Of all the shows new shows this season, Food Wars! The Second Plate was probably the one I was looking forward to the most. The end of the first season left us at the start of a classic shounen-style tournament arc, and season 2 wastes no time jumping right into it. In the season premiere, Souma predictably beats Alice (I mean, come on). This week, Megumi matches up against the mysterious and edgy Kurokiba Ryou in a test of ramen supremacy.
I really liked this episode. It shows off how far Megumi has come from the useless and unconfident slate she was last season (though she is still going to get NTR’ed hard). The episode plays mainly on the contrast between the two competitors — Megumi’s demeanor is subdued and positive, which shows in her cooking, and Ryou is a rejected character design from Death Note. The brief flashbacks give us a decent look into Ryou’s background, and there are several great scenes that beautifully cap off the competitive drive of both characters.
The piece of the episode that surprised me the most, however, was the inclusion of Food Network star Guy Fieri. His presence as one of the judges really spiced the episode up.
Several times throughout the episode the TV personality and occasional game show host contributed his signature catchphrases, such as “this is money” and “righteous”, turning already great set pieces into truly memorable scenes.
The scene that really stuck with me was when the judges first tried Megumi’s unassuming ramen. While the other judges commented on the bold umami and gave technical descriptions of the flavor profile, Guy boldly proclaimed, “this is gangster!” Such an emphatic, intricate, yet elegantly succinct reaction that perfectly describes the true essence the Megumi’s complex ramen could only be convincingly delivered by a former spokesperson of T.G.I. Fridays.
The episode ends on a aggravating cliffhanger. Will Megumi’s ramen book her a ticket to Flavortown? Or does the bold seafood flavor or Ryou’s dish shut the front door? We will have to wait until next week to find out.