Shokugeki no Soma is back with the second half of season 3! “Advancement Exam” is full of everything you love about Shokugeki no Soma: humor, substance, amazing food animation, and super weird (and kind of confusing) foodgasm scenes.
With “Advancement Exam”, we return to Totsuki, a school under siege. As the Polar Star residents learn, they are sure to be targets of the upcoming exams, which will determine whether or not they move on to year two at the academy. All of the “rebels” (AKA all of the mains) listen to Tsukasa’s message with similar look of concern. The message was clear: any deviation from the strict norms that Azami has declared will not be welcome at the school for much longer. Creativity is no longer something to be rewarded; it is something to be condemned.
“Advancement Exam” is, perhaps, an unusually-titled episode because it simply features the announcement of the exam, as the exam itself is this entire arc. But this episode features one of my favorite bits in the manga, which is the scene between Yukihira and Erina in his room. I absolutely love those two together. When I read that scene I squeed, so seeing it animated made me extremely happy. I love the flashbacks where she reveals her connection to his father. For the longest time, Erina has been aloof and condescending to Yukihira. This is when she really starts to be more vulnerable around him and the others.
Of course, one of the best things about Shokugeki no Soma is the platonic relationships, and these are really emphasized in “Advancement Exam”. Hisako’s panic at losing sight of Erina for a minute, and then everyone at the dorm listening to her and Yukihira in his room. I mean, really, considering their senpai likes to crawl around in the ceiling and pop into their rooms, it was inevitable. But also, there is Erina, who previously looked down on PSD and its residents, vowing to help them pass their exams at all costs… It’s just so great. The “train arc” was my favorite in the manga, so I’m really looking forward to it.
This episode was a great reminder of how fun Shokugeki no Soma is. In one episode, we got flashbacks of an adorable Erina and her tummy growls, some great humor, and trademark unusual foodgasm scenes, like a bunch of Yukihira chicks pecking at Erina. Azami’s plan still makes no sense, and I’m not sure we’ll ever truly understand his weird obsession with Joichiro, but I’m totally here for a group of friends banding together to help each other out and take down a corrupt administration while they’re at it.
Also, I’m totally a fan of both the new OP and the new ED – animation and music. I think it’s interesting that they both heavily feature the trains. The OP usually is tangentially related to the season’s main arc, but the ED tends to be completely unrelated.
Have you seen “Advancement Exam”? 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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