martes, 18 de abril de 2017


Review of Kirakira Precure à la Mode ep 8/9 (TWO EPISODES IN ONE!):
Of ship-teasing, two tomboys making a mess even messier, and Yukari being outright sarcastic. Not to mention the Elder's human form... or the Pâtisserie obviously open and the Precures' uniforms debuting!

AKIRA (sniffing the air): Something smells like charcoal...

Thankfully, Yukari at full-throttle savviness stopped a potential conflagration.
So far, we have seen she can:
stop fires
speak foreign languages fluently
make perfect macarons
make perfect traditional green tea...
(Is there any flaw -aside from that pushing herself too hard- that may be her weak spot?)

Everyone else is coughing and squinting.
Notice Aoi's 80s hair all looking like a storm cloud: frizzled and covered in soot.


Now everyone is ready to tidy up the shop before it opens!
AOI (sweeping the floor at breakneck speed): Wroooom!! I'm on FIRE!!
(She stops as a poised Yukari steps forth)
AOI (to Yukari): You just snuck away on your own...
YUKARI: I don't like the smell of burnt clinging to my hair.
AKIRA: After all, it's pretty hair (kireina kami).
I understand Yukari's reasoning. Having experienced La Nit Màgica at least once in a lifetime, I needed a shower as soon as I got home to clean myself from crown to toe of gunsmoke brimstone.

YUKARI (seen through Idealvision): I get that compliment a lot...

AKIRA (dumbfounded): Hehehe...
That's how a relationship begins; step by step, with one of the two lovers usually at least slightly awkward.

How will they tidy up the shop right in time?

Little Emily followed her Pomeranian through the woods until the pup stopped at the pâtisserie door, where Three-Stars was still standing guard.
EMILY: Ohmygosh, it's Three-Stars himself!

EMILY: Three-Stars brings good luck to the shops he visits... so this must be a great one!

And thus, the Precures get their very first customer and commission!

So they get their first customer, little Emily: a primary school girl who would like a cake to share with her friends, all of whom have different tastes when it comes to sweets.
EMILY: Morning! Oh, isn't the store open yet? Emily's going to a tea party at a friend's tomorrow! But I'm not sure what to bring... You see, Mi likes cookies, Ayumi prefers tartelettes, Mai loves cream puffs...

And of course the Precures promise Emily that they'll make her the right with sweets that all her friends will relish alike!

While Akira just wonders... how will that be possible?

Right before Emily arrived, a gentlemanly baritone laugh echoed down the hallway.
ELDER: Hohoho...

The Elder's got a human form which reminds me of butlers in previous Precure continuities (and of the Count of Tilly!); it screams of Cool Old Guy as much as the fact that there is one such gym leader in every region in the Pokéverse...
YUKARI: Who's he?
PEKORIN: Ah! It's the Elder!!
ALL THE PRECURES: Wha-a-a-at!!??

ELDER: To open an establishment, one must have a supervisor in charge, of course. Thus, my form is that of a stylish gentleman of wealth and taste.
AKIRA: Pretty disguise for a ghost...

AKIRA: Still, it's definitely cool.

ELDER: Hohoho! That's right indeed! Right, everyone. Walk this way...

The Elder pushes a trapdoor and a downward staircase hewn out of the rock comes to view.
ELDER (soaring down the stairs): Follow me!!

The Precures follow on foot, astonished to see there is an underground passage right there.

What astonishes them the most about the trencadís cellar, however, is what appears to be the largest gumball dispenser ever seen.
AOI (overawed): It's huge!!
AKIRA: But what on Earth is it?
ELDER: Left behind by your predecessors as Legendary Pâtissières and Pretty Cures... meet the Kira-Kiraru Pot!! A vessel to store all the collected kirakiraru before it is remade into dreams. I cannot harness it myself, but you Precures should be able!
By turning the handle on the left, the dispenser releases kirakiraru in the form of a creamy fluff.
Now raise your wand whisks and gather all that kirakiraru!

Of course Aoi could not resist the temptation of running around with a banner made of kirakiraru...

