domingo, 30 de abril de 2017


When was the last time I posted a blue song since you got the mermaid (young sailor who looked through the glass and spied a fair mermaid with scales on her... island)?
So here's a Spanish folk song about a pet rabbit and cabbage stalks I've heard Basque master chef Karlos Arguiñano sing on TV. It was apparently quite popular in military service and high school settings during the eighties!

La Loles, la Loles;

¡el conejo de la Loles!

La Loles tenía un conejo
chiquitito y juguetón,
que a los dieciocho años
a su novio le enseñó.
El novio que era hortelano
y tenía un huerto de coles…
guardaba los tronchos gordos
pa el conejo de la Loles.

La Loles, la Loles;

¡el conejo de la Loles!

El conejo fue creciendo

pues la Loles lo cuidaba,
y las coles de su novio
el conejo estimaba.
En el huerto de su novio
coles no se consumían…
pues el maldito conejo
de otros huertos ya comía.

La Loles, la Loles;

¡el conejo de la Loles!


At least the titles of upcoming episodes of the Springtime Cour of Kirakira Precure à la Mode and my guesses about what will happen in each and every one of them. Within a fortnight, for instance, we'll get an Aoi-centric episode that will place everyone's favourite ice-boxing and hard-rocking badass at the crossfire of family tradition and her own passion!! Sounds exciting, right?

Episode 14 - spotlight on Aoi (Frickin') Tategami - Her Ladyship Rockin' Hard!! (お嬢さまロックンロール!Ojousama Rock'n'Roll!)
(I mean, the title mixing both Aoi's upper-class background and her PASSION at once means we get to see the Ladyship/Ojousama half of the equation in more detail, and we'll be in for a Clash of the Tategamis!! It's also interesting that both cat Cures are Ojousama, but Aoi broke off to follow her own heart while Yukari is far more traditional and a proper lady... I wonder [the classic nature vs. nurture debate] whether their different families have something to do with the matter... Aoi as a child wore Western-style pinafores, while the Kotozumes favour traditional kimonos and interiors --I swear the Kotozume estate is a yashiki with that fountain that goes doink and all--, so the Tategamis appear to be more westernized, like the Kaidos in Go! Princess Pretty Cure. It also reminds me of both military families in the series Haikara-san ga tooru, with the Hanamura estate being a traditional yashiki and the Hanamuras wearing kimonos vs. the Ijuuin estate being a neoclassical manoir and the Ijuuins wearing [generally] European-style attire; both families had been enemies during the Bakumatsu war of isolation vs. opening the island empire to the wider world, and it's not hard to see who were the imperialists and who were the shogunate supporters respectively!)
Now we have learned that, in this episode, the Tategamis whisk Aoi away back to their estate (a Western-style one, as I supposed), to try to make a "proper lady" out of her, having her take up the violin once more and wear a frilly pink gown... Good luck with that endeavour; Aoi makes Arya Stark herself look like Princess Peach in comparison! But, seeing her wearing her hair in that 80s queue and speaking her mind so hot-bloodedly in spite of wearing a skirt, pink, and even more lace than as a pâtissière... something tells me the old Aoi F-ing Tategami is still in there, her heart upon her sleeve shining like a blazing blue star.
Only that she will have to face Giulio's trolling... let's see how he tries to troll her and how the even more explosive Aoi blows his scheme right in Giulio's face!!

The foyer of the Tategami Mansion. Even Yukari herself looks impressed.

Aoi's neoclassical room at the Tategami Mansion.

A pre-teen Aoi in a white pinafore, with a violin case and a ladylike hairstyle.

Three generations of Kotozumes in their traditional yashiki.

Yukari as a child, in a lilac kimono.

