Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

A loving feeling has been born 

       Well, this episode picks up at the end of summer break with Sawako continuing her life motto of “one good deed a day”, and Sawako still seems to have a frighting affect on other students. When Sawako gets to class, she’s soaking wet because she left her umbrella to cover an abandoned puppy, and when Kazehaya notices this he asks Sawako if she has a spare gym uniform, no. So, Kazehaya asks Yoshida if she has a spare, so she loans Sadako one that’s buried at the bottom of her locker, and Kazehaya loans her his towel. Sawako is very happy that her classmates would care enough to loan her things.

they're still scared of her

Kazehaya talking with Sawakoyes, I have oneKazehaya, Sawako, and the towel

I'm so happy about this

       Later, one of Kazehaya’s friends tells him he’s being too kind worrying about Sadako since he rejected her, and Kazehaya tells him he didn’t reject her. So, you agreed to go out with her? No, it’s not like that. Then we see a further flashback of Sawako and Kazehaya’s roadside conversation and what she told him. Later, we see that Sawako has left drinks on Yano, Yoshida, and Kazehaya’s desk in return for being kind to her. Then Kazehaya tracks her down and asks if she left him the drink, yes. I’m glad it was you, and I was worried that it was someone else. Once Sawako and Kazehaya get talking they both find out that they both left items for the puppy by the river.

You dumped her didn't youdrinks for the girlsa drink for Kazehaya

I'm glad it was you

       After school, Sawako and Kazehaya head back to the river, and find the puppy and their stuff still there. Kazehaya asks if he can keep the puppy, and it takes a liking to him right away, but it has hostility towards Sawako. She tells Kazehaya that it’s OK, she’s used to kids and animals not liking her. Well, Kazehaya tells her that he heard that dogs will like their owners friends, so he’ll like her because they’re close friends. As Kazehaya is about to leave, Sawako asks if she can see the dog again, and Kazehaya says only the dog and not me? Of course I want to see you again. Then Kazehaya says it’s OK.

Look we're close friends 

       The next day, at school, Sawako has brought some homemade treats to give to Yano, Yoshida, and Kazehaya but she starts to get nervous about the gift. After she talks with Kazehaya, she gets up to leave and two new girls come into the class and talk about not wanting to be near Sadako’s seat, and she overhears them talking about her. In her mind, Sawako tells the girls it’s OK it’s not dirty, and that she doesn’t have that kind of powers, but only in her mind. Then we see that Yoshida has taken in the whole scene and is looking at Sadako intensely.

if you sit there nothing will happen

watching the whole scene 

       Then comes the big announcement from the teacher, it’s time for a new seating chart, so he tells the class to figure it out on their own. Well, the kids draw numbers for their seats and most of the class wishes to be nowhere near Sadako and she can hear all their talk. So, when Kazehaya sees that no one wants to be by Sawako’s he asks another guy for the seat next to her, and he’s soon joined by Yano and Yoshida. Then Sawako offers the homemade treats to the three of them for their help yesterday. Kazehaya thinks her snacks taste great, and Yano and Yoshida also like them. Hell, even the boy sitting behind Sadako has a go at her treats.

don't let me sit next to herSadako drew a #3don't get #19

I can here everything

I'm next to Sawakodid you bake thosethe new group

I'm so happy

       After school, Kazehaya sees Sawako walking home, so he rides up to her on his bike and they talk for awhile while three other girls see this happening. One girls comments that she thought that Kazehaya had rejected her, one girls says she’s been seeing them together a lot, and the last girl just watches the scene. After Kazehaya rides off, Sawako thinks to herself that her feelings of respect and admiration for Kazehaya are still there, but she thinks that maybe the feeling of love has entered the picture. Well, that’s all for this episode.

have they been together a lot

Kazehaya's smiling face

       Well, It was very interesting watching Sawako/Sadako begin the process of opening up to her fellow classmates, and while she experiences some successes she also experiences some failures. Sawako continues try and follow Kazehaya’s advice of telling people how she feels and to make herself clear. She fails when it comes to the two girls who where talking about her in the classroom, but I do have to say that as Sawako/Sadako is slowly trying to integrate herself in greater school society other students are starting to notice who she spends time with. Also, it seems that Sawako/Sadako has won over Yano, and Yoshida with her forthrightness from the other episode, and her acts of thanks from this episode.

