Tag Archives: food

Food Wars! The Third Plate, Episode 14

This show is always so nice to me. Right when I realized that Golden Kamuy was too dark, so I’d be missing a Hokkaido-based show this season, Food Wars! decides to move this whole cour to Hokkaido for no apparent reason. Really, it’s inexplicable, unless they’re catering exclusively to me.

”Ok, time for advancement exams. We could hold them on school grounds, but where’s the fun in that? Let’s conduct a ludicrously expensive, high-class rail tour of northern Japan, and fit in the exams all over the prefecture. I hear Hokkaido is nice this time of year…the dead of winter.

What are they even going to be cooking by the time they get to those islands that are practically in Siberia? “Esteemed judges, I have prepared for you Grilled Black Bear Flank, with a reduction of tree bark and hardy forest lichens, and a side of Caramelized Reindeer Hoof.”

Really I just love the ridiculous opulence of Food Wars!, the fact that they’re setting their exam arc on a billion-dollar luxury train for no good reason. It’s hard not to read it as little bit of commentary on conspicuous wealth when you’ve still got characters like Megumi, who grew up in a poor fishing village, gawking at the whole thing. Maybe I was being dense last week when I questioned the writer’s choice to make this arc political, because it’s not like that’s really a new thing for this series; I could say it used to be more subtle about politics, but has this franchise ever been subtle?

Today’s Food Porn is Fillet of Salmon. My diet is mostly vegan nowadays, but I do cheat sometimes and eat fish, especially salmon. Nice little bonus that the dish they made this episode was something I would actually eat. It’s definitely not one of the more inventive preparations this show has featured though; oh wow, fish with citrus, really busting out of your comfort zone there, guys.

Anyway, PLOT! Erina decides to save her buddies the boring way, by tutoring them in cooking knowledge to help them pass the exams. I was really hoping she would just go up to the instructors, be like “I’m the God Tongue and you’re some no-name cooking teacher: pass my friends, or I’ll tell everyone that your food is always underseasoned,” and they would all fall before her in terror. Alas, Erina is developing into a nice young lady and her character growth does not allow her to do anything so underhanded and despicable; it would work though, wouldn’t it? I’m pretty sure it would work. Everyone fears the wrath of the God Tongue.

I don’t know who it is, but someone out there is very, very excited for the appearance of Sexy Teacher Erina, and I’m glad they’re having a good day. If they make a figure of her, she should definitely be surrounded by sacks of delicious (and varied) potatoes.

Speaking of the teachers, let us consider for a moment the curious moral fiber of these instructors who are conducting exams in Hokkaido. Apparently they are morally fine with hiding information from the students they intend to fail for political reasons, morally fine with giving sub-par ingredients to the students they intend to fail for political reasons, and will even gloat openly about their corruption in front of the students they intend to fail; none of that is going to keep them up at night with a guilty conscience. Yet they cannot, CANNOT bear to fail anyone who brings them a tasty dish. Once they taste anything with more depth of flavor than a Chicken McNugget, suddenly they’re all “Oh no, I can’t go along with my diabolical plan to unfairly fail you out of school, the sublime cook on this fish has turned me into a decent human being again!” I guess it does fit with the overall theme of this show about how the sensation of food can be overwhelmingly powerful, but man, talk about your arbitrary morality.

For some reason I find it amusing when Alice explains the chemistry of cooking; possibly because she explains everything like she believes that everyone should know all this already, and if you don’t know the precise temperature that the cell walls of a fish lose their integrity, you are less than dirt to her.

Anyway, more PLOT! Everyone passes the rigged test partly due to Erina’s tutoring, and partly because they somehow know where to find underground seafood vendors that Totsuki Academy doesn’t know about, since Totsuki supposedly bought up all the good salmon in the area before the test. I can imagine Alice Naikiri having an encyclopedic knowledge of where to find every single ingredient in Japan, if not the entire world, so I guess that makes sense. I was hoping Megumi was going to use her fishing skills to hook the salmon they needed, but alas, it’s the wrong season for salmon fishing. I really hope Megumi uses her fishing skills to save the day some other time though.

I have the X-Men theme song in my head. Okay, to be fair, I usually have the X-Men theme song in my head, but it feels really badass in synch with this killer screenshot.

