Shokugeki no Soma – 21

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Meanwhile, most students their age can’t even make toast.

Here’s another reminder that watching Shokugeki no Soma on an empty stomach is a bad idea. I started up the episode to pass time while my dinner was cooking and it was excruciating. I could smell food from the kitchen, I knew food was coming, and I could SEE delicious food on my screen…but I wasn’t eating anything! It was hell!

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Alright, who farted?

I’ve never seen so many delicious dishes in a single episode before. Half of them weren’t even shown to us in their finished forms and I was still drooling. Soma’s half-cooked curry already looks amazing! Yes, I must repeat (again) that watching this show while hungry is like dancing with the devil. You could go mad at any second. The standards for a good dish are constantly rising as only the best chefs have survived the grueling elimination process. Well, minus that dude who got 6 points. I don’t know how the hell he lasted this long. But other than that, the side characters continue to impress with surprising dishes and cooking styles. Call me a sucker for gimmicks, but I love how they each have their own niche specialty that fits with their personality. I revel in scenes that uncover these niches, and this episode did so for both Hisako and Sadatsuka.

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Let’s start with Hisako. She has been around for a hell of a long time but only managed to leave an impression about as deep as a kiddie pool. Her only use has been as a servant i.e. someone the virtually friendless Erina can actually talk to for important exposition scenes. I have been questioning her purpose in the show for quite a while now. Would I notice if she was replaced by a cardboard cutout? Or a dog Erina just conveniently pours her heart to? I would not. She could have easily just not been in the show until this episode and pretty much nothing would change. She was a useless addition…until now.

Learning the secrets behind the niche cooking style of a character reveals a lot about their personality. Scratch that, it pretty much reveals every single facet of their being. Hisako was nothing to me before she presented a dish with her signature style of cooking. Now, I see her as a caring, perceptive and determined young lady with a strong drive to improve her cooking. Cooking with bitter herbs and medicinal ingredients doesn’t exactly scream “tasty” to me. That means she didn’t adopt this style because it would make her big bucks as a chef, but because she wanted to cook things that would help people. Or help Erina at the very least. I wonder if Erina even realizes the extent of research and work Hisako puts in just to try and serve her. This seems to be the start of Hisako being a real character and not just a stand-in for occasional yuri scenes with Erina.

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Is “your food tastes like bondage and S&M” a compliment?

Sadatsuka is extremely gimmicky but I love her and her weird rivalry anyways. I recently tried stinky tofu, so I can attest to the fact that sometimes stinky foods can be tasty. But that doesn’t make the smell go away. The judges say it themselves that there’s a love-hate relationship there. So no matter how far you push the “love”, there’s always “hate” lingering. A stinky dish will never be a 100 point dish because our sense of scent is just as important as our sense of taste when it comes to food. Sight is important too, and her dish doesn’t even look edible let alone visually appealing.

I’m not sure what the hell Sadatsuka was thinking when she developed her signature style. Can she just…not go for the rotting dumpster style? Can she use strong flavours in stews that don’t smell like ass? I mean, there’s picking a niche no one else has and then there’s just stupidity. Medicinal cooking may sound a bit like drinking cough syrup soup to me, but she never lets any of the negative qualities you would associate with medicine tarnish her dish. No bitterness, no strong smell, no gross colours…she keeps her audience in mind. Sadatsuka just wants to torture people with her dishes, and I have no idea how she expects to open a restaurant with such an unappealing theme in mind. I guess it all goes with the fact that she’s an insane stalker with no common sense. So yep, her creepy cooking certainly says a lot about her too!

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They even changed the ending song to fit her (short-lived) cleansed version!

Finally, let’s look back at Megumi who we already know quite well. But not well enough yet! Megumi surprised me this week showing off some real skill butchering a monk fish. We’ve seen her teeter and totter about and somehow put together a great dish at the end of the day, but we’ve never really seen her in action. Unless you count tripping as action. Seeing her be so proficient at such a difficult task – butchering an entire, slimy beast – was highly impressive. Megumi deserves to be a chef people can be awed by. As much as she hates attention, I hope she continues to impress in a way that she becomes the centre of attention more often.

We should get to see more delicious dishes next week. The judging process is actually extremely enjoyable right now because the chefs are interacting with each other and basically “fighting with their food.” Although this is a free-for-all, we have some nice rivalries with Sadatsuka and Hisako. We still have Akira vs Soma, Takumi vs Isami, and perhaps a little Megumi vs Miyoko thing. There’s so much food to go through, this format makes things more interesting as we see the chefs talk through their dishes. Plus, more weird-ass visual metaphors. They could be weirder though so I hope that amps up again. Until next week! …Where I hopefully get my act together and make some curry.

