Zenji has short rainy black hair and black eyes. He has poor eyesight so he wears glasses to fix this. Zenji normally wears the standard Tōtsuki uniform in school and his cooking attire is a standard white chef's uniform.Because of Zenji's short physical stamina, he often appears old and decrepit after he finishes a particularly exhausting task, sometimes even accompanied by a cane to help him walk.
Zenji is extremely intelligent and is one of the most academically gifted persons of his class. He is comically weak and is easily exhausted due to his low stamina. As a result, many of his classmates look down on him for his physical weakness. Zenji admits that not only is he physically weak, but also has no outstanding cooking talent compared to the likes of many of his other classmates. To make up for this weakness, Zenji devotes himself entirely to his academic studies so he can keep up with the natural geniuses and prodigies in his class. His natural intelligence and sharp memory are his assets that truly compensates for his physical shortcomings, allowing him to be selected as a participant in the Autumn Elections.
Zenji does not like the fact that the Polar Star residents love to hang out in his room since it is the biggest, especially since he would rather be studying. Still, he eventually caves in more often than not and even participates in their shenanigans. Nevertheless, he cares a great deal for his fellow Polar Star friends and is particularly close to Shun Ibusaki.
Zenji has been in the Polar Star Dormitory long before Sōma entered the dormitory. Not only was he one of the many prospects within the Polar Star Gang, Zenji is a member of the Miyazato Seminar which is famed for its steep research on philosophy of classic cookery and culinary literature. Despite the fact that he is only in his first year of Tōtsuki Culinary Academy, Zenji is the ace of the club due to his intensive book knowledge. He is handicapped by his low stamina and frail endurance, but his true abilities were known only to Satoshi and Shun prior to the Autumn Election.
Polar Star's Newest ResidentEdit
Main article: Introduction Arc
Zenji entered the Polar Star Dormitory sometime prior to the beginning of the series. After the first day of school, Zenji returned to the dormitory as the newest Tōtsuki transfer student, Sōma Yukihira, applied and was granted a room in the dormitory. Although Zenji wanted to spend the night studying as usual, his fellow 92nd Generation residents as well as Satoshi, decided to throw a welcoming party for Sōma. Unfortunately for Zenji, they've decided to have it in his room since it was the biggest, much to his annoyance. Nevertheless, Zenji enjoyed the party with everyone, even participating in Sōma's reaction to Satoshi's "Wearing only an apron" gag. Eventually Zenji fell asleep and missed Sōma's friendly duel against Satoshi.
The next morning, Zenji and the others walked into the dining room to see Sōma, who had been waiting in the room, to challenge Satoshi to a duel for his Elite Ten Council seat, much to everyone's shock. However, after Sōma learned of the rules of a Shokugeki, the official cooking duels of Tōtsuki, Zenji and the others left the dormitory to go to school since the duel would not take place.
Tōtsuki Friendship and Rapport Training CampEdit
Main article: Training Camp Arc
Several weeks later, the Polar Star residents worked in the garden behind the dormitory as the news for the first event for the 92nd Generation was announced: the Tōtsuki Friendship and Rapport Training Camp. The camp was notorious for its high expulsion rate and most of the 92nd Generation was worried, except for Sōma, who told them to be just in the group that passes. A week later, Zenji, along with the rest of his class, arrived at Tōtsuki Resort, the venue for their camp. As the 92nd Generation gathered in the main hall, tension was high as Roland Chapelle introduced the instructors for the camp: the Tōtsuki Academy Alumni. Zenji stood in awe as the all star line-up of world-class chefs who graduated from Tōtsuki would be supervising them. The head of the camp, Gin Dōjima, welcomed the class and warned them to give the camp their all since failure to satisfy the Alumni will result in their immediate expulsion.
The camp proved to be extremely taxing on the students, especially Zenji who was exhausted at the end of their very first day of assignments. Although he expected to have the rest of the day to rest up, upon return to the hotel, Zenji and the others learned that they still had one more assignment: cook 50 meals for the hotel guests. Already beyond tired, Zenji managed to complete the assignment. After eating a nice hot meal and bathing, Zenji planned on resting up for the night, but as usual, the Polar Star residents all gathered in his hotel room to reflect on their first day. As lively as they were, most of them, including Zenji, fell asleep.
Over the next three days, Zenji endured each task given to him including the Egg Dish Breakfast Challenge that forced him and most of his classmates to stay up almost all night. By the end of the final day, Zenji was exhausted beyond his limits, but there was one last assignment. Gin notified the class that at that moment, only 628 students remained. He announced that the remaining students had passed the camp and their final assignment was a lavish banquet prepared by the Alumni and Hotel Staff. Upon hearing the news, Zenji collapsed from sheer relief and happiness. He eventually recovered and sat with the other Polar Star residents during the banquet. The next day, Zenji returned to Tōtsuki with the rest of the students who had passed the camp.
