In Food Wars, Senzaemon Nakiri knew that Erina might be headed for trouble with the God Tongue, so he set a long-term plan into motion to help her.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Season 5, Episode 12 of Food Wars!: Shokugeki no Soma, now streaming on Crunchyroll.
Soma Yukihira fought his way to the final match of the BLUE, and he defeated Asahi Saiba with the power of authentic cooking. Now he must face Erina Nakiri, but is she ready for the challenge? Maybe.
Erina Nakiri was born special, even among Totsuki students. The famed God Tongue is unique to the Nakiri family, and Erina inherited it directly from her mother, Mana Nakiri. However, this Tongue has plunged Mana into the deepest despair, and Erina’s grandfather, Senzaemon Nakiri, resolved to give Erina a different future. So he took action.
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The God Tongue Curse
Mana Nakiri is the ultimate food critic — she has tasted a bit of everything and has the God Tongue on her side. She was the one who asked Soma and Asahi Saiba to create a brand-new dish by recklessly combining Italian, French, Chinese, Turkish and Indian cuisine, all for her desperate quest to taste an exquisite, brand-new dish. Soma won that contest to qualify for the finals, but he did not create the ultimate new dish that Mana sought. Why does she have such high standard and elusive goals? Because her God Tongue is, at best, a double-edged sword.
This trait runs in the family, and every bearer of the God Tongue suffers the same fate. They reach the apex of the culinary world too quickly, and they simply get bored of it all. They have seen and tasted the best food in the world, and they crave more but cannot get it. They get lost in “the storm,” and it can even drive them crazy. Even as a teenager, Mana Nakiri struggled with this, but enjoyed having Azami Nakiri try his best to please her with his own advanced cooking. Then Erina was born with the God Tongue, and Mana knew that Erina was fated for a grim and frustrating future in the culinary world. She left the household entirely, leaving Azami to decide what Erina’s future should be like. Senzaemon, Mana’s father and Erina’s grandfather, knew that he had to do something.
Erina’s Classmates Are Her Foundation
Senzaemon Nakiri reviewed the Nakiri family’s records to confirm the worst: that Erina was positioned to eventually face the same frustration and despair as her mother. As such, Senzaemon coordinated with Mana’s brother to prepare a plan B. Erina would indeed attend Totsuki and transfer there in middle school, defying the family’s tradition of raising their own chefs elsewhere. Customs couldn’t save Erina; they might actually make the problem worse. Instead, Senzaemon made sure that Totsukui would be an empowering, nourishing and uplifting place for Erina to blossom as a chef.
If enough talented and optimistic chefs Erina’s age could populate her class in Totsuki, Senzaemon argued, then Erina could use all her classmates as rocks upon which she could build her own culinary skills, and indeed, her entire future. She couldn’t become a great chef alone; friends and allies would make her stronger. To that end, Senzaemon sent his son to find talented chefs Erina’s age all over the globe, such as visiting Italy to get the Aldini brothers into Totsuki. Alice, Erina’s cousin, would be there too, along with Alice’s new friend, Ryo Kurokiba. The students of the Polar Star dormitory were on the list as well, and of course, the Nakiris turned to Joichiro Yukihira to ask him to send his son to Totsuki. Now the stage is set for Erina’s freedom from the God Tongue curse.
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