Onto the next match in Food Wars, with Takumi Aldini fighting for his brother’s honor against the new and apparently super detailed-oriented new character, Subaru Mimasaka.
The last episode of Food Wars ended with Takumi finding Subaru looking through his cooking tools, and bashing Takumi’s brother in order to get Takumi fired up. It definitely worked, with Takumi turning this match into a shokugeki!
I find it very sweet that Takumi is one of those people who doesn’t get very angry when people insult him or his way of cooking, but if you talk shit on his family, Takumi will lay down the law! The relationship between these two brothers is very admirable. I was even more pleased that when he was heavy in the first season, he wasn’t just the heavy character where eating his main personality trait. He was heavy, but it wasn’t focused on or mocked at. He kept his brother in check, dotes on him, but also shares a healthy competitive attitude with him in the kitchen. He may not be thrilled that his older brother is the better cook out of the two of them, but he accepts it and supports him regardless. It just strives him to get better.
Anyways as the match starts, Takumi doesn’t waste time and throws a white glove in front of Subaru to start a “duello” the Italian way. Takumi says, “Italians always seek vengeance after humiliation” after Subaru continues to talk smack about Isami. Takumi says that if he wins, he wants him to grovel and apologize for basically being such a dick for insulting the tools he grew up with and his brother. It turns out that Subaru is known for doing this according to Shun. Not only does he do a lot of extensive research on all his victims like we’ve learned recently, but uses “provocation or intimidation” to force them into a shokugeki. Shun says that he has won 99 shokugekis with this manipulation practice. Talk about desperate.
After he lures them in, he also trying to shame them further by beating them using the EXACT kind of ingredients that his opponents uses. Now that I find rather clever. What makes the competition in Food Wars really interesting and educational is seeing what kind of ingredients each opponent uses to strengthen or compliment their dish. In this case, it’s even more damaging to a chef if their rival makes something ten times better using the same ingredients as they did. That means if they lose, they can’t blame the other opponent for having superior ingredients, but rather their preparation was flawed in some way. At least in Master Chef, they are given the option to go into the complimentary kitchen to get supporting ingredients to make their dish standout. Since this is a shokugeki, they only have the ingredients they are provided with and nothing else.
Subaru says to Takumi once the match starts that he thinks he’s going to make a dish called “semifreddo.” It’s essentially a very fancy ice cream cake in the shape of a long rectangle. Since Shun is the exposition character for this episode, he explains that when Subaru wins the shokugekis, he gets their tools. To a chef, Shun says that it “obliterates their pride” since their tools are an extension to their cooking style. One time when Subaru won a shokugeki, he took away a knife that once belonged to his opponents late mother and laughed maniacally in his face.
Needless to say, this isn’t a character that we should be rooting for AT ALL in Food Wars. At least with characters like Akira and Ryo, you still feel for them when you hear about their backstory and their motivation. With Subaru, they are just painting him as this emotionally abusive bully who not only beats them without his opponents using different ingredients from him, but kicks them while they’re down by taking their precious tools. Just imagine, since he’s won 99 matches, he must have A LOT of tools stashed somewhere.
It also doesn’t help that they make Subaru cheesier and more cartoony by having him say “hasta la vista Aldini.” That doesn’t even reference to either of their ethnicities, so basically they want him to be a Schwarzenegger villain, which kind of works considering his physique. Although this villain does use his tactics very effectively. Not only does he stalk his opponents to see what their making, but how they make it, so that way Subaru can make his version differently so that he can stand out differently. For instance, the show points out that Takumi whisked both the egg whites and yolk together, while Subaru whisked his seperately. For their dish, they are making a pâte à génoise for their cake portion of the desert. With the way Subaru is making his, the juices and syrup from the ingredients will seep into the cake better and create a better texture by comparison to Takumi’s, according to Marui.
