Shokugeki no Soma 4×02 Review: “Camera Flash”
“Camera Flash” seems to have two separate meanings. Mimasaka uses it to explain his super-fast tracing techniques, but I would also use it to describe the pacing of this episode. Everything went by so fast – particularly the dish presentation and judging – that it felt like I just saw flashes of scenes.
It’s weird to think that when Mimasaka was introduced, his “perfect trace” ability seemed a little too ridiculous for a series that until then was fairly grounded in reality (with the possible exception of Erina’s “god tongue”). Now, in “Camera Flash,” his ability that had originally seemed so unbeatable when he first showed up wasn’t enough to beat the Elite 10. It’s crazy to think that such a minuscule difference made such a big impact on his dish, but then I’m not a gourmand. Not to mention, they emphasized his one piece of sushi that was different from Saito’s, but then it was essentially never mentioned again.
My biggest issue continues to be the pacing. Last week’s episode focused a lot on Rindou versus Megashima, but they couldn’t even bother to spend any time on her dish presentation. She’s basically like, “Here’s my dish!” and the judges went, “GIVE HER ALL THE AWARDS!” There was no attempt to explain anything about it, when Saito’s and Mimasaka’s sushi and even Megashima’s ramen were actually tasted on screen. This series used to take the opportunity to teach during the judging sequences; it’s like they just don’t care anymore. This arc felt like it dragged in the manga, and now it feels like they’re rushing it unnecessarily. (Why is everyone talking so fast?)
One thing I did like about “Camera Flash” is the actual “team” aspect of this Team Shokugeki. I mean, the whole concept is ridiculous but at this point, you just have to embrace the absurdity of this show. Anyway, the point of a Team Shokugeki is that the combatants work as a team, and this is the first example of that actually happening. I wish I could say this happens a lot more often as we get deeper into the competition. I feel like this was such a wasted aspect of this arc; Shokugeki no Soma has some amazing secondary characters, and they were sadly underutilized once Azami showed up. This could have been the chance for some quality teamwork, the likes of which we haven’t had since early season 3.
I don’t want to spend every review harping on my issues with this series, but I have to comment on the inconsistency of the animation. Some of it is fantastic – the food shots, the reaction shots, the foodgasms, all of those are pretty decent on a regular basis – but then sometimes the characters don’t even look like themselves. That said, the sequence with Mimasaka imitating everyone in the Elite 10 was quality, and even though Tsukasa is the enemy (and a teenager, and fictional), I couldn’t help but give a little shiver when he was preparing his ingredients.
I think one of the issues is that the shokugeki format gets stale very quickly. Without the slice of life elements to balance out the cooking competitions, it just gets boring.
Have you seen “Camera Flash”? What did you think?
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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