Episode 15 - spotlight on Akira Kenjó (Checking blood pressure; currently at 4 beats per second) - For Love's Sake! A Furious Cure Chocolat! (愛ゆえに!怒りのキュアショコラ! Ai yue ni! Ikari no Cure Chocolat!)
Akira doesn't seem to be the irate kind of person; but everyone's fuse has got to burn out sooner or later (ask yours truly, for instance). My theory for this episode is that Giulio will surely target her hospitalized little sister Miku, the person Akira cares the most for... that's the kind of offense that Akira Kenjó will NEVER forgive!! The "love" in the title, "ai", refers to love in general, to altruism in general, and one of the qualities Akira/Chocolat represents; her catalyst for unleashing the power of said feeling was sibling love... it was Miku. Lay a fingertip on her imouto without Akira's permission... but of course it has to be a worse offense; draining the little ill girl's heart and leaving her unconscious, not to mention that she is already TERMINALLY ILL and her condition is sure to get worse if she's run through the heart with a blade of darkness... I wonder whether Cure Chocolat's anger will pave the way for an epic fight that will OUTSHINE the one in this cour's initial episode, in which Giulio curbstomped Chocolat for sure, disarming her in less time than it takes to say "Expelliarmus"... I'm eager for the second confrontation and hoping the scales tilt in our bifauxnen's favour!

Akira's character establishment as a gentle older sister in the opening credits.

Episode 16 - spotlight on Yukari Kotozume and Giulio/Leo Kuroki - A Dangerous Lightning Approach! Yukari and Leo! (キケンな急接近!ゆかりとリオ! - Kikenna kyú seiken! Yukari to Rio!)
RIGHT FROM THE START, Yukari mistrusted the raven-haired boy. And here it seems that the tension will intensify. Hopefully we will visit the Kotozume yashiki (fingers crossed). And hopefully Yukari will find out her hunch is true when she spots Giulio detransform into Leo... though he might also have spotted her detransform from Macaron, which would definitely raise the stakes! Also, something tells me Yukari's perfectionism will have a major role to play in this episode.

Yukari is suspicious about "Leo Kuroki" 
right from the moment he pops up in the first episode of this cour.

sábado, 29 de abril de 2017


With her more feminine better half held captive within an icy fortress (her heart a lump of ice and her mind a blank slate), will Akira Kenjó have enough power in her strength and her love to free Yukari Kotozume from her sinister captor?

Yes, that's the story I lull myself to sleep with every night since the wisdom tooth removal. So I've got already a YumiKuri fusion bunny of this Andersen tale (with elements of Anastasia --Romanova-- thrown in, Mikasa as the robber maiden, and Rainer and Bert as half-brother princes in a threesome with dashing stranger Annie!), but a Yukakira KKPCàlM version, with Yukari in the role of Kai and Akira in that of Gerda (which fits them like a glove), and a bit of a crossover with Ovid, Shakespeare, 80s lyrics (with AOI FRICKING TATEGAMI as the robber maiden, that's something to be quite expected!) and a pair of other Pretty Cure continuities... would be a purrfect way to celebrate my KKPCàlM OTP (and also my Suite Pretty Cure OTP, with whom I was dying to do something as well!!)!! The Ovid elements I will take into the flower dreams (a premise which also is part of my YumiKuri bunny!)...

So basically the cast is like this, in order of appearance:
  • The Snow Queen as herself
  • Yukari Kotozume in the role of Kai
  • Akira Kenjo in the role of Gerda
  • Miku Kenjo as herself
  • Mr. Kotozume as himself (Lord Kotozume)
  • Mrs. Shino Kotozume in the role of Kai's grandmother
  • Mrs. Kenjo in the role of Gerda's grandmother
  • Kaoruko Hanasaki, née Godai, in the role of the Springtime Witch
  • Tsubomi Hanasaki as herself
  • Momoka Kurumi in the roles of the rose on the witch's hat and the tame crow
  • Erika Kurumi in the role of the wild crow
  • Ako Shirabe in the role of the Princess
  • Ellen Kurokawa in the role of the Prince (Songstress)
  • Mephisto and Aphrodite in the roles of the King and Queen
  • Otokichi Shirabe in the role of the Chancellor (Tywin-Lannister-like position, being the father of the queen consort)
  • Suzu in the role of the Princess's Handmaid
  • Trio de Major in the roles of Kingsguard officers
  • Shut, Baron Salamander -and Olivier!-, Kimimaro Ijuuin, Prince Natha; in the roles of failed suitors
  • Yuuki Hayashi as a collapsing redshirt messenger (reference to Stenbocks kurir!)
  • Itsuki Myoudoin in the role of the Captain of the Kingsguard/Gerda (!)
  • Satsuki Myoudoin as himself (sharing the role of Kai with Yukari)
  • Aoi Tategami in the role of the Robber Maiden
  • The other members of Wild Azüre in the roles of the rest of the robber band
  • Cobraj and Kumojaki sharing the role of the Robber Leader (the way it sounds; as a discharged one-eyed soldier and disgraced foppish courtier who took to a life of crime and to each other!)
  • Mitsuyoshi Mizushima as himself (in the role of an overly concerned retainer)
  • The Elder in the role of the Wise Old Sage
  • Yume Mochizuki in the role of the Far Wiser Old Crone (also, the Snow Queen's nanny)
  • The Snow Queen's Ice Monster Guards as themselves
Flowers in the Old Lady's Greenhouse (tales taken from Ovid):
-Iris, on Momoka's corsage (takes the role of the rose on the witch's hat=also, Momoka's stark resemblance to Yukari causes Akira to utter a Freudian slip as her memories surge back!)
-Sunflower (Clytie)
-Hyacinth (early modern tennis version=links back to Yukari playing tennis)
-Brown Bulrush (Syrinx=faun changed to human "wicked assailant")
-Lotus (links back to Miku=gender of the royal child being changed to female)

