I’m glad my worries that this week’s episode might be a filler proved to be unnecessary after all. It turns out the reason for a ten-day break before the final match, which is what set off the alarm for me in the first place, was very practical, and had to do with the amount of time it takes to age fish.
Since they didn’t take this opportunity to add a filler-episode, I have a feeling we won’t need to worry about it after the final match of the Fall Elections either (which will likely end in the next episode, or the one after that). I’m guessing that after a brief break to cover the aftermath of the final match, the story will probably shoot straight into the next arc and set up a hook for a potential next season.
However, since my predictions were not always right thus far, we’ll just have to wait and see what the remaining episodes have in store for us.
So this week’s episode is structured in a similar vein to the first episode of Soma and Subaru’s match. We get to see the three participants prepare for their match, although the episode focuses mostly on Soma’s preparation. We get a few minutes of the match at the end of the episode. Since the theme of the final match is Pacific saury (a fish also known as mackerel pike, and sanma in Japanese), Soma, Akira, and Ryo all end up visiting a nearby fish market several times throughout the episode.
Megumi tags along with Soma on his first visit to the fish market as he searches for the best quality fish he can find. Soma knows a few tricks to figure out which fish is the best, but after he bumps into Ryo and has a quick sashimi showdown, he quickly learns that his skills in discerning quality aren’t as top notch as Ryo’s. Soma also overhears two employees at the market talking about how Akira can choose the best quality fish simply by smelling them. This puts Soma at a huge disadvantage; he has to enter the match with lower quality ingredients. With not enough time to train his skills in discerning quality, Soma reasonably starts to feel at a loss as to how to approach his match.
After thinking for a while about this, Soma decides to overcome the problem by ageing his fish instead of trying to choose the freshest one. To help him experiment with different types of ageing, Soma enlists his friends’ help: he learns from Ibusaki how to age fish by smoking, from Ryouko how to age by pickling, and from Nikumi how to age with a process using high humidity.
After waiting three days for the ageing process to finish, Soma and his friends try the final products. They’re all delicious, but none of them are quite as good as the sashimi Ryo served at the fish market. As Soma tries to figure out how he can prepare a better ingredient than his opponents, he comes across Fumio enjoying a late-night drink and snack. He notices the food she’s eating and this gives him an idea, although it’s still a bit unclear just what that idea is.
Before the episode closes out, we get to see the start of the final match and the three judges that will preside over it. The judges this time will be Director Nakiri, Gin Dojima, and Alice’s mother, Leonora. As expected, both Akira and Ryo unveil the fish they chose for the match to be of the highest quality. Soma, however, shocks everyone with the unveil of his fish, which is caked in some sort of brown paste (possibly miso).
I noticed this episode that Soma is one of the few participants that passed the preliminaries who doesn’t have a second name yet. Both Akira, The Prince of Aroma, and Ryo, The Dictator of the Kitchen, already have theirs. I wonder at what point in the story Soma will receive his. I’m hoping it’ll be something more interesting than The Commoner’s Chef, or another name along those lines. Maybe something that emphasizes his creativity or ability to overcome challenges.
Does anybody have any good suggestions for names they think would fit Soma? Let us know in the comments below.
Next week’s episode will be the continuation of the final match. This episode didn’t give us many hints, so I’m not sure what any of the three contestants plan on making. Especially Soma, as he’s decided to go in a very different direction with his ingredients than both Akira and Ryo.
I’m also not exactly sure what Soma has done with his Pacific saury, although it appears that he’s pickled it using miso paste. I’m guessing that he pickled it since he got this idea after seeing Fumio’s late-night snack, which contained mostly pickled foods. However, if this is the case, then I’m not really sure how this will make it definitively better than when he pickled it with rice malt earlier in the episode. I guess we’ll just have to wait and 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