「宣戦布告」 (Sensen Fukoku)
“Declaration of War”
Leave it to Souma and co to come up with an audacious plan, though in truth it’s something they should have pursued immediately, when the other four dissenting members of the Elite Ten were still seated and they could have won by ousting only one. Though in truth, the stakes were still the same: Why would any of the Elite Ten risk their seat when their big plans were about to come to fruition? They wouldn’t. It took wagering something big—like, the object of the villain’s warped affections—to get them to wager their seats. It goes to show how terrible Totsuki’s system is—this whole arc is, for what the
absurdly powerful student council (trope!) Elite Ten can unilaterally do—but also shows that when you want to bring someone to the negotiating table, you have to have something they want. Otherwise you can bark all you want, but they’ll just ignore you.
(His affections are warped because he’s trying to save someone [Saiba] who doesn’t need or want saving, and in a way that tramples all over that person’s ideals, not because of all the Foe Yay from Azami to Saiba. He’s allowed to respect (or crush on) whoever he likes, just maybe he should respect someone else’s opinions for once in his miserable life.)
This arc has also featured many scenes focusing on the abuse Erina underwent, and look. I’m not in any way qualified to talk about abuse. What I will say is that it’s no surprise that Erina is still scared of her abuser, nor is it a sign of weakness. That’s she’s able to function at all in the man’s presence, even just a sliver of the time, is evidence of incredible resilience, and plenty of luck. So much luck. If she weren’t rich, didn’t have good friends, and family members who tried to protect her, I can’t imagine what she would be like (though many have lived it). But she’s still been abused, and deeply so. Being scared isn’t a sign of weakness. That kind of abuse doesn’t heal readily.
On a lighter family note, I loved Souma laughing in the background as his father and Dojima-sempai argued. Haha! Their father/son dynamic is also really fun, partially because his old man doesn’t act grown up half the time, but that’s more his personality than any real lack of responsibility. He’s still raised his son well, and still comes through when he’s most needed. It’s a much more heartwarming family dynamic to see, and plenty of funreally funny.
I can barely contain my excitement for the Team Shokugeki. When they were explaining it, it reminded me of the first season of Free!, where the main characters resolved to compete not by increasing their pure speed (because there wasn’t enough time), but by working on their transitions—their teamwork. But mostly it gives us a path toward some killer shokugekis with a new twist, and a way out of an arc that’s ambitious but in many ways undermines a lot of what makes Shokugeki no Souma work. Not that it could have kept going on as it was forever, but I certainly jived on the earlier seasons more. Leading up to a big multi-team member Shokugeki sounds like an awesome direction to take this to me.
- Villains often think they’re heroes. In this way, if in no others, Azami makes sense.
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