Realm of Major Land -- Lands of Everwinter (The Hope Kingdom also gets mentioned as being on the southern border of the Major Land!)
(In Major Land lay the various towns of adventure; Ichigozaka, Kibougahana... A royal castle, the one in Suite Pretty Cure, is the centre of power... during the backstory civil war, Mephisto had a power base in a fortress on the western border, near the Lands of Everwinter; its ruin serves as the robbers' den)

The title of this project will be IN THE SHADES OF DAWNING, referring to a Genesis song (Harlequin) whose lyrics may have been inspired by this fairytale.

Anyway, the two of them have already, baskets full of chestnuts, knocked at the Kenjós' door --there's still an hour or so before the curfew that requires Yukari to be home at least at sunset-- and made themselves at home; Akira will also take the chance to give Miku and Grandmother some nuts left over after she (Akira) and the heiress have had the kitchen for themselves. It's about right then when Yukari takes up the handwritten Kenjó recipe notebook and skims it for marrons glacés --candied chestnuts--.
"Akira! What about marrons glacés?"
"That will last until midwinter, we could in fact keep them 'till for Christmas," the bifauxnen agrees as she cracks a nut. "But we'll have to see to the nuts and the syrup today and mix them tomorrow; that will also give you enough time to get the spices from the estate kitchens..."
It would be jarring for Lord Kotozume to see his only daughter and heir cracking chestnuts by a commoner's side, but anyway, here they are, cracking nut after nut as the pot simmers gently on the fire. And soon the nuts are all in the pot, mixed with a spoonful of flour in the simmering water, getting as warm and soft as nuts can get. Meanwhile, Akira stirs them and Yukari peers into the notebook once more; soon the redhead has fished the chestnuts up one by one with a ladle and they're all cooling in a basket; time to make the syrup after the nuts are clean and scalded.
"Now for... half the sugar loaf?" the heiress inquires as she starts for the Kenjós' cupboard to fetch the heavy cone of sugar and the pincers to nip it off. Akira nods in reply as she watches her lady friend wave at her and start for the cupboard door. The silence is only broken by the crackling of the flames, the bubbling of simmering water, and a coughing fit. Yukari Kotozume puts her iris-embroidered handkerchief to her lips for a while.
"Are you all right?" the redhead, startled, turns around.
"Right... as rain," the other maiden's voice is slightly broken, reassuring Akira. "Just a spark from the fire." Then she gently opens the cupboard doors and takes up the sugar loaf.
If only they knew... It was not a spark from the fire at all, and that cough had not dislodged it; for it was and is a spark of the Snow Queen's mirror, that Mirror of Truth and Reason, which only shows reality as it is (remember it?), and which the wistful heiress has just breathed in, as intended... and, furthermore, that coughing fit has done nothing to expel the shard from Yukari's system at all, sucking instead the little crystal needle deeper in, into one of her lungs, even into her bloodstream, coursing --within the instant it takes for a young heart to throb once-- down surging rapids through a crescent valve, then rushing through a larger and more powerful one, shaped like an upturned bicorn hat... into the warm, rose-red recesses of the left ventricle, where, as the valve shuts, in a nook where two heartstrings branch off from one another, the mirror shard plunges, lodging itself there. Pretty soon, at least the left half of Yukari Kotozume's heart will become a lump of ice.
In response, the light-headed heiress feels a stabbing pain, like an icy bayonet, in the middle of her chest; and her good arm, her left arm, wavers with the same intense pain, dropping the sugar cone on the parquet floor, as she grasps the table with her right hand only, pale as her apron and gasping for breath. The pain will subside after a while, but the shard will still be there, gradually turning that heart into a lump of ice encased in steel.
