「選ばれし者」 (Erabareshi Mono)
“The Chosen One”
As we enter a new arc of Shokugeki no Souma, we’re introduced to an entire range of new characters, motives and challenges. A few of them we’ve seen in the OP and ED featured in the second half of this series, but some of them may be completely new. I’ll go through and quickly give my impression on each of them, although some of them haven’t really had a chance to shine yet. Houjou Miyoko (Seto Asami) is the purple-haired girl that stands up for Megumi when she hears people talking not-so-behind-her-back. She has a tough demeanor and gives Megumi credit for facing Kojirou in a shokugeki. Megumi, of course, discredits herself right away by saying that a lot of it was Souma’s doing – but perhaps Megumi will prove people wrong in this Autumn Election. After all, they have confidence in her ability by even putting her in the pool of contestants. Then there’s Sadatsuka Nao (Gotou Saori), who is this creepy stalker of Erina. Yup – that’s her right in the ED and I don’t know if it’s a romantic interest that Nao has with Erina or just admiration? But we’ll likely see more of her later too. Hayama Akira (Suwabe Junichi) and Shiomi Jun (Takahashi Mikako) round up the rest of our new cast members so far in this final stretch of Shokugeki no Souma. It’s incredible just how much material there is in the manga and although we’re almost at the end of this scheduled production, I won’t deny that a second season needs to be up on the horizon.
I’ve been meeting to meet Akira since the beginning of the new OP. He seems to be the biggest obstacle for Souma – at least, if the OP is any indication. For once though, he is not part of the Elite Ten and he’s also not a restaurant owner or some CEO’s son. He’s just a normal guy with a keen sense of smell. Souma also didn’t stumble onto him when he accidentally pissed the guy off or stepped on his foot. Akira shared his knowledge of spices with Souma and Megumi and to me, that’s already a sign of a actual competitor that isn’t such a douche right off the bat. Akira’s relationship with Jun is also sweet; like a big brother taking care of his younger sister (even though it should be the other way around). Clearly Akira is more mature, calm, cool, collected and Jun just has thoughts running everywhere. I would die being in her class if all she does is ramble and goes off into tangents. Not to say that she’s not a good teacher as well; I’m sure learning about spices would be almost essential if you’re going to be a chef.
Speaking as a foodie and someone that rarely cooks, I actually know little about spices myself. When the first challenge came up as “curry”, my first instinct pointed to Japanese curry. Obviously. But there are so many different varieties of curry out there (as Akira explained) and so many ways of combining flavors. I also love Indian curry, Thai curry and Malaysian curry… *drools. You can eat it with bread, naan, roti, rice, noodles… the limits are really endless so I can already imagine what the competition is going to be like. I expect great things from Souma of course, but there’s no chance he can defeat Akira at his own expertise. In general, I think the cast has a huge challenge ahead of them for the Autumn Elections. It’s almost a given that all of them would make it to the preliminaries (or maybe Souma just has an incredibly talented group of friends) but it’s who makes it past all the rounds that’s the best part. And who is going to make up the future Elite Ten? How did Erina even get up there if she’s still in first year? I guess having the God’s tongue has its advantage; plus, being related to the Principal of the academy.