I won’t lie, I feel as though these side characters only exist to either give a ton of exposition or to react like the audience would when something dramatic happens. I don’t mind that they give so much exposition, because these are students who have been in this food academy school district longer than Soma, since he is a transfer. So I figure in this technique of storytelling, not only are they informing Soma and other unfamiliar side characters, but the audience as well. For first year students, it’s interesting how they know the ins-and-outs of the school so fast. I guess it’s because Marui is the brains of the group since he specializes in food research, but I don’t know Shun’s deal. Again, I haven’t read the manga, but maybe I missed a line where this is explained?
Back to the match, Subaru keeps talking to Takumi about why his dish is going to be far superior to his continuously, which doesn’t seem like a good idea in my opinion. Wouldn’t Takumi just change his tactics in order to counter his technique? I suppose if he did that, Subaru would just change his tactics in return, and it would just be a never ending battle of changing their dishes. Turns out, he does this to further intimidate his opponents and throw them off their cooking mojo. This is shown when Subaru reveals that he is using the EXACT brand of lemon liquor that Takumi was going to use for his dish.
This does create some great food drama, because in this setting, Takumi doesn’t want to seem like he is copying his opponent, even though Subaru was the one that stalked him and his dish making techniques. If Subaru finishes first making something that is close to identical to Takumi’s dish, but yet better, it’s all over for Takumi. Does he try to make his version of the dish better? Does he end up having to start all over? One of the judges even points out that this seems unfair, but at the end of the day, it’s about how the food turns out in the end. One of the Elite Ten even says that all that Subaru cares about is winning, calling him the “King of Stalking.”
Subaru’s tactics start to get to him, inwardly freaking out about what he should do. By this point, Subaru has put his cake in the oven already and Takumi is trying to figure out what he can do to change it. Subaru adds another twist to his recipe by using almond flour to give his cake more flavor, since the audience notices that Subaru’s cake is darker in appearance than Takumi’s. Subaru was able to plan all this behind the scenes, while Takumi has no extra ingredients to add twists to his cake. LITERALLY, WHAT CAN HE POSSIBLY DO!?
Like all the other competitors, Takumi does his best to remain calm in the heat of the kitchen. This show does that concept very well! Normally in high-stake competition shows like these, the characters start to freak out or lose it if they aren’t doing well. This students on the other hand act as if they are real cooking professionals. Dare I say, these students are more professional and calm than chefs you would see on reality TV! On that note, Subaru finishes first with his lemon semifreddo.
Speaking cheesiness, but in the most wonderful way, the one judge gets very upset with the ethics in which Subaru goes about creating his dish. He is so reluctant to like his dish, a rap starts to play about how much he hates how cool Subaru is and how delicious his dessert is. Honestly, I never get tired of the creative imagery this show displays. The judge turned into a tsundere with how much he loves the dish, but hates the student. Side note, I would’ve loved to see the footage from the recording of Food Wars of the seiyuu that plays that judge rapping that song!
I also couldn’t help but notice that the imagery for the reaction to the dishes has been toned down. Not a bad thing since they have to fit all these election matches in 13 episodes of Food Wars, but the pacing of these episodes still seems very fast. Although in my opinion, I think the anime balances all the important scenes that need to be shown very well. After all, anime can be seen as an advertisement for the source material if it isn’t an original series. So if their are people out there who are curious enough to want more from Food Wars, they can just read the manga for further detail!
Takumi then shortly finishes his dish, feeling confident that he’s made his comeback by telling Subaru that he is a professional, and that his customers need to be served regardless. After literally eight reaction shots of different main and side character’s reactions to Takumi’s dish being served, they noticed a small change. In a semifreddo, there is normally three layers: mousse, ice cream, and cake. Takumi’s semifreddo on the other hand has a very thin mysterious fourth layer.
When I read subtitles of Takumi saying to himself “please…come!” I can see why this show can be under the ecchi category on most sites. Just like the one judge was having tsundere crush on Subaru, another judge begins to have a crush on Takumi, imagining him as if he’s in a seductive, tropical Calvin Klein ad. Turns out the fourth layer is a lemon curd that’s making his semifreddo bursting with more flavor. Not to mention it stayed within Takumi’s Italians roots by substituting butter for olive oil for his lemon curd. The chairman even says he made up a new ingredient that he calls “lemon custard italiano.” With this new development, this should completely makeup for Subaru stalking him and trying to steal Takumi’s techniques. It’s even more sentimental when you find out that the olive oil he used was a kind that his family makes themselves.