Chosen for the Tōtsuki Autumn ElectionEdit
Main article: Tōtsuki Autumn Election Arc
Several weeks later, during a ping pong match in Polar Star, Satoshi revealed that Zenji along with Sōma, Megumi, and Shun were selected by the Tōtsuki Board to participate in the 43rd Annual Tōtsuki Autumn Election. However, Zenji did not learn about his participation until a few days later when Takao Miyazato told him during one of their club meetings.
The Asura of CookingEdit
After the announcement of his participating, Zenji joined the other Polar Star residents as they returned to the dormitory. Upon return, a mysterious man was busy cooking in the kitchen, whom Fumio revealed was Jōichirō Yukihira, a former Polar Star resident, former Elite Ten Council 2nd seat, and, more shockingly, Sōma's father. To celebrate their selection for the Autumn Election, Jōichirō cooked them a huge feast, making dishes using very usual ingredients used around the world. Zenji, like the other boys in the dorm, was extremely curious about the contents of the dishes and asked for as much information that they could get from him. Unfortunately for Zenji, he was the victim of one of Jōichirō's failed dishes that Jōichirō had set aside for Sōma to try and compare to previous failed dishes. The very next day, Jōichirō had left the dorm, but news had arrived regarding the Autumn Election. The theme for the preliminaries would be a curry dish. With a summer break to develop their dishes, Zenji went home to create his curry dish for the preliminaries.
Tōtsuki Autumn Election: Preliminary Round Edit
See also: 43rd Annual Tōtsuki Autumn Election
One month later, Zenji returned in time for the preliminary round where he met up with the other Polar Star residents. Soon after, the lights in the room dimmed as Senzaemon Nakiri formally congratulated Zenji and the others for their selection for the Preliminaries. With the spirits of the 60 participants ignited, the Preliminaries began. Zenji bid farewell to Yūki and Megumi as he headed to the Block "A" arena with Shun, Sōma, and Ryōko. During the cooking period, the head judge of Block "A" Natsume Sendawara, scouted the arena for potential standouts. Zenji was not among those noticed by her.
After the cooking period expired, Zenji gathered with the rest of the students as the judging round began. Much of the initial dishes presented were met with extremely low scores with Natsume herself not awarding a single point to any of the dishes by the time Ryō Kurokiba presented his dish. Ryō was the first Block "A" participant to earn a score over 50 and earn points from Natsume herself. With a score of 93, several other notable chefs in Block "A" presented and also received equally good scores. Zenji presented after Ryōko with his White Potage Curry Udon, which Shigenoshin Kōda noted that Zenji's dish was like a tranquil pond compared to Ryō's curry dish. Most of the audience was skeptical about his participation in the preliminaries given his poor stamina. However, the members of the Miyazato Seminar were all cheering for him with Takao Miyazato affirming his confidence in Zenji's skill. The judges were so engrossed with his dish that they did not respond to Yua Sasaki when she asked for their opinion. Thanks to the roux which was made like a vichyssoise, the judges were impressed by the udon's smoothness and ultimately awarded him 88 points, placing him in second. Shun presented afterwards and was also awarded 88 points, tying for second. Shun told Zenji that he finally showed his true strength, which Zenji retorted that Shun did the same.
By the time Akira Hayama and Sōma presented their dishes, the final scores ended with Zenji and Shun tied for fourth place. When it had seemed that the fourth and final participant from Block "A" would be between those two, one last student presented his dish, earning a score of 91. With that, Zenji and Shun were not able to move on to the main tournament and ended in 5th place for Block "A".
Road to the Main TournamentEdit
After the Preliminary Rounds, Zenji joined the rest of the Polar Star residents, as well as Ikumi Mito and the Aldini Brothers, to celebrate Sōma, Megumi, and Takumi's advancement to the main tournament. Everyone noticed that Shun had not come to the party, which Yūki deduced that Shun was sulking from his loss, something that Zenji himself felt.
