Once again Shokugeki no Soma jumps right back into the action without a pause to breathe.
Episode 2 and 3 of Shokugeki no Soma each contained one more round of the Main Tournament. First was Ryo Kurokiba vs Tadokoro Megumi, and next was Hayama Akira vs Arato Hisako. The fourth match next week will take place between Takumi Aldini and Mimasaka Subaru.
Once again, the production team deserves a round of applause. In Shokugeki no Soma, there are a number of aspects I would usually take issue with, the main one being the excessive use of motionless frames. Honestly, 75% of the second episode had no movement in them, but the screen panned up, down, left, or right in 90% of frames to create the appearance of movement. If a screen pan would not have been appropriate, the character was at an angle. Another tactic used to create movement was the introduction of items, mainly ingredients. During an explanation each time a new ingredient is introduced it fades in as the screen moves. And yes, these will be episodes where characters are not moving around a lot, so creating the illusion of movement is very important. During non-battle scenes the screen moved significantly less, because the characters were moving either with their entire body or just their mouths.
The backgrounds still displayed the inner feelings of the characters, mostly fiery motivation for Ryo and fear and serenity for Tadokoro. The judges were much more involved with the display of their internal reactions to the umami of the food as well.
Ryos background was explored in the second episode, but it felt incomplete as it was about how he came to be with Alice, but it did not have an ending in which they agreed to be a team. I do think that in the source material the explanation is finished at a later time. Usually a production team would finish the memory for viewers sake, so I’m not sure if I appreciate them sticking to the source material or am disappointed to not see the full story.
The color scheme of the memory was black and white, with red flames when Ryo was fired up. That generally reflects how Ryo is perceived by others. They did well to display the crazed and feral look with Child-Ryo, but it was not as effective on Adult-Ryo though.
The second episode did not have an ending. It finished by rapidly flipping between frames and quickly fading. The third episode picked up right with those flipping frames, as if they were supposed to be watched back to back.
The third episode quickly announced the winner between Ryo and Tadokoro, and moved on. The third episode continued the trend of still frames+panning, except some of the frames were not 100% motionless. Some times there was hair movement.
There appeared to be new characters, or unofficial commentators. They were nameless and just reacting and speaking to each other about what they were seeing in the competition.
Characters had a bit more detail in the third episode, including the hair movement during a pan. Hisakos facial expressions were calm, even after beheading a turtle. The intent was to show Hisako holding her composure and focus despite being covered in blood, but she was not covered in blood. There was not one spec of blood on her but there was blood spurt effect layered overtop of her for a moment during the ‘turtle butchering montage’
The actual food was animated oddly. The finished product, as always looks hyper realistic, juicy and savory, but during the cooking it is less realistic. Spices and ingredients were dropped into the pot with a half-gravity motion while doing summersaults, and the spice fragrance pulsed out of the pot acting like a breeze. Both effects have been used before, but in the EP and OP of the episodes.
And lastly, when we are faced with Mimasaka, a stalker of all chefs, we don’t know if he is monologuing or speaking aloud because in both scenarios his voice does not change. If he is thinking, then it is less creepy than if he is speaking aloud all of his thoughts on what kind of underwear Takumi Aldini is wearing.. He’s just a creepy character in general.
Either way, I am pleased with the ways the production company made up for a foreseeable issue. Movement is an important aspect of this series because the characters are all striving to move forwards, surpass others, become the best. If they were all standing still then it would have less of an impact.
Im looking forwards to see how they create Mimasakas obsessive aura next week!