Even more PLOT, really more like character development though! Erina wonders why everyone is stopping to talk to her after the first exam has passed, mostly because she’s never had friends and it’s a new experience for her. It’s yet another reminder of how being born with ultra-sensitive taste buds has completely fucked up her life, and it’s honestly really sad if you stop and think about it for a moment. Fortunately, she and Soma have A Romantic Moment Under the Stars and that’s enough to distract us from thinking anymore about Erina’s dismal social life up to this point.

That’s just the stars reflected in Erina’s eyes, not the glow of her unending ocean of love for Soma. Unless you buy into symbolism and all that, phhht.

I’m not sure what to think about Soma X Erina as a couple. Obviously they like each other and they’re becoming more compatible, but…Megumi and Soma are just so sweet together. Ironically Erina needs him more right now, but more as a friend than as a lover. I think Soma X Erina is supposed to be our endgame couple, but it’d be really cool if the two of them developed an intimate friendship and Soma ended up marrying Megumi instead. Right now Soma seems to value all his friends pretty much equally and doesn’t have romantic interest in anyone, but that may change if he ever beats his Dad in a cooking battle; then, he could allow himself the luxury of wanting something else in this life.

So, this season continues to be fun, and I look forward to seeing what’s coming up on the World’s Most Impractical Choo Choo Train Final Exam. Although, if they don’t use the train setting to do a Murder on the Orient Express kind of episode at some point, I’m going to consider that a missed opportunity.

 

Isekai Izakaya, Episodes One and Two

This show has me very confused. I’m 99% sure I already saw this show in the summer of 2017, when it was called Isekai Shokudo, or Restaurant to Another World. Now it’s called (roughly) Snack Bar to Another World, and features the exact same premise, only, it’s not a new season of the original show. I thought maybe it was a related spin off, kind of like Sword Art Online Alternative is to regular SAO, but no, that does not appear to be the case. Someone choose to release a completely unrelated show called Snack Bar to Another World not even a year after Restaurant to Another World started airing, and they don’t seem the least bit ashamed of it.

I was prepared to throw up my arms and sneer “what a ripoff!” but  the plot thickens! See, minimal Wikipedia research reveals that the light novel for Isekai Izakaya was actually published before the light novel for Isekai Shokudo, so if anything, the latter is more likely to be the ripoff. But, but…regardless of what went down in Light Novel Land, this is the exact same show that was on last summer. And I don’t mean “it’s the same genre,” I mean it’s the same exact concept. People in a medieval-type fantasy world discover a modern Japanese restaurant that mysteriously has an entrance to their world and ooh and ahh over how good food has become in the age of refrigeration, advanced farming and other modern technology.

So far the primary difference is a downgraded waitress. Shinobu, who waits on the dumbstruck customers of the Izakaya, seems to be a normal girl who likes eating chicken; in Restaurant from Another World, one of the waitresses was an immortal dragon who lived on a dead planet at the edge of spacetime and communicated telepathically. I mean, it’s all subjective, but I think Restaurant probably wins in the “intriguing waitress” category.

Considering the fact that episode 2 spent a lot of time repeating material from episode 1, asserting that this is an inferior version of Restaurant to Another World seems valid, even if Shinobu does turn out to be a transformed chimera or something. Even though calling it a ripoff is grossly unfair, considering when the source material was published, the fact remains that I liked this show a lot better the first time.

The live-action bits are the best part of the show so far, but stuff like this is what I have Netflix for.

The one exception is the fact that the end of the episodes feature brief, live-action forays into Japanese food culture, and they are rather interesting. I’m not sure if I should give the anime credit for including decent documentary footage that isn’t actually part of the anime though. Besides, these live action bits remind me of Wakakozake, and that reminds me of the fact that Crunchyroll hasn’t uploaded Wakakozake Season 3 yet, even though it’s been filmed. What’s the deal with that, Crunchyroll? I need to see Waka-chan get hammered and eat her weight in yakitori, what is the hold-up?????

Anyway, because  I’ve seen this show already, I will now stop watching it…ah hell, what am I saying? It’s an anime food porn show, I’m an addict and I’m going to watch every single episode (possibly twice), but that doesn’t mean that you should! If you’re going to watch one faux-medieval-styled food porn show, for God’s sake, watch the one with the telepathic dragon. It’s not rocket science.