Now Akira is understandably far more concerned than before, even turning as pale as her sweetheart. She is relieved as Yukari stands up, breathing normally, yet her face strangely pale and a piercing look in her eyes...
"Hoo hoo hoo hoo", a familiar noblewoman's laugh rings out, this time with a cold ring to it. "Why should I be doing this chore in the first place?" She gracefully kicks the sugar loaf, which Akira luckily picks up as Yukari, leaving for the estate and looking over her shoulder as she upturns the basket of chestnuts, replies with another piercing glare: "Keep on with those messy nuts, my dear peasant... let's see if I ever dare to come here tomorrow..."
Turning her back, the heiress shuts the door in her red-haired sweetheart's face, while Akira, stirring the syrup after having gathered the nuts, looks puzzled on.
The next day, after finally getting a familiar knock at the threshold and Yukari at the door, our red-haired shero gets surprised when the other maiden has brought no spices and says she will only watch, not wishing to stain her precious fingers or her precious dress --even though Akira's brought her the usual apron!-- with that sticky, messy syrup. So our redhead has to make that batch of spiceless marrons glacés all on her own, while feeling watched over and an icy presence at the nape of her neck.
Upon returning home to the estate, and being told by her lady grandmother to read those Shakespeare verses from Romeo and Juliet that she was meant to study, Yukari shuts the folio in the old dowager's face and replies with the objection that literature is too painful for her. "Even Shakespeare?" No reply but a piercing glare, leaving Lady Kotozume puzzled as well.
"Othello," the heiress finally replies, looking over her shoulder. "Iago's part." It sounds far more like a command than like a courteous request.
She delivers the lines coldly, with a sinister sneer that would even have taken the real Iago by surprise. "I am not what I am." "I much show out a flag and sign of love; which is but sign." "If the balance of our lives had not one scale of reason to poise another of sensuality, the blood and baseness of our natures would conduct us to most preposterous conclusions." "Do it not with poison; strangle her in her bed."
Then, wondering whether she'll cast Akira as Othello, Cassio, or Roderigo (all three are flawed: that clingy commander, that lush of a lieutenant, that foolish fop!) the next time that the redhead comes, she shuts the folio once more. The part of Iago is the best one in the frozenhearted maiden's eyes; an emotionless, ruthless schemer indeed. Everyone else, in both the play and in real life, is flawed in one way or another... because of their feelings. That is what leads the schemer to tear them apart and take on them one by one. Peering at herself in the bedchamber mirror right before going to bed, she admits that she is flawless herself. Just like Iago. Everyone else is made for pulling their strings...
The next day, Akira visits the Kotozume estate, to find Yukari in the drawing room with an open folio. "I had been waiting for you." She has been perusing many Iago-centric conversations in the play all morning long, to see which one would do best to trick that tall, mannish redhead with her skin so burned in the sun.

viernes, 28 de abril de 2017


Kirakira Precure à la Mode
Episode 12 - My Own Review


Thanks to the Festival, the KiraPâti business is thriving, and the Precures are the talk of Ichigozaka town.
So far, no one but they know their respective powered identities, which is great because it ensures no collateral damage (Akira Kenjó herself could never have said it better; "It could put the people around us in danger.").

However, no one has noticed an ominous presence on a treetop outside the pâtisserie...
GIULIO: The power of sweets, the kirakiraru... it grows to shine even more brightly within the human heart (hito no kokoro no naka).
And thus, the seeds are sown, as he scries the hearts of passing-by young female customers, for a sinister modus operandi...

