「一口目の秘密」 (Hitokuchime no Himitsu)
“The Secret in the First Bite”

At the rate Shokugeki no Souma is going, I’m surprised there are any gaps between competitions in this tournament. Nevertheless, the show continues to try and cram as much content as possible without giving up some of the slice-of-life elements that make up the story. Albeit, it’s still rushed and comes off a bit like a sidetracked story, but at least the writers don’t try and skim through complete chapters of the manga. I know we’re on a budget and a time schedule but given that we’re only halfway through the season and there’s not that many contestents left in the tournament, we might make it to the next arc – or at least a teasing of the material. I did feel like the episode was a bit disoriented at times (telling so many side stories and involving side characters), but it’s true to the source material and that’s better than chopping it all off.

With a nice break before we head back into the kitchen, this week brings back a lot of familiar faces we might have forgotten. This includes Souma’s father’s friend (and most respected graduate from the school), Doujima Gin (Koyasu Takehito); fellow graduate and mentor/teacher, Inui Hinako (Noto Mamiko) and another former alumni that was a judge for another shokugeki, Mizuhara Fuyumi (Kawasumi Ayako). We see some new characters as well that were also part of the Elite Ten in their respective years. Gin makes a call to Shinomiya Kojirou (Nakamura Yuuichi) halfway through the episode but we don’t get to actually see him judge which is a shame. Kojirou has his own story in a spinoff manga though and it focuses on him as the main character so I would love to see that animated or told one way or another one day. Seeing as half the judges on this panel already know of Souma and his capabilities, I wonder if this is advantageous for him or only gives them more expectations for his dish. I hope they don’t give him too much leeway because of their connections with him already. However! Gin might have high expectations of Jouichirou’s son… maybe to the point of being disappointed if Souma doesn’t produce an excellent dish.

Newbie Soutsuda Mitsuru (Yamashita Daiki) is a new character to the series and he’s a journalist at the school, literally following Souma around begging to write the article on his triumph. As a student in this school, you’d think he’d be more focused on the cooking… Anyway! His appearance was a bit random for me as I’m not sure what purpose is for adding a new character this late in the game. I thought that he might be spying on Souma for Subuaru but I don’t really see why Subaru would need someone to do the job for him. It was wise of Souma to keep his recipes to himself – kicking Mitsuru out of the kitchen – but seeing as Subaru has almost an identical dish with the same secret ingredient… what if his twist on this beef stew is better than Souma’s? No way Subaru can win, I think that’s obvious enough but there’s always that underlying doubt because Souma isn’t undefeatedable. Has anyone ever tried oxtail before by the way? It’s not that common here unless you go to a specific grocery store to buy and even then, I don’t know many people that prepare it. There is meat around the tail bone but can be fatty and people often use it in stews because it takes a long time to braise it and cook. You also get the most flavour from the bone when prepared in soup/stock (similar to pork bone and turkey bones). I would think that since they’re making “beef stew”, oxtail isn’t something totally out of the box, but we’ll see how they actually differ in taste.

Finally Erina has more actual lines this episode! So far she’s been a side character, watching Hisako compete and just being a member of the Elite Ten. Her tongue comes to good use for Souma when he asks for her help (don’t think dirty now!) but not without asking for some shoujo manga in return. Her character seems like a very typical tsundere to me and not in a good way. I generally like tsunderes but some reason, I can’t find myself to like Erina at all, especially when there’s no memorable scene featuring her and any kind of character development and depth. Maybe the flashback with Souma’s father, but that’s it. She’s good for some fanservice I suppose, but I’d need a lot more from her to be on that ship.

Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: #Shokugeki_anime slows down this week with a new character and more Erina. I can’t wait to see who has more surprises for #beefstew! This is me. Before and after every great meal. #foodcoma #foodie

Author’s Note: Despite the fact that it was a long weekend where I am, I still had a much busier weekend than anticipated. Sorry for the delay in posts everyone! If it’s any consolation, I was drunk and then hungover so it’s not like my mind was in the right place =(

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  1. I think the scariest thing about Mimasaka is that he has the natural talent to back up his trolling during matches. He’ll copy your fav dish, take it to the next level, and laugh in your face while doing so.

