The battle between Hayama and Hisako accomplished a couple of things which were plaguing the series during the preliminaries of the Autumn Election. It showed that a battle without any of the main actors could still prove to be relatively exciting. Back during the preliminaries of the Election, there were many one-off, gimmicky food presentations which worked to only increase audience desire to see the main cast get their time in the spotlight. This, however, was exciting in its own right, in spite of the two characters not having had so much as a word between them before this confrontation.
The challenge itself was also new in its own right, as it delved into more cultural delicacies, if the hamburger can be considered an American delicacy. Yet the resulting dishes ventured into the territory of what would be considered gourmet burgers. The dishes presented were anything but average, thus making the theme of the challenge still feel exotic.
In addition to all of this, the two competitors themselves were crucial in driving this competition forward. While this battle wasn’t a direct fight like Kurokiba and Megumi’s confrontation was, it accomplished just as much intensity in its own way. Hayama and Hisako are both intense, goal-driven characters, so pitting them against each other would undoubtedly draw comparison. What came of this was just that, as the end result proved that not only was Hayama better than Hisako, but that Hisako was fundamentally flawed. This wasn’t so much of a battle between two equal competitors than it was a squash. It wasn’t without reason, either, as Hayama’s assessment of Hisako is a fair one, hinting that even she will be receiving some kind of development going forward, which is rather welcome.
What followed was slightly less subtle in its execution. Mimasaka Subaru was something of an enigma for a while, as he was the least known competitor. From the looks of it, it seems his character is more outwardly antagonistic than any character to date. However, he isn’t like Erina, as he ventures more into outright villainy. Shokugeki no Souma hasn’t had such a pure villain like this yet, and honestly, the series has been better for it. Mimasaka’s introduction as a cook who doesn’t care about cooking and focuses on breaking other chefs seems a little bit too obvious in regards to the trajectory that his character will take during the Autumn Election.
The next few chapters will show just how good he is, and his quality as a character depends on what happens with this battle. From the looks of it, Souma will probably be the one to have to deal with him after Takumi loses. On a related note, Takumi has some great moments here. His relationship with his brother was one of the nice surprises to come out of the Autumn Election and if this battle actually ends up building him up as a stronger competitor, perhaps by him not being fodder to build up Mimasaka, then that relationship would only look better for it.
Final Flash: The burger battle was another example of what works, while Mimasaka’s character could prove to be bothersome.