This season of Shokugeki no Soma is moving surprisingly fast. The Regiment de Cuisine arc, which started a few weeks ago in the anime, only concluded recently in the manga. I expected it to take a while for us to get there, but with two episodes left, it seems that we’ll get to see the first bout, at least. “To the Final Battleground” starts us off quite nicely.
First, thanks to Alice, “To the Final Battleground” starts with a brief recap and a reminder that most of our faves have been expelled. The outcome of the Regiment de Cuisine decides their fates. And they’re permitted to watch the matches with the rest of the students…but because they’re all considered vile traitors, they have to do so in a literal cage.
As you can tell by the swirly eyes of Urara, the rest of the student body has been hypnotized by Azami and Central, and the no-good rebels are just the worst. They’ve actually, so far, cut out a lot of the scenes where the current students taunt the rebels. To focus on the cooking, they’ve not yet really shown just how brainwashed the other students are. Perhaps we’ll get to that later.
“To the Final Battleground” introduces the final teams. We have the current Elite 10, of course, including a couple of new members to replace the ousted ones. Something that was addressed in the manga but not in the anime is that everyone assumed that Yukihira and company would be alone, yet they managed to find enough teammates to make it an even match. And in a series of super-hype reveals, we discovered that their teammates are none other than three former members of the Elite 10 – Isshiki, Kuga, and Megishima – and copycat extraordinaire Mimasaka. They look like they’re about to drop a new album.
Kinokuni Nene got a great introduction. Her deadpan voice acting is on point – calm, collected, serious – and I really appreciate that the “Kuga, die” moment got the appropriate glare to go with it. Isn’t it just Yukihira’s bad luck that he ends up drawing the ingredient that is his opponent’s specialty? Luckily, his dad has prepared him for this!
But the standout of “To the Final Battleground” is Isshiki. When he was first introduced, Yukihira saw hints of what he could do when he was really trying, but for the most part, Isshiki has been a bubbly, sunny optimist who doesn’t seem to take anything too seriously. He handles his opponent’s trash talk with his usual good cheer, but as soon as Shiratsu started badmouthing his friends – and the Polar Star Dormitory – Isshiki’s personality does a complete 180. There was no way, I think, for the anime to match how badass that eel-slicing scene was in the manga, but I almost preferred the anime version – it took you a moment to even realize what he’d done. Plus, I much prefer the dialogue in the anime. “Let’s have some quiet, shall we?” after stabbing the eel… Goosebumps.
While I am surprised at the rapid pace of this season, I can’t say I’m bothered by it. I only started reading the manga after the first half of season 3 ended, and I was already tired of the Regiment de Cuisine. It really seemed to drag. So I have no problems with them quickening up the pace a bit; a competition such as this should have a pace that matches.
Have you seen “To the Final Battleground”? 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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