italian Takumi Aldini during the Autumn Elections tournament, and Subaru used his Perfect Trace to figure out his rival’s plans. Sure enough, Takumi baked an Italian dessert during their official match, and Subaru outmaneuvered him with a slightly better version. Takumi had no chance to alter his own dish in response, and he faced defeat. Takumi reluctantly surrendered his prized mezzaluna knife, and Subaru advanced to the next round, which would take place several days later.


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Soma Yukihira defeated Alice Nakiri in the tournament’s first round, so he faced Subaru next, and the two of them wagered their best knives at first. Then, Soma upped the ante and demanded that Subaru wager all 100 of his stolen knives if Soma won. If Subaru won, Soma would quit his cooking career entirely. The stakes were massive, but Soma would gladly face them if it meant helping Subaru’s 100 Perfect Trace victims.

Soma cooked beef stew, as Subaru expected, and Subaru used the Perfect Trace to make a better beef stew dish. However, Soma had always been a creative and flexible chef, and his cooking style was far less rigid than those of Subaru’s previous opponents. Soma innovated on the fly to make an even better beef stew at the last moment, and Subaru’s copycat method was foiled. Subaru had lost, and he gave up all 100 knives, as promised. Never again would he use the Perfect Trace to “assassinate” other chefs.


Subaru returned as a rebel chef in Soma and Erina’s faction against Azami Nakiri, and he helped take on the eight chefs of Central, going up against the sushi expert Somei Saito. Subaru mimicked Somei’s sushi style well, but he slipped up on one key detail, and Somei claimed defeat. This was Subaru’s last battle, but at least he fought it for the right reasons, and perhaps one day, he will cook for love and fun, the way the Yukihiras always have. Cooking to win takes the soul out of it — and that would leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth.

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