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.
So it begins, the match to determine the champion of the Autumn Election. I can’t say I’m surprised that Ryou and Akira looked down on Souma when he revealed the pacific saury he prepared, but I was honestly surprised that both of them dismissed completely any plan Souma may have had for preparing his pacific saury in the way he did. Sure fresh fish may be advantageous in the match, but do they really believe that they can’t be wrong? That there isn’t other methods to approach cooking from? Well regardless of the looks Ryou and Akira gave Souma when they prematurely concluded that Souma was destined for third place, I am actually looking forward to the faces the two of them and the audience will make when Souma reveals the real effect of the pacfic saury he has prepared.
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.
Interesting strategy by Souma, to bring Subaru to equal footing in regards to the beef stew dish Souma had chosen to be his dish for their match. The fact that Souma had already advanced his beef stew dish in the past, that he considers it his greatest masterpiece from when he was middle school, makes improving it now that much more difficult. Souma himself is unsure how much he can advance the dish, but I suppose given his excitement in trying to defeat Subaru and surpass himself, the creative side of Souma has just been given an unrestricted license to unleash.
I am quite excited about the Autumn Election second round match-ups – Akira vs Ryou and Souma vs Subaru. In particular, I am really looking forward to seeing Souma dismantle Subaru with his dish in his match. The theme is a “main dish for a western-style meal” and Souma has agreed to a have a Shokugeki against Subaru with some seriously dire consequences. The fact that Souma, the main character, has bet his future as a chef on the match, it is practically impossible that he is going to lose his match against Subaru, although I suppose regardless of what was bet, it was fated for Subaru to lose to Souma when he challenged him to a Shokugeki.
Subaru is immensely more dangerous than I had initially expected, it is one thing to research a person and foresee the dish they will make based on that research but it totally another thing to predict their actions under pressure based on their individual characteristics and experiences. For Subaru to be able to entrap Takumi so completely, the ability he has in analysing a person and extrapolating defining features in them enabling him to trace their movements even before the person acts, what a dangerous ability it is which Subaru has cultivated.
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 =/.
Aw, I was hoping Megumi would come out victorious, but I suppose after the last few chapters that doesn’t matter as Megumi has already displayed that she is capable of challenging the rest of the cast within the story. The fact that she managed to “undress” the fundoshi of Senzaemon with her food is proof that she has abilities to take notice of. Still, Kurokiba winning is interesting, I wonder who he will end up facing in the next round =/. Will it be that unnamed guy related to Eizan? And speaking about him, is he really a high school student?