Akira is also quick to join the fun, and equally excited. Looks like there's more of a tomboy than it seemed under that Prince Charming façade...
So they learn from the Elder that they use kirakiraru as a weapon as Precures and it can be shaped into any different form (like ice boxing gloves, or macaron yoyos, or a red chocolate broadsword, for instance).

AOI: Right, lemme make some furniture!! And what should Akira do?
ELDER: Why not be a garçon?

ELDER: A garçon, a waiter, taking orders from customers, bringing them food; welcoming and serving our guests... Like holding trays for instance...
Yes, Akira would make the perfect garçon manqué; I agree definitely with the Elder.

Then Pekorin tries to give the Elder a tray to hold in his palm, but his right hand becomes intangible every time the tray lands on it...

AOI: Trying to be "stylish," but you can see right through it...

What matters is that, with Akira Kenjo for a breeches waiter, there will be tonnes of customers!
AKIRA: All right, I will do my best.

In the meantime, Yukari has been kneading a kirakiraru cupcake-shaped seat.
YUKARI: Not edible... but isn't it at least nice?
So far, we have seen Yukari Kotozume can:
stop fires
speak foreign languages fluently
make perfect macarons
make perfect traditional green tea
make ornaments/furniture out of kirakiraru

However, the tidying procedure is not risk-free... as seen by this hole in the wall!
AOI: 'Scuse me! I got a little excited and the table flew off and...
AKIRA: The legs, you see, didn't come off the same length...

Apparently, as Akira explains,
both tomboys tried to fix the odd-legged table,
 their effort grew into a tug-of-war, 
which Aoi won, letting Akira's grasp slip from the table...
(PS. The Cure of Strength is physically weaker than the Cure of Passion!? Why on Earth? Besides, Aoi is a lyricist and electric guitarrist, so she ought to have far weaker arms than a traceuse like Akira!)

... while all the momentum Aoi had gathered during the tug-of-war caused her to spin and toss the table away like a hammer thrower...
And there you have it! 
PS. Wherever that table landed, there must be an impressive crater!
AOI: Making things with kirakiraru is so hard...

YUKARI (ironic): Isn't it?
Look at those ornaments she's made!
AOI, AKIRA: You've already made all of these!?
YUKARI: Now what should we do with them?

AOI: Now that I've tried it, it's harder than I once thought...
AKIRA (serious as any good leader): We have just started, after all. If we just work together...
YUKARI (aloof, sarcastic): Oh yes? Did I ever say I wanted to open a sweetshop?
AKIRA; Well, that's an awful way to say it... Everyone is doing their best.
YUKARI: I see... So you want to open a shop as well, right?
YUKARI: Surely everyone wants to... but do you, Akira, want to?

AKIRA (awkward): Huh?
AOI (sarcastic): Sigh... I wonder how we can run this mess.

And all the while the Elder is napping, snoring loudly.

Then came Emily with her Pom and their first commission (see above!)
That afternoon, Operation Make Emily's Cake can begin...

That afternoon on their way home at dusk, the introverted Himari, whose shopping trip to the high street had been spoiled by a crowd of housewives, comes across Akira.
AKIRA: Would you like to go shopping together tomorrow? It might have been scary for you on your own, but the two of us will surely figure it out!

In the meantime, an aloof Aoi is thinking of how she has screwed up...
AOI: I'd really like to help, but I really wouldn't like to break another wall...
Then, suddenly, she comes across Yukari.

YUKARI: You've got a lot of power inside you, right?
AOI (turning over): Huh?
YUKARI: That shop... could really use a little more of your power.
Aoi is left at a loss for words.
AOI: Y-yes, I gu-guess...?

The next day, Aoi, taking her senpai's words to heart, is using all of her power to throw Yukari's ornaments on the counter roof, stopping every now and then to wipe the perspiration off and take a breather.

AOI (taking a Rosie the Riveter/We Can Do It! stance): Well, Yukari said the shop wouldn't look that pro without a counter!
YUKARI: It just wouldn't be interesting (tokimeku). Oh, and do you recognize the table in the corner? It's the one you messed up yesterday!

AOI (carrying a macaron ornament): Ah yes! We reshaped it, evened those legs, and it became the base for this counter! I-Yah!! (She throws the macaron ornament on the right corner of the counter roof)
YUKARI (kneading kirakiraru into a whisk): In a shop like this, I am sure that I never will get bored...

