Kid friendly anime


        This episode picks up with Ichigo walking through the doorway and hoping she’s in the all correct room, and she soon finds the princes waiting for her. As Ichigo begins to celebrate with the princes a group of older boys push their way through pushing Ichigo to the ground then they tell the princes that they’re going down.

        Soon, the Chairman takes the stage and congratulates the sixteen passing teams (ten- 3rd years, five- 2nd years, and one- 1st year). The Chairman then explains the first task, each group will have each member bake a different pound cake with the theme of family, and each group will be judged as a whole on good their cakes are, and how well they fit with the theme of family. The chairman then draws the pairings, and Team Ichigo (the boys’ name choice) gets paired against the team of rude third year boys. When Ichigo sets forward and goes to shake the hand of the other captain he makes rude comments and tries to crush our sweetheart’s hand, pissing off the princes, game on.

        The boys have done some research on the other team by locating samples of their cakes, and all four of them taste pretty good. They decide that Ichigo will make a (shock) strawberry cake, Andou will make a green tea cake, Kashino will make a chocolate cake (no kidding), and Hanabusa will make a rose flavored cake.

The bad guys’ cake.

Team Ichigo’s cake.

        Once they get down to practicing, Ichigo, Andou, and Kashino’s cakes turn out just fine but Hanabusa can’t get his idea of a rose cake to work. The others try to ask Hanabusa why he’s so obsessed with roses, but he doesn’t say anything. The group has another encounter with the rude team of third years where they insult to other boys, and Ichigo shows a little flash of that infamous redheaded temper (it does exist, my sister is a redhead) by almost cracking the leader upside the head with a pan.

 

        After this incident, Hanabusa needs some alone time so he heads off to think. Later, Café comes back to the group and says that Hanabusa even sent him away. Well, Ichigo tells the boys she’s going to talk with him because they’re friends. Andou and Kashino talk, and say they never bothered to ask Hanabusa even though they’ve know him longer than Ichigo and they’re supposed to be friends, so they start to follow Ichigo.

        Ichigo and Hanabusa have a nice talk about how his father was a rose grower, and his mother was a flowerer arranger who also loved to bake sweets. Hanabusa grew up surrounded by love, roses, and sweets and he vowed to someday become a great maker of sweets and someday create a rose cake. Then a few years ago his father when returning from a job in Paris he booked an earlier flight, and on his way to the airport he got into an accident and was killed. So, all Hanabusa has left of his father is the bottle of natural damask rose water, and he also tells Ichigo that’s when he became nicer to girls and women. So, you’re not just a plain old narcissist. Well, Andou and Kashino were also listening and they come out of hiding, and all three of them vow to help Hanabusa create his rose cake.

        When they head back to the practice kitchen all their attempts at a rose cake end in utter failure, and Hanabusa again walks out to be alone. Then Ichigo and the princes spot Hanabusa standing by the lake. Hanabusa thinks to himself that he’s never had a good memory of the rose water, and that maybe even his father might be alive if not for the water. Hanabusa reaches back and throws the bottle towards the lake, Ichigo screams Noooooooooooooo, and makes a flying leap to reach the bottle before it goes into the lake, and……? Cliffhanger time, that’s all for this episode.

After the episode finishes we get a little live action skit featuring two little girls showing us how to make some simple homemade Valentine’s Day treats.

       Well, after watching several episodes featuring the back stories of Ichigo, Andou, and Kashino it was only a matter of time before we had to get Hanabusa’s back story. By far, Hanabusa’s back story is the most emotional and the saddest, while his youth was wrapped in love, sweets, and roses those memories of roses seems to bring him pain (maybe he needs to remember love more than the sadness), and Ichigo just the girl to help him remember the love.

        Hanabusa needs to understand that a child’s dream in many ways becomes the dream of their parents; a parent wants their child to be happy and smile. So, I’m sure that Hanabusa’s father would want him to achieve his dream and smile. I don’t know how Ichigo is going to help Hanabusa remember the love, maybe his mother will help, or maybe his friends will help, but remember he will because that’s Ichigo’s real magical power.

         The holidays are finally over and all the students have returned to the school. The school’s cake grand prix is about 15 days away, so the princes tell Ichigo that she’ll have to undergo intensive training before the contest starts.

        Meanwhile, we see the school’s staff discussing how this year the number of middle school teams that have applied has skyrocketed. They discuss how the number is unmanageable given the allotted time, so one of the teachers suggests that they give a pliminary test to separate the teams that actually have a chance of winning from those who don’t.  As this is going on, the three princes begin Ichigo’s intensive training program, Kashino starts Ichigo off with physical fitness training; pushups, sit ups, and running. Then Andou continues Ichigo’s training on the science of cooking & baking, and Hanabusa teaches Ichigo French.

       Day after day Ichigo continues her basic training with all three of the boys pounding as much of their baking knowledge and skill into Ichigo as possible, and she’s showing signs of improvement.

