Shokugeki no Soma: Ni no Sara Episode 1 [First Impression]
Who is best girl, and why is it Alice?
Wow, what breakneck pacing! Even though it’s been just under a year since we’ve last seen Shokugeki no Soma, they’ve really spared no expense in dropping us right where we last left off – at the start of the main tournament of the Autumn Election. I’m not going to bother with any more exposition, because just like J.C. Staff I’m going to assume you know your stuff – although what does deserve a mention is the fact that this season will merely be a single cour and not two-cours like it was last year. This does explain why the pacing accelerated all of a sudden, but it’s still ironic and a little unsettling given how the ending to the first season started dragging a bit as they did their best to fill up two cours’ worth of time with manga material from just the prelims. And it’s of course a mystery as to why something that was as well-received as this ended up getting such a short sequel, though if I had to speculate I’d say it’s something to do with the fact that J.C. Staff has a ton of other shows to work on this season, including the potential masterpiece that is Amanchu. In light of the current pacing and the confirmed episode count, I think it’s safe to conclude that they’ll be adapting both the end of the Autumn Election as well as the Stagiaire arc that comes next – the OP indicates that this’ll be the case as well.
I don’t know how fellow manga readers found this, but I was a little ruffled by how fast the Soma vs Alice match concluded. It felt like it lost a lot of its impact and grandeur as a result. It’s a really weird feeling, and a little unsatisfying as well given that I’m a big Alice fan. I thought there’d be a bit of exposition (and maybe a short recap of the prelims) that would last for the first half, and then Alice would present her dish, the foodgasms would happen and the episode would end with Soma presenting his bento. That’s roughly how it probably would have gone if there’d been two cours. They should have really given a bit more gravitas to the fact that he was up against Nakiri Alice of all people – there was no build-up to the reveal of who Soma’s opponent was, and fighting a Nakiri was supposed to be a major event and quite a difficult start to the finals for Soma. I guess it’s just one of those sacrifices that had to be made – in the context of the adaptation, this is just an opener to the season after all.
Other than the lack of tension (which admittedly also felt uncharacteristic due to the banter between Soma and Alice, instead of being solely the fault of the producers) it was a fairly nice episode. They did skip the episode where Soma teaches a loli to cook, but that was slightly made up for by a cute loli Alice scene. I feel really hungry now, and I’m sure there’ll be a slew of real-life recipes and cooking attempts for appearing for every dish that appears in the final. It was also nice that Alice lampshaded the whole ‘heart’ thing that is often overused in shounen series – in which a main character defeats an enemy despite not being their match because his feelings were stronger (or, in this context, because his heart went into the food he made). The reason Soma won this episode was slightly different – aside from the creativity he usually displays, Alice’s error was that she failed to properly take into account the bento theme of the match, thinking that her molecular gastronomy would be enough to wow the judges.
I don’t think I had too much trouble with blogging the previous season, so I’ll most likely continue with this especially as it won’t be a multi-cour commitment. Hoping for good things, despite it having gotten off to a lukewarm start. The next couple of matches in particular should be fun, although if you’re not a manga reader it’s probably best if you don’t pay too much attention to OP3 (which is not bad, although it doesn’t hold a candle to OP2) as it’s rather spoiler-tastic.
Also, Alice a cute. A CUTE!
Possibility of Watching: High
Possibility of Blogging: High