So his name is Kurokiba Ryou, what an exciting introduction to the type of cooking he stylizes in. I have to admit, Ryou is quite the badass character, he has an awesome character design and his personality shift when he wears his bandana around his head is a cool quirk he has. It was amusing seeing him talk back to Natsume in such a manner and ultimately prey on her concealed desires of lusting after his dish once she had the first few bites. Also establishing Ryou as having grown up on the battlefield of cooking really demonstrates what a dangerous man Ryou is within the current student year group of Tootsuki Academy.
Lobsters huh, interesting curry dish Ryou came up with and how surprisingly elegant. Natsume’s reluctance to accept Ryou’s dish from the initial look turning into complete enchantment once she had a bite was great, I love how powerfully the imagery used within the manga conveys how the person tasting the food is reacting. Communicating a dishes flavour into something as substantial and vibrant as an image cannot be easy, especially when such a scene has to be painted out for each important dish Shokugeki no Soma brings forward. The reader may not be able to taste the dish but those scenes expressing the taster’s reaction through such expressive images helps significantly in getting the reader to understand how the dish would taste.
Natsume, she portrayed herself as such a cold and indifferent individual, especially concerning this competition, the Autumn Election, but the way she melted when tasting Ryou’s dish, that was awesome. Along with introducing Ryou as a player within the story, it developed Natsume’s character and helped us, as a reader, see a vulnerable and genuine side to her, one not guarded by her cold and aloof demeanor. That child-like side she shows when it comes to food is really cute.
Now I admit when Ryou revealed the final sampling of his dish was ‘slurping’ the Lobster brains from the head after adding a few drops of cognac (a class of brandy) followed by eating the roux and saffron rice, I was quite taken back. I never ate any sort of brains before, so seeing it as the main part of a dish is a tad bit strange for me. I probably will never taste brains in the future as I became a vegetarian a few years back. Well beyond my initial shock, I admit, the reaction of Natsume, being portrayed through the scene of her consciousness”flying away” towards space in a lobster designed space-shuttle, such a scene did intrigue my curiosity of the flavour to that dish =P.
I’m looking forward to seeing how the other contestants in the two blocks will fare against the benchmarks set by Hisako and Ryou (92 and 93 points respectively), particularly Megumi, Alice, Akira, and Souma. What score will their dishes reach? The Autumn Election has become intensely exciting.
The extra chapter also released in this chapter issue of JUMP was as well entertaining. The focus was on Erina, the girl with “God’s tongue” and her inexperience with the “flavour” of love. Now I’m not exactly certain if this is hinting at anything, but it would be cool to see Erina’s character develop in such a manner, she could reveal dimensions of herself which the reader’s and herself did not know she had. In fact many of the character’s within the cast of Shokugeki no Soma are solely focused on cooking and consequently have no time for any other sort of activities. Utilising that gap, some interesting character development could come about.