    I did like however that Mimasaka was doing prep work, no different to anyone else really before the match with Soma. Behind that blatantly troll like exterior, is a Chef that clearly works hard to achieve what he does.

  2. Yeah Oxtail is a very common ingredient in West Indian cuisine – absolutely delicious and you get an incredibly rich flavor. The pace of this arc is certainly fast, although they’ve somehow managed to maintain the suspense that really helps drive the series. My guess is that the parting shot of the series will be

    Show Spoiler ▼

  3. This episode flashed back to the second OVA (which was adapted from a special chapter of the manga) in which Erina and Alice go to a pool. It’s a shame it hasn’t been subbed in English, as the chapter serves to clarify the real nature of Erina’s relationships with Alice and Jouichirou.

    Granted, the manga eventually delves more into that later, but there’s many misconceptions about that at this point in the story. The side chapter was released during the election prelim chapters although the events take place before the election.

  4. Glad to see Hiroko return even if it’s a fringe role.

    I agree that Erina is very unlikeable. The taste test in this episode, and that time she gave Yukihira a lift in her chauffeured car, are the only times I can remember her doing anything remotely helpful. She was set up to be obnoxious from the start, where she violates fair play by pretending not to like Yukihira’s dish for the school admission test. Since then she’s mostly been portrayed as privileged and rather stuck-up, and so far the occasional bit of moe hasn’t been enough to outweigh that IMO. I like Alice a lot more because while she shares some of Erina’s traits, she seems more about doing her own thing and not screwing over other people.

    1. It’s weird reading comments about the current Erina in the anime while knowing what’s going down in the manga right now. lol

      Well anyway, can’t wait for the next episode.

      1. Agreed. Erina becomes a lot more developed later on and you get a much better understanding of who she is and why she acts as she does. Rather unique backstory and evolution actually.

        But at the present time she’s basically a foil for Souma and is presented as a walking stereotype, perhaps to make her progression in the story more compelling by contrast.

      2. I’ve never disliked Erina. I’ve always found her to be the most interesting character in the manga alongside Takumi. It’s rare to have a main female character to act as the antagonist for the mc. Which is why I think the dynamic between Soma and Erina are the most interesting to me. That scene with Alice and Erina at the pool is from the new ova, which is based on a special chapter from the manga. It’s pretty important if you want to look deeper into her character.

        Show Spoiler ▼

    2. Actually, I think (and always thought) that Erina is the best character in the show after Souma. Not because she is terribly likeable at this moment, but rather because of her potential. Souma is the perfect foil for Erina, and he doesn’t mind her hostile outbursts at all, leading to tons of hilarious situations.

      “Taming the Tsundere” is one of my favorite settings. Much much much more interesting than yet another cute girl fawning over Souma.

  5. I was excited for this episode, I am african american and oxtail is a part of southern cuisine not just west indian and is one of my favorite dishes. If cooked properly it can be very delicious. I am used to purchasing it in local grocery stores, even walmart carries it. I have only recently seen it cut fresh at a meat market (I live in Chicago) so of course the stockyards. I was excited that he used a mirepoix, which is a more creole mix of onion, celery and carrots sometimes called the holy trinity. When he kept the white miso I was so excited. It is so interesting to see someone have an interest in your culture’s food. I am so excited to see what will be added. My mouth is watering and I am dying to try this out. Also am not liking Subaru’s character, very interesting skill, but how does this play for a chef. He needs a signature style.

    1. I think that kind of gets to the heart of Mimasaka. Is he not good enough to have a signature style like everyone else, or is he better than them because he can take their dishes to the next level? Or is Yukihira right and Mimasaka is taking the easy way out by skipping the trial and error phase of every good chef and only skipping right to the good part to score a win with shallow improvisation?

      How much talent does it take to trace other chefs’ dishes like he does?

      1. I think he’s talented, but the direction he’s taken as a chef is all wrong. He’s basically different to the other students because of it. His Shokugeki record, even though his methods are questionable kinda speaks for itself.

    1. I still don’t really like her, though. I mean, she’s okay, but I’d pick pretty much every other character over her to be doing a mega-arc about, including people who are barely characters like Zenji and Ibasaki.

      1. Sounds more like you’re indifferent to her whereas people right now who haven’t read the series simply do not like her whatsoever and find nothing likable about her.
        Which is fine lol.


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