Amusing to see Souma, Ryou and Akira hang out together even if only to force the others to cook them the dishes they made for the Autumn Election final all in order to find how they can improve their abilities. With the students on their respective paths searching for their identity in cooking, the new arc does seem to provide a platform where the students can find ways to extend what they are capable of doing. The Tootsuki Academy Stagiaire System allows students to experience how working in the a professional environment feels and challenge them to find how they can leave their mark on the restaurant they cook at for that week. Hisako being the one Souma is paired with for the restaurant they are going to work in is interesting, I am curious to see whether she set aside her differences with Souma and actually be of help to the restaurant hosting her.
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.
While some people perceive the way they can move forward through paths that manifest in front of them, Souma is able to transcend such a constructed perception and instead sees an open sky, one in which he is free to go where-ever he desires. That ability of Souma really does make him immensely enjoyable to watch, especially seeing how he takes existing dishes and evolves it further with that unrestrained mind he has.
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.
So Subaru really is making the same dish as Takumi, with the addition of some improvements that he believes reduces his chances of losing to almost zero. But wow, what a crazy guy, to investigate someone so thoroughly like that, he has talent but that is just disturbing. Subaru may not have a “specialty” in cooking but what he is talent in is recreating a dish others make/made. He would make a great shadow cook, but all Subaru is doing is just making sure his dish is better than his opponents, he is not really creating anything “special”, noteworthy or memorable. What Takumi do now that he is cornered?
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.