What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma “The Despair”! It looks like this is where things begin to get serious, because I don’t think there is a more ominous title to give one of these episodes than talking about despair. Though the real question of course might be, whose despair are we talking about?
They pulled no punches this week. After the cliffhanger last week where it finally became known what challenges Erina was facing on her own, the game changed in a big way. I was really looking forward to what would happen once she was reunited with everyone again, and the results did not disappoint. There was a different version of her which walked away from the Revenge Matches, and it made sense as to why. For everything we already knew about the BLUE, we still did not know what Erina was hoping to accomplish through her participation. It wasn’t enough for her to just win, or to make sure she didn’t lose to Asahi. There had to be much more to what she desired, and the answer to that was shocking.
With the Revenge Matches brought to a close, this meant that Erina was finally able to join in on the main event. However, what was unexpected was seeing that she would also have another match so soon after. More so finding out that this next match would be against Takumi Aldini. This killed me a bit for the fact that you already knew how this was going to end. Though they did do well in making this match an example of how personal this has become for Erina. Beating a friend was a way of showing that she was going to let nothing get in her way of reaching the end and winning.
Which brings us to a second match which somehow happened at the same time as Erina and Takumi Aldini’s. Megumi finding herself facing Asahi was a bit heartbreaking for me. She got a couple matches in this episode, and they were definitely worth the wait for the emphasis on all the growth she has gone through since becoming the Tenth Seat. However, this did not change the fact that her participation in the BLUE had come and gone so fast. It leaves you with some mixed feelings because it’s hard to argue with the credit they gave to her skills as a chef, but her fate was sealed as soon as we finally got to see something from her.
Now what turned out to be jaw-dropping was actually the revelation of The Bookmaster’s identity. Obviously this was not going to be a complete mystery, yet I don’t think anyone aside from manga readers were bracing for a revelation at this point. This part right here caught me off guard entirely because the last thing which came to mind was someone that connected to Erina. Let alone someone who really did have a need for someone to cook something for them which they had never had before. By the end of the episode this left us with some big questions about Erina’s family. It seems like there is always something new with them that is always a secret till the last minute.
Aside from this, I was also surprised by the lack of judging for the matches which commenced. This is not to say that we saw nothing from them, but there wasn’t too much focus on them either. They had their reactions here and there. Though for the most part they were cutting through most of their dialogue and foodgasms for the sake of pacing. I can’t blame them either. I think we all want to see there this all goes without being left with the feeling that this story is dragging on.
All in all, this was a hell of an episode for Food Wars! this week. They held nothing back explaining what this despair was, and whose it was. The stakes could not be higher for the chefs of Totsuki to come out on top, though at this point they might walk away form this a bit different than they entered.