Shokugeki no Soma – 22

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Summer lovin’, had me a blast~

In a shocking turn of events, Canada is still hot in September. I usually have to start mining my basement closets for winter coats by now, but summer seems a little more stubborn this year around. I’m not sure if this lingering heat is the perfect weather to eat some spicy curry or the absolute worst. Whatever the case, I’m all about dat curry right now.

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Some kids have puppies for pets. Isami has a tomato.

Somehow, an episode composed entirely of judges explaining cooking processes we never actually had the benefit of seeing turned out to be great. The way the judges describe each dish is like the way a genius villain describes their master plan for taking over the world, cackling along the way. Each element of the dish is masterfully planned to win over the judges, and not a single minor detail is lost on them. At this point, the cooking techniques being shown off here are so complex they might as well be the work of a genius. From modern freeze-drying to painstakingly sandwiching cheese in between pasta layers – each creation is such a marvel that I couldn’t help but drop my jaw as each judge dissected the dish even further. Each little reveal of the spices used, the way they made the curry base, or the cooking process gradually raised my appreciation for the dish. Also, a round of the applause for the palates of the judges, please. Naming all those ingredients at the drop of a hat after one taste is quite a feat!

Most of the dishes are presented as rivalries, such as Megumi vs Hojo (and Alice in a way) and Takumi vs Isami. The only stand-out here is Yoshino, who doesn’t really have anyone in particular she’s gunning for. Despite this, she gets a nice little bit of screentime before inevitably failing (she’s a side character after all). And while her cheerleaders in the nosebleed seats don’t even make it into the competition, it’s nice to see the Polar Star gang getting some attention.

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Yep, she’s from the hood all right!

Of course, Megumi is still quite a bit of a star amongst the side characters – even managing to hog more screentime than Soma on occasion. Her dish is an interesting one that warms the soul, providing the heartiest of country life comfort foods. I like how her food and technique was contrasted so starkly with both Alice and Hojo. While Alice’s food is delicious, it still lacks a human warmth to it. Even temperature-wise, she freeze-dried everything! How does that match up to the spicy, aromatic image of curry? I’m sure it was good, but the fact that the judges can’t even attach words to it means that it’s a very foreign taste. That can be…off-putting. Megumi’s dish is made to evoke familiar and homey memories, making the taster feel at ease. It’s similar to the bout between Sadatsuka and Hisako, where Hisako cares about her taster’s feelings and Sadatsuka is just a crazy bitch who will stinkbomb an entire stadium just to prove a point.

Megumi and Hojo differ not so much in their cuisine philosophy so much as in their kitchen philosophy. Hojo has been the subject to some nasty bullying by insecure men, so she’s taken it upon herself to cook them into submission. Unfortunately, this means all the men in her kitchen are terrified of her. As such, she’s a little jealous that a delicate flower like Megumi can get along with a crowd of burly fisherman. Who wouldn’t want a gang of fisherman cheering them on, right? No one would ever mess with you after they saw you rolling with one of those muscular behemoths. Anyways, Hojo shows a little remorse for being so harsh on her co-workers and seems to want to make peace. Just don’t ask me how when the fisherman are nice country boys and Hojo’s fellow male chefs seem irreversibly prejudiced. I hope we see more from her because I’d hate for the issue to be solved so easily after just watching Megumi.

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Finally, there’s the Isami vs Takumi cooking bout. I didn’t actually find this one all too inspiring since Isami isn’t really a character I care much about. Seeing him sob about being suckier than his brother at cooking as a kid didn’t do much to garner more sympathy either. It’s also a little disconcerting how when he’s fat, he’s comedic relief or just plain weird…but when he’s skinny, he’s totally serious and actually a competitor. I feel so bad for fat or chubby characters in anime sometimes. Anyways, nothing much to see here except how devoted these two are to making everything they touch Italian in some way, shape, or form. Isami’s dish was right up my alley though. I’m craving a calzone so hard right now. ANYWAYS, I am getting very off track here so let’s wrap this up.

