Food Wars! The Third Plate Episode 10
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 10 of
Food Wars! The Third Plate ?
Food Wars doesn't usually have trouble showing rather than telling, but there's always an exception. While this week's episode is still pretty good, it also doesn't do a narrative that's already made a major questionable choice any favors. Last week's episode left out an important scene from the manga in favor of moving the shokugeki storyline forward, and while I'm not thrilled with that decision, I do think that the anime is probably holding that moment in reserve for future impact. When paired with this week's somewhat lackluster showdown between Ryo and Rentaro, however, it is worrying.
Also a bit concerning is the return of the more uncomfortable foodgasms, although they're still nothing compared to some of the early episodes of season one. Still, it's worth noting that both Megumi and Nono enjoy the dishes of their favorites' rival against their will. We're all rooting for Ryo, so having Megumi enjoy his salmon when she really doesn't want it to be good makes sense, but perhaps the whole “shredded clothes = yummy food” metaphor wasn't the best choice for the scene. All of this pales compared to the continuing artistic issues that have been plaguing the last few episodes – there's one scene in particular where the oldest judge's face looks deformed.
The actual plot of this week's shokugeki is pretty basic – Rentaro and Ryo show off their skills and we get a play-by-play of their techniques. The differences in their cooking styles are definitely interesting, especially when you consider that Ryo has chosen a 19th-century dish to go up against a guy using cutting-edge cooking technology. (It's also ironic given who he's fighting for.) The issue is more that we don't get to see much of the actual cooking, instead having the cast narrate what's happening while only showing a few steps. It's clear that the series is trying to get to a specific place (it wouldn't have cut that scene I mentioned last week otherwise), so it does make sense to take this route. But it's not nearly as effective a storytelling choice, especially in a visual medium like anime. If we wanted to just see a step-by-step guide, we'd read an annotated cookbook.
Of course, the point isn't really how Ryo and Rentaro prepare their dishes – it's that Central is not as unbeatable as they think. While we did see that proven in the Soma versus Eizan shokugeki, Eizan also didn't get serious until it was too late; in this case, Rentaro is all about beating Ryo down. He's motivated from the start, so having him lose to Ryo is as much about putting a dent in Central's ego as it is about preserving Alice's society – maybe even more so. Rentaro is clearly being presented as Central's Ryo equivalent in terms of style, so to see him so grossly underestimate his rival is a sign that Central's certainty in their own superiority may ultimately be their downfall.
Food Wars! The Third Plate is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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