Tōtsuki Autumn Election: Main TournamentEdit
During the Main Tournament, Zenji was among the crowd of audience to cheer Sōma, Megumi and Takumi. Along with the rest of the audience and the Polar Star, Zenji was surprised that Sōma's first opponent was Alice Nakiri, whom they believed to be impossible to beat due to her status as Senzaemon Nakiri's granddaughter and her expertise in molecular gastronomy. Zenji did his best to answer the Polar Star supporters about Alice's appliances, though he admitted that he did not know about all of the devices at Alice's disposal. Despite the heavy handicap, Sōma pulled off a decisive victory. The second match of the first day was between Megumi and Ryō. Yūki handed Zenji and the others uchiwa cheering fans to support Megumi. Despite a valiant effort from Megumi, she lost her match.
Zenji was also present the next day to see the last two semifinal matches. The second match between Takumi and Subaru Mimasaka concluded on a bitter note, with Takumi losing not only the match, but his prized Mezzaluna. Zenji and the others wanted to cheer up Takumi, however Sōma told them that it would be better to give him some space.
Semifinals and FinalsEdit
Main article: Yukihira Vs. Mimasaka Semifinal Shokugeki
Returning to the dormitory, Zenji and the others were shocked to see Subaru, who had infiltrated the dorm, sitting in Sōma's room to set up a Shokugeki for Sōma and Subaru's upcoming Semifinal match. As the two set up their Semifinal Shokugeki, Zenji and the others eavesdrop from the outside. When Sōma declared that he would quit being a chef forever if he lost, Zenji and the others bursted into the room and tried to stop him, but Sōma was dead set on his decision. When the Semifinals arrived, Zenji and the others were ready to cheer for Sōma. After a long match watching Sōma struggle, Sōma pulled off a decisive victory, much to Zenji and the others' joy.
Zenji was present during the Finals as well to watch Sōma's Finals match. Despite a well fought battle, Sōma tied for second with Ryō, losing to Akira.
Main article: Stagiaire Arc
Immediately after the end of the Autumn Election, the next class whittling event was about to begin: the Stagiaire. For four weeks, Zenji and his fellow classmates were sent to various locations across Japan to complete the event.
Moon Banquet FestivalEdit
Main article: Moon Banquet Festival Arc
At the end of the Stagiaire, most of Polar Star had returned, much to Satoshi's happiness. However, Zenji was nowhere to be found. To make matters worse, Shun was holding his shattered glasses. Although Satoshi assumed the worst, Zenji appeared from behind, reassuring him that he survived the event, although he was severely exhausted. Zenji told them that his glasses fell off at the restaurant he worked at and accidentally stepped on them.
- Literacy Cooking - Zenji has no particular style of cooking. His cooking revolves around the application of things he has learned from analyzing literature about gourmet food. Zenji has displayed a vast wealth of cooking knowledge that dips into many different cooking styles.
Original Dishes Edit
- White Potage Curry Udon - A curry using rich roux with the consistency of a vichyssoise, this curry is like a tranquil pond that can completely immerse people into its shallows.
- Miyazato Seminar - A club that analyzes classical literature about gourmet food. Despite being only a first year, Zenji is the club's ace.
- Zenji (善二) is written with the kanji for "virtue" (善 Zen) and "two" (二 Ji). Marui (丸井) uses the kanji for "circle" (丸 Maru) and "town" (井 I).
- Zenji has three running gags:
- The first revolves around his poor stamina which often leads to situations where everyone believes he has died after completing a rigorous task.
- The second revolves around his Polar Star friends preferring to hang out in his room whether when they are in Polar Star Dormitory or in other places such as during the Tōtsuki Friendship and Rapport Training Camp.
- The third revolves around his glasses, in a dream during the school training camp, Ibusaki brings his glasses back without his presence. Satoshi, still at the Polar Star, then assumes that Zenji died, and calls "Marui!". This is a reference to Shimura Shinpachi's glasses from the Gintama series.
- ↑ More of Food Wars: Shokugeki no Soma Cast, Spinoff Manga Unveiled
- ↑ Shokugeki no Soma chapter 192
|Isami Aldini • Takumi Aldini • Daigo Aoki • Hisako Arato • Madoka Enomoto • Akira Hayama • Miyoko Hōjō • Shun Ibusaki • Takumi Ishiwatari • Urara Kawashima • Ryō Kurokiba • Zenji Marui • Subaru Mimasaka • Ikumi Mito • Alice Nakiri • Erina Nakiri • Nao Sadatsuka • Ryōko Sakaki • Yua Sasaki • Shōji Satō • Megumi Tadokoro • Yūki Yoshino • Sōma Yukihira|
|Students||Daigo Aoki • Shun Ibusaki • Satoshi Isshiki • Zenji Marui • Erina Nakiri • Ryōko Sakaki • Shōji Satō • Megumi Tadokoro • Yūki Yoshino • Sōma Yukihira|
|Dormitory Mother||Fumio Daimidō|