All in all, a fun little judging episode with some ultra crazy complicated dishes. I don’t have enough time to try and even think about making those right now, because it would take a lot of practice to get right. I don’t know how the judging segments were so exciting when there weren’t even any crazy metaphors or woman moaning with their tits out. I guess I just really love food because this played out like an intense cooking show that’s all about showing off who has the cooler recipe. So far the winner is Alice…but who will reign supreme in Soma’s block?

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Wow, look at this weeb

I finally got around to making curry! On one of the hottest days of the year, too…I roasted my spices, ground them up, and used those to flavour a broth made of coconut water and coconut milk. I crumbled some pine nuts on top so all in all I guess it’s like Thai curry? I didn’t follow a recipe so hell if I know. It turned out well though! …even if I had to dedicate a lot more time than anticipated sitting on my kitchen floor and grinding up tiny seeds. Maybe I’ll try to practice my curry skills some more since the curry competition is still going on strong. Let’s hope the curry smell is gone from my house by next week’s episode!

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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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20 Responses to “Shokugeki no Soma – 22”

  1. skylion says:

    genius villain describes their master plan

    No, Bond-sama. I expect you to DINE!

    Alice’s laboratory food made me feel like I was watching something from Star Trek, The Original Series. That thing that creeps out of nowhere and wastes a Red Shirt! Curry ala Horta! No…it was the Thing! Rob Bottin used gelatin and mayonnaise for some of those creature effects!

    By contrast, Megumi’s stick-to-your-ribs-home-cooking was just the thing for the jaded judges. Real Food! TLC is the main ingredient.

    • Highway says:

      Alice’s food was those little data cards they used to put in the food replicator on ST:TOS…

      At least noone came up with the fake barf monsters that were allergic to sunlight.

    • Alexandre Martins says:

      Watch Heston Blumenthal’s videos (especially his “Feasts” ones. You’ll see that Alice is kind of a female Heston or something like that).
      Seriously, though, molecular cooking is fun. I’ve tried some myself, and you can flash-freeze things without a giant machine like the Alice uses by using alcohol, water and dry ice. But that’s it. It’s fun, it’s flashy (pun intended), but it seldom seem to introduce something really new. You know, like when you mix a dozen different things and come up with a new flavor, like barbecue or curry sauce.
      As for the Italian brothers, honestly, Italian food gets the palm of best cuisine in the world for me (after all, we own those damn Romans for inventing most of the West cuisine – what have the Romans given us? Well…), but they really push it. I’m all for variety, and every culture has some great take on cuisine or other. But the way, Overcooled, congratulations on your curry, and stone grinders are the best, which shows you’re serious about cooking, or at least about having fun with it (hmmm, serious about having fun… does that make sense?).
      It was interesting how Soma doesn’t even show up on this episode, and it was all about the other characters. Though that only makes me think that we’ll be left with a VERY incomplete series by the end of the few episodes we have left. This series should have another 24-episode season…

      • BlackBriar says:

        It was interesting how Soma doesn’t even show up on this episode, and it was all about the other characters. Though that only makes me think that we’ll be left with a VERY incomplete series by the end of the few episodes we have left. This series should have another 24-episode season…

        Because all the other characters are getting their due screen time for development since they’re involved in one of the Academy’s most known food festival/competition.

        Speculation from the manga readers is the final episode caps off with the end of the Autumn Elections preliminaries. With the current pacing in mind, that might just happen.

        • Alexandre Martins says:

          As for the rest of the series, I fear one of the things I hate the most might happen with this great series: I’ll have to go on to read the manga to learn how the story goes. I just hope it’s successful enough to warrant another season. And I hope the manga doesn’t last forever, as even Soma will get tiring if that happens.

  2. Highway says:

    You should get an electric grinder. We got one when we started making our own chili powder (ask me about FODMAPs, go ahead…) and even if some hipsters will argue that it loses some flavor vs a mortar and pestle (a dubious assertion in the first place), it takes a minute to grind up spices. Wait, let me elucidate: a minute of pushing a button. Not 10 minutes of hard labor on the floor. Forget that noise, electricity is our magical helper.

