Shokugeki no Soma S3 Ep. 9: The boring build-up

Cooking is fun. Eating delicious food is fun. Unfortunately, there’s a shortage of both in this week’s episode. As a result, this episode is not very fun. Fresh off of Yukihira’s victory over Eizan, Satoshi manages to squeeze in a few important “Isshiki Rules” before being ousted by Azami. Basically, research societies can avoid closure if they can win a shokugeki, but more importantly, the judging won’t be rigged this time around. Of course, they have to face off against the Elite 10 and their reserves, i.e. students handpicked by Azami, but hey, at least you have a fighting chance, right? Ehhhhhh…. Anyway, like I said, members of the Elite 10 who don’t agree with Azami’s new direction are quickly dismissed. Rindo was apparently the only remaining member who protested this move, but she never seems to take anything seriously anyway. Does this episode sound boring yet? ‘Cause I’m bored just trying to write about it.

The kids at Polar Star throw a quick celebratory party, then it’s back to business. On the following day, they decide to scout out the competition. In order to do so, they split up into three groups to watch as many matches as they can. Takumi and Megumi follow Yukihira to make sure he doesn’t end up recklessly challenging anyone. The trio first watch some dumb-looking loli character bake a chocolate cake and handily defeat her opponent. This is what I mean when I say the episode isn’t fun. There’s hardly any cooking. Instead, we are bogged down with dumb gimmicks like the loli character tearing off her teddy bear’s hands to use them as oven mitts. I don’t give a shit about that. I don’t even know why we need a generic loli character who carries a stuffed animal around. Why can’t this just be about cooking food?

Four of Azami’s special reserves show up to finish the rest of the day’s matches. They’re all new faces and they all look ridiculous. Their leader appears to be a guy with a Mike Tyson-esque tattoo on his face. Am I supposed to believe that he’s really a student at Totsuki? Or is he yet another pathetic wannabe thug character that was created just to look intimidating? Again, these gimmicks aren’t interesting. I’m only here to watch people cook, not waste my time with generic fodder characters. Even so, Yukihira can’t resist himself and ends up issuing challenges left and right. Even Takumi joins in, and all Megumi can do is freak out on the sidelines. Poor girl. She’s a capable cook, but she’s obviously not in the upper tier. She’s the side character that always makes it halfway through a tournament before crashing out. Then we all pat her on the head and commend her for trying her darndest! But I digress.

There’s a lot of grandstanding between both sides until Alice and Ryo show up. Somehow, Alice ended up being in charge of a research society she doesn’t care about. She was happy to close it down until some asshole insulted Ryo, so now he’s gonna do battle against said asshole… which we won’t get to see until next week’s episode. Nevertheless, I am not looking forward to it whatsoever. First, I don’t care about the drama between Azami and the good guys. I know I must sound like a broken record at this point, but I just want to see people cook and show off new ideas and/or techniques. The big, bad baddie doing evil stuff doesn’t remotely interest me. So how do we bring an end to this boring charade? By having Yukihira cook his way to the top. After all, he’s the protagonist. If anyone’s going to do it, it’s gonna be him. But until he does that, we have to sit through all the boring filler and build-up. In other words, this meaningless match between Ryo and what’s-his-face. I don’t care about them. The only consolation is that they’ll at least be cooking something.

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