Megumi freaks out at Soma for challenging Jerkass Chef Shinomiya to a Shokugeki over her expulsion during the Training Camp. If Soma wins, Megumi's expulsion is rescinded. If Shinomiya wins, both Soma and Megumi are expelled. This is the first time we see Megumi well and truly angry - and then she breaks down into tears, asking him why he would take such a stupid risk. Soma first makes fun of her accent before saying that the reason why he stepped in should have been obvious.
Soma: You're not meant to drop out of here.
Before this, she tries to get Soma to back down, saying she was alright with the results. Soma turns to look at her, sees that she's on the verge of a breakdown, and in the next panel it's obvious that his Berserk Button is well and truly pushed.
The final program of the Hellish Training which Doujima Gin present after a strong speech: A dinner prepared by the former members of the Council of Ten Masters for the students' efforts for the past week.
Also doubling as a Moment of Awesome, the resolution of the Karaage Miniarc: They defeated Mozuya Karaage by making a quick team work to develop the Sumire Karaage Roll: Every neighbour provided packaging, hardware and ingredients, Mayumi (who by that point thought herself as The Load to Soma) made flyers and helped to manage the business with Tomita and Ikumi moved influences to provide the chicken meat on time.
Ikumi put aside all her plans (she wasn't busy, anyway) to rush and help Soma. Even thought Mayumi was also there and both noticed their crushes on Soma, they still stick around to help Soma save the neighbourhood.
We see more of Soma's relation to his neighbours: They still call him "Soma-chan" and go quickly to Yukihira's when it opened for the week. Soma was intending to just air it, but agreed to open the restaurant to the public for them, and Soma immediately takes the lead to save the economy of the district because he sees them all as part of his family.
Soma expresses to Mayumi that he always thought of her as The Reliable One. Before that, Mayumi thought that Soma barely noticed her at all.
The Fall Classic preliminaries are full of them, considering it's an excellent way to frame Character Development of multiple side characters
Though Ikumi grumbles at Konishi cheering her on from the bleachers, she blushes and thinks that he's acting like an excitable dad at a school event for his daughter.
Takumi comforting Isami after the latter messes up his recipe.
Takumi: Aldini will not be complete without the two of us.
Later when the final 4 are announced in Block B, it's not necessary any word, but Takumi's hand on Isami's shoulder is more expressive than any other panel in that page.
The fact that, even when most of the tastings are illustrated into surreal fanservice arts, Megumi's dishes get the cutest illustrations: Her roommates are happily eating her onigiris in the beautiful garden, Shinomiya gets a flashback to his childhood with his mom, and the judges (after been swept off their feet by Alice) get the best way to close the round: by seating around a table like a family. Indeed her care and kindness translates into her food.
Fumio looking on proudly as Megumi proves that she's not a dunce.
Fumio: "That's it. That's the way. You're a student from the Polar Star Dorm, whom this Daimidou Fumio admitted!"
Once the scores are written, Fumio goes up to Yuuki, who's smiling but obviously trying to hold it together. She congratulates Yuuki on doing as well as she did and promises to make her favorites for dinner.
After the Fall Classic preliminaries, the Polar Star gang have a party at Marui's room, also inviting Ikumi and the Aldini brothers. It's adorable seeing how they integrated to the friends group and interacting with the other guys.
Ikumi getting along very well with Yuuki as both are meat experts (Ikumi compliments Yuuki's wild game).
Takumi and Isami enjoying conversation with Ryoko and the two guys. With Takumi reaffirming his rivalry with Soma after some "rice juice" (althought he's really talking to himself aloud, Isami just handwaves this as normal).
In the same episode, Soma and Megumi have a talk in the balcony about how Soma has just discovered that the world is big and full of unknown ingredients and how he wants to get stronger, and Megumi tells him how she got stronger thanks to him. A pretty sweet moment that didn't need to become a romantic scene and how the two of them understand each other as equals.
Ryoko and Yuuki actually teasing an embarrassed Ikumi about her obvious crush on Soma.
