To be able to delve into the world of cooking with such a fearless approach and yet be able to understand the complexities of cooking in such a simple way, Souma really is incredible. Souma was able to arrange his thought process for this challenge in such a reflective way to the challenge that every move he made at each stage seemed so simple to understand, yet trying to get your mind structured in such a way first is one of the hardest things to do. To be like water and mold yourself and abilities to the situation and challenge you are facing, such a feat requires immense openness and confidence. Alice may have been too comfortable in the “way” and methods she used to cook that she ended up structuring the challenge around her abilities as opposed to Souma who structured his abilities around the challenge.
That ‘salmon roe-like appearance’ for the “nori flavour bombs” definitely was a surprise, but after thinking back on the candy which inspired such a thought in Souma, it does make sense how he ended up thinking of such a way to evolve his nori, but still, how incredibly impressive of Souma. And it really is such a shame that you can’t taste the food you read about in Shokugeki no Soma because those judges reactions made me immensely curious about the flavours of Souma’s nori rice =(.
The flashback of Souma experimenting with Sodium Alginate and Calcium Chloride illustrates once again just how fearless Souma is; even at such a young age, he was willing to challenge himself in such creative ways. Just what else has Souma experimented with during his childhood? Additionally Souma has the talent/mind to be able to utilise those techniques he learned in past experiments in incredible ways when faced with a challenge. I really do find the flexibility his mind has to be truly amazing.
The judges reactions really did make you hungry for the dish, and just as Alice noted, Souma was able to enchant the customer (judges) with the warmth and fun of his dish. Alice was right in that the taste of the dish was the main point of the challenge but as Senzaemon told her, the way in which Souma arrived at his flavour was where the real magic originated from; the way in which he was able to keep the warmth of the bento and play with the fun and novel nature of his dish which reflected back on the person when they ate it. Such qualities were able to elevate the nature of the dish in terms of it being a bento and convey it as a dish which advanced bento culture. Alice’s dish was fantastic but she didn’t direct it towards advancing bento culture, so in the end there was a certain quality missing from it, one which would have deepened the experience when eating it as a bento.
I do love how Souma is able to change his opponents perception of him by having them try his dish and experience with their own senses and body the depths of his cooking. The flashback of Alice was a nice touch, it established the reason for why she was so set in the methods she used in cooking and why she is so determined to defeat Erina. That heart encased in solitude and ice did seem to melt away a bit after she experienced the warmth of the Souma’s Nori Bento.
Senzaemon’s dramatic way of announcing the winner of the first match was quite climatic and epic, I wonder if he will do the same for the rest of the matches or if he only done such a thing because he was particularly moved by the food he ate =P. Looking forward to the next chapter and seeing who Megumi’s opponent will be.