So while on the camping trip, Kuga shares some juicy gossip with Soma, namely how the hell Hayama became an elite ten member.
Its basically a sneak peak on what is happening behind the enemy lines…
I really like this brief snapshot.
The elite 10 is unruly as ever. It seems like they’re not even listening to Azami’s speech. Compared to normal central members , the elite 10 don’t appear to have drank Azami’s cool-aide philosophy. This gives me hope that some of them will be turning coats in the future.
Speaking of that, number 1 candidate appears to be Rindou. Its repeatedly stated that she’s not pleased with Megishima, Isshiki and Kuga’s exclusion from the Elite 10. That is a Chekhov gun waiting to be pulled. ^^
Beside that, we know that Rindou is siding with Azami for “FUN”. The moment that Central appear to be the no-fun side, I think Rindou would be turning coat.
The only thing that might block an inevitable Heel-Face turn from Rindou is Eishi whom, judging from the side stories is someone that she is close to. But, Eishi is so passive that I wonder if Rindou decided to go to the heroes’ side, she might just take Eishi for the ride.
…. Though, as fun as that thought is probably not. Eishi’s cooking philosophy mesh a lot with Azami. And its been clearly shown, that despite how passive and a nice guy Eishi is, he is one of the E10 members who undoubtedly believe in Azami’s philosophy.
As for the rest of the E10, the only one we have explored is Eizan which is a lost cause at this point. Despite, or perhaps especially because of Eizan’s humiliation at Soma’s hand; I don’t think he will be jumping ship anytime soon. Besides, Eizan probably already did the math long ago and found that money is better with Azami. The only way Eizan is jumping ship is if the other side looks to be winning or if Azami’s side is already defeated.
Anyway, back to the tournament. It appeared to have happened after the RS extermination arc. And this is the customary Hayama hyping chapter showing his growth after the Autumn selection.
After all, in the Autumn Selection, Ryou= Hayama = Soma are roughly equal in skill with Hayama pulling ahead because he already have a “specialty” and has additional motivation in having someone to cook for. Now, in this tournament, we find that Hayama beat a third year who beat Rentaro. Someone whom Ryou barely beat.
In mathematics, it would probably look like this:
Hayama > Unknown Third year > Rentaro
if Rentaro <= Kurokiba
Hayama > Unknown Third Year > Kurokiba > = Rentaro
Since Soma and Ryou are depicted as equals before, it looks like Hayama has grown past the two of them or that is what this chapter is telling us. And yet, the author has been a tricky one. While. I’m sure the above statement is what he wants us to think. There is this statement, that makes me feel that the terrible trio (Soma, Hayama, Ryou) are still roughly the same strength.
This statement to be exact:
“In particular, because this was after Kusunoki and the others had been humiliated by Kurokiba. They were pretty much dead in the water from the get-go.
This throws some doubt regarding Hayama’s supremacy. The statement seems to imply that Kusunoki and the others could have been suffering a slump or a BSOD because Kurokiba defeated them earlier. Which meant they might be an easy fodder for the third year, or roughly equal to the unknown third year that Hayama beat. Since Kurokiba also defeated Rentaro, this roughly preserved the balance of power as we know it from the autumn selection.
Also, there was a blink or miss it moment here.
But, they weren’t kidding when they said that only 1% will graduate Totsuki.
10 THIRD YEAR STUDENTS REMAINING?! Wth?!
Even if we don’t count the elite 10 third years … That meant there is like only fifteen of them. When you look at it from the student point of view, no wonder they’re drinking Azami’s cool-aide. Azami an abusive jerk and his cooking philosophy has problems, but Sanzaemon’s rule over Totsuki isn’t sunshine and roses either. I would say that it is probably just as bad, just in a different way.
If this conflict is framed straight-out Sanzaemon vs Azami, I would probably feel very conflicted.
Good thing it isn’t.
From a grand strategy point of view, it feels more like Erina teaching style vs. Azami’s.
In the last two exams, this was really apparent with the rebels passing due to Erina’s teaching despite the sabotage. In particular, I really like the emphasis regarding Erina vs. Azami’s teaching style. Erina gave her students a ridiculous grilling infodump while Azami seemed
to be conducting a cult to have given specific instructions for preparing dishes.
This contrast makes me wonder if Erina usually teaches her cooking classes this way previously or it came with her change of ideals/heart because it matched her newfound outlook really well. (If this is the same way Erina teach, I’m glad that Erina finally found the ideal that she was looking for – that would make her happy).
Remember that Azami spouses the philosophy, “There is only one right way to cook something” which is why Azami gives specific instruction for specific dishes. Under that maxim, the student doesn’t need to understand anything as long as they follow the instruction faithfully.
This is basically the foundation of central which Erina (thanks to Soma and the rest of the polar dorms) rejected and I think it shows in how she conducted that tutoring session from hell. Instead of giving specific instructions like her father, Erina instead gave all the knowledge they would need to answer any question/difficulty posed. Instead of giving an exact method, Erina gave tools, but it would be up to the individual on how they wield it.
These two quotes from chapter 172 sums up one of the ideological conflicts between Father and Daughter very well. Just look how they reassure their students.
Azami: If you follow the methods we have taught, you can all participate in the exam without fear of failure or reprimand.
Erina: The fact that they will be asking us question means that there must be a way to come up with an answer. Just do as you have done until now.
This is a very powerful difference and a very important one considering that I personally feel that whichever ideal that win here would decide how Totsuki would run from now on.
Now, regarding the Soma vs. Hayama; I noticed from the tournament timing that Hayama only became a member of the Elite 10/central member at the same time that Erina began conducting her tutoring session with the polar star gang. Thus, Soma and Hayama could be said to have an equal learning opportunity from Erina and from Central/Azami respectively.
Since Soma and Hayama are roughly equal in skill before and the fact that the challenge is blatantly slanted toward Hayama. I think a Soma win here will prove which cooking ideal/teaching style is better. Bonus points, if the tree/vine/sap or whatever secret ingredient that Soma will use is pointed out in Erina’s Hokkaido Lecture. ^^