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Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara – 22 »« Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara – 20

Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara – 21

「荒野を拓く者」 (Kouya o Hiraku Mono)
“The Pioneer of the Wastelands”

I really respect stories that set out to do one thing well. This episode seeks to do one thing: paint, in its full frustrating, overwhelming fury, the pressure under which Joichiro labored and excelled, until he finally burned out. It paints well a picture of a father similar but different than his son, and gives solid reason to how Joichiro became the man he is today—and through him, why Souma is Souma. He truly is his father’s son, but different in crucial ways.

This episode reminds me of Endless Eight, in a way. Everything boiled down to getting us to understand one character’s situation, only this time it (blessedly) only took a single episode to do the job. It’s designed to disabuse us (the viewers) of a notion: that of genius. It’s one that’s easy to fall into early, because Joichiro really does have some level of talent and skill that’s beyond most people. That’s real. But when his accomplishments are dismissed as genius, as a way for others to give reason to why he’s so much better than them in a way that’s not an indictment of their own effort and commitment (as one chap found out most rudely—and deservedly), it’s easy to see how that wears him down. It’s easy to see because they drove it home, showing how his release valves were shaved away, his fun times disappeared, and how he left everyone behind. He was really harmed by having few who could seriously challenge him—something that the current generation, fortunately, does not have to struggle with. No one is running amok in the younger generation, and anyone can lose given the right (or wrong) circumstances.

Which goes to show how Souma has benefited from failure. With Joichiro as his father, he (for the longest time) was at such an experiential disadvantage that to expect to win their cooking matches would have been folly. This taught him to learn from failure, and to enjoy the competition even in the absence of success. That’s invaluable, as Joichiro himself realizes. Souma might not be as talented as his father, but he would have enjoyed the challenge Joichiro struggled under more. He would have been smiling.

Random thoughts:

  • The big puzzler is why the story went out of its way to bring up Ebisawa Riko, a character who (correct me if I’m wrong) we haven’t run into yet. That speaks to foreshadowing. In the context of the episode, I’d even be inclined to guess she could be Souma’s mother, if not for that last name. I’m sure she’ll be important eventually, though. Conservation of detail and all that.

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End Card

June 3, 2018 at 3:44 pm
  • June 3, 2018 at 5:13 pmdave_k

    It’s easy to see because they drove it home
    They actually toned that middle image down from the manga. There, he’s shattered the bone in that leg and it’s sticking out like one of those horrific long jumping accidents.

  • June 3, 2018 at 8:19 pmOne Pinch Man

  • June 3, 2018 at 9:34 pmstarss

    A whole lot of padding to explain something the audience kinda already guessed.

    And I repeat something I stated back in Season 1. While I give props to the mangaka for solving the hail-mary equation on how to keep your shonen manga successful and long-lasting, it’s all glorified cheese. NO character in this anime isn’t bad at anything. This is a show full of perfect gods with nothing interesting to watch about them other than who can make a better dish. Doesn’t matter if they lose. They’re still perfect! -_-

    • June 4, 2018 at 12:26 amStilts

      Suspecting is different than knowing, and knowing is certainly different than feeling. That’s all I’ll say.

    • June 5, 2018 at 3:18 ambassgs435

      The setting is a fucking elite cooking high school. Even before Azami, people who failed were expelled. Of course, any characters who remain at this point is good. They neeed to be due to the show being set in a ridiculously strict cooking school.

  • June 4, 2018 at 11:18 amCroos

    Now I know where Erina got her tsundere trait. Form her father.

  • June 5, 2018 at 3:02 pmRenaSayers

    I really enjoy Anime that does one thing well, like food porn. This scene is so rated M for munchies children are not allowed to view it.


  • June 5, 2018 at 8:47 pmSDFGS

    Nothing wrong with his shaven head now…but good lord Dojima with a full head of hair is so attractive. Also when he started crying for Souma’s dad…..that’s a face that needs to be protected!!