And let's not forget Isshiki attending Ikumi, Takumi and Isami like guests by being natural (and by that we mean going full-Naked Apron mode, almost stating they're now part of the Polar Star True Companions circle).
Prior to the party, Yuuki comically starts crying when Fumio tells her how proud she is of all of them.
In chapter 61, Isshiki takes Soma and Megumi to an elementary cooking school, so they cover for the absent teacher. Not only Soma and Megumi cleverly gain the attention and admiration of the children, but they also displayed how well they work together.
Megumi also says that the key to make tastier dishes is to "think on someone you want to cook for", which is important for two reasons: That's the tip Soma didn't hear his father during their phone call, and also because Megumi realizes by this point she is starting to care more for Soma.
The flashback in chapter 65 to a young Soma interacting with an elderly woman that he sees as a grandmother figure. She starts experiencing hip pain so she can't walk to Yukihira, so the young Soma personally delivers a nori bento to her at home, using up his break time to deliver it. He left her instructions to take the nori off before eating the rice, and she finds a small image of Soma and herself etched in the rice, which reduces her to heartwarming tears after seeing it.
In Chapter 67, after Soma's win against Alice, Megumi congratulates Soma for the victory. Both have a little conversation, with Soma recognizing how Megumi has grown since their first meeting, when she couldn't stop staring nervously at the pot. They happily wish each other good luck on the following Shokugekis, showing how much their friendship has become closer.
Also the rest of the Polar Star residents (plus Ikumi and Isami) organize a cheer squad for Megumi, with Yuuki making paper fans with Megumi's name for everyone. Although they're all embarrassed from using them, even Shun and Ikumi agree to use the fans.
In Chapter 72, after the reveal that Ryou Kurokiba won, two jerks were about to mock Megumi as a loser once again, but instead the rest of the students, who until that match were proved slowly that Megumi is a very good chef, applauded her performance and showed how much respect for her they all have now. The two bullies had to keep quiet.
Also the remaining contestants have moments where they get even more determined to win for people they care about: Akira wants to win to make Jun proud, Takumi doesn't want to let Isami down, and Hisako wants to live up to Erina's standards.
Chapter 75 gives us two great ones:
Even when Soma reminded him of how Takumi's Badass Boast turned into an Epic Fail (when he declared they'd meet again in a challenge, only to sit together in the bus minutes later), to Takumi's embarrassment, Soma gave him back his boast by motivating him to win and settle their draw. Takumi's face of joy is heartwarming in many levels.
Right before their match, and after Takumi reveals he was highly aware of Subaru Mimasaka's intentions, Takumi gets angry once Subaru insults Isami, showing how much he cares about his brother, even though that's what his opponent is looking for.
In a minor moment for Erina's character, she genuinely misses Hisako when she left on a hiatus. Erina herself even said she didn't care about her defeat, but Hisako is as proud as Erina, not considering herself to be worthy of being by her side.
Not to mention how sweet and enthusiastically happy Erina is when she runs to the door to greet the arrival, thinking the caller is Hisako- It's actually Soma.
There are many moments where Akira demonstrates how high he has Jun in his life.
When Natsume Sendawara, considered "The Queen of Curry", offers him a high-paid job for her company, Akira flat out rejects it, by declaring "I only fight for Jun".
While he boasts and declares to others that he wants to take over the Council of Ten Masters, Akira is really more determined to win so Jun can be proud of him. Jun, already knowing this, tells him she already is, so he doesn't have to stress himself to win.
This motivation is what earned him victory over Kurokiba and Soma, and the manga spares no expense illustrating this at the end.
In Chapter 89 there're some of them:
After Soma defeats Subaru, all the knives are returned to their original owners. The girl who was said Subaru took her late mother's knife gave a big tearful thanks to Soma.
Even if you hate Subaru, you can't help feeling sorry for him when it's revealed that his nasty behaviour was originated by his father being neglectful towards him and practically abandoning him at Tootsuki.