 

        One night Ichigo decides to go to the kitchen by herself for some addition self-practice and she begins to melt down because she can’t seem to remember what she was just taught. All the sweet spirits show up to lend Ichigo their knowledge and help, but Ichigo is overwhelmed and tells them she’s not a genius like  President Tennouji and the others and they’re just wasting their time on her.

        Vanilla calls Ichigo over to her and tells her to have a look. When Ichigo looks where Vanilla is pointing she sees President Tennouji is also working late into the night. President Tennouji notices Ichigo and calls her over, and she asks Ichigo about her physical fitness training and tells her that developing good stamina is part of the job. Then she notices Ichigo’s worn out and bruised hands and tells her that she’s beginning to develop the hands of a first class patisserie. Tennouji goes on to tell Ichigo that it’s possible that they might meet in the finals, and she looks forward to the match. Later, Tennouji tells Honey that this year’s cake grand prix is going to be very interesting.

         Well, President Tennouji’s words and Ichigo seeing that even that best have to work hard rejuvenates Ichigo and she dedicates herself to training  even harder than before.  When the big day finally arrives, all the students are told about the pre-selection test, and no one is worried until they hear the terms of the test. All students will take an individual skill test, and if one student fails their entire team fails and will be eliminated from the competition. Ichigo’s is really nervous but the princes tell her that they’ve taught her enough skills that that she should easily pass any basic skills test, as long as she doesn’t do anything stupid.

 

        When Ichigo’s number is called she heads off into the unknown, and enters a room (the tasting room) that has a piece of cake sitting on a little plate. Ichigo wolfs the cake down and heads to the next room where she realizes how bad she screwed up. The next room has three sticks of butter on the table and a card asking which butter (A, B, or C) was used in the cake. Then Ichigo sees three doors each with having a letter on them that corresponds to a stick of butter, and she then understands that she made a stupid mistake when she just wolfed down the cake; she hadn’t bothered to use her tremendous natural sense of taste, and now she’s screwed. But, all of Ichigo’s training with the princes finally pays off; she’s able to remember all the baking basics they pounded into her and answers the question correctly. After Ichigo navigates the two next rooms involving milk and sugar she makes it to the final room of the test involving flour.

        Just as Ichigo is working out the final challenge, the school’s PA system tells her she only has one minute left to finish the test. As time is running out, Ichigo mixes water with the flour to test the firmness of the dough. Inside the “all correct” room, the princes nervously wonder if Ichigo will make it out in time. As the final countdown has commenced, Ichigo makes her choice and heads to that door hoping she is correct, and Ichigo has……Well, cliff hanger time, that’s all for this episode.

       Well, with this episode, I think Ichigo finally realizes how hard she’ll have to work to become a truly skilled Patisserie. In the beginning of the series we discovered that Ichigo was born with a tremendous sense of taste, and this ability has served Ichigo well throughout the series, until now. Ichigo being her normal rush forward without really thinking self rendered her natural talent useless. If Ichigo had saved her sample of cake she probably could have just sampled a little bit of the cake at each test station and quickly made it through the test but now she had to rely on knowledge earned through hard work rather than talent earned through grace.

       In Philip Pullman’s, His Dark Materials book trilogy one of the main characters, Lyra Belacqua has obtained the ability to read a device through grace and by the end of the series Lyra loses that ability.  Later, Lyra is told that she can regain that ability through hard work and sweat, but once she regains the ability her readings will be even better than before because she’ll have a full understanding of the task, and she’ll now have certainty and the skill will never leave her.

       So, when Ichigo’s god given talent fails her she was able to rely the knowledge that she earned through hard work and practice; Ichigo was able (I assume) to pass the test  using her brain rather than her intuition.

For further reading about the differences between innocence & experience, and skills obtained through natural grace and skill earned through hard work see, On the Marionette Theatre by Heinrich von Kleist, 1810.

        This episode begins on New Year’s Eve with Ichigo saying goodbye to the princes, they’re heading home while Ichigo is staying at the school. Ichigo stayed behind to practice her cooking skills with Vanilla, but Ichigo gets disappointed when Vanilla tells her she has to leave for the Sweets Kingdom. So, Vanilla asks Ichigo if she wants to come along for a visit. Hell, yes. Vanilla uses her sweets magic to transform Ichigo into a sweets fairy sans wings, and bring her through the oven entrance to the Sweets Kingdom.

 

        After traveling though a dark tunnel, Ichigo and Vanilla end up on a train filled with sweets spirits taking them to the Sweets Kingdom.  During the train ride Ichigo sees a chocolate waterfall and a river of candy, and we find out that there are several portals to the Sweets Kingdom located around the school, and after passing the portal you end up on the train. Ichigo and Vanilla are soon joined by the other three spirits, and we find out that Vanilla wasn’t supposed to bring Ichigo there without permission from the queen, bad Vanilla.