What's more, Akira solved many of Himari's introversion problems!
HIMARI: Akira spoke to the shopkeepers for me, to tell them that we were opening our wonderful business...

AKIRA: After all, we can't leave a sad face alone like that... And that is definitely what I want!

YUKARI: (noblewoman laugh)
AKIRA: But we got everything we needed only because Himari was able to explain it with such detail. By watching her, I realised what serious business sweets can be. (Pause) And I will learn to be a garçon!

Little by little, all the Precures gradually clean up and beautify the pâtisserie.
Akira gives her all to sweep the floors until she can see her own reflection!
While Yukari moulds columns, Himari polishes cupboards, Aoi throws more ornaments on the counter roof...
It was then that they got the decision to make a cake with ornaments shaped like all of their transformation trinkets as an ode to diversity, important for both the Cures themselves and the friends who will eat this cake...

Of course, what is a filler episode without a battle against a MotW?
This time, he quaffed all the kirakiraru in Emily's cake (see below), but luckily it returned when the MotW was defeated!
PRECURES: Cure à la Mode! Decoration!


So Cure Chocolat had her first exciting moment in this battle by throwing a ball of chocolate kirakiraru smack dab into the sponge cake MotW's face...

Then Cure Gelato and Cure Chocolat tried to attack the MotW hand to hand together, yet they were struck back and reeled backwards... Luckily, their backup teammates made a cushion for a soft landing!

In the end, all five Precures together overcame their opponent with a joint kirakiraru Care Bear Stare of sorts...

Emily gets all flustered by such a surprise.

There you have the ensemble Precure cake toppers on the same cake;
one can see an ice cream ball, a meowcaron, a chocolate kennel... we have already seen in previous episodes.

For Emily, it comes as a positive surprise!!
Plus, we also learn from her that the fifth friend in the clique is called Tomo.
EMILY: Thank you so much!!

POM: Woof!
EMILY: I think we're all going to love it!

And soon the day has come to open the pâtisserie and don their brand new uniforms!
AKIRA: Nice sign, isn't it?
YUKARI: But we may get too many customers...
AKIRA: There you go again...

Aoi looks even more feminine than Akira (when in uniform) in that skirt and those pink bows, with shoulder-long hair down... Definitely, I prefer the Azure Aoi in denim and 80s ponytail!

Don't the Zuka Cures look good in uniform? PS. Akira wears trousers as part of hers, being a garçon (manqué, but still a garçon)... she is the only one without a skirt as part of hers!
Anyway, these uniforms have driven me to ship them even harder...

Anyway, they will all have to juggle their pâtissière part-time jobs with ordinary life issues, such as guitar practice, writing lyrics, visiting Miku on her sickbed... Still, it appears that everything will be all right.

Then suddenly, Emily enters with all of her friends!

EMILY: There it is! The cutesy (kawaii) shop I was talking about!

PRECURES: Come on in! Welcome to the Kirakira Pâtisserie!

Notice the older girls' highschool uniforms, with those cream blazers and well-pleated dark brown skirts. This could be improved by having Akira wear the male uniform... but still, she wears trousers as a garçon and in street clothes!

At the start, we see the Cures trying to move the pâtisserie from place to place to earn more customers, including a bridge and a cattle pasture...
COWS: Mooo! Moo! Moo! Moooooo!

...but to no avail.

Finally, they decide to set up shop in a playpark near a kindergarten... and, as expected, they get lots of preschool kids storming in!

In the meantime, a socially awkward young man who looks like Ash Ketchum has been going from place to place trying to locate an elusive sweetshop that always disappears as soon as it pops up (yes, it's the Kirakira Pâtisserie!)...
A stampede of preschoolers almost run on the Ash-boy, sending him flat-faced on the ground.
ASH-BOY: Isn't that a shop that shouldn't be on the guidebook...?

The Precures, handing out free samples, are beleaguered. Yukari's stiff upper lip face is priceless.

AOI (stressed): Settle down!
AKIRA: Sure, sure.

