Or, the day Soma was saved by a loli.
I’d completely forgotten that I usually hold off on a screenshot gallery for Shokugeki no Soma until… after I’d finished producing it. Oh well, more pictures
of Alice for you guys!
Like with the unofficial Shokugeki against Shinomiya, I don’t think there was any real doubt that Soma would end up being expelled. But his crisis this time was the result of a major failure on his part, and all the fault for it lies with him alone. It’s not the first time he’s realized that Tootsuki is a more interesting place than he’d thought, and this is exactly what Jouichirou wanted him to learn in sending him here in the first place – that there is a world of cooking he hasn’t yet experienced, and that there are so many people who are just as good as, if not better than him. In this task, Soma made a wrong decision. Having grown up with diner dishes, meant to be eaten immediately after serving, he failed to take into account the fact that buffet dishes are not eaten straight away – the customers come to the dishes as and when they like, and so factors like longevity are of utmost importance. In fact, it’d be best to just play it safe and serve cold dishes, like Alice did. Taking into account the nature of what he’s supposed to be serving is something he succeeded in during the don Shokugeki as well, and it’s not the last time we’ll see this become important.
He did manage to adapt well – and from a statistical point of view, it’s amazing that he reached 200 servings in 30 minutes. If he’d kept up that momentum, he’d have been able to easily rival Erina-sama and Alice. Doujima was impressed and all, but it can’t be called a success if he barely scraped through a crisis, and Soma himself acknowledged that. He has a long way to go, but it’s good that he has that humility – the ability to accept a failure and decide to learn from the experience. In the end, the training camp did provide him with a few good challenges to contend with – and you’re not a proper shounen protagonist if you don’t fail every once in a while! That loli really was his saving grace, though. It would have been really bad if he failed to impress his first customer (although they had the sense to not make her have a full foodgasm).
If you were wondering why Alice seemed to be on somewhat friendly terms with Erina, and why Erina doesn’t outright treat her as a worthless mongrel, it’s because her full name is Nakiri Alice! A background in molecular gastronomy (something to the effect of ‘food science’) gave her a slightly different upbringing from Erina, but she still grew up with a Nakiri pedigree and has the skills to show for it. And a free ‘assistant’ on the side – there’s actually a funny story behind how she got Kurokiba, I have no idea if we’ll even get to that point in the anime. For now though, she’s pretty much the same as the majority of students at Tootsuki – she’s arrogant, and aims for Tootsuki’s top. What sets her apart is that she has a slightly better claim to it than everyone else.
P.S. Not as a 4-year old though, God’s Tongue didn’t like her birthday cake.