And thus, Food Wars! The Second Plate continues to take us through the Fall Classic. We’re nearing the end of the competition and have the competitors for the finals as well as the theme. It’s been an exciting arc to watch through, even as a manga reader who knows the various twists and turns that are coming. The presentation of the series as a whole is still top-notch. With that said, let’s get to the individual episodes!
And thus Soma advances to the finals while simultaneously teaching Subaru a lesson and earning some goodwill from at least 99 other students. It was a fun episode with the two of them going back and forth about trying to read one another and determine
where the iocane powder is what dish the other will make and what twists it will have. The final resolution on how Soma couldn’t be completely traced did a good job tying back to what we know about his “trial and error” philosophy. Ishiki previously called him the “Ultimate Sore Loser” when he made the dish in the qualifiers, and having that come back here was a very good touch. Similarly, the nice character moments between Soma, Subaru, and Takumi with relation to that issue brought the whole thing to a satisfactory conclusion.
Similarly, it’s always nice to see Soma and Erina get a chance to face each other, even if it’s only in brief moments like this. It helps to bring back what was established early on in the series regarding Soma’s desire to get Erina to acknowledge his cooking. While we still haven’t seen her cook seriously, her input in the last episode and this one helps to keep her a very real, menacing presence at the moment. I have a lot of thoughts about this tied to where the manga is now, but I can’t say them here. Suffice to say, I really enjoyed this moment.
All things told, an interesting dish and theme for the semi-finals. As always, there were interesting tidbits about the important pieces of whatever dish is featured. Last episode, we got a lot on the stew itself. This time, the food lessons focused on the importance of garniture. I always enjoy when real food knowledge and technique is inserted into the series.
The match between Akira and Ryo was suitably dramatic, with each playing to their strengths. The interactions between the two brought a lot of life to the episode, with each one serving to get the other more riled up about their own cooking. We got to see each of them take very different approaches to a Western main course, unlike the previous semi-final. The methods and attitude during preparation also helped to establish these characters even more strongly than their actual comments. Hayama prepped his duck calmly and condescendingly the entire time while Ryo lashed out violently in preparing his ingredients and throwing the pieces into the pan. In the end, though, we see that both are probably more similar in outlook than they’d like to admit. Post-credits, we see both of them smoldering about the tie and wanting to make sure to win it cleanly next time. They both also completely discount Soma in their mental rants, which I’m sure won’t come back to bite them at all.
The Magic: The Gathering player in me was definitely entertained to see the battle mostly visualized as a card duel, with each putting forward their pieces and trump cards one by one before sending them off to attack the opponent. Food Wars has always great for visuals and weird descriptions, and The Second Plate is continuing that trend. That being said, I can’t think of a single card game where palming a card you hid in your bandanna would be a legal move. No cheating in metaphors, Ryo!
We also got more direct interaction between Soma and Erina, though not necessarily as pointed as the last episode was. It’s nice to also get an opportunity to see them outside those dramatic confrontations and to appreciate how different each is with their thoughts on and approach to the other. Throwing Alice into the mix makes it even more fun. All things told, this was definitely a fun episode which sets the tone for what is to come next.
VERDICT: By this point, you know if you’re in or out on this series’ particular quirks. If you enjoy it, it’s more of the same. If you don’t, it’s more of the same.
FOOD VERDICT EPISODE 6: As much as I love a good slice of bacon, especially when it appears to have the level of attention Subaru’s had, the presence of mushrooms in the garnish drives me away instantly. Point to Soma’s dish.
FOOD VERDICT EPISODE 7: Hayama’s dish all the way. As much as I like eel sushi, the attention to properly seasoning and cooking the duck gives it the edge. Also, dishes cooked primarily in wine tend to pick up a bit much of that flavor to me.