My issues from last episode carry over with this one. I still think Eizan is a lousy villain (gotta have money, right?), why Souma has to fight him is downright dumb, and let’s face it, there’s no way Souma would lose and get expelled at this point in the story. While I’m at it: I get that Eizan sent his lackeys to Polar Star to add insult to injury but you can’t possibly expect me to think that a student (regardless of rank) can get away with that stuff.
My issues aside, Souma talking the talk and waking the walk is still very entertaining. There is just something badass with how he calmly keeps his head high and gradually takes ownership of the atmosphere. Even though Souma has to win for the story to continue but I still enjoyed watching the judges slowly grow enticed with Souma’s food to the point that they go against Eizan and hand the victory to the so-called B-rank chef. I myself wished that gyoza was real and right in front of me because darn it, it looked really tasty! Souma does talk big and he is certainly very prideful of his work but the food he whips up in any competition proves that he is a force to be reckoned with. I also do like that little touch that Souma’s improvement on his original recipe was from collaborating with his friends at Polar Star. That Souma wins throws a big jab at Central’s intention of eliminating individuality in Totsuki.
As Souma takes on Eizan, we do see the Polar Star gang defend their dorm from Eizan’s henchmen. It’s so goofy seeing Megumi and her pals with hard hats, hosing down generic thugs but honestly, that’s the least contrived plot detail in this episode. What really stood out to me is the gradual change of heart in Erina. It’s clear that her strict standards regarding the craft of cooking is very much a product of how Azami raised her (and that was roughly a decade ago). But judging from her flashback this episode, it seems as though Polar Star is opening Erina’s eyes a bit. Not only did Yuki more or less ignore a good chunk of Erina’s feedback, what Yuki nevertheless creates is still better than her previous recipe. And while Erina is still ticked off by Souma, watching him collaborate so freely with his friends has made her begin to question if she’s been looking at cooking the wrong way.
It’s stuff like this that’s compelling me to stick with Shokugeki no Souma. There’s a lot in this arc that’s bugging me and yet there’s enough good stuff that makes it hard to outright ignore this show. Who knows, maybe there’s a big light at the end of the tunnel but the set-up this arc has gotten makes a full rebound seem like a tall order to me.