Recipe # 6 – Revamped Mackerel Onigiri Chazuke

 

Plot Significance: 

This is the dish that Souma used to match Isshiki’s dish.  in their informal shokugeki. Also, the first dish introduced that is from Restaurant Yukihira secret menu. Continue reading

Chapter 190 – Yuuki, Looking Back at Gambling Mathematical Waves

So, the finals are starting and we received some interesting information regarding Yuuki’s ability.

As always, TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO AVOID BEING SPOILED ROTTEN AVOID THIS POST! 

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Recipe # 5 – Japanese Spanish Mackerel cooked with Peppers and Garnish of Puree

 

Plot Implication: 

We meet this dish on Polar Dorm’s Welcoming Party for Soma wherein we meet all the dorm members and have a brief introduction of their specialty.

And of course, this is the dish that served as the hint to Isshiki’s specialty and his past.

As Souma noticed Seerfish or Japanese Spanish Mackerel cooked with pepper is a traditional Japanese food which led him to ask if Isshiki came from a Japanese restaurant. Two hundred chapters later, this hypothesis would be proven right when we find out that Isshiki hails from a prestigious cooking family that specializes in traditional Japanese cooking (Washoku).

Second, this dish serves as Souma’s first introduction to the might of the elite ten. It shows that Souma’s boast of standing on the top of the Totsuki Academy will need

Also, we have the talk between Isshiki-sempai and Ibusaki after the match:

Isshiki: Fu… Fu… Fu… I can’t wait to see what happens. I mean Souma-kun tied with me. With the 7th seat! He will surely get good results. 

Ibuki: Don’t make me laugh…. in that showdown, you weren’t serious at all. You didn’t make one of your specialties. For you that dish, was too much of a safe bet, wasn’t it? 

Isshiki: I wonder what you are talking about. I put my best effort in cooking it, you know?

We can infer from this talk that Isshiki is the type to hide his power level and his real cooking ability might be higher. Also, even though Souma showed potential and tied with Isshiki, it doesn’t mean that his ability is elite 10 level right now.

Not yet.

Finally, this dish is considered too much a safe bet to be Isshiki’s specialty.

We know that Isshiki’s true specialty is an “extremely aggressive washoku”. This dish, on the other hand, is more in line with the traditional washoku which emphasize simple and harmonious flavor. Thus, while the dish shows Isshiki’s roots, it isn’t his specialty.

Recipe:

About the recipe, let’s talk why the dish brings spring to mind.

First, the Seerfish or “Sawara” is a high-quality fish known for its white and soft fish meat. This fish is considered the best mackerel fish in Japan. The best time to find it is of course in Spring or early Summer. You can even see it in the kanji.

This is the kanji for Sawara (鰆). 

魚 – fish

春  – Spring

That said, you can also enjoy Sawara in winter called Kansawara. Kan sawara is fatter and has a more buttery taste than the leaner version in Spring. This makes said variety popular for sushi. Take note, Sawara sushi can have a very fishy smell if not eaten fresh.

Finally, the side dish made from the spring cabbage is another callback to said season. Also, a nod to Isshiki’s farming hobby and how Isshiki incorporate what he grows in his dishes.

 

Isshiki’s Mackerel Dish by Shokugeki IRL – a post about how to make this dish in real life!

Roasted Mackerel with Garlic and Paprika   – a recipe from Gordon Ramsey, the top food critic.  An amazing dish of marinated mackerel with garlic and paprika served with softly mashed potatoes.

Samchi Jorim 삼치조림 (Braised Spanish Mackerel)  – a Korean take on this recipe.

 

Saki : The Conclusion of the Fifth Place Team Match

So after nearly two years, we finally get the conclusion of the fifth stage match. And as you all know, I made two posts regarding how the fights would be like. 1 2  

Let’s see how much did I get right? ^^

<ANIME WATCHERS AND THOSE WHO DON’T WANT TO BE SPOILED STAY AWAY FROM THIS POST>

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Clannad VN – Fujibayashi Twins Route

 

First, let us analyze the technical aspect of the route.

Clannad divergence points usually involved  Tomoya meeting a character by chance and choosing to engage with them.  Using the economic concept of opportunity cost, Tomoya continuing to interact with said character usually closes the opportunity to interact with another. After all, Tomoya only has so much time

What I’ve noticed is this is not completely true for the Fujibayashi twins route. The divergence point of the route isn’t because Tomoya decide to go to the library or the classroom but Tomoya’s “preference”.  It is also worth noting that there is a subtle sense of priority to the route as well. The developers made the choices in such a way that if you’re not following a walkthrough and just picking what you think is “good”, you will naturally enter and stay with Ryou’s route.

Just look, and remember your current girlfriend is RYOU.

