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.
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?
What a fantastic chapter, no matter what the result ends up being, the coverage Megumi has gotten through these last three chapters has been incredible, especially how it highlighted her ability to stand beside the main character as a serious chef who is not afraid to meet her opponent head-on. Just like how Souma has the courage to challenge any style of cooking, Megumi is showcasing herself as being the same, challenging Ryou to a serious flavour match despite knowing that rich flavours are his forte.
I guess “violence” really can be used to describe the flavour Ryou produced with his dish, but still, what an interesting way to illustrate the intensity of a chef’s dish. The brawler nature of Ryou was conveyed quite vividly through the reactions of the judges after tasting his dish and almost wanting to keel over. The fact that Senzaemon ‘stripped’ and the guests have taken a huge interest in Ryou is expressive of how great his dish was and the challenge Megumi needs to overcome if she is to come out victorious for this round.
Along with Megumi and Ryou’s origins from port cities and their experience working as chefs at an early age, the differences in their perception of cooking and its meaning is also setting-up this battle as an incredibly exciting one. Ryou, through the rough childhood he had to endure arrived at the view that cooking involved only yourself and making your opponent(s) submit to you. Megumi on the other hand found a way forward through the confusion and doubt her mind trapped herself in with the aid and support of others.
It is only the first chapter of their battle and yet it has developed into one which is incredibly intense. Both Megumi and Ryou originate from Port Cities and both have decided to use Seafood to create their soups, yet there is a contrast in the way their soup will be presented; Ryou with his rich soup abundant with flavour and Megumi with her transparent graceful soup whose ingredients are in harmony with each other. As for how the flavours will compare when the dish is complete, we will just have to wait and see how the two of them incorporate all the ingredients within their Ramen dish together in the end.