 

        Well, Ichigo finds out that tonight is the biggest festival of the year for the Sweets Kingdom (Py N Year Festival), and it’s the responsibility of the spirits to gather ingredients and make a giant sweet for the festival. Ichigo want to help but they only allow her to carry the ingredients they gather, a human can’t help with the cooking.

 

        While gathering ingredients from the nearby forest Ichigo sees all sorts of wonderful things like Marzipan fruit trees, Bananas that have chocolate inside them, a coffee tree, cabbages that have vanilla inside them, and many other wondrous things. As the group is heading back to the castle poor Ichigo is netted by three rouge sweets spirits (Kasshy, Andy, and Narcy; just try to guess who Narcy is). The other spirits call them the “dropout trio” but they refer to themselves as the evil gang and they want the stuff Ichigo is carrying. What’s really funny is that each of the rouge spirits looks and acts strikingly like each of the princes.

       Chocolat has had enough and tries to take Ichigo back using force, but the Kasshy uses a chocolate bomb to hold them off. At that moment, Honey happens upon the scene and tells Vanilla to come with her after the evil gang and she sends the other three back to the castle.

 

        Well, soon Ichigo is freed from the netting because it breaks as they’re dragging her along the ground, and Honey and Vanilla catch with them. Honey chews out the boys telling them if they want to start attending school again, and get their real magical spoons back she’ll recommend them to the queen. The only response Honey gets from the boys is that they call her Honey-pig as they run off into the woods. Vanilla pulls a fast one on Honey by fooling her into believing that Ichigo is a new sweets spirit called Fraise, and Honey sends Vanilla and Fraise back to the castle.

 

        Once they get back to the castle Vanilla makes some candy wings for Ichigo so she’ll fit in. Soon, Vanilla is dragged off to help with the preparation so Ichigo heads off to explore the city while they work on the big project for the festival.  

        While exploring the village, Ichigo spots Kasshy and decides to follow him, and while trailing him though the forest Ichigo falls down a “rabbit hole”.  Ichigo/Alice then appears to be back in the forest even though she’s sure she fell down though a hole. Then Ichigo meets a masked sweets spirit who seems to be very old and she give Ichigo a dirty spirit spoon and tells her that this will unlocked her future. The masked spirit then directs Ichigo to a glowing road and tells her that will lead her to the spirit she’s seeking.

 

        Ichigo soon stumbles upon the evil gang and gets discovered as they’re making their plans to interrupt the big festival. After tasting some of their snacks, Ichigo asks them why they’re not in school, and she tells Kasshy that she sure the queen would forgive them if he gave her some of his wonderful cookies. Later, Ichigo learns that they got kicked out of school and lost their magical spoons for cheating during a sweets contest.

 

        As the sweets spirits are putting the final touches on the giant chocolate castle Ichigo makes it back to the main castle. Just as Vanilla is greeting Ichigo, the evil gang appears driving a giant monster like creation made out of sweets to ruin the festival. Well, Ichigo steps into the path of the machine, and the gang tries to stop the machine, but it crashes into Ichigo and the chocolate castle causing a giant mess to be made.

 

        As the queen looks down on the whole mess, she picks up a piece of the evil gang’s creation and gives it a taste. The queen eventually smiles and grants the evil gang their magical spoons back. Honey says that the queen has accepted their cookies, and tells the other spirits to begin the festival. 

        As fireworks go off over the queen’s castle we switch scenes to see Ichigo lying in her bed bathed by moonlight, and we see the old spoon resting on her nightstand. Well, that’s all for this episode.

 

        Well, this was a very sweet episode, pardon the bad pun. Was it a dream or a reality, or maybe a bit of both? Hell, who really cares, I’ll I know is that Ichigo received something very important.  I believe that Ichigo really did travel to the Sweets Kingdom with Vanilla and experienced all those nice adventures along the way. It was very funny how each one of members of the evil gang’s personalities matched one of the princes’ personalities to a tee, and Hanabusa’s avatar (Narcy) in the Sweets kingdom was especially funny.  I think that the whole purpose of this episode was for Ichigo to meet up the old sweets spirit because I get the strong feeling that the “old crone” was Ichigo’s grandmother’s sweet spirit. Following this line of thought, I’m beginning to feel that once a sweets spirit makes a bond with a human it’s forever, so I think the reason the old sweets spirit was wearing a mask was to symbolize the loss of her human partner. I think that Ichigo’s grandmother’s sweets spirit gave Ichigo the dirty spoon and we’ll find out that the spoon unlocks the magical recipe book that was given to Ichigo. 

        At the end of the episode it was strongly suggested that Ichigo’s group will win the first round of the grand prix and will be competing against the President of the student council and her sweets spirit, Honey, for the right to go to Paris. While this competition will be very exciting I can’t imagine Ichigo and the boys being able to defeat Honey and her vastly more experienced human partner, besides Ichigo can’t go to Paris chasing after Henri, she has to be with her tsundere pretty boy Kashino.