Quite soon, a raven-haired and azure-eyed, comely stripling appears as a new student at Ichigozaka Chúgakkó (Secondary School)...

"LEO": Leo Kuroki. It's a pleasure to meet you all.

(Well, I settled for Leo with the English pronunciation [a long E], instead of Ryou, because the given name is in katakana, used to transcribe Western names. Also, his surname means literally "Black!")


Quite soon, the whole female student body is swarming for the blue-eyed lad.
LISA (CHÚGAKUSEI WITH BOB HAIRCUT): That badass (kakkoii) Leo belongs to all of us equally!!

CHÚGAKUSEI WITH BRAIDS (trembling): You're too amazing... Ser Leo... (She drops her textbooks, which Leo kindly picks up and gives to her)
LEO (giving the girl her books): Careful now...
CHÚGAKUSEI WITH BRAIDS: Th-thank you-you... (She gets a hot flash)
LEO (prodding the girl's brow with a fingertip): Little Miss Scatterbrain.
(In response, she flushes red as a beetroot, even steaming)

All those other female secondary students of course grow jealous...
ALL FEMALE CHÚGAKUSEI: Squeeeeeee!!! Leo, over here! Me too! Me too-oo!!
LEO: Hey now, geez...

In the meantime, the male secondary students stand in the shade, gnashing their teeth.
MALE CHÚGAKUSEI IN THE MIDDLE: I hate that heartthrob (ikemen)!!

They'll change their tune when it's (association) footie time at the sports hour, when his feet have practically become one with the ball.
LISA: You're amazing (kakkoii), Leo!!

Without losing his cool, Leo steals the ball from an opponent
and takes a badass leap into the sky.

Then, as said opponent is losing his footing and about to fall, Leo gracefully lands on his feet and packs the other boy by the waist, saving him.
LEO (coolly): What are you sorry for?
LEO'S OPPONENT (gasping): What?

The female audience's reaction is priceless.
LEO: Unless we're both going for it for real, it's not much of a game, right? C'mon! Let's do it!
All the while, he's had the ball under his foot, or at the tip of his toes as he runs after it. And this encourages the opposing team to dash off in pursuit of him!

BOY WITH BAND-AID ON THE RIGHT CHEEK: Guess the new boy has some hot blood after all...
HIMARI: He's getting popular even among the other boys...
LISA (starry-eyed, smitten): Badass! A super transfer student! Awwwww...

After class, however, a sinister Giulio wanders through Ichigozaka approaching young people and asking about the treats they have consumed...
GIULIO (in a sinister tone): Where the sweets you ate... delicious (oishii)?
YOUNG MAN (startled): Wh-ho are you!?
GIULIO: When you have eaten sweets, the kirakiraru within your heart will increase...
In response, Giulio produces his little black dagger and all we can hear is the young man's scream of agony offscreen as we see, ironically, a bright day sky.
YOUNG MAN: Aaaaaaaaagh!!!

This scene shows us Giulio, like Norman Bates, is someone to be wary off. 
The offscreen stabbing is done exactly like the shower scene in Psycho to accomplish the same dramatic effect.

The next day at class at the Chúgakkó, a rumour is spreading about what happened:
GIULIO'S OPPONENT FROM THE DAY BEFORE: You heard what happened to Saito from Grade 3?
BOY WITH BAND-AID ON THE RIGHT CHEEK: Yeah. But you know the Precures won't let it stay a mystery!

LEO: Pleased to meet you (Hajimemashite).

It's as if I knew you, but I don't even know you at all...

Leo has made his first moves towards the Cures already; now let's see whither this leads us!

At the pâtisserie, Aoi seems not to get why this boy's gone viral just in a day...
AOI: What's with all the buzz about this new transfer student?

Right then, the pixies that had once been the winter cour's Monsters of the Week
pop up, startling Pekorin and the Elder, and bend before them and the Precures, asking for forgiveness.
Which leads to another flashback explaining the backstory, namely:

We weren't always evil. Once we used to live just like you in peace and happiness...
To be stronger... to be greater... to be prettier...  We all had different dreams like those.
Those were the dreams that...
GIULIO (giving Gummy a belt with a black star): Don't you want to be even, even stronger? If you stole the kirakiraru from the sweets that humans make, you could become much, much stronger.

