Nikku is an indie game developer, a freelance translator, and an avid anime viewer.
I’m sure no one was surprised or upset with the outcome of this week’s match between Soma and Subaru. Well, no one except for maybe Etsuya Eizan (the member with the slicked back hair of the Elite Ten Council).
I thought Eizan was being somewhat supportive of Soma so far this season, but he appeared to be upset when Subaru lost. His expression seemed to hint that he wanted Soma to lose, and he wasn’t simply shocked to see his lackey lose instead. Given his involvement in shady businesses, it’s possible he had a bet riding on their match. However, looking back at the first season and being reminded that there’s some bad blood between Soma and Eizan, I think it could just be Eizan wanting a bit of revenge.
But enough speculation. On to this week’s episode!
We continue where we were left off: Soma and Subaru’s shokugeki match.
Subaru reveals the twist he had prepared for his dish: smoked bacon. Surprisingly, this turns out to be the only twist he prepared for this match. Instead of a handful of smaller arrangements, like we saw in his match with Takumi, Subaru opts this time for just one large twist. He was preparing his smoked bacon for the last five days, and its smell is so tantalizing that people in the audience can’t help but drool. Subaru’s finished dish is an improved version of Soma’s beef stew, with pieces of smoked bacon, mushrooms, and glazed pearl onions as garnish. It’s a simple, but powerful dish.
Soma counters the bacon with what at first appears to be an on-the-spot improvisation. He prepares a wide range of meats using various cooking methods (even leaving the stage at one point to grab his personal cooking stove). The flair of Soma’s cooking wows the audience, but his final product doesn’t quite receive the same positive reaction. Soma’s finished dish appears to be a mishmash of meats randomly thrown together into a beef stew. Subaru and the judges aren’t particularly impressed, and judging by appearance alone, I have to agree that Soma’s beef stew doesn’t look as clean as Subaru’s.
However, food is more about taste than appearance; just one bite of any of the meats Soma used as garnish is enough to whisk the judges off in bliss to Yukihee Land! Although it seemed like Soma was improvising, he actually prepared each piece of meat carefully in order to insure they all blended perfectly together.
In a unanimous vote, Soma advances to the finals, and takes everyone’s tools back from Subaru. Takumi decides to leave his mezzaluna with Soma until he can win it back in a shokugeki match. Soma is able to teach Subaru a lesson about what it means to be a chef, and convinces him that he shouldn’t quit because of this loss.
During a flashback, we learn about Subaru’s past and what led him to become the type of chef he is now. As a child at his family’s restaurant, Subaru was gifted with being able to perfectly replicate a dish after seeing it just one time. However, his father didn’t take well to this ability and demanded that Subaru develops his own originality as a chef. One day, Subaru won a competition by copying his father’s dish and simply adding a twist to it. This created a rift between Subaru and his father, and set him on the path he was before losing to Soma.
This episode was a battle of strategies between Soma and Subaru. Subaru was able to predict what Soma would do in the match. He predicted all the ingredients Soma would use, and even predicted that he would improvise by garnishing his dish with a variety of meats. Subaru decided to pour all his preparation into the ultimate piece of smoked bacon to top off his beef stew. He figured there was no way that Soma’s improvised dish could stand up to his smoked bacon. His strategy was sound.
However, Subaru severely underestimated Soma’s ability. Subaru was usually overcoming his opponents with small steps, so he wasn’t able to predict or overcome the giant leap Soma took with his dish.
Also, Soma’s brief conversation with Erina during this episode reminded me that I don’t remember what exactly it is they’re competing for in this tournament, or even if it was ever explicitly stated. Given that it’s called the Fall Elections, I’m assuming that the winner will get a chance to compete for one of the Elite Ten Council seats, but I’m not sure if that’s right. If anyone remembers what the prize of the tournament is (and if it isn’t a spoiler), please post it in the comments below.
The next episode features a showdown between Akira and Ryo. I’m pretty sure Akira will win this one, although it might be a close match (perhaps a 4–1 or 3–2 split). Since the story has positioned Akira as a rival figure for Soma, I believe that he’s going to win this match. We’ll have to wait and see how their match plays out though.
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©Yuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki/ Shueisha,Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma Committee 2