Shokugeki no Souma: San no Sara – Totsuki Ressha-hen Episode 4
Hayama Akira is the new baddie of this episode! I was super stoked for his reveal as the newest member of Central, and it’s a breath of fresh air to deviate away from the “instructor of the week” formula that has plagued the show for a while now. Reintroducing Hayama brings back a beloved character while spicing up the competition, and it’s nice to see Souma truly being tested to the full extent of his ability.
Hayama’s new design is sick as hell and definitely gives off the antagonistic vibe it should. Of course no cool villain is complete without his own black jacket and loose, free flowing white hair! It’s sorta crazy how much he’s changed since the last time we saw him, he wore simple tops and had his hair tied neatly all the time.
The issue of Shiomi was raised, and I’m super worried. A part of me wants to believe that Shiomi’s seminar is living on somewhere else because Dajima specified that it was no longer a part of Totsuki, rather than it not existing at all. But Hayama is a very ambitious chef, and I could see him agreeing to joining the Elite Ten because he wants to raise himself up. However, there’s also the possibility of him having to make a deal with Central to preserve Shiomi Seminar, and thereby forcing him to join Central. Gah, so many questions! I hope Shiomi is happily chilling somewhere because she’s such a sweet character and I don’t think it’s in character for Hayama to betray her, even for his great ambition.
The Bear Meat challenge is interesting since I’ve never tried bear meat, and was curious to learn more about its properties. The pungent aspect of it is another handicap placed on Souma, since Hayama is a master of spices after all. If Central really wanted to fail Souma, they should’ve shortened the 3 day prep time to something like one hour. Giving Souma 3 days of brainstorming and recipe testing time is just asking for him to pull through with a miracle!
Luckily for Souma, Kuga shows up with his band of followers and offers his help. I thought it was pretty funny how Souma came to the conclusion that he had to understand how his ingredients lived to truly utilize their full potential. Eventually he settles on the idea of Schisandra berries, which he had been taught of by Arato a few weeks prior. I feel like the show is saving a lot of its characters by using flashbacks to their educational seminar under Arato and Nakiri, and I’m not sure how to feel about it. It’s almost like the author can throw in any solution to their problems and just use the excuse that they were taught a few weeks ago. Nevertheless, not too big an issue for me.
By the end of the episode, Hayama gloats to Yukihira about his inevitable third victory and I think that seals the deal. Dajima did tell Hayama before that great talent turns on itself, and I think we’re seeing that here come to fruition. If Hayama is truly this arrogant, his talent and nose are indeed lulling him into a sense of overconfidence that’ll bite his ass eventually. If Souma wins this match against Hayama (which he probably will, I’m assuming), I hope it’s a wake up call for Hayama.
We still have a lot to go with the match itself, and then Rindo’s challenge for Tadokoro and Aldini, but the show’s finally making things exciting!