As soon as the pixies strap their respective belts on, their eyes glow red and they roar in pain as they are possessed by a dark force.

All the while Giulio, the dark force concealing his face, smiled smugly to himself...

When we put on those belts, our feelings (kimochi) intensified and intensified, until they grew out of control.

ELDER: When you put your heart into the sweets you make, everyone who eats them will be filled with smiles! This is the way of the Legendary Pâtissières, the Pretty Cures!

Given meowcarons as a token of reconciliation, the pixies (who were not in their right mind when they swarmed for kirakiraru) have finally found themselves, feeling able to enjoy once more.
So it seems that those corruption belts made kirakiraru addictive; "like honey to the throat but poison in the blood" to quote a Victorian narrative poem's vivid simile to describe drug euphoria and addiction.

At class, the next day, after those two guys discuss the attack on Saito, Leo makes his next move by spotting a recipe notebook next to Usami's desk...
LEO: New sweets? For that shop?

Look at him all smug and ostensibly friendly... hehehehe...

Suddenly, Lisa storms in with a suggestion for the KiraPâti:
LISA: How about these cupcakes for the new menu? They're kawaii and delicious (oishii)!! Something I totally love (daisuki)!! That means I get the first taste, right?
Even Leo gets invited to come and make those cupcakes for the afternoon.
LEO: Is that so? Then, for sure!

When they show up at the Pâtisserie, it becomes clear that Aoi may be the only one at the secondary school who has not a clue on who Leo Kuroki is.
LEO: 'Afternoon.
AOI (shocked): Whaat!? You're the ikemen transfer student everyone is talking about!?
HIMARI: Don't say it so loud! He may hear you!!
(Aoi shifts into Awkward Mode, covering her mouth)

LEO: Pleased to meet you all. I guess I'm that "ikemen transfer student everyone is talking about."
Then he lets out an innocent, friendly chuckle... but who could suspect there's something sinister about this lad?

As he is shown around the kitchen, our ensemble oneesama shows signs of suspicion...
AOI (noticing Yukari's frown): Oh... Is something wrong?
YUKARI (coldly): Nothing at all.

LEO: I'm not so good at making sweets, actually...
This raises a few questions, such as whether Leo has really made any treats before, indeed.

LEO (dejected, sighing): A long time ago...

So something happened in between that made Leo stop with the sweets-making... this is getting interesting until we get his start of darkness revealed!
LEO: Lisa, you've got after-school, right? Then, it's time to get started!

LEO: To start, try beating the cream back and forth against the sides of the bowl. 
When it starts to thicken, make more of a large oval, reaching down to the bottom to get lots of air in. 
That should make the whipped cream light and fluffy.

So our boy is a bit of an expert, eh? Nothing we know about his academic knowledge or cultural level, but so far he's shown impressive skills when it comes to ball sports and pâtisserie, aside from his good looks. Still a bit away from being a Marty Stu, but those skills he knows are sure impressive.

The cream has even become far fluffier than usual! 
Time for a high five and for saying thanks!

However, this demonstration of skill has taken Lisa by surprise...
LISA: Wait... Leo, didn't you say you were no good at making sweets?
LEO: Ah... That's just common knowledge!

Once the über-fluffy (Flaaffy?) cupcake has been decorated (looks like the Pokémon Flaaffy, right?) Leo closes in on it... apparently, his eyes can see the kirakiraru within the cake. A little cream cupcake that will soon be ingested and its kirakiraru contents will increase within the system of that person...

LISA: They're really great!
While no one is watching, our ikemen, looking at the cupcake, smiles in quite a sinister way...

That evening, Leo escorts Lisa to her after-school academy. A gentlemanly act, isn't it?
LISA: I wish I could eat one right now!! But I've got after-school, and I don't wanna spoil my supper...
LEO (whispering in her left ear): Let's share one together.
Both youngsters sit down on a park bench for a rest.

LEO: Because... you want to eat cupcake, don't you?

LISA (after thinking just for a second): I guess just one would be okay...