When Subaru considers quitting cooking as well, Soma actually calls him out on this and encourages him to keep cooking and look forward, which even makes Subaru tearfully accept his defeat with grace. It's also crowned by a bit of Fan Disservice as well. The girls also point out the irony that Soma put in risk his own future as a chef in order to encourage others to keep trying.
Once everyone is done with getting their knives back, Takumi rejects his own Mezzaluna, declaring that he will earn it back on his own accord by defeating both Subaru and Soma in a proper Shokugeki.
In Chapter 96, after struggling for days to plan a strategy before the Finale, Soma sees Fumio-san drinking sake and loudly joking at a stressed out Soma. Soma then notices her snacks, which gives him an Eureka Moment and hugs Fumio-san while saying an excited "I love you, Fumio-san". She doesn't crack a joke about it and just smiles. One of many moments that show how much of a Team Mom she is for the residents.
We get more background on how Alice met Kurokiba and how he came to be her aide. She basically kept baiting him into shokugeki (using the lovestruck, normally hardened sailors/dockworkers as judges) and beat him repeatedly. When he finally wins for the first time, he looks surprised, then amused by her pouting at her first loss against him and calls her "Miss."
The roots of Akira and Jun's established relationship is shown fairly early on. But we get a particularly touching flashback in Chapter 103, detailing Akira's move to Japan and admission to the academy. Akira overhears Jun worriedly and tearfully confessing to a visitor that she feels that she is taking advantage of him, as Akira proves to be an amazing student and housekeeper for her. Akira never says anything to her, but his immediate mental response is that she never uses him at all. Instead, he mentally thanks her for giving him a purpose.
Akira: You're wrong, Jun. You found my worth and gave me a reason to live. The one who illuminated me was you.
Chapter 105 starts stating that the Fall Classic Tournament served also to make stronger bonds between the contestants.
Konishi notes happily that Ikumi has become more cheerful and nice after bonding with the Polaris girls, going very often to their place to have cooking practices.
Soma has also become Vitriolic Best Buds with Kurokiba and Hayama, since the guys at Polaris mention that Soma has been going a lot to Akira's place to have more debates on whether he did better or not than the other two.
Jun has also seem to have mellowed towards Soma, since she serves the boys snacks happily, considering that she first punched Soma after meeting him.
The Stagiaire arc - Megumi is paired on "Stagiaire" (restaurant internship) with Erina. One of the goals of stagiaire is to leave a positive, lasting impact on the restaurant you are assigned to. Erina, being Erina, completely dominates the kitchen, while Megumi meekly does the scut work assigned to newbies (dish washing). Megumi comes up with a solution to an issue but is unable to stand up to the overbearing head chef, until Erina shuts him up and gets Megumi to proffer her idea, which Erina publicly praises. Erina may be an arrogant, spoiled rich kid but she will recognize and acknowledge intelligence and competence.
At the end of the week, Erina offered Megumi a ride and had a very nice conversation together. Erina recognized Megumi's real talent to participate in the Fall Classic (and got angry when Megumi attributed this to Soma instead) and admitted to Megumi that she does miss Hisako.
She started the week still holding grudges against Soma (because of Erina's own dislike for him rather than her own) and shame for her defeat, not considering herself worthy of Erina's company. Right after their first day at work, Hisako was proven that she needed to step up and learn from Soma (and it's only thanks to him that she realized the true purpose of the Stagiaire Week, to make an impact on the business rather than just working there.)
After her and Soma's teamwork helped to reform and save Mitamura's Restaurant, Hisako finally opened up to Soma and told him how she really felt towards Erina: She never felt secure enough to think of herself as a real friend, but instead a servant, to her. Soma then encouraged her to be exactly that: Being by her side as an equal, not behind her. And with that said, Soma gave her the mangas he had to deliver to Erina so Hisako can have an excuse to see her again. Without any more hate towards Soma, Hisako can finally smile to him and thank him for the support.
Chapter 110: We meet some of Shinomiya's staff... who followed him from Paris to help him set up his Tokyo restaurant only to get worked to the bone finishing the last details of furnishing and fixing the building. But they still speak incredibly fondly of him.
