「交錯する光と影」 (Kousaku Suru Hikari to Kage)
“The Interplay of Light and Shadow”
This second episode was a lot better paced with Ryou and Megumi battling it out over ramen. Ramen is like my absolute favorite! Asides from eating sashimi/sushi, I actually love a good bowl of ramen when I go out. Like Erina mentioned in the episode, ramen has become such a worldwide phenomenon that you can’t avoid the craze and joy of eating a hot bowl of noodles. Where I’m from, there’s tons of line-ups and mountains of people (almost) every day during dinner hours and especially when there’s a grand opening. There are even several worldwide chains available here which are incredibly popular. I love the ramen shops which allow for customization like more/less fatty soup, or chicken/pork soup options. My favorite places though, has to be the ones that give you ALL the toppings – from seaweed, to pork shoulder to bamboo to egg and the corn! I love corn! I also tend to go for the chewier and thinner noodles than the fat ones; the fat ones remind of instant noodles in packages but I’ll always eat the dish the way it’s meant to be served if there’s a chef recommendation. I can go on for ages about ramen (makes my mouth salivate =X) but let’s move on to the actual show now. If anyone else is as passionate about ramen as I am… please let me know.
Following-up last week’s episode, Alice breaks down into tears losing to Souma which is to be expected since she was the top of her group. She’s still miles away from reaching Erina’s potential but you see a bit of envy from Erina’s point of view as well while she’s maintaining her façade. Given her character, Erina feels like Alice is given more freedom to behave and act the way she wants without the judgment from others that she receives. Alice is an interesting character as she behaves differently in front of everyone this week. While she has a newfound respect for Souma and his cooking, she’s still determined to be on the Top 10 and best Erina. It’s her relationship with Ryou that’s interesting to me – he seemed to have more respect for her during the earlier episodes when we first met the pair. In this episode though, it seems like she looks up to him more now and has a lot more confidence in his abilities. Their history was nice to see as we only got glimpses of it before. Their chibi characters were so cute! I thought Ryou’s tough and crazy demeanor only emerged when he was cooking, but his attitude as a child towards Alice wasn’t very sweet either. Maybe he learned to calm himself down over the years and only comes full force through his cooking now.
Either way, I liked seeing the contrast between both Megumi and Ryou’s cooking this week. They both come from a fishing port village background where they handled seafood since they were young. Whereas Ryou seemed very confrontable in the kitchen as an early age, Megumi really grew into her role. You really see the development in Megumi’s character from season 1 to now (almost instantaneously). She went from a timid girl with weak self-esteem, to this calm and collected competitor in this challenge and all I’m thinking is, ”Where did that come from?” I’m proud of Megumi and she still remains one of my favorites but I was just surprised to see her progress so quickly in a blink of an eye. It’s amazing to see what she came up with though from her hometown ingredients (how convenient of her mom’s package). Ryou on the other hand, hasn’t really developed that much as a character to me; nor has he grown on me, but he is the favorite to win in my opinion. I think it’s mainly due to this experience on-the-job and being able to be creative with his cooking. I love Megumi and I do think she’s come a long way… but would it really make for an interesting show if she made it through again? Seems a bit predictable.
The Jojo references in this episode were a nice add and I think the pacing this week was ten times better than last week’s. At least it wasn’t all said and done in on episode which makes me wonder if this cour really will just cover the end of this arc. Regardless, if the competition continues up with one battle a week, that means that next week’s match-up will be Hisako vs. Akira… and the topic is still unknown so we’ll have to wait and see. Oh that’s an interesting match-up – medicinal recipes vs. strong fragrant aromas. Given that I don’t know much about Hisako at all, she might actually prove to be a good adversary for Akira. Ryou and Megumi were a good choice to match-up since they both excel with seafood-based dishes, and given that that their backgrounds are also so different, the effort and abilities in their cooking also vary. We’ll just have to wait and see if its light or dark soup that wins. I would’ve personally chosen Ryou’s dish for kicks because it seems like the more adventurous choice if I only could have one.
Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: With Ryou against Megumi… I would LIKE to see Megumi win, but it seems like a tough call. Some Ryou backstory this week and lots of Alice too! Not that Ryou is a very complex character…
ED: 「スノードロップ」 (Snow Drop) by nano.RIPE