That was surprising, I was expecting another chapter to be dedicated to the two weeks before the main Autumn Election matches, but to be fast-forwarded right to the start of the Autumn Election main tournament and the first match, it was an exciting surprise. And the chapter didn’t stop with the surprises there, to think that we would have this match-up from the get-go, how shocking, two of the strongest competitors in the tournament, Souma and Alice, now kick-start the main matches of the Autumn Election first round. This is going to be incredibly interesting, seeing how these two battle each other with their culinary skills and cuisine.
So the contestants are informed of their match-ups and theme one day before they have to cook, that is intense. Unlike the preliminaries, which gave the contestants one month to prepare after finding out the theme, the contestants now only have a day. If you are themed with a cuisine style unfamiliar to you, there is not much you can do, but for such a renowned competition, I suppose it is expected that the format would so extreme, especially with the top eight students in the year competing.
The theme of “Bento”, an unusual choice I had thought, but after being schooled by Erina’s comments on the popularity and worldwide relevance of bento, my perception was practically beaten into submission. I had no idea “bento” was a word in the French dictionary…Poor Souma, he always gets the cold-shoulder and negative attitude of Erina, she really does feel threatened by him deep down it appears. Sad though that Erina wants to always make Souma her enemy and target of negativity. I hope the two accept they get along really well at some point, because they can both learn much from each other.
When Souma walked out for the first match of the first round of the Autumn Election, I had noticed him being incredibly focused and centered, and I wondered why…but after seeing who his opponent was, it all made sense. That form which blocks all outside interferences out in favour of focusing on cooking, Souma entered that state in order to take on the student closest to the seat of the Elite Ten, Nakiri Alice.
It was a shock, I was expecting the two of them progress deep into the competition before facing each other, but that is no more the case now, one of them will be eliminated this day. Alice has been built up as the strongest first year student, excluding Erina, of Tootsuki Academy and she is also the favourite to win the competition and become the next member of the Elite Ten. Souma does seem like he is really up against it, but from what we have seen of Souma so far in the manga, in pressured situations, he also ends performing beyond his limits (which has been increasing at a frightening rate the more his perspective of cooking widens).
I honestly don’t know how he does it, with the pressure he is under right now from the start, he is still able to brush it off like it was just another day. The confidence and belief he has in himself, I find it incredible. Souma’s experience he gained through Restaurant Yukihira really has become immensely useful to him now, especially when dealing with pressure and intense situations. Jouichirou has raised one hell of a son there, a demon of a chef I’d say =P.
With Restaurant Yukihira’s name on the line as well as the skills he has learned from his time serving there, Souma steps up to the plate accepting the challenge against the genius, Nakiri Alice. Despite the awards Alice has won and the patents she currently holds over the many dishes she has developed, this battle is more balanced than the audience realises and I for one am extremely ecstatic to see how it pans out. Two of my favourite characters in Shokugeki no Soma manga are finally having a serious match, I am so looking forward to the next chapter!