Shinomiya's bond with his mother is explored twice:
First during his unofficial Shokugeki against Megumi and Soma. The dish, despite being made in a lower quality, managed to bring him to tears and remember how his mother cheered him up after the many fights he had as a child. This also helps to develop his Heel–Face Turn and regain kindness and a new goal in life.
Much later in chapter 113, when Shinomiya runs the test trials of SHINO's Tokyo, he reserves the whole restaurant to his friends, his teacher and, especially, his mother. When Soma asks him why he chose to pursue French Cuisine as his speciality, he recalled that it was because of his mother's influence. In spite of their humble lifestyle in the countryside, she saved up a lot of money to take him to a middle-class French Restaurant so they can celebrate his admission to Elementary School. Even though he thought his mother's cooking was as good, he was moved by her happiness when eating it, so he devoted himself into making food that will also make her smile. Not only did he succeed, but he also developed his own speciality based on his roots: by using legumes and tubers, which were considered in France as "lower class food", he also honoured his rural origins. Even though he didn't tell this to Soma, Shinomiya still encouraged him to make his own entry.
As the Tootsuki's Autumn Festival arc arrives, Soma challenged Terunori Kuga to a sales duel, and even though he is clearly in disadvantage, there're many people supporting him.
Mitsuru readily offered Soma to reserve him a page in the Festival brochure, as a way to support him and compensate for what happened during his Shokugeki against Subaru.
Ikumi wanting him to succeed, even saying that she would help his booth if she wasn't busy managing the Don RS. On the same page, Kanachi also noticed that Ikumi's charm had developed to the point of gathering a lot of new members for the club, all of them looking up to her.
In a more subtle way, Erina also helps Soma a bit by giving him feedback, even though she also wants him expelled. Unlike other times, she didn't charge him, but still gave him information about Kuga's specialty. Erina also notes that Hisako hasn't stepped up to shoo Soma away from her, and instead encouraged Erina to help him.
Megumi reveals that she declined to help at Isshiki's Polar Star booth and her RS post so she could help Soma. Soma welcomes her excitedly and regains confidence by having her help.
Miyoko Houjou gave Soma and Megumi advice about Chinese Cuisine in general not because she dislikes Kuga's emphasis on Sichuan Cuisine, but because she was inspired by Megumi's kindness to open herself and trust men again.
By the 4th day of the Festival, Soma gets more help:
Yuuya Tomita, one of Soma's neighbours, lends him the district's benches as a special favor, since he is still grateful for the help during the Karaage Wars Mini-arc.
Later, as Soma manages to bounce back and steal Kuga's clients, we have as the Sixth RangerSubaru Mimasaka. Taking in account that Soma forgave him for the events of the Fall Classic, it's nice to see that Soma considered to have him in his booth when nobody would, and Subaru readily helped him, even going with the effort of getting into Soma's character in benefit of the greater good.
Although Alice knew how to manipulate Jun into letting her take over the Shiomi Seminar booth, there's the fact that the argument that won Jun over was "I want to make memories of the Festival with my friend Akira". Jun actually sheds happiness tears while she thought "Akira finally has friends his age", like any mother would react.
After the results of the first day of sales were announced, Kanachi cried with joy when the Don RS placed 3rd in the main area, considering that his club was about to be eliminated a few months ago. And then the revelation that Soma, Megumi, Alice, Ryou and Akira landed on the bottom with red numbers, the reactions were as expected:
Erina took time to scold all of them because they were supposed to be Fall Classic finalists. Once Megumi started to cry and apologize, Erina quickly tried to calm her by reminding her that she was scolding the others as well, showing that Erina genuinely is considerate to Megumi.
Most of them are quick to call out Soma's care-free reaction to the results, like Takumi and Erina scolding him (and it seems that Erina also wants Soma to defeat Kuga), and Ikumi highlighting the fact that Megumi is in danger of being expelled as well, showing that she also cares for her new friend as well.
