To think the very nature of the Tootsuki Academy would change, from one inspiring freedom within many to one centralising power in the few. Erina’s father, Azami, has been revealed and alongside the shock of his personality, we also learn of his plans for Tootsuki Academy and the restaurants around Japan. Azami plans to totally twist the very meaning of Gourmet and to rob the “unworthy” students of their right to cook within Tootsuki Academy. Azami desires for Tootsuki Academy to become his fortress where the students will be molded by the darkness of his “true gourmet” cooking thereby becoming his soldiers for his future plans across Japan. The Polar Star Dorm and a few other clubs have voiced their disagreement by defeating his chosen soldiers within Shokugeki’s to earn the right to continue to exist but with the Promotion Exam, Azami has all but quashed the rebellion thanks to the Elite Ten Council members under his command. With only Souma, Megumi, Erina, and Takumi remaining, how will their objective of winning the Elite Ten Council seats play out?
How fascinating it is to see how Souma goes about approaching the challenge he has against Kuga and in particular, how Souma goes about deciding on the exact flavours to feature in his dishes that can stand up to and even outshine any of the dishes Kuga produces. The spiciness which Kuga drowns his dishes in ends up highlighting the deliciousness of the dish and creating an addiction inside the customer. Can Souma directly oppose such a flavor impact or does he plan on utilising the addiction Kuga’s dishes produces to attract customers to his stall. What ever Souma decides to do, he definitely does have a lot of cuisine variety to choose from to base his dishes around with Chinese cuisine as his cooking genre for this years Moon Banquet Festival. Can Souma do the unthinkable and actually defeat Kuga and the Chinese Research Society?
Souma, Akira and Ryou may be crude with each other not wanting to admit that they recognise each others talent but it is that very passion which sparks them to behave in such a way that has them connecting with each other. All three are driven by the love they have for cooking and the desire to be at the top, so it is natural that those they recognise as talented they feel forced to be the most defensive against, partly to hide the fact that they acknowledge the skills the other person has. With this chapter it has become apparent that the story’s focus is not only on having Souma evolve the world of cooking but bring about such a change through the efforts of many chefs, which now we can see includes Akira and Ryou. Akira winning and Ryou being as equally as talented alongside Souma on adds to that fact.
What an interesting conclusion to the Autumn Election yet a very appropriate one if you look at the arc from a certain angle. Souma represented the underdog in this arc as everyone not his friend believed he would crash and burn in the face of geniuses yet throughout the arc he accomplished feats many thought were impossible and defeated opponents others believed were unbeatable. Still, despite his successes, the students failed to recognise Souma’s ability as they all desperately wanted to avoid coming to terms with the truth that a person without talent can reach the level of geniuses. It was only in the finals when Souma showed them the possibilities of hard-work that they began to understand that they too were able to push their cooking to levels that can reach people like Ryou and Akira. Ultimately though, there was an aspect of flavour Souma was missing, the flavour of ones identity. The flavour one reaches when they truly desire to put their whole being into the dish they are cooking.
I’m beginning to wonder if Akira and Ryou are even human, especially after they keep revealing just how inhuman the feats they achieve are. Choosing the freshness of an ingredient by instinct and smell? I feel sorry for any normal person that has to go up against them in the future =(. Thankfully though, Souma has a skill-set of his own that is equally as inhuman, his ability to creatively cut through any wall that stands to block him. I was wondering how Souma would go about balancing the advantage Akira and Ryou have over him when it comes to the ability of judging the freshness of an ingredient. And as we have all come to love, Souma once again goes about defying the logic of expectation and opens the door of innovation many fail to even perceive. I am incredibly excited to see where this decision by Souma will lead and how it will stand up against Akira and Ryou’s dishes.
While I did feel either Akira or Ryou would be great opponents for Souma in the final, I honestly did not expect the final to be between the three of them. But thinking about it, the way the scoring was set-up in the preliminaries (Souma drawing with Ryou and losing to Akira by one point), the best course of action to settle the lack of finality in the scoring was to have Souma defeat both them. And seeing how Souma had not met either of them again prior to the final, the three-way final should have been expected. But regardless, that twist was extremely satisfying and I look forward to seeing how this unprecedented event intensifies.
So it begins, the battle to determine the chef who ends up facing Souma in the Autumn Election final. Both Ryou and Akira have shown themselves to be incredibly talented chefs who have different styles of cooking and ways of approaching challenges, so whoever wins, the battle they will have with Souma in the Autumn Election final should certainly be grand and epic.
Hayama Akira dominated more than I had expected, he utterly killed that challenged and showcased just how much of a player he is for the top spot of Tootsuki Academy. Hisako’s dish was great, but compared to the depth of flavour, smell and overall expression of Akira’s dish, it wasn’t good enough. Akira displayed right then and there how serious he is in his claims of taking the top. All Hisako could do was crumble under the pressure Akira’s conviction imposed on her. Between a battle of flavours and a battle of wills, Akira came out on top.
Well looks like I was wrong with my predictions of what the final two match-ups would be for the first round in the Autumn Election, I guess the battle of Souma’s rivals will have to wait for later (Takumi vs Akira). Mimasaka Subaru is an interesting character albeit incredibly weird, but amusing nonetheless. What a hardcore stalker that obsesses over details so disturbingly, I get now why despite his appearance, he was able to pass the Autumn Election preliminaries. Still the most shocking development in the chapter was Hisako seriousness, I had not expected her to be so convicted in her desire to reach the top, but what she displayed this chapter has me re-evaluating her character completely. Akira may just be overpowered in this match =/.
That was a great conclusion to the Souma and Akira “battle” in these preliminaries. I was curious to see if Souma would already outscore Akira in the first round of the Autumn Election or whether their rivalry would extend further into the competition. I was expecting Souma and Akira to tie with their dishes, but that didn’t happen, Souma was a point short, yet that didn’t matter because the way in which Souma achieved his score created a situation in which his dish may have well tied with Akira’s. Three of the five judges scored Souma’s dish higher than they did Akira’s, so there must be something Souma is doing that resonates with those judges. Whatever happens from here on, I am glad to see that Souma and Akira still have something to compete for in the following rounds of the Autumn Election. That surprise final contestant in block A who knocked Zenji and Shun out with his score of 91 was quite the shock, I was not expecting such an ominous twist at the conclusion of the preliminaries.