This episode is interesting because it sets up a conflict that will continue for all of Morimoto's tenure as an Iron Chef. Morimoto is hailed as an innovator. He's the rebel, the chef who stretches the boundaries of Japanese cuisine. The challenger is the exact opposite. He's a man whose family has a well-established tradition in Japan's food scene. He knows the value of tradition, and his recipes reflect the respect he feels for Japan's long culinary history. This theme will replay itself time and time again in Morimoto battles.
The secondary theme of the episode is that of Boys' Festival. This is a holiday dedicated to the successful development of young warriors. It's a perfect theme for this episode because the competitors invite comparisons to Samurai warriors.
In the end, Morimoto's strength is also his downfall. In past episodes, judges have been awed by the Iron Chef's creative uses of the theme ingredient. They've been dazzled by how far he's willing to go. This time he goes a step too far. His "Kid's Plate" is both bizarre and unappetizing to even the most adventurous eater. He drowns bamboo shoot spaghetti in ketchup. If that's not disgusting enough, he stuffs the "spaghetti" into a hot dog bun. The judges are confused and don't like the amateurish offering. In a battle this close, one dish that bombs so horribly is all that is needed to secure the victory for the challenger.
Overall, this is a fun episode to watch because it involves an exotic ingredient. None of the dishes are so disgusting that you lose your appetite, but they are different enough that you don't feel you are watching a traditional cooking show.