The Moon Festival has started, and all the booths are geared up to make huge sales! Or maybe not… Despite the success of booths of students such as Kuga, Tsukasa, Erina, the Aldinis, Don RS, and the Polar Star Dorm, two booths end up in the red after the first day: the booth ran by Soma and Megumi, and the booth of complete chaos operated by Alice, Hayama, and Kurokiba. It’s quite ironic that such famous faces from the Elections are now at the bottom of the pack and having to claw their way up.
It’s a bit of a bummer to see the first two days of the festival pass by so quickly, leaving only one more day at the end of the episode for Soma to turn things around. During the first day, Kuga completely dominates Soma in sales, taking 1st place in their area while Soma and Megumi were dead last. Soma knows his food is good, and so do the few customers that drop by, but it’s practically impossible to compete with the sheer scale of Kuga’s operation. Soma knows that in order to have a chance, he’s going to have to hit the areas Kuga’s booth is weakest. In order to do that, during the second day, he adds an additional item to his menu: a lighter noodle based dish made with the dough from his buns. It’s a smart move to attract customers who are already full from visiting other booths. Even though the additional dish helps Soma climb out of last place, it’s not nearly enough to even catch a glimpse of Kuga in the race.
In order to get a more intimate feel of his customer base, something he can’t do while everyone is scrambling around and distracted by other booths, Soma and Megumi take the cart out at night and give out free samples. While there, they attract the attention of Nao, the lover of putrid smells, who remains present throughout their little experiment. To be frank, I don’t know why Nao is present. She offers little in terms of narrative development. That being said, though, I am absolutely glad she is present. Despite her presence being almost completely pointless, her interactions with Soma are amusing and she’s overall just a fresh face to see after we’ve seen the likes of Erina, Ikumi, and Takumi for so long. It makes me think about the potential of having her and Soma team up in the future. . . I can only dream.
Even though Soma is directly competing with Kuga, it’s hard to feel the rivalry between them outside of Kuga’s occasional arrogant comments. The first two days pass by pretty quickly, and Kuga is not given much screen time. Right now, the battle feels more between Soma and his own skill ceiling, which is totally fine, but given how much Kuga has been built up, there’s going to be an inevitable pay-off, and it’s only going to feel sweet if we’ve truly seen Kuga and Soma clash during the festival. I’m hoping the finale of this festival stretches out another 2 episodes, as I’m not certain one more episode will be enough to give this battle true closure. Still, it’s nice to see Soma trying to overcome his shortcomings. Like Kuga says, this battle isn’t like a shokugeki where both their dishes are required to be tasted. Right now, Soma has to focus on actually getting customers before he can even think about reaching Kuga, and with Megumi in tow, Soma sets about an all-nighter in order to do just that.