So she puts a cupcake to her lips and takes a first bite.
LISA (enjoying the taste): Oishii!!

As she keeps on nomming on that cupcake, her cavalier just looks on, so sinisterly smiling...
LISA: Leo, don't you want one?
LEO: It's all right for me. I have my eyes on something... far more scrumptious.
As he says these words, Leo scries into Lisa's heart, glittering with kirakiraru in the middle of her chest.

Drawing a familiar black dagger, his pupils narrow until they look like a viper's.

As he prods with the garnet tip of his dagger the left side of Lisa's chest,
the tomboyish girl screams in agony.


LEO (looking at the kirakiraru that has flocked around his dagger): As I predicted. By leaving kirakiraru to gestate within a human heart, it grows considerably. What's more...

...It seems like their sweets are special as well.

Donning a golden Venetian mask that makes his eyes glow, and his hair turn a fairer shade of blue and grow long...

...Leo reveals himself as being Giulio all along...

As the Precures arrive on the scene,
Lisa lies unconscious, breathing shallowly, 
on the bench where Leo -Giulio- has sapped her dry of kirakiraru.
And he is right about to turn his back and leave the scene...

You know the drill.
Kirakira Precure à la Mode!!

GIULIO: I only took a li'l bit of kirakiraru from her heart.

Lisa is still in the same painful state as before.

GIULIO: Come on, Precures. Won't you join my experiment?

GIULIO (producing his dagger): Kirakiraru! Stained in darkness!

GIULIO (raising his dagger skywards): Noire Décoration!
Lightning shoots up his right arm, turning the dagger into a broadsword of black crystal.

CURE MACARON: Dark kirakiraru?

(I think I'll call it Lightbringer...)
There you have the broadsword. 
It's about the size of Giulio, yet the stripling can wield it as if it were light as a feather.

GIULIO (enjoying himself): What tremendous power...

GIULIO: Please allow me to test it on you immediately!

That sword is all full of dark kirakiraru... And, furthermore, that black star on the hilt looks just like those on the pixies' belts; isn't that enough to put two and two together?

Don't tell me... You were the mastermind that was controlling the others!?

GIULIO (chortling, brandishing his broadsword): "Mastermind" (kuromaku), eh? I like the sound of that word. My name is Giulio, may you remember it!!

CURE MACARON: "Giulio"... Isn't it a nice name?

Then we get this badass curbstomp battle, Giulio vs. Macaron. They're both moving so fast that it's hard to describe the fight in detail; what matters is that our oneesama does these impressive somersaults and back flips, and she is always one step ahead of the villain.

But my fave part was, needless to say, the Giulio vs. Chocolat swordfight.
I knew it was coming. As a vivid lover of Takarazuka, and period pieces, and Shakespeare, I'm always in for a good rapier fight. And this one's not disappointing at all!! Even if Giulio winds up disarming Chocolat within a matter of strokes, we know that the tables will soon be turned upon him when the Akira-centric episode comes along...

GIULIO: Horrible things!? I am merely conducting an experiment! I must know more about the power of the kirakiraru that lies within humans!
(Makes me think of Iago in the original Boito libretto of the Verdian opera...)

Then he gets quite irate when Cure Whips tells him that sweets are supposed to be a happy thing...
GIULIO: Sweets? Happy? (In a fit of rage) Are you kidding me!!?? 
(Calming down, clenching his fist around the pommel, rage and dark kirakiraru seething within his heart under the cravat.) As far as sweets go... THERE'S NOTHING I HATE (DAIKIRAI) MORE!!!
As his anger flows back again, the sword gets even more dark crystal spikes and looks more threatening... So he sends out some rays of darkness to left and right, obviously relishing it, while a fugue on an ominous pipe organ plays in the background... The swirl of rays of darkness comes spiralling forth at the Precures, and it looks just like the technique for whipping cream Leo had demonstrated!

Of course you knew what was coming next (aside from the reveal that Leo's pupils are shaped like diamonds or four-pointed stars):
The Cures getting their heroic second wind and performing their hissatsu 3 2 Wonderful (Sweets Wonderful) à la Mode!!

So they encase the broadsword in their cake and turn it back into the usual dagger.

Of course all the kirakiraru comes back to find its way back into Lisa's heart...

