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.
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.
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.
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.
All guys who have ever had a girlfriend or wife knows this feeling (see below)
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.
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.
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 made her
What she thinks
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.
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.
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.