「日常を越えるもの」 (Nichijou wo Koeru Mono)
“The One Who Surpasses the Ordinary”
「華開く個の競演」 (Hana Hiraku Ko no Kyouen)
“The Competition of the Blossoming Individuals”
What an incredible competition this is turning out to be! The students are being pitted against each other with only four from each group proceeding forward. It completely blows my mind away how creative and unique each dish is and just how many applications of curry there are. I normally like to talk about the dishes and food served, but in this case, it’s hard to talk about everything and every components of all the dishes; instead, here the few that I would’ve liked to try: Ryou’s lobster curry (holy shit, with cognac?! and I love the green gooey part of the lobster), Megumi’s monkfish (because I love monkfish), Isami’s calzone (because it’s so so eat-friendly) and Marui’s white udon curry (with cheese, and potato? Carbs, come to me!). I’m not going to comment on Souma and Akira’s dishes yet though. Not to say that the others don’t look appetizing as well, but these are the few that captivate my taste buds personally. Sometimes when you think “too” out of the box (like Alice’s molecular gastronomy style), I can’t even imagine what it’d taste like so I have no comment.
Looking back, I think I got all my group B predictions right! Asides from the actual ranking and order of the top 4, I knew that both the Aldini brothers wouldn’t progress and either Hisako or Miyoko would move on. Amongst the top 4 for group A though… I’m still puzzled. I figured it’d be Akira, Souma and Ryou amongst the 3 of the 4… the last one is a wildcard or toss-up. Will it be Shun or Zenji rounding up the top 4? Your guess is as good as mine because there are no other characters we know in the A group.
As fascinating as the competition is though, there’s a lot of great character focus and development here that I find a good breakaway from all the foodgasms and delectables. Even if it’s for a minute or two, I think it shows what’s motivating everyone to do their best and how far they’ve come. The greatest example is Megumi from episode 22 – which literally made me tear up (I’m a big softie). The fact that she came so far from home because her family and village supported her, shows where she gets her strength from. She has a good foundation for food, she just needs to foster that and gain some confidence in her abilities. Her use of the monkfish and local village vegetables demonstrates what her family and home means to her on a plate. This touches me a lot because even though she’s so far from them, she uses them as inspiration and pulls from a source that only she has. As someone who may one day move very far from my family, I can’t help but empathize with her situation and feel incredibly happy for Megumi that so many of her supporters came to see her accomplish something great.
The other story that really stuck with me was Ryou’s. Although he’s incredibly scary and almost in a perverted/creepy way, I think his bipolar personality has quite the story behind it. It’s almost like he can’t always be “on” and he has this “off” mode where he’s so sluggish and calm in order to save up his energy. Seeing his first meeting with Alice was what I was waiting to see. She ventured all the way to Scandinavia out to meet someone like him… and I’m still not quite sure what their relationship is (without spoilers and I don’t think they’re a couple), but it looked like she found him to show him off to Erina. And to my surprise, he beats Hisako’s score from Group B too by one point! Not only was he proven to be quite the character, his lobster curry had a secondary portion where he engaged the judges to taste it again in a different manner. That’s certainly unique because none of the other students even thought of making the judges “try again” or gave them an alternative way to eat their food. It’s like serving deconstructed tuna tartare two ways or something which always makes for an interesting twist for your tastebuds.
Not to say that the other characters don’t have interesting backstories, like Zenji and Miyoko, but if I could go on and on discussing them, this post wouldn’t end. I’ll reserve judgment on Akira before I hear the rest of his background and see what he has prepared for us next week during the finale. His relationship with Jun should be explored a bit further and just how his dish tastes… d*mn, I’m drooling just thinking about it. Mmm… naan bread with curry. Considering that the next episode is the finale, I won’t doubt that a second season is on the horizon. The Autumn Elections aren’t even complete! Not to mention all the chapters outwards. Oh~ now I’m just expecting a cliff-hanger.
Author’s Note: I’m going to leave the same note here as I did on my Akagami no Shirayukihime post and that is, an apology for my tardiness. It’s not something that I wanted to make a habit of, but this summer has undoubtedly been busier for me than I thought I could handle. I’ve had more than a handful of weddings this summer, a major job change, a house purchase and of course, a new member to my family – a puppy! I’ve felt terrible for being absent on RC and even though I post, I forget to read comments and due my due deligence of keeping spoilers away. I thank all the readers that have been understanding. I can’t promise that I won’t be a bit delayed going forward, but I thought I owed an explanation at the least.