       Oh, by the way, the sweets spirit version of Ichigo was so extremely cute that it almost gave me diabetes. Also, I would have loved to have been the dorm supervisor over the holidays, we could have made some beautiful strawberry cake, and I know it would have tasted wonderful.

       Episode 11 begins with Ichigo asking the princes about how they met, and how they must have gotten along from the start. Not quite, it seems that Hanabusa and Kashino hated each other when they first met. Well, when Andou and Kashino first arrived at the school Kashino says everyone is his rival and he’s going to be the best, he even mocks the notion of sweets spirits and tells the statue he’s going to be the best.

 

       Enter Hanabusa, who appears from behind the statue telling Kashino that it’s not going to be that easy. Then Hanabusa starts passing out flowers to the girls and Kashino says he doesn’t need friends, especially someone like him. When Kashino gets to his room he finds out that Hanabusa is his roommate, the sparks begin to fly, and it gets so bad that they have to mark a line down the middle of the room.

 

       Well, when class first starts, the instructor places the three best students in group A who happens to be Andou, Kashino, and Hanabusa. The girls go gaga over the boys and the name “the princes of sweets” is born. But, Kashino and Hanabusa soon start fighting getting the whole group in trouble and they are banned from the practice kitchen for three days.

 

       Later, Kashino and Hanabusa continue to argue and Kashino decides to go to the practice kitchen anyways. Inside the practice kitchen they continue to argue and soon Café appears before Hanabusa, Caramel before Andou, and Chocolate before Kashino. Everyone except Kashino accepts their sweet spirit; he says he doesn’t need a partner. Soon, the boys are caught in the kitchen and banned from dinner, confined to their rooms, and banned from class for three days.

 

       Back in their rooms, Caramel gets frightened by a gift from Andou’s brother and flees into the forest surrounding the school. Andou gives chase to caramel, and Kashino is about to follow when Hanabusa says if he gets caught he’ll be expelled, if you go you’re a fool. Kashino says I guess I’m a fool and heads off after Andou and Caramel.

 

       Andou saves Caramel from a spider in the nick of time, but he falls down a steep slope and injures his ankle. Kashino and Chocolate have an argument about him not accepting her as a partner but gives in when she won’t leave him. Darkness falls before Kashino and Chocolate find Andou and Caramel when Andou uses a childhood signal he and Kashino used to share.

 

       Kashino ties a vine to a tree and has Andou hop on his back while he pulls Andou up the steep slope, and as they’re almost to the top the vine snaps. Before Kashino and Andou falls back down the drop Hanabusa grabs Kashino’s arm and pulls them to safety. Kashino asks Hanabusa why he came, and Hanabusa tells him that a fool who’s willing to get expelled to save a friend and a person who’s willing to rescue a sweet spirit are beautiful.

 

      Well, as they make their way back to the dorm they get caught by the Chairman but he doesn’t really care, and he suggests that the practice kitchen is open. Inside the kitchen the boys start to get along better and make Madeleines together. As soon as the boys share each other’s Madeleines they opened their hearts up and became friends. After the story is finished, Ichigo shares her strawberry flavored Madeleines with the boys.

 

       Episode 12 begins with Henri reading a letter from Ichigo telling him about her experience of making Christmas cakes for charity. Flashback to Christmas Eve and we see that the sweets spirits have departed to the sweets kingdom for their own Christmas party leaving group A to create wonderful treats on their own. Ichigo has created a Croquembouche and she tells the boys about the time her grandmother made one for her and explained what a Christmas cake is and what a Croquembouche is. Just as Ichigo is about to show it to the teacher she slips on a banana peel that the jealous girls put in her path, the giant cake is ruined.

       Well, there’s no time for Ichigo to recreate her masterpiece so the princes help her made a basic Christmas cake. When the kids unveil their cakes to the public every student but Ichigo manages to sell their cakes, Ichigo didn’t have enough time to remake a nice one. Eventually, a man buys Ichigo’s cake and tells her to also donate the change to charity; Kashino says he thinks he’s seen that man before.

 

       After the students donate their earnings to the charity they have some time to kill before the school’s Christmas party and while walking around they see the guy who bought Ichigo’s cake looking sad. When Ichigo asks him if something was wrong with the cake he tells them he didn’t have to courage to give the cake. Kashino goes into shock when he realizes that the guy is Yousuke from the Miles Jarrett Quintet from New York City.

 

       Well, Ichigo asks him about his courage problem, and he tells them that there was a woman he lived with and seven years ago he tossed her to the side and left for New York. He got invited to play on stage with the Miles group and they were so impressed with his talent they invited him to join the band and come to New York with them. So, he ditched Mariko and left for New York with the band, but during the last seven years he never forgot Mariko, and now the group has returned to Japan after seven years.