BUT THAT’S NOT ALL! Subaru swoops in with one last twist that he finds will spill over his chances of winning. He says he expected for Takumi to not give up and do his best to change up his dish, so he added in a secret ingredient of preserved lemons to add into his sponge cake. I mentioned earlier that he was giving away so much to Subaru early in the match, but it looks like that was part of his plan. He knew Takumi would change the dish, so he added more lemon taste into his cake to make his stand out further. I guess Subaru still had the same ingredients as Takumi, but with different execution.
Subaru continues to boasts that he knew he was going to make this custard, and truly knew every last detail of his preparation, as if Takumi was playing into Subaru’s hand perfectly. This has quickly went from a desperate attempt to win to scary how far he went into winning this match. It’s another neck and neck race of who could win, and is anyone’s game! Subaru takes devilish pride that he can take away the motivation he gotten from his brother and the chances of re-matching against Soma, that the imagery turns Subaru into a demonic figure that is about to grasp Takumi into his hand.
With a surprising turn of events, Subaru Mimasaka wins the match by a unanimous vote and takes Takumi’s mezzaluna knife! WHAT AN ACTUAL PLOT TWIST! And it doesn’t end there! In the after credit scene, Soma and friends make their way back to their dormitory. They insist that they should check to see if Takumi is alright, but Soma instead want to retire for the night. It turns out though that Subaru somehow got a spare key and was waiting for him in his bedroom. Again, CREEPY!
Soma offers him tea and beef stew to see what Subaru wants from him. Subaru comes over to say that the match ups have already been decided, and that Subaru will be facing off against Soma. Naturally he wants to make it a shokugeki like before, and have a chance of stealing Soma’s knife. If Soma wins, he gets Takumi’s mezzaluna back.
Soma explains to Subaru that he can’t respect him as a chef because he does it for personal gain and to tear down his opponents than cooking because it’s his beloved craft. In which case, Soma says that he wins, he wants not only the mezzaluna, but the 99 kitchen tools that he has taken in past shokugekis. Subaru replies that is too much and that it wouldn’t be a fair trade, with Soma adding that he will quit being a chef forever if Subaru wins. THE STAKES HAVE BEEN BEYOND RAISED!
This just increases the hype for the next couple of episodes of Food Wars and how wonderful the payoff will be if Soma wins. Not only would he get Takumi’s knife back, but 99 tools for the past chefs that have lost to Subaru. Soma would turn into the mega chef super hero, or since Food Wars has Subaru be like the devil, Soma is like a Godsend to fallen chefs at the academy.
Even though the main complaint of Food Wars has been the pacing, the writing and twists of the show cease to end, which I think makes up for it. The next episode is called “The Secret of the First Bite,” that shows the picture of the childhood friend character from Soma’s hometown, Mayumi. Since we’re only four episodes in of Food Wars and this season is said to be only 13 episodes, it seems like there will be episodes dedicated to some laid-back stories of the students preparing for the final two matches. I’m sure the fan base will appreciate taking a break from the high-stake competition episodes we’ve been presented, and take some time to know are characters further and seeing them in new situations.
As much as I wanted Takumi to win, I respect that Food Wars doesn’t make the main character win, just because they are the main character like I mentioned with the Megumi match. It adds a lot of realism, showcasing that even if you do your very best, it isn’t enough sometimes. It doesn’t mean you should give up though. Which is why Soma is such a likable character. He is so well-talented because he has lost against his father over hundreds of times, but yet he is a force to be reckoned with at the academy. Now that we know Subaru’s methods and motivations, Soma should be able to counter him and hopefully defeat him in his match later in the series!
Is Takumi taking the loss well? How’s Isami taking it? Will we see if Mayumi finally confesses her feelings to the dense Soma? Will the next couple of episodes be a bit lighter and better paced? Hopefully we’ll find out in the next episode of Food Wars!