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 Soma be able to improve his skills, or will the kitchen prove to be too hot?
Well, they can’t all be winners. Coming off the high of learning about Rindo’s exotic specialty last week, this episode would’ve had to have done something really special to keep up, but instead it was just a standard installment of tag-team cooking mayhem. Here we get the details of Battle Tuna, where copying genius Mimisaka faces off against Saito, the Elite Ten’s Bushido-obsessed sushi master. Mimisaka is one of the redeemed villains that this show loves so much, but probably my least favorite, so it was hard to get too invested in Battle Tuna. I mean, the sushi they made looked absolutely delicious and I would probably commit several heinous crimes in order to be able to eat it myself, but that’s to be expected at this point.
More interesting was Battle Green Tea, where Tsukasa proves to have an encyclopedic knowledge of tea as well as French cooking techniques. I’ve recently become something of a tea head, so the part of the episode that dealt with several different types of tea leaves and how best to prepare them was the highlight for me. Almost as good was Tsukasa taking out a grater the size of a knight sword and using it on his meal; frankly it looks like all the food would just be vaporized by that thing, but hey, Tsukasa is ranked Number One on the Elite Ten; I have to trust that he knows how to use a cheese grater.
On the other side of that battle, Kuga proves he’s willing to use teamwork to win, even if it means he won’t get to claim credit for defeating Tsukasa himself. This shows character growth on Kuga’s part, but he’s another former antagonist I don’t care that much about, so it’s hard to get too excited that he’s growing as a person. Really, the problem with this episode is that it focuses almost exclusively on characters that very few of us care about, with the more interesting characters forced into tiny little cameos.
Battle Cayenne Pepper concludes, but mostly off-camera, which is annoying; I know we got to see plenty of Rindo’s cooking last week, but I still feel a little confused as to how she won. It looked like she just outright buried her dish in hot peppers, which is not a winning strategy, but apparently, her dish was just that good for some other reason that it beat out Megushima’s exquisite African Ramen. Usually they trip over themselves describing the food in Food Wars! so for me not to know why a dish won is actually kind of a strange feeling. Maybe alligator meat just goes really well with pepper for some reason? That sounds unlikely.
We end on the cliffhanger of who won Battle Green Tea, and I’m so ready for this little mini-arc to be over and for different characters to get cooking. Saito, Megushima, Mimisaka, and Kuga are all essentially background characters, and it was a mistake to have all of them competing at the same time. Granted, Rindo does a lot to liven things up, but there are limits to even her magical scene-stealing abilities.
A workmanlike episode that gets us through some more bouts with little excitement. At least the whole crew is on hand to provide their usual colorful commentary.
Episode Grade: C
Streamed by: Crunchyroll