 

       Kashino tells him that no matter what’s happened he should go see her, and that he’s sure that he can handle this. Ichigo also tells him he should find her and apologize to her; Ichigo grabs his arm and says lets go. But, they have no idea where she’s at other than knowing the name of the restaurant where she used to work so Ichigo goes rushing off. Bad news, Ichigo discovers that the restaurant went out of business. They ask the Yousuke if he knows where Mariko lives, and he tells them he sent Mariko a concert ticket but she moved and it came back returned.

 

       Kashino doesn’t want to give up yet, so the group splits up and goes looking for clues, and when they get back together they discover the restaurant only closed last year and someone matching Mariko’s description was working there. As the group is getting down about the bad news, Yousuke sees a little kid complaining to his mother about their failure to find a Christmas cake, so he gives the mother Ichigo’s cake. Later, the group says they’re sorry they couldn’t help him then Yousuke offers to play them a song of their efforts. As he’s blasting out a trumpet tune for the group a woman drops a watering can and runs up to him calling his name. Mariko asks Yousuke why he didn’t come for her, and he tells her that not a day went by that he didn’t think about her, and she feels that same way. When Yousuke explains to Mariko who the kids are Ichigo suggests that they make another Christmas cake for them.

 

       After Mariko gives them her address the kids return to the school and make a smaller version of Ichigo cake for the lost lovers. After they drop off the cake at Mariko’s house she suggests they eat the cake together but Kashino says that they have a school Christmas party to attend, Ichigo is bummed, and the reunited lover are left to themselves.

 

      Outside, the boys tell Ichigo they would have never thought of making that kind of cake as a Christmas cake. Well, the kids get rewarded for their hard efforts by getting a white Christmas, and then we see snow falling over the academy as fireworks go off in the background. Well, that’s all for these two episodes.

 

        Overall, both of these episodes continued with themes of friendship and kindness that’s become a trademark of the series. In episode 11 we got the back story of Andou’s, Hanabusa’s, and Kashino’s meeting and eventual friendship along with how they each got their sweets spirits. Also, that episode showcased how Hanabusa’s and Kashino’s differing personalities really clashed when they first met, but both of them soon discovered that they each had qualities they admired.

         Episode 12, the Christmas episode, continues to show how Ichigo’s free spirited personality opens the boy’s minds to think outside of the box when it comes to sweets. While the three princes have technical skills that Ichigo can’t match, she has creative skills that I feel makes the group more inventive. Andou, Hanabusa, and Kashino are the muscle of the group, but Ichigo is the heart and soul. The one thing that’s starting to bother me about the show is how the other girls are being real bitches towards Ichigo and how their pranks are getting ever more mean spirited, a good bitch slap is in order. Also, I would like Ichigo to start showing more common sense when it comes to the bitches, how many times is Ichigo going to keep falling for their stupid plots because I don’t find it cute seeing Ichigo get raped over and over again.

        This episode begins with Ichigo taking a train back home and thinking to herself that she’s made all her friends hate her, Vanilla is following her but staying hidden. When Ichigo makes it home she tells herself that she’s got to put on a happy face for her family. Back at the school, Rumi tells the princes that she can’t find Ichigo, and even her luggage is missing. The princes surmise that Ichigo was used to being ripped by Kashino but getting ripped by Andou and Hanabusa must have been shocking.

 

         Back at home, Ichigo is getting treated quite well by her family and even teased by her sister about gaining weight, Ichigo lies telling them that winter break is really early. Ichigo’s mother gets a phone call from the dorm supervisor requesting that Ichigo notify them earlier when she’s going to be absent. Ichigo comes clean and tells them she lied, and Ichigo’s mother figures out that she’s having troubles with her friends.

 

          Ichigo comes clean about not being very skilled, and making too much of being complimented. Ichigo wonders if she’s going to quit the school for good. Her father is very enthustic about having his daughter home for good, but Ichigo’s mother is much more somber. The next day the family takes a visit uncle Hikaru who now runs the shop that Ichigo’s grandmother started.

 

         When they get to the shop they find it closed, and Ichigo’s father wonders if the recession even hit here. Before long, Ichigo’s uncle shows up and they find out that the shop is only closed because he sold out of all his stock in just two hours. He tells them that he just got back from a delivery; he delivers to his customers that can’t make it to the shop. Ichigo asks about the strawberry patch out back, and her uncle tells her that wasn’t his thing so he let it go, poor Ichigo. Ichigo begins to have flashbacks to her time with her grandmother at the shop. Later, her uncle tells Ichigo that he heard she joined St. Marie academy, and he tells her that her skills will improve.

