In order to get Azami to accept the challenge Jouichirou had to bait Azami with a prize he could not refuse, the complete and unquestioned loyalty of himself. Azami obsessed and driven by his memories of Jouichirou’s cooking accepts the Regiment de Cuisine challenge with a gleeful expression unconcerned of the prospect of failure. With the challenge set and the location decided – the final site of the promotion exam, Rebun Island, Souma and Co. begin their special training with Jouichirou.
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?
And with the end of one challenge, a new one greets the students of Tootsuki Academy on their way towards the top and this time it involves not only the students within their year, but the whole of Academy including the Elite Ten. In order to grow as a chef and push the boundaries of his limits, Souma challenges the eight seat of the Elite Ten, Kuga, to a battle which will decide whether Souma is worthy of challenging Kuga to a Shokugeki. To get Kuga to agree, Souma will have to outsell Kuga during the Tootsuki Academy Festival in terms of money made from the sale of food. Souma clearly at a disadvantage seeks to utilise the popularity of Kuga’s booth to attract customers to his.
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.
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.
It has been announced that Shokugeki no Soma (Food Wars) will get a television anime adaptation in 2015. J.C. Staff will be producing the anime with Yoshitomo Yonetani as the director .
Shokugeki no Soma is a story of a boy pursuing the path of cooking and challenging himself so that one day he can surpass his father and continue on the family business – a special-of-the-day shop. Within that setting is a story where the curtain rises on the new possibilities of cooking and the pleasures, flavours and textures brought along with it.
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.