Shokugeki no Souma – 11

Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -2 Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -17 Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -32

Methinks all Shinomiya’s dish needed was some coffee.

This episode goes some way towards redeeming some of what annoyed me about last week’s otherwise strong effort – namely Megumi’s bait-and-switch character development.  I didn’t get too upset then because I knew this was coming, although while the way things played out kind of works as a whole, it was still very awkward as an intra-episode progression.  But that was then and this is now, and with apologies to Ei-chan, at last we’re seeing a few baby steps for Megumi.

Souma-kun doesn’t need to worry about any baby steps of course – he’s a man of giant leaps.  Narratively speaking, as Ken Hightower once famously said of George H.W. Bush, “He was born on third base and thought he hit a triple.”  This is one of the dicey elements of Shokugeki no Souma, as it really limits the protagonist’s ability to have a real character arc (at least a traditional one), but it does open up breathing space for a supporting player like Megumi.

In that vein, I very much liked the way the shokugeki played out.  Shinomiya reacted exactly the way I would hope a man who has both talent and arrogance in abundance might – he refused to be baited into a contest with a punk kid in which he’d have nothing to prove.  It was only the intervention of Doujima-san that forces the issue – he declares that once regular camp activities are over, there should be an unofficial “street fight” in the basement kitchen of the resort annex.

Somebody like Doujima is much-needed in this series – a sign that the administration of Tootsuki isn’t entirely made up of the heartless and the comic relievers.  And he adds a much-needed stipulation to the contest – Megumi is to not only join the shokugeki, but be the lead chef.  Souma can offer no recipe suggestions – he’s there strictly as a sous chef, helping Megumi with the prep and cooking but not acting as a creative influence.  This is welcome for obvious reasons, but it must be said that above and beyond that it pretty much had to happen right now and not a minute later for Megumi’s arc to have any traction at all.

The shokugeki (we see about the first half of it) is one of the most entertaining so far,  Shinomiya is the picture of serene cockiness and nonchalance, while Megumi leads with abject panic.  Fortunately Doujima said nothing about Souma not being able to act as a security blanket, and he performs this function more than admirably.  Meanwhile Inui-sensei acts as a one-woman peanut gallery, while the trio of alumnus Doujima has brought in to judge (including L from Death Note) watch with rapt attention.

One might have expected Shinomiya to deliver a vegetable-based example of haute cuisine (Doujima expected his unnamed “signature dish”) and Megumi to offer up simply country fare, but Shinomiya serves Chou Farci – a theoretically simple and hearty rustic cabbage roll.  Naturally the “L├ęgumes Magician” puts a spectacular spin on it and sends the judges into one of the most hilarious foodgasm sequences in the series – a full-on “Mahou Kabutsu” transformation for all five observers, with Souma’s trademark equal-opportunity service.  The dish does indeed look good enough to eat – but it’s a reflection of Shinomiya’s confidence that Megumi is no threat to him whatsoever.  The surprise is that she’s the one that’s ventured into the lofty heights of Escoffier et al, with a pretty beautiful-looking terrine – and it seems to be one that pushes some of Shinomiya’s buttons…

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Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -14 Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -15 Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -16
Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -18 Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -19 Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -20
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Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -27 Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -28 Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -29
Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -30 Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -31 Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -33
Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -34 Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -35 Shokugeki no Souma - 11 -36
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13 comments

  1. C

    I love how a mahou shoujo transformation in an ecchi cooking manga is 20 times better than the ones from that godawful Sailor Moon remake.

  2. Boy, that show is getting a lot of abuse. I dropped it after 4 or 5 eps, though I didn't think it was terrible or anything.

  3. C

    It's not undeserved I'll tell you that. Sailor Moon… really hasn't aged well, add in a shoestring budget, complete lack of humor, some very unnecessary plot deviations and you have a legitimately abysmal show. As I said, when an ecchi cooking anime can do magical transformations better than an iconic mahou shoujo in her own element… you know something's very, very wrong.

  4. S

    Well, the show itself is one thing. But the transformation WAS terrible. When I saw it the first time I was flabbergasted. You have a single sequence of, like, twenty seconds, that you're going to reuse over and over and over throughout the entire series, and you make it in CGI that makes it look like it's ripped off a PlayStation 2 game? I think that's really the measure of how little care Toei was putting in there. That's a new low.

    By the way, the most beautiful shoujo transformations ever seen must be the ones in PMMM: Rebellion. But this one probably wins the "Most Hilarious" prize (close second comes the one from Zvezda plot where first we get the Transformation!Cam, then the reality where it's actually just the various goons putting costume pieces on Venera).

  5. C

    Classic Toei, just put in the most minimal, almost nonexistent effort into it because they just want to sell Sailor Moon merch. They stopped trying with One Piece long ago.

    I'm watching World Trigger and even in spite of Toei, even in spite of the laziness and the three minute recap in EVERY episode, the show still somehow manages to be good because the source material is very good. I just can't say the same for Sailor Moon.

  6. S

    I dropped World Trigger ten minutes in episode 1 because of the abysmal production values. I know looks aren't everything, but damn, they are SOMETHING. I also dropped One Piece some time ago, same reason, with great sadness. I really hope they don't screw the pooch again with Dragonball Super, but who am I kidding, most likely it's going to suck.

  7. Everyone conveniently forgetting that Kyousougiga exists…

  8. S

    I honestly didn't remember it was Toei at all XD. And I guess the trend is more "let's not put too many resources in shows that are tied to an already established manga franchise and therefore will rake in fan money anyway". That's what makes me worried for Dragonball Super – they don't have to make an effort to get people to watch it, so will they?

  9. C

    They also did Mononoke as well, but gems like that one are the special exemption rather than the norm.

  10. E

    Heh, finally a Souma tag… Its a good series as long as you don't take it too seriously I think. Those sight gags are a feast for the eyes.

  11. T

    With the result a forgone conclusion you have to wonder how an average student could produce a dish better than an alumni, who graduated at the top of his cohort and opened up a hugely successful restaurant in France?

  12. e

    Doujima has commented about it. Shinomiya didn't go all out. He's taking it easy.
    Even so, his victory is assured, for sure. His only mistake is he didn't take the protagonist into calculation. Doujima called Souma the Achilles heel.

  13. T

    None the less, he is a professional, and all Souma did was the prep stuff. See your point though

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