「旬を巡る戦い」 (Shun no Meguru Tataki)
“Battle of Seasonality”
It’s rare to see an episode dedicated solely on the cooking part of Shokugeki no Souma rather than the competition. I was expecting a break before the big finale, but this episode showed a lot of Souma’s weaknesses compared to his opponents in this final battle. In the past, we’ve always seen Souma pull through but this time we actually see his lose to Ryou when preparing senma sashimi. I guess it’s a huge eye-opener for him because he never doubted his ability until this point where he finds out that there’s so much about fish he doesn’t know. He probably knows more than the average Joe *coughlikemyself*cough but certainly not more than Akira and Ryou – one that has a keen sense of smell and the other has lived with seafood his whole life. You can really see him struggle to keep up with the two when he realizes that he cannot compete with the amount of knowledge they have regarding Pacific Saury. But! On the flip side, Souma takes another approach to choosing the best fish and instead, focuses on aging fish to bring out the unami flavor and also relying on his friends to help him prepare. With Megumi by his side, it just tugs all the right ship-strings.
There are many ways to flavor a fish like senma since it’s probably very absorbent of any type of seasoning put on top. That’s probably why there are such strong unami flavors that come from aging it with rice malt and smoke. As a foodie, I’m interested to see how Akira and Ryou prepare their dishes since we already know that Souma will probably prepare an aged fish dish based on his preparation. When he hugged Fumio, I thought that he might’ve gotten the idea of prepping his fish by pickling. You notice all the vegetables that Fumio had laid out? They didn’t seem very distinct, but I swear, you can probably pickle fish somehow someway… and I figured that Souma might go for the traditional grill and lemon/lime method of seasoning (maybe with a twist or two). We’ll have to see how he actually prepares his fish next week. As for Akira and Ryou, they’re much more like the wildcards because I have no idea what direction they’re going to take with senma. I didn’t even know you could eat them raw! I’ve only ever had saba, so senma sashimi would be entirely different. You’d have to fillet it very well I’m assuming since it has a lot of tiny bones in it. Besides those two methods though, I haven’t heard of many recipes featuring this seasonal fish – perhaps a soup/stew dish? Or deep-fried like smelt? Or maybe even steamed and served whole? I’m not the most creative when it comes to innovative dishes unfortunately.
Most importantly next week is who is going to win?! That’s the question that I’ve been wondering since the inception of this season! It was clear from the OP who would be competing at the end, but who is going to win? I’ve always doubted that it’s Souma – even though he’s the MC, he’s not going to be the best of the class right off the bat when he still has a lot of growing to do. Akira probably has the best chances of winning; he’s even the favorite to join the Elite Ten… although he’s a bit too perfect in my mind. I’d like to see Ryou win since he’s such a secondary character and has been taking a back seat all this time (until now). We’ve always seen Alice as the stronger competitor (also a favorite to join the Elite Ten) and to see Ryou emerge as someone “better” than Alice is different. He’s a bit crazy though so I’m a bit hesitant to say that he’s an outstanding model for a winner of Autumn Elections. Amongst the judges next week will be Gin, the headmaster of the school and surprise! Alice’s mother, Nakiri Leonora (Ohara Sayaka). That was unexpected if you ask me because I never even imagined where Alice got her skills from – but it turns out that it’s her mother. Her Japanese is hilarious though as you could’ve guessed, it’s not supposed to be her first language. It’s amusing to hear Japanese seiyuu fake a “bad” accent; that’s like asking me to fake an accent when I don’t naturally have one – it’s hard!
Bottom Line – @RCCherrie: A whole episode about the theory of good fish and cooking is rare in #shokugeki_anime but I actually learn so much from this anime. Sashimi senma?! Never had that before… but I love saba/mackeral so I’d love to try this =3