What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma “Crossed Knives”! It’s just like Soma that he will be in the battle of his life, and in his own way play games. Yet you have to love that every battle is not going to be so intense. That you will be able to get back around to Soma and expect that you will be entertained in some new and creative way. I looked forward to seeing how his dish was going to be judged, and who else gets to step up to the plate next.
So with the start of this episode we jumped right back into the match-up between Soma and Sarge. From the minute Soma walked in with his questionable bag of ingredients and tools, this one was going to be one of his more unique challenges. Especially for what Soma was able to put together. Visually it seemed like Sarge would have been the clear winner. Her Christmas cake was beautiful and made use of many layers of flavor. Though we all know that when it comes to Soma, looks can be deceiving. Though this is not to say that his creation didn’t look stunning as well, because it did. I was actually impressed with the creativity he was able to put into it. When it cam to the judging, that is where things got fun. Mostly because this came down to the person who best understood how to actually be a chef. If this came down to whose cake tasted better, this could have gone either way, but instead they chose to go down a more wholesome route to emphasize the important of knowing the people who are eating your food. Particularly when they are eating a Christmas cake in summer.
It’s also important to point out the tension which stirred up during the judging. Specifically from Sarge. While I had my say with the arrogance of the outside chefs who failed because of their over-confidence, the same could be said for Sarge in this case. Even if these Noir chefs are brilliant in their craft, there’s nothing that should make them feel like they can underestimate their opponent. Some of course do learn this the hard way in a surprisingly clever twist too.
Now this brings us to the main event for this week’s episode, which was Tsukasa taking on Asahi Saiba. This came as a huge shocker, because I don’t think any of us anime viewers were expecting that they would pull out such a bomb of a match-up second. It was bold, but I could understand the thinking behind this logic when now was probably the best time to set the stakes for what level of cooking these chefs should be working at. At the same time this was bold for the fact that you kind of already knew that there was no way Tsukasa was going to be the one to take out the big bad so early on. Yet, this still didn’t take away from the reality that these were two expert chefs going at it. No matter how it ended, you would still have wanted to see what each could do with the gloves off.
The gloves definitely came off too. They had no problem making this the moment where Asahi revealed just what makes him special as a chef. We’ve seen him beat Soma’s dad, and we have seen him beat Soma. Though there was always something about the way he cooked which didn’t click. You would have assumed that he was simply exceptional. Though this was the perfect time to break the news that this is not the case. This episode lived up to the title of it because it turns out that ‘Crossed Knives’ is actually the technique he uses. One which copies the technique of the chef whose cooking instrument he holds in his hand. One could say that this is no different from Subaru tracing people, but this is tracing on a completely different level. Tracing requires a lot of work on the tracer’s end, but for Asahi? It’s as simple as holding the instrument in his hands, and he had quite a few which would give Tsukasa a run for his money. I mean, I was blown away by how many techniques he applied to one dish to boost its flavors beyond anything which Tsukasa could have put into his own.
In the end, they did not disappoint this week giving us a conclusion to a fun first match, and a jaw-dropper of a second. The battle of the ex-1st of the Totsuki Academy and leader of the underground chefs was gut-wrenching, though it was also revealing. Overall, Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma “Crossed Knives” made the statement that there will be no greater challenge than beating the guy at the top.