Azami quickly relieves Hisako of her duties, and when Erina meekly tries to protest, he creepily assures her that he’ll take care of everything now. Yo, what happened to our assertive heroine? Welp, it’s flashback time. Back when Erina was just a child, she used to be normal… well, as normal as you can expect from a kid born with a silver spoon in her mouth. One day, her father decided to teach her all about wasting food. It was supposed to be a lesson about cooking and developing the proper palate, but really, all he did was taught her to disrespect the art of cooking and become a giant bitch like him (guys can be bitches, too!). If she didn’t like a dish, she had to treat it like garbage.
Dump it in a trash can, drop it on the floor, throw it in the chef’s face — Erina could do whatever she wanted as long as she showed the proper amount of over-the-top disdain for anything that didn’t meet her standards. Naturally, children are born innocent, and young Erina didn’t want to waste food. Azami quickly became physically and mentally abusive. He threatened to abandon his own daughter if she didn’t adhere to his sick ideology. The anime only shows him grabbing her arm painfully, but you can use your imagination. At some point, Senzaemon banished Azami from the academy, and the old man slowly hoped to undo the girl’s brainwashing but y’know… at the end of the day, Erina’s still Erina. Even to this day, she still looks down on people.
So big question number one: where is the mother? Who. Knows. It’s anime. If a parent is conspicuously absent, you can probably assume that they’re dead. Question number two: why didn’t any other adult step in? I guess they were all scared of Azami. Word eventually got to Senzaemon, but man, it definitely took its sweet time. Question number three: the girl was and still is obviously a victim of child abuse, so why hasn’t she gotten any therapy? We don’t do therapy in anime or any media whatsoever! We just hope that people will eventually get over their problems. If the victim isn’t automatically cured by time, we throw our hands up in the air in exasperation!
Oh, I can hear it now: “Dude, c’mon, it’s just an anime! Don’t take it so seriously! Why are you arguing that a character should get therapy and shit?” I don’t get this line of thinking. The anime apparently isn’t serious enough to consider sending its heroine to therapy, but it is serious enough to show a child being physically and mentally abused. Shit, man, you can’t have it both ways. The poor girl is frozen with fear anytime her father is near her. You really want to convince me that this doesn’t deserve a serious solution? No, wait, I know! We’ll break her out of her room and have her stay at the Polar Star Dormitory with her friends! Yeah, the power of friendship will fix everything!
Actually, there are a lot of sensible solutions at hand. Why even keep the girl on campus where her father can get to her at anytime? Is Totsuki Academy the only viable cooking school in the entire world? Of course not. There are renowned schools everywhere. More importantly, you don’t become a great chef in school. You become a great chef through experience. You need to work in a kitchen for years. You also need to travel the world and taste everything! See how food is made with your own eyes! Don’t just read about it! In fact, this is the golden opportunity for Erina to escape her mentally deranged father. What better way for her to hone her culinary chops by attending, say, a well-respected culinary institute in France! But then we wouldn’t have our tropey anime shounen, now would we? You can’t just send the hot, tsundere heroine away! How else is she going to bare her goods to us despite being at her lowest moment!
It’s kinda pathetic, isn’t it? Hisako is busy telling the rest of Polar Star Dormitory all about Erina’s plight. It’s so sad… so, so sad. I mean, just look at the girl’s dead eyes. And I guess while we do that, we might as well get some T&A ‘cause why not? So yeah, Erina’s character arc kinda took a pitiful turn, didn’t it? She’s not a great character, but none of them are. Shokugeki no Soma has never been about strong character development. You watch the show for some food-related hijinks and that’s it. Still, if I had to pick between her or Megumi, I’d go with Erina every time. Too bad she’s literally just another damsel in distress at the moment. Lest you think I’m exaggerating, Senzaemon tells Yukihira that the boy wonder is the only person in the world who can save the girl from Azami! Really, he’s the only one!
I mean, shit, you got a better solution?