Choice 1: The game asks if Tomoya likes long hair or short hair while having a picnic with the twins.

(Note: Your current girlfriend Ryou has short hair.  Her twin Kyou has short hair. )

Choice 2: Tomoya wants to buy a souvenir for Ryou. The game asks if you want tanzanite or amethyst.

(Note:  When you went shopping, Ryou said that her favorite is Tanzanite. Kyou, on the other hand, indicated her favorite is amethyst. If it isn’t enough, the best way to tell the twins apart besides their hairstyle is their eye color. Kyou = Violet (Amethyst) and Ryou = Blue (Tanzanite).

As I’ve said, if the player has good social skills and is trying to be a good boyfriend; the choices will make you stay in the Ryou route and I think the writer designed it that way. I believe for the designer of Clannad, they would like you to play Ryou’s route, wonder why you don’t have a light orb, go back and enter Kyou’s route wherein you will find the complexities hidden within. To be honest, I applaud that sort of technical magic in VN.

Still, that is meta-wise. Unlike certain visual novels, the protagonist of this one isn’t a mere blank self-insert. Tomoya has his own distinct character and it’s been noted in several routes that he has good social skills (when he uses it). What does this route then imply about his characterization?

Ryou’s route needs no explanation.  Tomoya is going with the flow and trying to be a good boyfriend (which  I think characterize a lot of Tomoya and Ryou’s relationship). On the other hand, Kyou’s route requires a certain social blindness uncharacteristic of Tomoya. And diving deeper within the route, I can only conclude that Tomoya is already in love with Kyou or at least have a strong preference even at the beginning.

If each Clannad route is a parallel world (as hinted by the plot), on Ryou’s route the Tomoya of the world doesn’t have strong feelings for Kyou to hinder their budding romance. While in Kyou’s route, the Tomoya of that world is already attached to her. Thus, no matter how much Tomoya try to build something up with Ryou, he always goes back and thinks of Kyou.  The fact that Kyou and Ryou are twins probably made it harder to dissociate as well.

Now for the routes itself?

Ryou Route 

For a route that is considered by many as a “bad route”, it is actually not that bad. While Ryou and Tomoya don’t have explosive chemistry, they do get along well and their route ends with an optimistic feel. It is  only when you look back and wonder why you don’t get a light orb that you question what went wrong

Remember: “Light Orb = Happiness” 

There doesn’t seem to be any relationship problems. Ryou and Tomoya are content. Why aren’t they happy?  It is only when playing the tail end of Kyou’s route that it hit me. The problem is with Ryou and Kyou.

You might be tempted to say that the problem also lies with Tomoya and how he is “settling”. But, I doubt it. We have access to his thoughts and he seemed to be satisfied.

On the other hand, the twins might have something going on below the surface. We have been given plenty of hints that even in Ryou’s route  Kyou is still in love with Tomoya and is silently suffering inside.

More importantly, we know that Ryou knows this. 

In Kyou’s route, Ryou confessed that she is aware of her elder sister’s feelings for Tomoya and despite this Ryou asked for Kyou’s help to set her up with the guy.  Make no mistake that is a big douche move by Ryou. And to be honest, probably why the light orb won’t appear for this route.

Because at the end of the day, I think that Ryou is a good girl. No matter how resolved she is on getting Tomoya. I don’t think her conscience would rest easy knowing that her current happiness is ill-gotten gains built upon the sadness of her elder twin.

 

 

Kyou Route

And finally, we talk about Kyou’s route. This route is a comedy of errors which showed how flawed and human – Tomoya, Ryou and Kyou are.  In many ways, this situation brought out the worst of them.

Here I will analyze each one of them, their virtues and what made it flawed for this route:

  • Ryou 

I didn’t warm up to Ryou at first. As someone who listens to the voice-over even as I read the text, her stuttering, and slow speech is a pain. It didn’t help that Ryou gives an impression of a moeblob character and nothing else. But, that is on the surface.

For all Ryou’s stuttering and meek facade, the route proves that she’s the “aggressive” one of the twins. It’s true that Kyou is a go-getter girl in everyday matters, but it is also true that Kyou unexpectedly falters when it comes to the matter of the heart. A stark contrast to  Ryou, who goes all in when she truly wants something.

Ryou’s asking for her sister’s help knowing Kyou’s feelings is douchy. But, it also shows how assertive Ryou is when pursuing what she wants. In this case, not even her beloved twin is a barrier and as we progress not even her very identity. In the name of pursuing Tomoya, Ryou is willing to change and sacrifice herself. And while this might be commendable behavior and might even be a source of strength for their partner (as seen in Kappei route). We can see in this case that the impossibility of the situation is pushing her into desperate and self-destructive actions.