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A neuroscience graduate, black belt, and all-around nerd. You'll either find me in my lab or curled up in my rilakkuma kigurumi watching anime.
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9 Responses to “Shokugeki no Soma – 21”

  1. BlackBriar says:

    Here’s another reminder that watching Shokugeki no Soma on an empty stomach is a bad idea.

    That’s your own fault. Doing that is just self-torture. Don’t tell me there’s a masochist part in you. 😛

    Yes, I must repeat (again) that watching this show while hungry is like dancing with the devil.

    Was the dance under the pale moonlight?

    Soma had me worried nodding it off at the start of the prelims but he shows his head is still on the shoulders. He did cut it close saying his experimentations lasted up to the morning of the Elections itself. Couldn’t help but laugh at his cooking acting like smelling salts to wake him up. Also, the way the episode went, we won’t see his side again until the near end of the series.

    It’s always amazing how the series gives most of the exposition on the characters through their cooking.

    We’ve gotten the general aspects of Megumi’s character but these small, later add-ons give all the more reason to root for her. Her biggest obstacle is her insecurity. With that out of the way, maybe she could even give Soma a run for his money. Interesting reveal about her, though. As I never pegged Megumi for the butchering type. I always saw her as one who uses what’s already processed.

    Hisako proved her worth with her medicinal dish. Just uttering the word makes me think of a hospital. With her reasoning on the table, doing what she does for the sake of someone else, she looks more and more like an ever loyal servant. Something that’s to be admired. Though what she probably didn’t count on was stealing Erina’s stalker. 😛

    Nao’s culinary concept is where I find confliction, personally. For me, when I’m near foods that have a scent that’s foul or just doesn’t make me feel hungry, certainly where first time tastings are concerned, I won’t be inclined to eating them. The fragrance as much as the physical presentation are the two determining factors (If you don’t pay mind to what the ingredients can do to the body in the long run) when it comes to eating anything. The taste seals the deal, afterwards.

    As pointed out, the fragrance factor is a double edged sword. There was a period where I frequently had two dishes: Pasta with shrimp and rice with Mahi-mahi. They always came with garlic sauce. I had them so many times I gradually got tired of the sauce’s taste and began to reject it. Bad enough that the very scent had a repelling effect on my mind and I became, to this day, reluctant to eating anything with that particular sauce.

    • Overcooled says:

      I should have been more careful…

      Soma falling asleep turned out to be pretty uneventful. Worrying about this kid is pointless, I swear.

      YES, I love how this show tells a story through cooking. I loved seeing Megumi really show off her skills and butcher that monkfish. I honestly didn’t think she had it in her. But it makes sense now since she grew up in the country that she would know what to do with fresh produce and game.

      I also found Hisako’s food reminded me of a hospital, but at least it sounded good in the end. I don’t think I’d ever be able to try Nao’s food either…I mean, I could, but I don’t want to. Why eat a smelly dish that tastes good when I can eat a NON-smelly dish that can taste just as good?

  2. BlackBriar says:

    Side note: Oh, are you aware? Another extended episode of Mushishi Zoku Shou (episode 23+24 like it was for 11+12) titled “Mushishi Zoku Shou: Suzu no Shizuku” showed up a few days ago. I downloaded the episode myself but I’ve yet to watch it.

    • Overcooled says:

      Oh, thanks for the heads up! If it’s good (and I bet it is) I’ll probably find time to blog about it too haha

  3. skylion says:

    Best Dueling Curries EVAR!

    I don’t know if I would ever want to eat monkfish (I mean, I usually avoid animals covered in mucus), but now, with Megumi at the chop and slice…..I still don’t want it. But I came close to it. But what’s amazing about her story is that is roots all the way down. She isn’t going to be some high tech chefery for the sorts of judges ruling this tourney. She’s a traditional Japanese chef right down to her bones.

    That’s not to say her repertoire cannot expand. Just calling a great strength when I see it. Her passion could go anywhere…

    • Overcooled says:

      It still doesn’t look at all appetizing, right? Too slimy. I had to eat monkfish sashimi once because I was at a restaurant with my sensei and he would have beat me up if I turned anything down. And while it was the best-tasting sashimi of the bunch, that’s not saying much since I just don’t like the taste (and concept!) of raw fish. I don’t think I’d go out of my way to try it again in its cooked form either.

      It’s impressive. Megumi is showing off some amazing skills to make the judges gasp while still remaining true to her roots. It shows that she can remain as that homey, traditional Japanese chef and still be something spectacular. And yes, I can see her expand too. She still has a lot of growing room!

  4. BlackBriar says:

    Now that I think about it. If the odor from Nao’s food is that lethally effective, it can pass as a powerful nerve gas. The scent engulfed the entire arena with everyone in it, producing devastating results. Think of the military contracts she could rake in!!! 😛

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