Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara – Totsuki Ressha-hen Episode 2
The mini-training arc featured in the first half of the episode was classic Shokugeki, and it was amusing to watch the residents of Polar Star pain over 50 varieties of potato strains in Hokkaido. Nakiri’s, “sexy teacher outfit” was quite amusing, but also a constant reminder that fan service and butt shots are ingrained into Shokugeki as part of its identity.
It was also very refreshing to see our developed Nakiri and her firm belief in the residents of Polar Star. Unlike the Nakiri we initially met during the embers of season one, the Nakiri of this season has grown beyond the simple character type of tsundere mini-boss. I love how her perspective on cooking and other chefs has widened, and now she’s furiously working to ensure that Polar Star survives. It’s almost cute too because you can tell she’s not used to those motivational speeches or monologues about Polar Star’s potential, or how much she wants everyone to stay. It shows through her blushes, which J.C Staff have absolutely mastered and potentially put half their budget into.
Hokkaido is an interesting setting for the exams to take place, and I’m glad it wasn’t simply in Totsuki Academy, but is instead a travelling tiered exam. It definitely adds to the variety and now we get to be exposed to cuisine that we haven’t brushed on too heavily. The cameos that J.C Staff drew into the bus scenes and backgrounds were also nice touches that showcased some personal favorite characters from the past, such as Nao Sadatsuka!
I was a bit iffy on the actual first exam itself because I thought it was a bit dumb for Central to group up Alice, Kurokiba, Souma, and Megumi together. Grouping up so many heavy hitters is definitely not the best way to go about eliminating them, and allowing for students to leave the classroom to acquire personal ingredients gave them the edge they needed to overcome the first test. It would be better to perhaps split everyone up, and in the process eliminate other “innocent” students. Sure, that would be unfair to those students who drew a bad roll, but hey Central is ruthless.
The next big issue for me was the exam instructor herself. What a wack character! She has little depth outside of her gatekeeper style, and was barely a speed bump for our dream team. Hopefully the show improves on antagonists, but considering there’s like a million tiers for these exams, I feel like we might have more of these flat antagonists until reaching the final boss that is Azami himself!
I thought the distribution of shabby ingredients to the dream team was an alright way of obstructing their victory, albeit a bit under-dramatic. However, the instructor allowed them to leave and procure their own ingredients, which would be a death sentence for any other normal students, but hey, this is Souma and our main cast!
I think the influence of Central over the other students, and the almost automization of cooking is definitely an interesting aspect of the story. These kids are assured of their futures as chefs by methodically following Central’s strict rules, but lose the imagination of testing new dishes, or pursuing their own culinary specialties. I can’t wait for when the others realize that Azami’s formulaic way of cooking prevents progress or creative freedom, and I’ll relish the day they appreciate Souma.
The actual cooking of this episode was quite short because of all the content that was stuffed, but nevertheless the dish looked amazing. The reaction was a bit underwhelming, but this is just a tier 1 exam so that’s expected. Also very happy they didn’t make the teacher’s clothes explode all over the place.
When I first saw the Totsuki Train it reminded me of the Hogwarts Express in station 9 and 3/4 , it had this magical air to it. Also did you see some of those interior shots? That is some luxury train that I would love to ride in, those Totsuki kids are very lucky.
But within the train was the highlight of the episode for me, Nakiri realizing she’s appreciated by everyone in Polar Star and that she sorta likes Souma. She blushes, she laughs, she realizes she’s loved by everyone at Polar Star! And when Souma and Nakiri look out at those beautiful stars together, I felt so happy at the ship sailing ahead. We probably still have a long way to go, but the ship is there, and for now that is enough.