So last week we were left hanging as to who won the match between Megumi and Ryo. Last week’s episode also did a better job with its pacing, but that unfortunately turned right back around in this week’s episode. Like I mentioned in my first review, it looks like this series is going to suffer from pacing issues due to its lower episode count. I’m not sure how far they intend to advance the story this season, but they certainly appear to be in a rush to get there.
So right off the bat, the winner of last week’s showdown is announced. As close as the match was, I can’t say I’m surprised that Ryo came out the winner. Like I mentioned last week, it turns out Director Nakiri didn’t go bare-chested for Megumi’s dish after all. (Although we do learn shortly after that another piece of garment does come undone, a testament to how well Megumi performed.) Her match with Ryo was by no means a blowout, and she even earns cheers from the audience after it’s done. I’m sure Megumi will be able to build on this match going forward.
For this week’s matchup though, Hisako goes against Akira in a hamburger-themed battle. Both of them enter the match highly confident, and extremely determined to win.
Hisako utilizes her vast knowledge of medicinal ingredients and goes with a soft-shelled turtle as the main base for her hamburger. Although a fitting choice for Hisako, I found it slightly ironic for her to make a dish that would be largely shunned by anybody from the homeland of hamburgers. But the five judges are able to enjoy her dish for its taste, texture, and the vitality it revives in them.
However, their enjoyment is quickly blown away when they get a whiff of Akira’s cooking. After just one bite, the judges can’t help but inhale his kebab-inspired hamburger. (Although I do have to say his dish is much more a kebab than it is a hamburger.) With no amount of suspense, this episode wastes little time in declaring Akira the clear winner, much to Hisako’s shock and disappointment.
In this episode, we’re also finally introduced to the remaining participant in the competition, Mimasaka Subaru. His large frame and the way he speaks makes him appear threatening. A flashback from the preliminaries showing Subaru bumping into Soma also makes him come off as a jerk. However, as he chats with Soma on their way to the 2nd day of matches, I started to find the gap between his appearance and how detail-oriented he is to be interesting. I thought the scenes, where Subaru lists off what he knows about some of the characters, were funny, and they made me worry if his info gathering had already entered the realm of stalking. (Why does he know how many hours Soma sleeps on average?) But my opinion of Subaru came full circle near the end of the episode, where his encounter with Takumi makes him seem like an unlikable character after all.
I’d like to bring up something that I’ve been noticing since the first episode. If you watch the opening and ending credits, there is an image in each one that appears to be hinting at a potential path Soma might take in the future. Near the end of the opening credits, it shows Shinomiya Kojirou (the pinkish-haired academy alum with his own restaurant in France) watching over a golden egg, which could symbolize Soma. At the end of the ending credits, it shows just the two of them together. Both of these seem to hint that Soma might spend some time working for Shinomiya later in the season.
On a more critical note, I have to mention again about this episode’s pacing issues. It didn’t spend much time on the cooking match, and nearly no time on the actual cooking itself. It felt like we were fed a quick recap of what Hisako and Akira prepared, and then the final product was before us. Back in the first season, this series focused much more time on the actual cooking process, and the struggles, creativity, epiphanies, thoughts, and emotions of the characters; all while they were cooking. In its rush, this season forgoes this and has unfortunately been glossing over the actual cooking portion. We get some highlights and then the finished dish is served. I hope things will start to slow down, since the cooking is one of the parts I enjoy most about this series.
So next week will be a showdown between Takumi and Subaru for the last match before the semi-finals. This match will also double up as a shokugeki (or cooking duel). It appears that Subaru managed to taunt Takumi into this by insulting his brother and his cooking tools. I’m not sure what Subaru’s intentions are though, as this seems like an unnecessary thing for him to stoop to. He supposedly has both the knowledge and talent to win the match fairly, so this just makes him seem even more unlikable.
Also, if I remember correctly from last season, the winner of a shokugeki is able to demand something from the loser. In a worse-case scenario, next week might be Takumi’s last day as a student of the academy. I hope it doesn’t come to this, but we’ll have to wait for the next episode to find out.
Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma The Second Plate
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©Yuto Tsukuda, Shun Saeki/ Shueisha,Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma Committee 2