      It was also interesting to see that not all of the students other than Kazehaya, Yano, and Yoshida buy into the Sadako curse. I really liked it when Ryuu refused to change seats with Yoshida (he was sitting right behind Sadako) he either didn’t care that he’s sitting by Sadako, or he doesn’t buy into all the rumors surrounding her, and he even joined in by eating some of Sadako’s treats. What’s really interesting about the students that chose to show support for Sawako/Sadako is that they seem for the most part to be members of the social elite.

       One of the affects of Sawako opening up herself to other also makes their rejection more painful than ever, while she tells Kazehaya that she’s used to rejection it clearly pains her more than ever when others say mean things to her. I also like the fact that Kazehaya is not completely perfect, because while he’s quite smitten with Sawako, he’s just as shy about telling her these things as she was of telling other people how she feels.

      In closing, it was pretty cool watching Sawako come to the conclusion that she now has feelings of love for Kazehaya, wow it only took 2 episodes. But, one thing that Sawako will quickly discover is that loving a prince comes with its own risks, I can almost hear the sound of daggers being drawn from their sheaths.  

I want to make cakes like granny 

       Well, this series begins with 2nd year middle school student Ichigo rushing to dressed while her family is waiting downstairs for her. After falling down the stairs (seems pretty normal for her), she and her family get into the car to head for a piano competition that her younger sister Natsume will be competing in. Ichigo tells us that she’s not a good student, not good at sports, she also says she has no good qualities, and she even wonders why she and her sister are so different.

Ichigo fallingIchigo AmanoNatsume Amano

I have no good qualities 

        When it’s Natsume’s turn to perform, Ichigo notices that Natsume is really nervous and freezing up so she shouts out to her in an inappropriate way, but it breaks the ice and snaps her out of her frozen state. Natsume delivers the winning performance, and when Natsume’s getting her trophy Ichigo has a flashback to her younger days.

Natsume freezing upJust play and winNatsume winning the prize

Ichigo watching her sister

      In her flashback Ichigo’s crying next to a river, and her grandmother walks up to her and offers her a cake and tells her that one taste will work its magic on her. After Ichigo has one bite of her grandmother’s cake she cheers up and agrees that it’s magic.

Ichigo and her grandmothers cake

You'll smile after one bite

         Then we see Ichigo crossing a street and she wonders why everyone smells so sweet? Well, the smell is coming from a sweets festival, and Ichigo is drawn to the display and she soon has her tray full. But, Ichigo is soon depressed because she forgot her wallet at home until her family manages to track her down and dad offers to pay.

 I forgot my walletWhy so sad Ichigono money no eats

Sweet dad's paying

All guys who have ever had a girlfriend or wife knows this feeling (see below)

the great wallet drain

        While Ichigo is pigging out on the treats, Natsume sits with her and thanks her for shouting out and freeing her up when she was on stage.  As Ichigo is tasting all the treats, one of the treats flavor stops her from eating and she gets up and heads over to find where it came from. When Ichigo finds the right table, a cute foreign guy asks her if anything is wrong with his cake? No, Ichigo tells him that this cake tastes a lot like one her grandmother used to make for her, he seems shocked. The cute guy is named Henri Lucas and he is a lecturer from the St. Marie Academy.

