Food Wars! The Third Plate
Episode 8

by Rebecca Silverman,

How would you rate episode 8 of
Food Wars! The Third Plate ?

The 1972 Jim Croce song maybe said it best – “You don't tug on Superman's cape/You don't spit into the wind/You don't pull the mask off that old Lone Ranger/And you don't mess around with Polaris.” Okay, I'm obviously playing fast and loose with that last line, but it's still a lesson that Central is starting to learn in this episode, as Eizan and Soma's Shokugeki comes to its conclusion with Soma as the clear winner. As we've seen before and will doubtless see again, Soma may not win all of his battles, but when all the cards are down and he feels like it really matters, chances are good that he'll carry the day. Of course, I'm fairly confident that even if Soma hadn't beaten Eizan, the rest of the Polar Star crew would have managed to beat the crap out of the invading forces, but the fact that both Soma and his friends worked together to beat back the scourge of Eizan's thugs makes the victory that much sweeter.

Part of Eizan's problem was his overconfidence, which crossed the line from “self-assured” to “narcissistic” as a result of his money and power at the school. While we know that he must have been an exceptional cook to get into Totsuki in the first place, the backstory implies that he's honed his tastes and his financial acumen more than his actual kitchen skills, and that his money sense is what really got him his place on the Elite Ten. Whether or not that's true (though given that Soma had to use more than just cooking to beat Kuga it seems very possible), he definitely let his guard down because of his rival's “plebeian” background. Snobbery has been the downfall of several of Soma's challengers, and it's ironic that this continues to be the case given that Central's message to students is the inevitable elimination of superciliousness at the school, at least in terms of how people are judged. Granted, it's all in the service of a centralized idea of “gourmet,” so Azami could very well be hiding behind vocabulary as he streamlines the curriculum.

Meanwhile back at the dorm, it's interesting to note that the girls are the ones really taking charge, specifically Yuki. That's hardly surprising given her spitfire attitude, but more surprising is that Megumi's words really jumpstart their full rebellion. When she says that she doesn't want to leave the dorm (which might also mean leaving the school altogether since she won't have an affordable place to stay anymore), that's when Fumio shows up with the helmets, smoke bombs, and firehoses. Given that Megumi isn't the kind of character whose words normally inspire violent action, we have to wonder if her close friendship with Soma is a factor, but that may be selling her short. Everyone has seen Megumi's evolution into a more self-confident person and watched her come closer to the top with her cooking. Megumi's growth may be more of a motivating factor as an example of what positive changes can be made at the school – and the wish to preserve that kind of change.

As for Erina, who has been barricaded in her room for her own protection, the attack on the dorm and Soma's showdown with Eizan is another important step for her in realizing who she wants to be. She's learned that the Polar Star kids don't treat her like a god; they do ask for her advice, but then they only take it as far as they want to so they can keep their dishes their own. Erina's not sure what to do with this revelation, but there's an implication that she kind of likes it – she gets to be Erina first, not Nakiri. It's not entirely comfortable, and it may never be, but it's also something she needs and wants to experience if she's ever going to come into her own.

Soma's final lines this week, as he looks straight into the camera and puts Central on notice, are the official start of the rebellion. There's a lot more than one dormitory riding on this, and most of the Elite Ten aren't happy about being challenged. (Rindo is definitely a wild card and may eventually come over to Soma's side.) The fat's in the fire now – and it's definitely going to be worth it to find out how this all turns out.

Rating: B+

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

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