This was easily the best episode for me so far, and it felt more in line with what the first season was like. I think the reason this episode was able to draw me in and keep me interested, much more so than the previous ones, is that it largely broke away from the overly formulaic structure this season has been following.
I was paying so much more attention to this episode than usual, I even noticed a very small art mistake. I’m curious how many other people saw this too. Before the mid-point of this episode, Soma says his signature line, osomatsu, and then takes off his headband. However, in an aerial shot of the three participants right after this, Soma is shown with his headband back on. This isn’t a significant mistake by any means, but I probably would’ve missed it if it happened in a previous episode.
The final match of the Fall Elections has come to a close, and although it wasn’t the result I was hoping for, I thought it was still a satisfying end.
Going back to the beginning of the episode, though, Soma reveals the special twist he’s saved for his dish. He pours soy milk (mixed with miso and parmesan cheese) into his rice to create a porridge-like dish. This move greatly elevates Soma’s evaluation, and earns him a much needed bare chest from the director.
However, and unfortunately, this isn’t enough to lift Soma’s dish above the others.
At the end of the match, Director Nakiri delivers an interesting evaluation of the three participants and their dishes. He says that when it comes to cooking technique and flavor, all three were equal. In terms of the ability to discern quality ingredients, Akira and Ryo are both exceptional; while Soma is leagues above his peers when it comes to creativity and inventiveness.
The deciding factor of the match comes down to originality; or the dish that best represents its chef and can be considered their specialty. Out of the three dishes, the one that’s chosen to best exemplify this is Akira’s dish, and he’s crowned the champion of the Fall Elections.
This loss weighs heavily on Soma, and it establishes for him the goal of developing his own original style of cooking. This goal is something he’ll likely be pursuing for the foreseeable future.
At first I was disappointed Soma didn’t win, but after thinking about it, I think it’s a fair evaluation. Most of Soma’s dishes, including the one he makes for this match, are creative and unique takes on common foods. So although they’re impressive and delicious, they aren’t completely original, and don’t portray a style that can be considered one-of-a-kind.
I found this episode to be funnier than usual. This anime tends to rely on its exaggerated reactions and parody battles to elicit laughs, but those generally fall flat for me. So it was nice to see a larger dose of funny moments outside of just these two categories.
Also, I thought the conversation between apron-boy (I suppose he also goes by the name Isshiki-senpai) and Eizan was interesting, and it ended on a very good point. It contained some background information on Soma’s character, and it struck at the heart of why so many students don’t want to acknowledge him as a talented chef.
Soma doesn’t have any particular talent when it comes to cooking. Instead, he’s incapable of giving up, and he’s worked continuously over many years to improve himself. Many people would rather give up and just think that it’s only natural for a person to lose to someone with more talent. These people want to see Soma fail because his presence dangerously shakes this mindset, and forces them to admit that they just aren’t working hard enough to achieve their goals.
Lastly, can anyone tell me if Akira won anything other than a medal and bragging rights? I brought this up in a previous review, but I don’t remember what the prize of the Fall Elections is. Is it merely to establish a ranking among the first-year students? Will this have some sort of effect on future opportunities and school events?
Near the end of this episode, Jun Shiomi brings up an interesting subject that will probably set the stage for the remainder of the season. She mentions that all of the first-year students will soon have to leave the academy and start a practical training program, or in other words, on-the-job training. This is perfect timing, as most of the students are currently fired up to work on improving their skills as chefs (largely thanks to Soma’s influence).
This might finally provide an explanation to the topic I’ve brought up several times before, regarding whether Soma will start working for Shinomiya Kojirou or not. I was thinking Soma might somehow get a job at his restaurant temporarily, but working for him as part of a training program would make much more sense.
I’m curious to see if this is really how things will play out, and I’m also curious to see where everyone else will end up for their training. If Soma heads to Paris, then everyone else could potentially get flung to locations all around the world. It should be interesting to see.
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma The Second Plate
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©Yuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki/ Shueisha,Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma Committee 2