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.
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.
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.
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?
Those eyes of Megumi’s when she was walking out to the center of the arena, they conveyed so much determination and belief. I am not exactly sure what Megumi did to prepare herself, but she really does look more relaxed and centered, a total contrast to her usual flustered self. Right now Megumi does seem to be in state in which she could defeat someone of Ryou’s level, especially if she remains focused and confident in her abilities (which is unique amount the current students in the first year).
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.
This match between Souma and Alice has been so intense and engrossing I actually had forgotten that there were other contestants left to cook in the following Autumn Election battles. But because of that, right from the start, this round of the Autumn Election has been immensely exciting and entertaining. Souma being the complete underdog makes it even more so, especially when 99% of the audience have already written him off as losing. Souma’s Nori Bento’s initial appearance may not have caused the same wonder as Alice’s bento, but what Souma is doing so well is utilising the ingredients and flavours he is incorporating inside his bento to the fullest. The judges reactions (and imagination) is an expression of how successful Souma has been in evolving his Nori Bento.
Alice’s dish was spectacular and the fact that she incorporated a sequence in how her dish was to be eaten to deepen the level of flavour and satisfaction of the meal was incredibly well thought out. Not only did Alice bring forward a fantastical and elegant presentation, she utilised her flavours in such a unique and wondrous way, you can’t help but admire the level of thinking that went into creating the dish. Such a complex and technical dish that sings on so many levels had me wondering intensely throughout the chapter how exactly Souma would go about combating such an overwhelming dish…then I seen his back and my worries disappeared.