 

        After a little bit of talking, Ichigo’s uncle tells them that he has to get ready to open the shop again, and that Ichigo and Na-chan can help him. Well, Ichigo’s mother says that it’s a great idea and says that she and her husband will take a walk. Ichigo’s uncle puts them to work on various prep tasks, and Ichigo soon discovers Vanilla. Ichigo and Vanilla say their apologies to each other, and they’re back on good terms.

 

        Na-chan tells Ichigo that she seems to be very happy when making and talking about sweets, she shines. Well, after lots of hard work making all kinds of sweets, Ichigo’s uncle says its break time and they can eat all the sweets they want. When Ichigo digs into her uncle’s sweet tart she finds it very good but not like the one her grandmother made. Ichigo asks her uncle about the difference and he tells her that he tried to preserve the original taste but couldn’t figure out the recipe, so the tart is his original creation.

 

         Her uncle hands Ichigo her grandmother’s recipe book and tells her that he never found the key, so he couldn’t read it. He gives Ichigo the recipe book as a gift saying that since he’s completed his own tart he’s sure his mother would be happier watching over Ichigo.

 

        On their way home, Ichigo and Vanilla talk about the tart and Ichigo vows to make one for Vanilla someday. Ichigo tells her mother to stop at any station, and her mother says did she really think that they were headed home. When her mother stops the car Ichigo finds that they’re in front of the entrance to St. Academy, and she tells Ichigo it’s all right to feel depressed but just pick yourself up and more forward and keep repeating until your grow strong.

 

        When Ichigo makes it to the front gate she finds the princes waiting for her, and everyone says their I’m apologies to one another, Ichigo finds out that Kashino was the one who submitted the fake absence notice for her. Well, that’s all for this episode.

 

        Well, this episode was a pretty good example of a “recharge the batteries” episode typically found in this type of series. When young main characters are placed in an situation where they’re greatly outmatched in important skills and have to catch up rapidly sometimes the stress of finding out that just busting your ass isn’t good enough they have a temporary breakdown. When the character in question reaches that breaking point they usually flee back to where they’re most comfortable, home. When they arrive home, the character usually is able to relax and smell the coffee, unwind, get a little good advice from a parent, and rediscover what’s really important.

       So, in this episode Ichigo was able to take comfort in the unconditional love of her family, and rediscover her dream of bringing happiness to others through sweets just like her grandmother did for her. I have to say that I really thought that the princes were too tough on Ichigo, for better or for worse, Ichigo is their teammate, and a team is only as strong as their weakest link. In the army when we got a new team member it was our job to bring up the new member’s skill level to our level, and if they’re giving it their all you help their motivation level through encouragement, you never say “wow, you really busted your ass, but you still suck”, you tell them “wow, good job, you’re really improving, but we’re going to make you even better than this with more practice”.

      I found the next episode preview to be very interesting; anime writers sure do love themselves some Proust because the preview mentioned that the princes met for the first time at the school and ate Madeleine cookies together. Let me guess, they also had lime tea with those cookies?

       This episode begins with the princes finding out that Ichigo has never made pudding before, and Kashino shudders at the possibility of having to team up with Miya. Well, there’s nothing to be done other than Ichigo taking a crash course in pudding making from Vanilla, and the other sweets spirits, Ichigo vows to do her best over the next two days.

 

      Well, Ichigo’s first batch turns out in typical Ichigo fashion, a complete failure. The sweets spirits and the princes offer Ichigo encouragement and good advice for her next try. While Ichigo is practicing, we see someone taking a hidden cell phone picture and sending it to Miya who mocks Ichigo for being a beginner.

      Then we see that Miya only uses the finest ingredients available to make her pudding, and she even has a high school oven installed in her practice area. We also get the names of Miya’s henchboys, Satou and Shiotani; they are there to serve their Lady. Then Shiotani asks Miya why go through so much trouble for Kashino, she tells them it’s none of their business and leaves.

       Then we see a flashback of the welcoming ceremony for first year students where Kashino told her that her pudding was terrible and he was surprised they let her in the school. Miya says that was the first time anyone told the rich girl what her cooking really tasted like, everyone else just showered her with false praise. Miya says that’s all in the past because she really trained hard and improved her skill and she wants to show Kashino that she’s changed.

 

       The next morning, the princes go to the kitchen to check on Ichigo and they find her and Vanilla sleeping on the floor. When Ichigo wakes up she tells them she spent the whole night making an incredible amount of pudding, and she even used up all the pots and pans in the entire kitchen. When everyone tastes Ichigo’s pudding they’re all pleased with the outcome, but Ichigo isn’t. Ichigo says that there are still flaws in the pudding even though she baked them exactly the same way. The princes tell Ichigo that each oven in the kitchen has its own quirks and you have to figure each one out. When Carmel says she likes a pudding that Ichigo thinks she made too sweet, Ichigo gets an idea and tells the princes that she has to do something tonight.

