Okay, Episode 5!
So it’s revealed that Hayama was forced to make a deal with Central for Jun, and his motivations are completely understandable at this point. Could you imagine the frown on Jun’s face if the Shiomi Research Group was shut down after earning so many partnerships? Hayama most certainly didn’t want to imagine that and did the unthinkable, joining forces with those he himself dislikes. It’s in line with his character, and I’m glad it was this rather than a gamble for power on his part.
We learn most of this information from our messenger Dojima, who just so happened to be in the bath at the same time as Souma and Terunori. I gotta say, the synergy between Souma and Terunori is great, and had the show gone a different path, I could easily see the two being the best of friends. It also helps that their hairstyles complement each other, and of course they’re passion for cooking. I have no idea how the hell these two are so ripped though. All they do is cook and I suppose that can get you some crazy arms and stamina, but Souma and Terunori have some rocking pecs and abs for their age. Then you have Dojima who’s a contender for Mister Universe should he choose to.
I loved how Alice called Souma before the Shokugeki, promising that her, Kiba, and Souma would scold Hayama once everything was done and over with. I’m glad the three became such good friends over the Moon Festival since it’d be nice for Hayama to have more close connections past Jun.
Speaking of Alice, it was quite interesting to see her father come into play during this episode. I was curious what Director Azami’s brother would be like, and he is quite intimidating at first with his stern attitude and batarang eyebrows. However, his lovey dovey side for Alice and his wife was adorable, and I’m glad not every father in the Nakiri family was insane.
For the cooking match itself, I thought the tightrope metaphor was a solid choice. Bear meat is explained as an extremely volatile ingredient, with a thin line between great flavor and gamey odor. Souma’s take on bear meat in particular pushes the limits to the extreme, and impresses the judges quite a lot, but will it be enough to beat Hayama?
Typically, Shokugeki has some interesting formulas for how the winner is declared during matches. Sometimes, if Souma is first to present his dish, he is seemingly “beaten” at first, only to reveal that there’s a hidden twist in his dish that swings the tides in his favor. Other times, it goes the entire other way around, with the opponent being declared the preemptive winner, only for Souma to topple the judges with his dish. This episode follows the first, but I’m not sure where the show might take this. On one hand, Souma is our protagonist, but Hayama has a strong motivation too. Souma beating Hayama and destroying Hayama’s hopes of preserving the Research Group sounds unlikely, and if Souma does win, he’ll likely compromise something. There’s also a chance he loses too, but I have no idea where the show might go from there.
But Souma isn’t the only character we have to worry about. Megumi and Aldini are facing off against our favorite Elite Ten senpai, Rindo! I’m actually a bit more excited for that battle than the current one since we’ve never had a chance to see Rindo in action. Looking forward to it!