Long story short, more stuff has popped up IRL and has prevented me from actually being active on here. But I’m back to catch up on at least the shows I was following, as late as these reviews are.
This episode opens with a sort of teaser showcasing Joichiro and Gin discussing their past days at Polar Star and Totsuki. Manga readers know there’s much more to Joichiro’s time at Totsuki than him simply dominating the ranks, though we won’t get to that for a while in the anime. However, the two do learn of Azami’s appointment at Totsuki, hinting at some sort of future involvement for them in the current events.
Change has arrived to Totsuki, and it’s not exactly welcome. Azami plans to implement a sort of dictatorship over the school, where his rule, and the rule of his chosen elite, known as Central, is law. Azami is scarily dualistic, able to mold his views into something more palatable for the masses when giving his inaugural address. However, those present at Erina’s Moon Festival booth know his true nature and intentions. He talks about bringing a new age to Totsuki, but only a few people outside the Elite Ten understand what that truly means.
The meat of the episode comes from a talk between Soma and Senzaemon. The two further discuss Joichiro’s time at Totsuki, though again the meat of his history is not explored. The former director informs Soma of the situation between Erina and Azami, which Hisako and Alice, and maybe Ryo, are probably the only other students acutely aware of. Somehow this translates into an Erina and Alice flashback, which really doesn’t make much sense given that Senzaemon is the one telling the tale. But we are provided a look at just how twisted Azami’s treatment of Erina was and how that warped her to becoming the cold and arrogant person she’s been up until now. By the last episode, it was obvious he was manipulative in regards to his daughter, and this episode cements the fact that he intends to isolate her once again in order to wrap her back around his thumb. He not only relieves Hisako of her duties, but pretty much begins to direct her daily life again. It’s some justification for arguably the series’ most insufferable character for the past two seasons. With this episode, Erina has transformed from being a despicable ice queen to a sympathetic victim of abuse. And Senzaemon is placing his faith in Soma to save her. Though Soma says it’s not his business, his goal is to make Erina say his cooking is delicious, which ultimately leads him to the same result anyway.
The second-half of the episode focuses on a rescue of Erina by Alice, Hisako, and Ryo. After absconding from Erina’s home, the group realizes they really have nowhere to hide her. Cue Megumi, who conveniently shows up and invites the group inside Polar Storm. Fumio agrees to house Erina, and the Polar Star members take it upon themselves to make Erina feel welcome, even if it is more of an indirect effect of them simply wanting her to taste their cooking. It’s a nice breather from an otherwise heavy episode, but honestly the sheer amount of comedic chibi animation is starting to become overkill. Not only is it distracting, but it also just seems lazy at this point. Still, this was a fine episode that sets up what’s to come. A storm is brewing at Totsuki, and Erina is at its center.