 

       Well, the next day, Ichigo and Miya are told they have two hours to make five servings of pudding and the chairman will judge the outcome. As the contest begins it really looks like Miya is cooking like a pro and will easily defeat Ichigo who seems to be making mistakes. Once the puddings are placed in front of the Chairman, he begins with Miya’s pudding, and he can tell that Miya used the best ingredients Next is Ichigo’s turn, when the Chairman tastes Ichigo’s pudding he gets a very surprised look on his face, Ichigo thinks she’s lost, and Kashino thinks that Ichigo’s made her pudding too bitter.

 

      When President Tennouji announces Ichigo as the winner Miya demands to know why. The Chairman shows Miya that her pudding had cavities while Ichigo’s didn’t, and the chairman tells Miya that her oven must have cooked hot. President Tennouji tells Miya that Ichigo came to the high school kitchen last night and practiced all night in the kitchen. Miya then tells him that Ichigo’s Carmel topping must be bitter, and Ichigo tells her she made it that way after seeing how the Chairman like to take his coffee and what snacks he likes, so she made it bitter.

 

       Miya says it’s not fair that Ichigo looked into what he likes, but the Chairman tells her that the single most important thing about cooking is understanding what makes people happy. Later, Kashino tastes Miya’s pudding and tells her she’s improved, and Miya gets pissed and tells Ichigo that she’ll defeat her in the Grand Prix and runs off.

 

       Later, the President comes up to Ichigo and the princes and tells them that she knew they’d be alright because they had sweets spirits with them, and they see that she has her own sweet spirit, Honey. Well, Ichigo is really happy but the princes tell her to not get too cocky, and review her pudding basics before she forgets. Ichigo says she’s OK now and she looks forward to entering the Grand Prix with them and winning. Kashino tells her sorry but at her level they won’t even make it past the first round and the others agree.

 

         As they walk off, Ichigo is saddened because she wonders why they won’t recognize her? Vanilla tells her that she must understand how they feel and they’re being tough on her for her own good. Ichigo yells at Vanilla that she’s supposed to be her partner and understand her, Vanilla gets mad at Ichigo and says she’s not her partner anymore and leaves. In the next episode preview it looks like Ichigo got so pissed that she left the school and returned home and goes to work with her grandfather, and it also seems that Vanilla and the princes soon follow. Well, that’s all for this episode.

       Well, Ichigo won her first one on one battle and seems to have gotten a long term rival in Miya. I have to say that after episode eight I really didn’t like Miya, but after watching episode nine I like her a lot more, she really did work hard to perfect her skills. I think that Miya’s problem is that she’s just a little too pushy for Kashino, and she needs to let her cooking do her talking.

       While Ichigo experienced the thrill of victory she also experiences the disappointment of not receiving the princes approval, while Ichigo tries hard she’s not up to their level and they let her know it. I really didn’t like how tough they were on my girl Ichigo, at least they could have gave her a little more props for winner her battle with Miya. The sweet princes should understand that Ichigo does bring something to the group that they lack, she has the ability to sense what people really need, and the princes in many ways are too reliant in their skills to think that they’re missing something.

      In many ways Yumeiro is very old fashioned when it comes to boy/girl relationships. In this modern day, I don’t understand why Ichigo and Miya have to base their self-worth on whether or not the boys acknowledge their abilities, I really don’t think that Kashino gives a shit whether or not Ichigo or Miya likes his cooking.

       This episode begins with Ichigo seeing Rumi off for an overnight trip home, and on her way back from the bus stop she runs into Kashino who tries to put a little fear into her because she’ll be spending the night alone. During the night the only thing Ichigo ends up frightened of is a bad dream featuring, guess who, Kashino. The next morning Ichigo runs into some girls from group B who invite her to join them for walnut gathering, Vanilla tells Ichigo to be weary but Ichigo blows her off. Once the girls are deep in the woods they set Ichigo up by leading her to some walnuts then ditching her in the woods.

       Well, Ichigo doesn’t really know her way back, so she and Vanilla try to find their way back and Ichigo grows hungry. As Ichigo grows weaker she hears piano music in the distance, and after several encounters with forest creatures the music leads Ichigo back to the school. As Ichigo makes it to safety she passes out from hunger and exhaustion, and while she’s fading in and out of consciousness she dreams that she’s seeing the queen of the sweets spirits.

       When Ichigo wakes up she finds she’s in bed and that it’s not the queen of the sweets spirits that has rescued her, but none other than the President of St. Marie and Henri-san’s prize student, Tennouji-san. She tells Ichigo to rest, but Ichigo’s too nervous, and also too excited to rest. When Tennouji sees that Ichigo is still weakened by hunger she tells Ichigo that she was in the process of making a Souffle, and would she like to share some with her? As Ichigo watches Tennouji complete her souffle she marvels at her skills. Did I forget to mention that Tennouji has a complete mini kitchen in her room?

