Whenever there is an anime that’s chock full of cute and beautiful potential waifus to choose from, there is always going to be a big debate on who’s the “best girl” of the bunch. This is especially true for a manga and anime as gorgeously illustrated as Food Wars!/Shokugeki no Soma. There is no shortage of potential “best girls” in the show as it is chock full of candidates to take the position.
However, there does have to be a winner and, in my humble opinion, Food Wars!/Shokugeki no Soma’s ultimate best girl is the rather shy and unambitious Megumi Tadokoro.
As this is all personal opinion, I don’t really harbor any ill will against those who would pick the other possible waifus of Food Wars! I was actually rather torn if it would be Megumi, Alice Nakira, Erina Nakiri and even Yuki. Megumi narrowly edged out Alice as I feel like she’s a solid character and, yeah, she does have a great aesthetic design overall.
Even if I do know it personal preference, I do feel I have to defend my decision of picking Megumi as “best girl” of Food Wars because I came across an article on CBR.com stating some of the issues fans have with Megumi. So this post is partially to react to those complains regarding my “best girl” as well as to try to properly articulate why she’s more top-tier than some realize.
I’ll go start with the biggest reason why Megumi is “best girl” in my eyes. You actually see her grow throughout the entire series and the growth isn’t immediate. When she’s introduced, Megumi is on the brink of flunking out of the prestigious Totsuki Culinary Academy. In fact, she’s basically one failing grade away from getting kicked out. It’s around this time when she gets paired with the anime’s hero, the brash Yukihira Soma. While it’s indirectly Yukihira Soma’s fault why their dish was sabotaged, Megumi was essentially saved because of his knowledge of food prep.
She is then saved again by Soma during the Training Camp arc when she was about to be expelled by instructor Shinomiya. He does this by challenging Shinomiya to a Shokugeki. While she doesn’t actually win the Shokugeki (even with Soma at her side as her sous chef), Megumi’s expulsion is rescinded because Shinomiya is impressed by her cooking. I mention this as this is actually important later as it leads to one of the other reasons why Megumi is “best girl” of the anime. But we’ll get to that later.
Since then, Megumi has generally be relegated to something akin to Soma’s sidekick. She was part of Soma’s team during the Moon Festival arc, after all. It’s because of this some fans still think of her as the same timid girl who easily gets flustered when we see her for the first time. This totally ignores the fact that she does step up several times throughout Food Wars! entire series run.
For one, it’s never mentioned that Megumi is in danger of failing anymore. That means she’s gotten much better and, in turn, more confident in her ability as a chef. Maybe I’m reading in between the lines here a little too much but I think the only reason why she was failing wasn’t because she wasn’t a capable chef. Rather, it’s because she didn’t believe in herself. It took the likes of Soma, her friends and even Shinomiya to get her to break out of her shell.
This is the start when you actually see Megumi’s strong cooking ability. During the Autumn Elections, she managed to qualify out of her block. She did get the lowest score of all the qualifiers but still, she did beat a whole lot of other students! She also helped during the Regiment de Cuisine, losing 2-1 against the Third Seat of the Elite Ten, Momo. While she did lose eventually, she did impress the judges.
After the Central Arc, this is when Megumi actually blossoms into her own. It’s only touched very briefly in the anime but she does travel around the world to learn new techniques and inadvertently defeat one of the Noir chefs in a Shokugeki at a hot springs resort. She even gets the highest marks during the BLUE qualifiers of Totsuki. She also blasts through most of the challenges of the BLUE arc, showing she’s become more capable. While she does show some signs of her old self, Megumi still manages to show enough confidence in herself to succeed. This is a big change from the originally timid and meek Megumi we see as she’s now more confident in her actual ability.
Fans also have issue that the fact that Megumi doesn’t seem to have a specialty. The Aldini Brothers are skilled Italian chefs. Hayama has a super sensitive nose. Ryo’s fiery passion helps him develop very strong flavors. Alice is a molecular gastronomy genius. Erina, of course, has the God Tongue. On the surface, it does appear Megumi doesn’t have anything special to offer as she doesn’t have a signature style.
But that’s just because it’s not immediately visible in her cooking. A lot of fans may mistake her “special skill” to be seafood but that’s not entirely true. That’s because Megumi’s specialty is her hospitality. It’s her instinctive need to nurture and care for her guests and she has the ability to identify what they might need, even if they don’t know it themselves. It’s a skill that allows her to do everything in her power to make the customer at ease and give them what they what they need at that very moment.
This is why, during the Summer Camp arc, she added allspice into her dish during her Shokugeki with Shinomiya. She realized that the judges have been eating all they and adding allspice would soothe their already taxed digestive systems. This is also why, during the Stagiaire arc, she noticed, as she was assign to dish washing, that the amount of sauce she needed to clean up was extremely varied. This led her to suggest that the customers be the ones to request how much sauce they wanted, which Erina took notice of and fully approved.
This is what is actually impressive about Megumi and her cooking skill. She might not be the best chef in the show nor in the Elite Ten. However, her conscious effort to making sure her customers are the top priority and tailor fitting their meals isn’t something to be sneezed at. It can make the difference between good food and the meal you needed at that moment. In fact, this one of the reasons why Shinomiya rescinded his expulsion order. Because after tasting Megumi’s dish, he couldn’t help but remember why he wanted to become a great chef in the first place.
It is these two things that allowed Megumi to take the “best girl” prize in my opinion. Sure, she still a rather nervous wreck at times but she still manages to overcome them. She might not be the best chef and even lose most of her official Shokugeki battles but her ability to notice the needs of the ones who are going to be eating her dishes that shows the kindness of her heart. I can totally understand why she might not be everyone’s waifu in Food Wars!/Shokugeki no Soma. But to dismiss her is just plain wrong.
Who’s your “best girl” in Food Wars! and why is it Megumi? Let me know in the comments section below!