Chapter 129: The third member of Soma's stand - Mimasaka Subaru. It makes a LOT of sense why Soma recruits Mimasaka (namely, his replication ability} but given the latter's outcome in the Fall Classic, it's good to see that Soma is giving him a genuine chance at redemption.
Megumi's RS Club lend her lamps and decorations because they wanted to support her.
Althought he didn't say it, Subaru was motivated to help Soma because he felt he owed Soma big time for encouraging him not to quit cooking.
Ikumi, Takumi and Isami left their stands to their club members so they could help Soma defeat Kuga.
They all shared a group high-five once they managed to defeat Kuga as a team. Soma alone wouldn't have had a chance if it wasn't for all the help he got prior and during the whole Festival..
After all the nightmare fuel that is Erina's dad, a sudden interruption happens that immediately breaks all the tension, and, most notably, brings a big, hope filled smile to Hisako's face. The kind of smile that says "Thank God, everything's going to be all right now." The interruption in question? Soma, one of his stall's buns in hand, looking to try (re: mooch off of) Erina's booth. He's made quite the impression to get a response like that.
Gin and Jouichirou's friendship moment is seen in chapter 136. Gin's first reaction is to scold Jouichirou for not contact him oftenly, and the very next scene, the two are drinking together and remembering the good days, while also talking about Soma.
From Chapter 137:
Considering that Alice enjoys teasing both Erina and Hisako on regular basis, she got very upset when Hisako told her what happened with Azami, and her very first action is to climb to Erina's room and take her away so she can reunite with Hisako again.
Alice getting her cousin out of Azami's grasp cannot be understated. She is literally risking her hide (and immediate family) just to get Erina away from her abusive father. It speaks volumes just how much she really cares about Erina, all the way since their childhood, even though she likely believed that Erina didn't care about her in quite the same way, as Erina never responded to her letters (because Azami destroyed them).
Even thought she didn't want to go back to her father, Erina was ready to do so since she didn't want to get Alice, Ryou and Hisako in trouble.
Megumi, who at this point is only acquaintances with them, suddenly appears and offers them shelter at the Polar Star dorms.
Even thought Kuga has been complaining about Senzaemon making him do "superfluous protocol", his disgust at the rest of the Council is visible, to the point he started to skip and boycott the reunions. Rindou herselfnote despite voting for Azami still tries to be the Cool Big Sis, mentions that she misses Kuga's presence in the reunions and tries to invite Erina for lunch.
Soma expresses that he has no intention to interfere with Erina's family issues, but he is still determined to make her admit his cooking is good, which can also be interpreted as Soma not giving up on her.
While they were reluctant at first, the Polar Star Dorm members all welcome Erina with open arms after hearing about her Dark and Troubled Past. Yuuki even gives her an affectionate nickname, "Erinacchi". Even having her turn down Daigo's dish in her normal cold way doesn't dissuade trying to spend time with her. After how dark the previous chapters were, this is extremely cathartic to see.
While Erina still refuses to accept Soma or his cooking, Hisako notes the same thing Senzaemon did two chapters prior about how much Erina is slowly changing by her interactions with the rest of their generation. Soma then notes that Hisako herself has changed a lot too, even more from their time on the Stagiarie period together.
After being ordered to vacate the dorms, everyone is distraught by this, not because it is their living place, but because they consider the Polaris Dorm their home and family.
Megumi's first thought is to worry about Erina not having a place to hide anymore.
Soma reaffirms his Shokugeki against Eizan to protect his home, even knowing that the judges are corrupt. After Eizan accuses him of having a "ero complex", he denies this by stating that he is doing this for himself, but we all know he does care about his roommates.
In chapter 143, Eizan sent his gang members to vacate the Polaris Dorms in an attempt to break Soma. Fumio tells the guys to not fight back so they won't get expelled, but Megumi and the others decide to resist, since Soma is also fighting by himself. When they decide to resist despite the risk of expulsion, Fumio gives them the equipment and reveals that it came from the Golden Age, when the residents also defended the dorms, lead by Gin and Jouichirou, showing how the Golden Age is returning.
