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Anime Review: Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma Episodes 4 & 5

You know when an anime very blatantly has a filler episode and you like it anyway? Yeah. That’s what Episode 4 was, hence the delay to the week after for this review. Thanks for your patience!

With how large the campus of Totsuki Culinary Academy is, it stands to reason that Soma would now live there in one of their numerous dormitories – especially with his father overseas. Now as previously established, Totsuki is a place for the rich, the pedigreed, and the high up on the food chain in general. So you would expect that there’s swanky digs for everyone.

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Apparently not.

The dorm, called Polar Star Dormitory, allows anyone entry provided that they pass the entrance exam that is administered by the ferocious dorm mother – Fumio Daimidou.

It’s another test for Soma to ace with very little ingredients! (Or rather, Soma forgot his ingredients and he’s going to have to make do with what’s left. Which isn’t much.)

You should know the drill by now, because it doesn’t look like Soma’s ever going to lose a cooking competition at this rate. Or rather, if he is, it’s going to be a while. There’s the bare modicum of ingredients – mostly pantry items and tinned food. And yet Soma manages to knock it out of the park with a mackerel burger.

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Rice, egg soup with a squid base and a mackerel hamburg steak.

Now don’t get me wrong, this is very creative and innovative! But this is something we’ve seen before in the very first episode of the series.

Regardless, Soma gets his desired end result and is allowed entry into the Polar Star Dorm. There is no doubt that this is going to lead into ties of friendship and love and youth as Soma is integrated into a circle of people who are supportive, or at the very least have some idea of being in the same boat. It’s a good thing that Megumi Tadakoro, our ever friendly friend from last week is here, because, let’s be honest, the residents of Polar Star are a bit weird. Everyone has their own specialities and skills and they’re all great at cooking. But they are all a bit weird.

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Pictured, some of the current residents of Polar Star Dorm. From left to right, Yuki Yoshino, Zenji Marui, Shoji Sato, Daigo Aoki, Shun Ibusaki and Satoshi Isshiki.

We get a little bit more insight into the Elite Ten, and the past heyday of the Polar Star Dormitory. The dormitory used to be a veritable show, having hosted a number of former Elite Ten students in its rooms. It’s all ~friendship and youth~. Did I mention friendship and youth yet?

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The real twist of this episode comes at the very end, post-credits. All this time, we’ve seen Soma eating his own food and seeing others eat his food. But never have we seen Soma eating other people’s food. For the first time ever in this episode, Soma is actually eating the food of his peers and enjoying it. But never does he eat and get the same orgasmic reaction until he tries the cooking of one Satoshi Isshiki. The one up there, with the apron.

vlcsnap-2015-05-03-22h40m54s197Isshiki’s no amateur.

Turns out Isshiki is a member of the Elite Ten. His fish dish was beautifully prepared and encapsulated the freshness of spring. He’s interested in what Soma can do, naturally, because of all the bold claims he made the previous episode.

Episode 4 Rating: 3/5. Nothing terribly groundbreaking here, but a lot of important information is set down for the future – namely the introduction of the sympathetic Megumi Tadakoro and the sign that this show has done its research.

Episode 4 Gastronomy Factor: 2/5. I always enjoy when Soma makes something completely out of the par

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma is broadcast every Friday in Japan, with a simulcast available on Crunchyroll the same day at 8:25pm IST.

This leads us straight into Episode 5. Now in contrast with the relative plotlessness of Episode 4, Episode 5 brings us straight into juicy as a steak plot territory. If the last episode was about friends, then this episode has Soma incensed on this show by one of the Elite Ten, and is gonna go straight in a cookoff. Now that Isshiki has shown his cards, Soma is gonna cook using the exact same ingredients.

vlcsnap-2015-05-03-22h55m24s931Before you ask, yes Isshiki is naked. Yes he’s wearing nothing but an apron while there’s a cookoff happening in the background. This show is showing more skin than Kill la Kill.

While Isshiki’s dish expressed spring in full bloom and was plated like something from a top tier, Soma’s dish was something straight out of Yukihira’s secret menu and as even Isshiki comments, looks remarkably pedestrian. There’s enough ingredients for Soma to make enough for everyone, and everyone who is awake at the dorm at this ungodly hour gets to have this fantastic dish.

In the morning, when everyone’s awake and having breakfast – we have a moment where Soma is up ridiculously early to try and challenge Isshiki for his seat and now we get to the actual crux of the series that we’ve been waiting for.

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The cooking battles in Totsuki Academy, are highly formalized and take place in a futuristic dome that is so Iron Chef, complete with a panel of judges. If you want a seat in the Elite Ten, you need to wager something of equal value- the equal value is important, in order for it to be a done deal. This is a process called “Shokugeki” and Soma’s explusion is simply not enough to equal a seat in the Elite Ten.

Cut to Erina at the said futuristic dome. Erina is delivering the smackdown on Kiyoshi Godabayashi, the leader of the Chankonabe (Hot Pot) Research Club. Erina has no problems issuing the edict to demolish the club’s assigned room, because they’ve done nothing but rest on their laurels. Godabayashi argues that the club has been around since the inception of the school. Erina can’t just steamroll through.

Or can she?

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Erina Nakiri versus Kiyoshi Godabayashi, the stake being her removal against the club’s facilities.

Of course, Erina won. Erina’s skilled cooking was just no match for the mess of Godabayashi’s hot pot. At this point I’m really imploring you to watch this episode because no amount of still images can portray the visuals this show gave for the differing depictions of their dishes.

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You don’t mess with the queen chef. She goes and gets their club wrecked.

The stakes are finally laid out for Soma. He’s going to need to get some sort of capital in the academy in order to challenge Erina. We have friends, supporters and even a potential friendly higher up figure in the form of Isshiki. You can feel the direction it’s moving in and it’s a riproaring ride straight into more cooking, more hilarity, and nakedness for both genders. All of which I approve of.

Episode 5 Rating: 5/5. This was a great combination of moving the plot along,

Episode 5 Gastronomy Factor: 4/5. This show gave me life. We’re getting closer to Iron Chef inventiveness territory here. An unassuming ochazuke onigiri (tea soaked rice ball) became vibrant and unexpected, with some advanced techniques. If we got a bit more into Erina and Godabayashi’s cookoff, this could very easily be a 5 too.

Food Wars! Shokugeki no Soma is broadcast every Friday in Japan, with a simulcast available on Crunchyroll the same day at 8:25pm IST.

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Kimi Lim
Kimi Lim
Video gamer. Musiccer. Ice creamer. Postgrad Philosopher. Podcaster with Utility Belt Podcast (https://www.facebook.com/utilitybeltradio). Cosplayer with Team Aetherspider (https://www.facebook.com/aetherspider?_rdr) and now part-time writer. I also Twitter at @spectrumrays.
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