    Other than that, the show was the show. As usual, you know who’s not going to lose, so there’s no tension when they’re holding that last score of Megumi’s, even if this time she wouldn’t get kicked out of school for not making it to the final 8. It was nice to see Yoshino get some credit.

    The scoring was a bit annoying. It was all 30, 35, 22, 40, then 87! What? I guess we’re supposed to take it as “Oh, the people the show focuses on are so much better”, but it kind of invalidates the idea of the best of the best of the best that they keep banging on about. But we’ve got even more scoring malfeasance going on in the A group for next time.

    • skylion says:

      …that’s kinda odd we hit the reply at the same time, man…

      I was just assuming the writers rolled a d100 for the overall scores and assigned them to the characters via lottery…

    • Overcooled says:

      Yeah, that would be much easier. I don’t even remember why we bought this mortar and pestle. I think because it seemed like a cute idea to hand-grind spices until I actually had to do it lol

      The scoring is pretty ridiculous. How did one dude get a 6 when they’re supposed to be the best of the best? I think you’re right about it being to show much better the main characters are because that’s how I felt after seeing it. But man, if they give 0s to everyone else and give Soma a 20 then that will just make no sense.

      • Alexandre Martins says:

        Oh, the stone mortar is great for making things like pesto. You CAN make pesto in a food processor, but the coarser texture you get from a mortar is far more satisfying.
        Regarindg the minor characters, they’re like those colorless characters: they’re there just to show how inferior everyone else is to our may characters, which is VERY lazy writing, at least in this regard. It’s one of this show’s few faults to me: there’s no tension whatsoever. Like in the competition with the food chain, there was no doubt in my mind as to what would happen. Great mouth-watering fun, but totally predictable.

        • Overcooled says:

          Yeah, I’ve used it for pesto (which is a lot easier than grinding up spices into a fine powder…) and it’s nice. 😀

          I agree Shokugeki no Soma gets pretty predictable. You know just how strong everyone is so it’s not a surprise even down to the rankings. I feel so bad for the background characters who end up being pummeled to the ground by the judges just to build up Soma and the gang as these amazing cooks.

          • Highway says:

            Hey, there was some suspense in the “Which three of these other mooks are gonna get advanced with Megumi?” question. For a while I actually thought they’d pull out the “three-way tie for 4th place” to try to get more characters into the final bit. But then they even explained that they’d make the judges tie-break down to four no matter what, so that put the kibosh on that.

            The scores are definitely another instance of The Wobble. In reality, just about every bit of food they’re eating is outstanding. But if everyone scored a between 30 and 70, then that wouldn’t be very dramatic.

    • Alexandre Martins says:

      Yes, please, tell me about FODMAPs. I also use an electric grinder for several spices and it works very well.

    • Alexandre Martins says:

      All the show’s setup is stupid on that regard. It’s not a school, it’s a Master Chef reality show competition. The students that get the low grades are there just to show how the judges are serious and how our main characters are great. It’s like all other starfleet captains are complete idiots, because the writers can’t really make Picard, Janeway and Sisko into the geniuses they are supposed to be.

  3. BlackBriar says:

    Another fun entry. Seriously, I’m going to miss this show when it’s over. When you look at the last shot of the OP’s visuals, it’s already determined who’s going to get selected.

    I’ll say the judges’ ability to micromanage and detect the smallest of details of the contestants’ dishes is impressive. But at the same time, it can be intimidating. Imagine someone like that judging whatever it is choose to do. Your heart rate would be erratic from the suspense until the final words.

    I actually prefer the slimmer version of Isami. The chubby, comic relief version isn’t bad but that’s all he seemed to be at the time and his slimmer self along with his backstory gives him more character in my eyes. He admires his brother but also wants to be on equal footing with or if possible, surpass him. Usually, sibling rivalries in most productions are bitter.

    Yoshino’s troll face never ceases to put a smile on the face. That’s a good dish she put up. Hopefully, this means after the Autumn Elections, we can see more of what she and the other roommates can do. My eye’s going to be on Ryoko and Shun next time.