It is only when Ryou stops trying and finally give up on Tomoya’s heart that the situation begins to clear itself.

Sometimes, its okay to give up.

 

  • Kyou 

Kyou at the surface is very aggressive and gregarious. But, her violent tsundere antics masks something – that is at heart Kyou is very much a caretaker.

Kyou is “careful” of the things that matter to her. We see it in how she treats her younger sibling Ryou – sacrificing her happiness for her without a single thought. We see it in how she treats her friendship with Tomoya, not allowing her deeper feelings to jeopardize it and stewing silently about her feelings.

But, like Ryou’s resolve, we also see its flaws. Her wish to make her younger sister happy could be seen as an inability to fight for her own feelings. Her being content with Tomoya’s friendship could be seen as cowardice.

Just like Ryou, Kyou has to go against her nature to make this route work. That is, admitting her own feelings even at the expense of her sibling (someone she loves and dotes on).

Sometimes, its okay to put yourself first.

  • Tomoya 

Tomoya’s problem for this route is the fact that he doesn’t even know his own feelings. At the beginning of each route, you’ll notice that Tomoya has a certain distance toward most things. On one hand, this makes him an easy going nice guy. On the other hand, it probably makes Tomoya a bit obtuse on what he really feels about most things.

And once he knew what he really feels, Tomoya’s wish to not hurt Ryou which normally would make him a “nice guy” allowed the situation to escalate and cause a deeper hurt. And just like the twins, it’s only when Tomoya finally said who is really in his heart even if it will hurt Ryou that the whole situation is resolved.

Final notes: 

For a “family” themed VN, a sibling love triangle which brings out the worst of the cast seemed like not a good idea. But, I think that this route serves its purpose, there is no virtue that is 100 percent right all the time. Sometimes the love of what we could consider “family” and the virtue that allows us to uphold it can be flawed and make a situation harder than required.

Like Aristotle said, “Follow the golden mean”. ^^

Recipe # 4 – Takadoro Special Three Types of Onigiri

Haven’t posted in a while… Thus, in honor of the currently airing third season of Shokugeki no Soma and end of the match for Megumi in the manga have a recipe!

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Princess Principal 11 Reaction: Xanatos Gambit Pile-up

I was planning to make a review post for Episode 2 but seeing the newest episode made me change my mind. Not that it is bad; Episode 11 does a good job of setting up things up for the Finale. But, like the first part of a detective/mystery novel, I believe said episode cannot be judged on its merit until we see the solution/key to the mystery.

Until now, the cases are episodic; we were presented the problem, the clues and the solution within the same episode. This time though, what we have are problems and some of the clues – the resolution still lies next week unaired.

This does provide a unique opportunity to truly guess and not rely on hindsight. Let us see how much we’ll get right on the next episode!

For those who are reading this post, here is a simple legend:

Normal text= Fact or something that I believe is 100% true

Italic text = Speculation/Guesses/Wishful thinking 

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Recipe # 3 – Yukihira Style Chaliapin Steak Don

The thing I appreciate with Shokugeki no Soma is its recipes. It is nice to have a cooking manga wherein you can bring the creations back to life.  More than that, I love how cheap and easy most of the recipes are.

As this shokugeki will tell you, “You don’t need expensive ingredients to have a nice meal.” 

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Princess Principal Episode 1 – Ange, The Magnificent Liar

As of episode 10, there are only two episodes to come.

Unless they massively flubbed the ending its safe to say that  Princess Principal is the sleeper hit of this season.  Surprisingly, “Cute Girl James Bond Spy Action in Steampunk Alternate Past!London with bonus yuri-subtext,” is the anime that I didn’t know I have been missing.

The show took its cues from Haruhi and airing the episodes in anachronistic order. Since the episodes are mostly self-contained stories it is not bad plotwise.  Astute viewers though who pay attention to the chronology may find themselves a bit spoiled at certain points.

Episode 1 itself is one of Princess Principal strongest cases and do a good job of establishing our protagonist so I don’t mind them using it as an opener.

In any case, let the analyzing begin. <Warning spoilers below until episode 10>

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Saki – Miyanaga Names, Irony, Themes and Playstyles

You could thank the existence of this post to Aaron who managed to spark my inspiration for Saki once again.

At this point, every one of the nuclear Miyanaga family has been named, which is a great time to look for symbolism and patterns again. ^^

I  also know that you guys were  probably tired of etymology post that amounts to “Saki” meaning “bloom” and Teru meaning “shine”. And if you didn’t know that,  the manga and the anime or my blog have probably beaten the fact in your head by now. Thus, instead of rehashing those we are going to talk about themes and irony.  How in some ways the names of the Miyanaga family may also display their personal challenges.

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