Food Wars! The Third Plate
Episode 24

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 24 of
Food Wars! The Third Plate (TV 2) ?

What a place to end the season! Yes, we have every reason now to be hopeful that the Rebels will ultimately carry the day, and seeing Isshiki proved right about Nene's defeat at Soma's hands is very satisfying, but when you get right down to it, the season ended at the climax of the storyline we've been following for two cours now. It's not like we can't just pick up the manga and see what happens next, but if you're not a manga reader, it could feel like you've just been screwed out of the conclusion of this story.

I do think that Nene's ultimate defeat is, almost more than Isshiki's victory over Jurio, the biggest indicator of why Azami's theories are flawed. Jurio's overwhelming ego definitely helped him lose, but the real problem for Nene is that she was unable to think outside the box. While that's absolutely become a cliché at this point, it remains true that things that don't move stagnate – look at a still pond and watch its deterioration over time until it can no longer serve as a viable water source. That's what's happening with Nene (and presumably other Central members) – a lack of change is making their water unpalatable. Because no matter how classic a recipe, tastes do fluctuate over time; look up a recipe from fifty years ago and think about whether or not you find the upper-crust cuisine of those days appetizing. I don't know about you, but “jelly salad” sounds pretty grim to me.

Of course, this isn't quite that extreme, and Nene's base recipe would have worked out under normal circumstances. But her inability to think of new ways to do things is still what did her in. She's from a restaurant family just like Soma, but her training didn't teach her about the need to adjust to your environment on the fly, or even to just make changes based on an allergy or something. Soma's diner work did, so he immediately notices that the size and temperature of the competition venue will affect his final product. As Isshiki says, the minute soba was chosen as the topic for the shoukugeki, Nene was sunk, because he knew she'd just do as she'd always done and never make the needed adjustments for a new environment. It's not that her resultant dish wasn't good, but it wasn't up to the standard needed to wow judges from the World Gourmet Organization, a group that's certainly not following Azami's theories about cooking.

Significant plot wrap-up aside, this episode does leave our characters in a decent place. I love seeing how Akira is part of Alice's crew now, and it's nice to see that he's largely pleased with things even if he'll never admit it. Isshiki's finally stopped hiding behind his joviality and emerged as a force to be reckoned with, and Erina's this close to accepting that she actually does like Soma. The Polaris kids have really pulled together and brought new people into their fold, and that unity stands to be another one of their weapons going forward, because I get the feeling that the current Elite Ten isn't particularly close as friends, which robs them of the weapons of solidarity Isshiki whipped out last week. This episode is also good for its tasty-looking dishes and foodgasms; although the latter aren't particularly extreme, Anne's soba mermaid is fun, and we do get another glimpse of the Soma Chicks from the cour's start. I'm not thrilled with Nene's part in the foodgasm, screaming as her clothes are torn off, but at least this sort of thing has become much less prevalent as the series has gone on.

And that's it – season's done! It isn't nearly as satisfying as it could have been given a couple more episodes, but it does feel like an okay place to put the show on hold. As long as we get another season announced at some point, we can wait. In the meantime, the manga's out there in case you can't wait for the next plate to arrive.

Rating: B+

Food Wars! The Third Plate is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.


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