What They Say:
Shokugeki no Soma centers on Yukihira Soma, a middle school student who is determined to surpass his father’s culinary skills. One day, his father decides to close down their family restaurant and hone his skills in Europe. Before leaving he enrolls Soma in an elite culinary school that is extremely difficult to enter with a graduation rate of only 10 percent. Will Souma be able to improve his skills, or will the kitchen prove to be too hot?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
After a full cour of perfection, Soma has finally made a poor decision that could very well result in his expulsion. Perhaps the recent unofficial shokugeki that he considers his first loss clouded his judgment somewhat, but in his usual confidence he prepared a fine dish without considering that the timely meals he whips up have no place in a buffet. While those around him excel at building to and passing the 200-serving goal laid out for them, Soma is crushed in defeat with almost no servings under his belt and his remaining meals deteriorating and becoming unseemly shells of the masterpieces they started as. Being directly next to the school star Erina certainly doesn’t help bring the crowds to him, either. This is the first time Soma has legitimately screwed up, but that just makes for a new opportunity, to see how well he can adapt with time constraints bearing down. If Soma is going to let himself be consumed by his anger, it has to wait until there’s nothing more to be done, as was the case after the shokugeki. Here there’s no time to let such thoughts fill his mind, and instead he calms down and thinks his situation through rationally. The Soma we’ve seen so far has always cooked a flawless piece of art almost immediately upon being given an assignment, but an important challenge for a character like him is to have to come back from almost nothing and pull off a miracle in a very short amount of time. This is far from enough to take Soma down, so he gets to display his talent just as impressively as ever if not more, with his timing becoming a key factor and the stress of being so precise taking its toll on his wellbeing by the end. It’s a textbook example of this formula, delivering the expected results in the last second.
Throughout this ordeal another character has made herself well-known, a mysterious pale girl with a baggy-eyed attendant of sorts. Her neighbor for this task Nikumi might’ve initially judged her dish as so vanilla it couldn’t possibly inspire 200 people to try it, but soon she’s drawing people from Nikumi as quickly as Erina was from Soma despite being much more of a phantom presence and refraining from being remotely flashy. It turns out this new face Alice is one of the most brilliant innovators in the series, and what’s more she’s another Nakiri, one just as determined to be top dog as the primary protagonist and antagonist. She’s actually rather cheery, but she wastes no time in ripping into Soma and establishing herself as a new enemy of both him and the only one to top her in this task, her cousin Erina.
A montage of the “next” day indicates that nothing of any real consequence happens, and then the most important development of all… the celebration! That’s right, after all this the training camp has finally reached its conclusion, and it’s rounded off by foreshadowing something bigger.
As the title indicates, this episode is about change. Soma changes his methodology and his food, and Alice turns her ingredients into very different forms. It’s character development at its purest.
Streamed By: Crunchyroll
Roku 3, Sceptre X425BV-FHD 42″ Class LCD HDTV.