Shokugeki no Souma – 09

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Aldini Takumi and his bro made a pretty bangin’ dish for Chef Hinako, but when pondering his response, Souma shows that two can tango. As soon as he asked Hinako to repeat the condition of the test about using anything inside the confines of the hotel grounds, I knew he was going for her beloved rice crackers, which means unlike all of the other students who are grilling the char, he’s now got a coating with which to deep fry it.

Now that’s resourcefulness; hinging one’s entire dish on a snack the judge just happened to have on her. I also like the cut from students wondering why Hinako was known as the “Empress of Mist”, to the “mists” of tea steam emanating from her, explaining the nickname.

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I also like SnS‘s insitence, at least at this point in the game, to have rivals, not villains or antagonists, face off against Souma. Takumi is a rival. He left home to attend this academy specifically because he wants to go toe-to-toe with worthy rivals like Souma. He’s even worried and apologetic when he accidentally crushes Souma’s crackers, afraid he may have inadvertently sabotaged Souma’s dish. Luckily, he needs those crackers pulverized.

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Also heartening: as down to the wire and in the dark as she initially was for this test, Megumi doesn’t just shrink before the task at hand. Once it’s Go Time, she’s fighting right beside Souma, delicately preparing the mountain veggies she has experience foraging for back home as he bones, coats, and fries the fish.

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The final dish that’s served is, like every other one he’s made (except the peanut butter squid) looks tantalizingly scrumptious, especialy that airy egg, oil, and herb dipping sauce.

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We knew this dish was going to be a hit with Hinako, it was just a matter of what spit-take-inducing fantasy she’d have in her taste-ecstasy. SnS doesn’t dissapoint here, either, with a mermaid Hinako (with an embellished bust) being taken into the muscular arms of an anthropomorphized rice cracker. You gotta love the creativity of  SnS‘s visual symbolism.

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Hinako passes Souma and Megumi, but contrary to her agreement with Takumi, never determines whose dish is superior. This is either because she’s a bit of an airhead (another reason for her “Empress of Mist nom de guerre”) or because she’s deliberately toying with the overeager guys. Probably a bit of both.

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And in the end, it doesn’t matter whose dish was better: both Souma and Takumi learned that the other is the real deal, and more importantly, someone they’d never have met if they both stayed in their family restaurants. Only by putting your skills up against others and being exposed to their methods can these two find their true passion; the passion that will take them beyond merely surpassing their elders.

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And that’s a wrap….oh wait, no it isn’t. We get Bonus SnS this week, which underlines how strenuous the training camp truly is. Poor Yuuki thinks they can kick back with extravagant meals prepared for them by the hotel staff, a nice hot bath, and a sumptuous hotel room. But she and the other students are the hotel kitchen staff, and they have to make 50 servings of a steak set each before they can feed themselves, to say nothing of the other comforts of the hotel.

Yuuki is crestfallen, but it’s not long before the intense situation puts her into Battle Mode, feeding an endless horde of ravenous bodybuilders, wrestlers, and football players. It’s good training for those who wish to run a restaruant, no matter what kind it is.

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Unsurprisingly, “Short-Order” Souma is the first to finish, and doesn’t even break a sweat. He heads cheerfully to the communal bath, certain he’ll have it all to himself. But as an extended version of the lovely ED plays and he sings along to it, an equally cheerful and relaxed Erina is singing the same song. It ends with the lyric “Fate is the spice of life” as the two bump into each other, as if by fate. Be it cordial or hostile, I look forward to seeing how this encounter pans out.

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Author: braverade

Hannah Brave is a staff writer for RABUJOI.

2 thoughts on “Shokugeki no Souma – 09”

    1. Sorry, that was a flippant remark on my part. I was mostly speaking to the anime convention of the girl hitting a guy when he sees or bumps into her naked or scantily-clad. In reality, I have no idea how Erina will react to bumping into Souma.

      But if I may, what I DO know is that, so far in the anime (not the source material, which I have not read) Souma is the protagonist, and Erina is—again, so far—his rival and nemesis. He’s always been portrayed as treating his opponents with respect even if they don’t reciprocate at first, and he’s been gracious in victory. He wants people to enjoy his meals, period.

      Erina, meanwhile, schemes to destroy the clubs of others, using Nikumi in the proxy Shokugeki on her behalf, and generally regards Souma with disgust and loathing from the start, refusing to acknowledge his talent. She’s elite royalty, following her birthright, while he’s an impudent peasant trying to rise above his station.

      Souma can be a cocky blowhard, but it’s not like he’s actively working to destroy her. Yet Erina’s own grandfather pulled rank to overturn her decision to reject Souma’s admission, presumably because, to his mind, Erina wasn’t being fair.

      All I’m saying is, nine episodes into the anime, we’ve only been exposed an arrogant and domineering Nakiri Erina, using all the power at her disposal keep Souma down in the muck where she believes he belongs.

      But I am hoping that in the fifteen remaining episodes—which is plenty of time—we’ll see more of her side of the story, and she’ll develop into more than the hostile antagonist.

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