Image source: 『食戟のソーマ』TVアニメ公式 on Twitter

Well, that was a bad idea.

[Note: This article contains spoilers for Food Wars! The Third Plate.]

The third season of Food Wars! Started off with protagonist Soma Yukihira’s initial clash with one of the members of the Tōtsuki Elite Ten, Terunori Kuga. In a sudden twist, things have resulted in the complete upending of the Tōtsuki Culinary Academy itself. Now, the academy director, Senzaemon Nakiri has been driven from his post and replaced by his son-in-law, Azami Nakiri, in a single stroke of backhanded manipulation.

Azami Nakiri is Erina Nakiri’s biological father. Upon discovering the miraculous talents of his daughter Erina, he attempted to brainwash her through psychological manipulation and physical abuse. When the treatment of his daughter was discovered by Senzaemon, Azami was exiled from both the Tōtsuki Culinary Academy and the Nakiri family.

Image source: 『食戟のソーマ』TVアニメ公式 on Twitter

At the Moon Banquet Festival, when informed by the academy director that his presence is unwelcome and is told to leave, Azami reveals his ultimate power play. It turns out that behind the scenes Azami has convinced six of the Tōtsuki Elite Ten to side with him and sign a document to make him the new school director. It is revealed that at the Tōtsuki Culinary Academy a majority vote among the Elite Ten is given the same, if not greater, authority as the academy director.

Let’s let that sink in for a moment. The Elite Ten, students in a school whose only distinguishing characteristic is that they are regarded as the ten best cooks among the students, are given such unchecked power that a simple majority consensus among them can literally rewrite the rules of the school. Senzaemon Nakiri states that he respects the free will and choices of his students and as a result is essentially kicked to the curb to allow a literal child abuser to govern in his stead. How messed up is that. This is why schools aren’t supposed to be democracies.

Image source: 『食戟のソーマ』TVアニメ公式 on Twitter

Students are students because they are being taught. They are learning. While it’s true that self-governing is a skill that can and is taught to students, there is always a check to any power they are given. Schools are basically dictatorships. The will of students can be taken into account in making decisions about schools, but when push comes to shove the teachers’ word is law. Otherwise, for example, students could decide to vote to change the curriculum because history class is boring, to have every Monday be a holiday because it’ll help morale since Mondays suck, or to fire Mr. Brenner the classic literature teacher because he’s just so mean. This is why while student governments may be democratically elected and run, the buck stops at the teachers.

Image source: 『食戟のソーマ』TVアニメ公式 on Twitter

As bleak as things currently are at the Tōtsuki Culinary Academy, there is an easy solution. Senzaemon was voted out by a slim majority of six votes. If two of those votes can be turned by, say, successfully challenging and defeating two of the Elite in a Shokugeki duel for their seats, thereby overturning the majority among the Tōtsuki Elite Ten Council, they can vote out Azami and vote Senzaemon back in. But this in and of itself is equally as messed up and doesn’t solve the underlying issue that students should not be able to dictate the employment of teachers in a school. Hopefully they’ll be able to fix things. However, judging from Azami’s personality, I’m pretty sure he’s going to make sure to implement some changes so that no one can use the same tactic he did.

Food Wars! The Third Plate can be viewed with English subtitles on Crunchyroll.

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