This tastes like my grandmother's cake 

        Well, they start talking, and we find out that Ichigo’s grandmother attended the very same academy and shocked her instructors with her creations, and we also learn that Henri is the great grandson of the founder of St. Marie Academy. Well, Henri tells Ichigo that the reason why her grandmother’s cake and his taste almost the same is because they both learned at the same school. Henri goes on to praise Ichigo amazing sense of taste and he tells her she’ll be the first to taste his newest creation. Ichigo is in heaven because this is the first time she’s ever been praised by anyone, let alone a cute guy.

did your grandmother go to ParisI went to paris to bakeyou grandmother was great

your taste is amazing

I'm being praised

       So, Henri whips up a creation right in front of Ichigo and when she tastes his creation in her minds eye she describes his creation to a T, including its name “first love”. Henri again praises Ichigo’s tremendous sense of taste, and Ichigo is happy she’s being praised again. Henri invites Ichigo to attend the St. Marie Academy because she’s got talent, and Ichigo has another flashback remembering that she wanted to be a Patissiere like her grandmother. After a few seconds of thinking Ichigo agrees to enroll at the St. Marie Academy.

What he makes her

What he made her

what she thinks #1

What she thinks #2

What she thinks

What he gets

What he gets 

       When Ichigo tells her family that she wants to transfer to the St. Marie Academy her father and her family are shocked. While she wouldn’t be studying in Paris, the school has a branch in Japan, she would have to board at the school. Her father is against this mentionong her clumsy and scattered brained nature (don’t crush my girl’s dreams), Ichigo’s mother says that maybe her grandmother’s genes are awaking in her. Well, daddy is still against it, but Ichigo insists that she wants to make wonderful treats like granny, mom tells Ichigo to go for it and tells dad that his daughter is about to walk down her own path.

I want to go to St. Marie'syou're to clumsyHenri says I have talent

Grandmother's genes might be waking up

       Ichigo’s mother tells Ichigo that she’s sorry for always concentrating on her sister Natsume and leaving her to fend for herself, and she’s glad she found her dream. Dad still says no, but mom pulls out some new golf clubs that dad bought and lays a guilt trip on him by says how can you refuse your daughter when you buy new golf clubs and your so bad at golfing, dad caves in and says yes. Later that night, Ichigo e-mails Henri telling him she’ll be able to attend St. Marie Academy. Well, that’s all for this episode.

I made you feel lonely

you've found your dream

I'll let her go

      OK, since Yumeiro Patissieri a shojo anime aimed at girls from about 8-13 let me go down my check list to see if they hit all the right points for this type of show.

#1 The main heroine is slightly clumsy and feels a little inadequate, Check

#2 The main heroine is extremely cute, Check

#3 The main heroine finds her goal which usually involves making people happy, Check

#4 The main heroine is extremely cute, Check

#5 The main heroine will be surrounded by one or more cute teen aged boys who will be older than the girl (a sort of prince figure) giving the “princess” something to yearn for, Check

#6 The beautiful boys will never ever come close to tasting the “cake”, no matter how much the girl dreams of this, Check

#7 The main heroine is extremely cute, Check

#8 The main heroine will experience trials and tribulations in which her inner strength will shine through and show off her best qualities to those around her, Check

#9 By the end of the series, the main heroine will be well on her way to achieving her dream, and in the process will have gained many new friends and have found a sense of self-worth, Check

#10 Did I mention that the main heroine will be extremely cute, Check

      OK, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, here’s the deal with this type of series. In a series like Yumeiro Patissiere that’s geared to tween and young teen girls you get wish/dream fulfillment where Ichigo represents the normal insecurities of the girls watching the series; Ichigo feels not exceptional in any way, and even feels she has no redeeming traits, I think she represents how most young of that age feel. Ichigo, for all her feelings of inadequacies has a kind and gentle heart (don’t all girls think this) and it just takes the right situation for others around her to see this. Now, the Henri character represents the “prince” in the common “princess” storyline, all young girls dream of being a princess and you need a prince to see and cherish the princess for what she is, and since this is a shojo geared towards young girls your prince will be a object of longing and desire but in an non-sexual way unlike some of the more predatory types of guy that float around in shojo geared towards older teens. So, by the end of Yumeiro Patissiere, Ichigo will have worked hard and have gained self-worth, gained self-confidence, and earned the friendship of others and maybe a kiss on the cheek. I love a good shojo anime, and if this series keeps to the tried and true path of the genre I’ll love this series too.