Shokugeki no Soma Episode 19: The Chosen One
“Facing curry means you have to face the spice.”
At last, Soma’s next major challenge is introduced – Hayama Akira, the character with so much foreshadowing that he isn’t even named in the OP, let alone the couple of times he’s subtly shown up. I don’t know whether it’s actually possible to predict the state of your cooking through fragrance alone, but it sure sounds broken when Hayama does it – in real life perhaps you can roughly tell, but I doubt that level of precision is human. In working with Shiomi Jun, a former victim of Jouichirou, he’s also essentially gotten to learn about stuff he wouldn’t otherwise have gotten access to as a first-year – if he’s trying out all those theories for her, he must have accumulated a whole lot of knowledge on the way. All that already makes him a formidable opponent for Soma, and on top of that the theme for the Autumn Election preliminaries is a curry dish. Of all things. Soma really has his work cut out for him.
And Hayama is only one opponent in the end. In the A-Block alone, there’s already the likes of Nikumi and Kurokiba for Soma to have to deal with. B-Block is also just as, if not even more difficult – if we take Alice as the hardest to beat, then aside from her there’s Takumi and Hishoko, as well as two new characters who were introduced this episode. Only those who rank high in the preliminaries will get to the actual tournament – I don’t know whether they were supposed to have revealed the exact number who get through, but it’s quite small. It’s basically a flashy way of choosing the next Elite Ten, so those who get to the main tournament rise to prominence, and get a chance to prove their skills to a really large crowd. I can see why Erina-sama was so against Soma participating – it’s partly because she thinks he isn’t worthy of it in the first place, but on the off-chance that he does do well, the odds of him benefiting from it rise dramatically, and so he inches ever closer to sitting beside her on that Elite Ten round table. It’s also a bit disappointing that Erina doesn’t get to participate – I know the likelihood is that she has the highest chance of winning by far, but it prevents the rest of them from even getting the chance to beat her. Right now, the Autumn Election is basically a way of finding out who the best chef is that isn’t Erina-sama.
We definitely won’t end up finishing the entire arc, but we’ll get through a good chunk of it – and there’s lots to look forward to. Will Soma prove to be a match for Hayama? Will Megumi hold her own? Will Kurokiba ever take a photo of best girl from the best angle, even though she’s beautiful from any angle anyway?