Chapter 147, when you think about it, is about Souma giving credit to his dish to Polar Star dorm that even manages to move the judges into his favor. And also the character development of Erina.
Chapter 149: The Polar Star's and Hisako's belief that Souma will save Tootsuki from Azami's regime. It shows how much they believe that Souma can change Tootsuki for the better.
On the same subject, Takumi, instead of scolding Soma like he would normally do, sympathizes with him and recognized that he would have done the same if it was his home in jeopardy.
The first thing that worries Soma is if Ikumi and Kanachi are having a Shokugeki, trying to call them with no avail. The same with Akira, Jun and Kuga.
Then, after Central members were mocking and berating the losing contestants (and even Momo, who referred those contestants as "lowlifes", was disgusted by them), Soma and Takumi blew discretion and went to the arena to confront one of them.
Another one comes for Takumi is him getting praises from Soma and the judges for standing up to the Central members and calling them out on their elitism. Considering how often Takumi makes a fool of himself every time he attempts to look cool in front of his rival, having Soma actually praise him is quite a nice touch for a change.
Chapter 160: Alice berates her uncle Azami in front of all of Venue D, telling him that she refuses to support his methods, and that she will never forgive him for what he did to Erina. The last first pages show that Erina heard every word. Earlier in the chapter, she wondered why Alice still cared about her after everything Erina had done to her. The last page has Alice noticing Erina, and then walk away, pouting about how if it wasn't for Azami, she and Erina would have been so much closer. A note on the side even states that despite their rivalry, Alice loves Erina very much.
Chapter 170: Any animosity that Erina harbored for Soma has officially gone out the window. Two chapters before, she tells him about how she met his father and how his cooking opened her eyes to how fun it could be. Ever since Azami came back into the picture, Erina has had an internal conflict on who's ideal of cooking she should abide by, her father's or Jouichiro's. Soma offers to make her a Yukihira styled dish to remind her of the feelings she felt when she ate Jouichiro's dish for the first time. Knowing full well how Soma cooks, she's left in awe at how he could make such amazing dishes with such common ingredients and Soma gives the same answer he did when he beat Eizan; that saying there's one right way of doing something will never produce amazing results and that its the fun of not knowing how things will turn out that makes it worthwhile. That is the same exact reason Jouichiro gave to Erina when she tried his dishes for the first time and helps her remember why she wanted to cook in the first place. All of this moves Erina to tears as she happily finishes Soma's dish as the latter looks on with a gentle smile.
There's also the smile on Soma's face as he walks away. Not his usual wide, cocky grin, but a small contented smile, satisfied in the knowledge that he's just made someone very happy.
Chapter 171: After regaining her spirits Erina decides to immediately spring to action against her father regime. To that effect she gather the PSD residents who at that point are extremely downtrodden after finding out that Central plans to use Promotion Exams as an excuse to get rid of all the dissidents, chastises them for giving up and tells them that as long as they are willing to try, she will help them get past the exams. This causes them to regain their resolve. When Souma compliments her on this, Erina says that she wants to pay back the PSD residents kindness.
Doubles as a Moment of Awesome, since this is the first time we see Erina exert control for herself, not just relying on others but deciding on her own how cuisine should be.
Chapter 178: When Erina decides to walk around the part in their spare time, Megumi, Ikumi and Isami go with her. This results in some heartwarming moments:
Megumi offers Erina her support even for small things like tea or new romance manga. Then Erina realizes that Megumi was the one who lent her the volumes and thanked her for them. When Soma and Takumi appeared and invited them for dinner, she finally starts to view the city different now that she has real friends with her to enjoy it.
A small moment that also doubles as funny is Hisako trusting Megumi to go with Erina. Considering that Hisako is mostly paranoid about everyone and overprotective of Erina (even to the point of searching Alice for weapons -as in Erina's own cousin-) and a few hours ago she even tasted Megumi's tea in case it was poisoned, it says a lot about how Hisako is slowly trusting them as part of their group.