Shokugeki no Souma: Ni no Sara – 07

Well, I certainly didn’t see that coming.

Shokugeki no Souma 2 - 07 -1I did criticize Shokugeki no Souma last week on the grounds of being a bit too predictable at times, so I guess I should be happy that this episode took such an unexpected turn (for me, anyway).  But an asspull is still an asspull, so it’d be fair to say I’m of mixed mind about this week’s result of the Hayama vs. Kurokiba match.  I’m not sure there would have been a “predictable” result along the lines of Souma defeating Mimasaka, though – it felt like Souma had more unfinished business with Kurokiba, but it wasn’t a slam-dunk either way.

Shokugeki no Souma 2 - 07 -2But this?  Boy, I dunno.  The matchup itself was a relatively interesting one, though obviously of secondary importance to the series since Souma-kun wasn’t involved.  You certainly had a Yin-Yang dynamic here, white vs. dark, regal and refined vs. raw and savage (and it case that wasn’t obvious enough, we were certainly beaten over the head with it).  I have my issues with Ryuu-kun, who I still think is too defined as a character by another character (though not as badly as Hisako is), but his combat style makes a nice contrast with Hayama.

Shokugeki no Souma 2 - 07 -3That the fight itself was a bit anti-climactic was probably inevitable – it was only given half an episode compared to the two Souma’s match with Mimasaka got.  I’m not a huge fan of eel, and I thought Kurokiba’s loosely matelote-inspried dish felt a bit too Japanese, given the themes of the competition (I actually thought the brioche was the most appetizing part). So chalk Hayama’s duck breast as the dish I’d have been more inclined to favor, though I could see where some might consider his aroma-driven cooking style a bit too austere.  A dish as fatty and rich as duck breast desperately needs that kind of light touch, though.

Shokugeki no Souma 2 - 07 -4This tie-game result just doesn’t sit well with me.  As far as I’m concerned it’s unfair to Souma, because he did something neither of his future opponents did – he vanquished his opponent.  He’s being punished by having his chances (narrative imperative aside) reduced to one-in-three despite having held up his end of the bargain.  He did everything that was asked of him and won his semi-final.  So why should he be punished because a judge couldn’t make up her mind?  There’s also the matter of there being no precedent for this in the mythology, internally or externally.  That’s by definition an asspull, pretty much, and that’s almost never a good dramatic move.

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6 comments

  1. J

    I mean, I do agree with you that it’s an asspull, more or less… but it makes the finals more exciting. I found it to be a very ‘shonen manga’ move, really, and it certainly would have generated a lot of ‘hype’ and buzz for the series as a weekly publication.

  2. J

    Sorry for the double comment (I wish I could edit) but I also find it odd that you have that issue with Ryou but not Hayama. Hayama pretty much cooks for Jun, and Ryou doesn’t ‘cook for Alice’ or play second fiddle to her in any way. Hell, at this point his achievements as far as this academy’s concerned have far surpassed her. He’s really her attendant in name only and still feels he owes a debt to her, but the relationship and its dynamics are completely different from the Erina/Hisako one.

  3. Well, but with Hayama and Jun it’s never questioned how he’s the superior cook. Jun’s more of a theoretician whereas he’s the experimenter type, so their skills are complimentary.

  4. Y

    I also thought Hayama’s dish seemed like the stronger contender, but I guess since Soma hasn’t beaten Ryou before, the mangaka decided to set it up this way. Though I’m not sure how the finals will end, the ingredient for the finals seems completely in Soma’s favor. As someone who worked in a Japanese teishoku restaurant, Soma must have cooked and handled saury more often than the other two contestants.

    I chuckled a bit when Okamoto Nobuhiko slipped into his Bakugou voice at the end (“kuso ga!!”). Made me miss BnHA immensely.

  5. I read the manga and knew how it all played out and it is important later

    But the judges are my favorites and Soma just crashes Erina private Suite and add Alice for her support and comments on her man Ryo!

  6. G

    The draw was clearly set up for a wild final round, sure, but I wouldn’t call it an asspull.

    For me at least, an asspull needs to be something that really shouldn’t be able to happen within the logic of the show. Iron Chef, the closest thing to a real life example of Food Wars, has had multiple instances of draws where rematches were suggested. (at least Iron Chef America anyway…I think the original had some kind of overtime tiebreaker or something)

    It’s very shonen jump to stack the deck against the protagonist in a way that seems inherently unfair; reducing his chances from 1/2 to 1/3 here is pretty par for the course.

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