    I almost teared up on Megumi’s scenario with both her win and the people from her hometown supporting her. A qualification by the skin of her teeth yet it was well deserved. She came a long way and I’m still face palming at the fact it took her 3 months to get into the Polar Star dorms.

    A bummer Hojo didn’t make the cut. She’s an interesting, strong willed character but with the turn of events and witnessing someone like Megumi besting her, she’ll do a little self-reevaluation. Her motives aren’t wrong per se, just a little aggressive.

    Alice is so OP that even the judges are baffled. An overachiever if a 95 out of 100 isn’t enough to satisfy her. And her dish doesn’t look like food at all. More like something that should be in an art exhibit for its ambitious design.

    The judging in Group A is making Group B look like they were receiving mercy. These people are brutal and cruel. Got to wonder what they went through in their lifetime to make them so hardcore. And it’s funny that both Sendawara twins, Natsume and Orie, are voiced by Yoko Hikasa. That’s talent right there.

    • Overcooled says:

      I would be so nervous serving a dish to a panel of judges as brutal and astute as them. I’m surprised Megumi held it together. In front of an audience too!

      I like the slimmer Isami better mostly because this version actually does stuff instead of just laughing in a corner or being a weirdo. Guess we won’t see him for a while along with Hojo (I’m sad too!) and Yoshino with her :9 face.

      Oh wow, I did not notice Yoko Hikasa voiced BOTH of them. Nice!

      • Alexandre Martins says:

        Actually, I think Megumi is far stronger than she seems (as indicated by her supergirl persistence in learning how to fillet the monkfish and also going as far as showing her skills to the floor, just to show how wonderful the cooking of her hometown is). She’s a good sidekick to Soma and I feel she should get the spotlight more, and stop being just a side character.
        Hojo is right in a way. She makes the same mistake that Shinomya, but at least her situation is less absurd than his – Shinomya being sabotaged by his own sous-chefs just because he was a foreigner? That’s so absurd it’s ludicrous – as the world of haute cuisine IS mostly a male-dominated world with a strong prejudice toward women (also completely stupid, but then again, any kind of prejudice is completely stupid anyway). However, doing like Shinomya and trying to beat everyone around her into submission is foolish. Flies, vinegar and honey, after all. And Megumi is not only endearing, she’s strong and resolute without losing any of her femininity (and no, I’m not talking about sex appeal, that would go to Hojo’s big rack as the usual needless fanservice), which makes her a much more believable human being, and so, a far more likable and convincing character than, in some respects, even the near-perfect Soma.

    • Alexandre Martins says:

      See my comment about Alice’s cooking. And after I’ve made fluid gels, fruit juice solid spheres with liquid cores and flash-frozen ice-cream I know what Alice is about. And I fully agree with you: molecular cooking is all about the spectacle, it’s a way of surprising the customer instead of creating really innovative FOOD. I mean, when you have transparent strips that look like pasta but are actually made of chicken stock, well, it’s pretty to look at, but it’s still cold chicken stock that tastes rubbery…

  4. Highway says:

    I’ll point out that we know the scores and rankings don’t matter, because if they really did matter, we’d know how many seats on the top 10 there are up for grabs. They’ve never once (that I recall) said how many graduated last year, vacating spots. Although one would assume that Erina scarfed up one of those spots. But it does leave a bit of a weird hole: if they’re holding these elections in autumn, do they retire the third years off the top 10 then, and fill the 10 with first and second years, to have 10 until the next autumn (and they should still be telling us how many spots are being vacated, but naaaaaah). Are the people who win ‘-elect’, not to assume their seat until the next school year?

    But then, that’s actual plot and world construction I’d find interesting, and would take away time from seeing the samey-samey reactions to all the food, over and over again.

    • Alexandre Martins says:

      Yeah, the constant orgasmic reactions to food are getting old. On the other hand,

      I god a good laugh watching Jitsu wa Watachi wa episode 8, when the school Oni principal tastes a chocolate cake and has the perfect Shokugeni-no-Soma reaction, complete with nudity, near-orgasm and colorful description of the sensations caused by the taste of the food.

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