       As Ichigo looks around Tennouji’s room she sees that it contains a trophy case loaded with all the prizes that Tennouji has won in cooking competitions. Tennouji tells Ichigo that those are just ornaments, and that she only works hard for the acknowledgement of one person……..Ichigo assumes that it’s Henri. Once the Souffle is done, Ichigo and Tennouji dig in and Ichigo’s special sense of taste kicks in, and she is almost able to discern exactly what the ingredients are. Once Ichigo’s strength has returned she thanks Tennouji for her help and leaves, Tennouji wonders what hidden abilities Ichigo is hiding behind her innocent smile.

       Once Ichigo returns to her room she discovers that Rumi has returned from her trip home, and Rumi has a hard time believing that Ichigo spent time with the President. Rumi tells Ichigo about how Tennouji will be competing in St. Marie’s biggest contest, the cake Grand Prix, the winner gets to go study in Paris. Wow, Ichigo says that she wants to do something like that in high school, and Rumi says she can enter as a middle school student, the princes did last year. Rumi goes on to tell Ichigo that the princes entered the competition with a girl named Ojou-san who Kashino hates.

       As Ichigo is talking with the princes during cooking practice, Kashino is dogging her ass by calling her a fool for falling for the walnut thing, and Ichigo tells him to partner with Ojou-san. Kashino goes into shock over the mention of the name, and Ichigo asks the other princes what happened. Well, they tell her that Ojou-san is actually Koshino Miya-san, a third year middle school student and daughter of a large Japanese industrial cooking company that had the hots for Kashino and managed to get partnered with them for last year’s Grand Prix. She caused such problems for Kashino and them that despite their best efforts they couldn’t succeed, and now Kashino’s hatred for women has grown even larger. Hanabusa tells Ichigo that if they partnered with her they might be able to succeed, but Kashino says that they need to do an exorcism first.

       So, Kashino lead then to the school’s cafe for snacks, they suggest Ichigo try the President’s angel pudding, and Ichigo says since the President’s souffle was so good she’ll try her pudding. Well, the princes are quite shocked to find out that Ichigo got to eat a special creation cooked by the President. Soon, a waiter arrives with pudding for their table, and Ichigo digs right in while the princes wonder why they’ve gotten food even though they haven’t placed their orders yet? Well, Ichigo thinks the pudding tastes great, and Kashino agrees when none other than Koshino Miya-san arrives and asks Kashino what he thinks of her pudding?

       Well, Kashino goes into shock, and Miya tells him that she’s worked hard at improving so they can enter the Grand Prix and win the study trip to Paris. Kashino tells her that he’s sorry but they’ll be partnering with Ichigo this year. 

        Miya insults Ichigo and her skills, Vanilla jumps to her defense, and we see that Miya can somewhat hear Vanilla. The princes offer Miya a sample of their cake and she again insults Ichigo and Henri’s judgement.

       Ichigo can’t take it any longer, and Miya to take it back, and she tells Miya that she’ll make a pudding that tastes even better than her’s. Miya says fine, if Ichigo succeeds she’ll take it back, but if Ichigo loses she gets to partner with princes. Ichigo says, fine, and Kashino and the other princes try to stop her bet.

       Just as all hell breaks loose, President Tennouji shows up and tells them to stop their foolishness, but Miya demands the contest. Tennouji is about to refuse the contest when the Chairman of the school intervenes saying that he likes determination in his students and he’ll judge, so Tennouji tells them that they’ll make a basic custard pudding and be judged using high school standards and have only three days. Miya tells Ichigo that it’s natural she’ll lose, and Ichigo reaffirms her vow to win. Well, that’s all for this episode.

       Well, I was wondering how long it was going to take for Ichigo to get a true rival, and it looks like she’s finally here. While Ichigo has received a little ongoing mean treatment from the girls in group B it hasn’t too serious, but the appearance of Miya heralds Ichigo’s first real test.  What I found really funny about the Ichigo vs Miya challenge is that while they’re fighting for the right to work with the princes this is really a battle over Kashino. So, it seems that in the past Miya had no talent and all she did was fawn over Kashino and screw stuff up, but for some mysterious reason she’s suddenly had a vast jump in talent. While Miya claims that she’s undergone special training with skilled Patissieres I’m not buying it, she’s either having her “boys” doing the baking, or she’s somehow managed to get a sweets spirit of her own, remember she sort of heard Vanilla. 

       I’m really getting the feeling that Kashino’s tsundere behavior towards Ichigo stems from his bad experiences with Miya and sooner or later Kashino will fall victim to Ichigo’s sweetness. I also found President Tennouji to be an interesting character, loaded with tremendous talent but also having a infatuation with Henri. Tennouji seems to understand like Henri that Ichigo is hiding huge future potential. I just hope that she doesn’t view Ichigo as a rival that would make her seem childish, so what I’m hoping for is that Tennouji becomes sort of role model for Ichigo.

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