Food Wars! The Third Plate
by Rebecca Silverman,
How would you rate episode 13 of
Food Wars! The Third Plate (TV 2) ?
Was there ever a time in the first season of Food Wars when you thought you'd feel sorry for Erina? I certainly never thought this day would come, and her character growth is one of the most impressive things about this series. This episode, which segues into the advancement exams while catching us up on reordered material from the manga, does a good job of reminding us just how far Erina has come, showing us that her new outlook on life is much more than just a passing fancy.
Of course the major thing that we have to address is Erina's discovery that her adored Saiba is actually Soma's dad. She's handling that shock fairly well, probably because the signs were always there in retrospect. This is driven home further when Soma insists on preparing a Yukihira special for Erina, and he ends his dish presentation with the exact same words as his father did when he cooked for Erina all those years ago. For both of them, cooking is the most fun when it's innovative, and the journey to the finished product is much more exciting and interesting when you don't know for certain what you're going to get. This is directly counter to Azami's decree about food, a dogma that Erina grew up having shoved down her throat even if she couldn't put it into words as a little girl. When Soma repeats his father's words, Erina is able to realize just why she grew tired of cooking and tasting; she always knew what she was going to get with the only variable being how well the dish was made. That's a recipe for boring no matter where it applies, like doing the same one hundred piece jigsaw puzzle over and over again until the only thing that can remotely liven it up is how worn the edges of the pieces get. Erina's ready to move on to a thousand piece puzzle, and Soma and the other Polaris kids have handed her the box.
This is all going to be important if Polaris and the other rebels – who include the Aldini brothers and Nikumi – are going to be successful. The deck is already stacked against them because the exams will be judged by how students can replicate the techniques taught in class, which the rebels directly oppose. They may not see themselves as leaders, but they're definitely not followers, and that's what this exam is designed to weed out. But Erina and Hisako are by now fully ensconced in Polaris; they've not only been accepted as part of the family, they've accepted themselves as being part of Polaris, and Soma's tempura egg is the last push Erina needs to fully commit.
Not that she's going to tell him that. She may have changed, but Erina's still doesn't take humiliation well. If Soma had been able to stop himself from phrasing the whole thing as a rematch from when she lied at his entrance exam, she may have been okay with telling him how good the tempura was, but the girl's still got her pride. Fortunately for Soma, it's plenty obvious how much she enjoys the food, but I'm sure he's not going to stop until she actually says the words. This could become the great new spectator sport at Polaris once this advancement exam is over.
First, however, the rules have to be rewritten. Not just Hisako's understanding of what Erina can ingest (her freak-out over subpar eggs was pretty funny), but how to best go up against Central and win. God Tongue or not, Erina's not perfect – it's going to be up to Polaris' residents to prove that they have the ability and determination to win. Lucky for us, they've got those in spades.
Food Wars! The Third Plate is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.
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