She finally awakens, breathing normally, though slightly groggy.

GIULIO (examining his dagger): Is this the power of the Precures?

Then, he just hops off into the twilight sky.

LISA: I wonder what happened to me...
The Precures listen, bracing themselves for this redoubtable new enemy's sake.
AOI: Who's he, anyway?

The next morning, Giulio crosses paths with Ichika Usami and some other secondary school girl on their way to class.

GIULIO (thinking): That time. That technique which I taught...
(Speaking): Oh... 'Morning!

He's just one step away from figuring out who the Precures are in their day-to-day lives...

OHMIGODS THE FEELS THE FEELS!! We got to see the standard 2010s Precure villain procedure, a swordfight to equal all those Shut vs. Scarlet battles I've missed sooo much (and the Red Viper fight, of course!), Giulio infiltrating one of the schools the Cures attend... well, let's start with that aspect, shall we?
WHAT WAS A SHAME (IMOHO): The fact that Giulio/Leo infiltrated Ichigozaka Chúgakkó (the secondary school) instead of Ichigozaka Kókó (the high school), where the Zuka Cures attend. Guess it's because the Freudian Trio were made by the creators to be audience surrogates (the same applies to the Inner Senshi, who are far less popular than the Outers among the fanbase; or to Harry+Ron+Hermione being given far more prominence canonwise, and less popularity among the fans, than Ginny+Neville+Luna!)... Anyway, this Leo Kuroki boy at high school would be far less of the big fish in a little pond than he is in his secondary surroundings, where his good looks and skill at sports, especially association footie, have made his popularity skyrocket overnight! And he's also an ace pâtissier! When it comes to his academic achievements/cultural level, however, nothing is known so far. So we'll have to wait until further episodes...
THE PIXIES' BACKSTORY AND A LITTLE MORE HINTS: Like when it came to Kuroro's relation of being possessed by Lock, we got a little more backstory for both the cadres and the whole dramatic evil scheme. So far, we got to know that they were controlled and/or addicted to kirakiraru by these black-star belts, having been swayed by Giulio's false promises of excitement, beauty, knowledge... basically the Heart's Desire of each pixie in particular. This set-up is enticing indeed, and you know how much I luv the Your Heart's Desire premise basically because it establishes that humans are flawed while leaning slightly more towards the "bastards" or at least "weaklings" half of the equation...
YUKARI'S SUSPICIONS: She was both standard aloof-ally-mistrusting and "You-know-nothing-Jon-Snow" about this Leo Kuroki boy. I love how her cool and pensive nature shines through in this case.
GIULIO'S MO: It was eons since we got some good old-fashioned heart snatching, right? Well, Giulio Kuroki has just made our day! First tempting the victim of the week to eat the treat of the week (in a way quite similar to the Selfcenters' [and Iago's!] ear whispers!), then draining the victim's heart dry of kirakiraru with his dagger, then staining the kirakiraru with darkness and using it to change his dagger into a different and more powerful weapon, that gets him drunk on power. Something that tells me that the Man (or Woman?) Behind the Lad has made Giulio addicted to kirakiraru like Giulio himself made the pixies addicted... He also seems to want to know more about the powers of kirakiraru, and is willing to experiment even if it puts lives on the line, which makes me wonder about his motives even more...
So far, the Cures don't know that Giulio is Leo (they appeared on the scene after he had transformed), but he is in the process of learning their identities... how will this develop further?
THE SWORDFIGHT: Whoa whoa whoa!! I need to have my blood pressure checked!! Screw Oberyn, screw Shut... Akira Kenjo/Cure Chocolat is the new badass when it comes to combat (well, sharing first place with Astrid Kolfinnsdóttir, of course)! I wanted so badly a Chocolat vs. Giulio duel... AND MY WISH CAME TRUE!! Even though the villain disarmed the bifauxnen in less time than it takes to say "Expelliarmus", within a few weeks we'll get Akira's limelight episode and I'm eager for the rematch!!!


Our introvert gets called to shoot an ad on television;
it's obviously a hassle thanks to all her indecision!

They should have hired somebody whose confidence is higher;
yet a plot without challenge is, trust me, sure guaranteed to tire...