In storms the preschool teacher, and she earnestly reins all the toddlers in.
TEACHER: Cut it out! Everyone back to me right now!
She says it in a firm tone, yet without sounding like a drill sergeant. And all the kids storm back to preschool!
TEACHER (apologising): I beg your pardon... Ichigozaka Preschool teacher, my name is Midori Nakamura! I am very sorry for all the inconveniences the children may have caused...

Upon hearing her name, the Ash-like boy gets all flustered.
ASH-BOY: Gasp! That Midori!?
MIDORI: Tatsumi! Long time no see!

Tatsumi just gets all flustered and all he can utter is an awkward giggle.
TATSUMI (shyly): Hehehe...

MIDORI: You came here to buy sweets?
TATSUMI (awkward): Huh!? Huh... I... cook-... 'Scuse me! Got things to do! 
And thus he dashes off, turning his back upon her.

MIDORI: There he goes...

In the meantime, a flustered Tatsumi walks the streets of Ichigozaka clutching his chest and laughing to himself...
TATSUMI: That totally caught me off-guard, bumping into Midori like that... 
His steps lead him, however, back to the Kirakira Pâtisserie...
TATSUMI: Who knows? Maybe my luck is changing... The cookies I am looking for must be there!

The Precures call him oniisan and he explains that he's looking for cookies.
Upon finding out that there are none at the pâtisserie, he is about to resign...
TATSUMI (to himself): Sigh... I guess confessing to Midori is never going to work...
Though being offered meowcarons instead, he declines.
TATSUMI: N-no. I really couldn't. 

But those meowcarons are so tempting that he finally takes them...
and they wind up under his shirt!!
Sweets are Tatsumi's kryptonite, after all.
TATSUMI (patting his belly): Ah, those were scrumptious! Pure bliss indeed...

YUKARI: Didn't you just say "confession" a while ago, when you were talking to yourself?
AOI (savvy): Maybe those cookies are... for the girl in your life, right?
TATSUMI (flustered): It's not like that!! Midori and I have never had that kind of relationship!
The Precures take for granted that this Midori is the preschool teacher. Tatsumi gets an even more adorkable expression on his face and gasps.
YUKARI (coolly as usual): Bullseye.
TATSUMI (facing the truth): She and I were classmates in primary school. Now, as adults, we see each other once in a blue moon. But even now, I still can't seem to tell her how I feel...
YUKARI: Really? So you haven't taken the first step yet?
TATSUMI (red as a beetroot): We once went to the zoo together to see the pandas. And we held hands in front of the panda enclosure... Though it was a primary field trip, and both of us were six or seven. But, seen through my eyes, it's a memory that means the world to me.
*Open flashback*
ADULT TATSUMI (NARRATOR): I had detached myself from the rest of the class and I was watching the pandas alone, when Midori came down to me and said:
CHILD MIDORI: Have some cookies, please! (Rummaging through her cookie bag) Gasp! There's only one left...
CHILD TATSUMI (waving hands): That's okay...!
CHILD MIDORI: We'll split it! (She breaks the cookie in twain and gives Tatsumi half) Isn't it good?
CHILD TATSUMI (squeezing her hand): Yes!
***End of flashback***
TATSUMI: So I thought, if I could make such delicious cookies like back then, I'd find the courage to tell her how I'm feeling. But I can't seem to find the cookies I'm looking for...

And thus, after he's taken his leave of them, the Precures have got a new commission!

AOI: What kind of cookies? We don't even know that!
Still, they decide to make their own recipe and giving a try. Who dares wins, isn't it right?


The ensemble introverts take care of the recipe...

...Aoi kneads the dough...

...and Akira flattens it.
Everyone performing at their very best.

The cookies are, thus, guaranteed to be scrumptious.

The first batch proved to be stuck together on the tray, prompting Yukari to let out a noblewomanly chortle.
(It's happened to me as well, especially for Christmas; nothing a knife can't fix!)

It's the second batch that they get right.

In the end, a wavering Tatsumi is debating whether going to the next town over would be a good move when he suddenly hears a female voice ringing out from the bridge:

TATSUMI: There shouldn't be such a shop right here...
AKIRA: These days, our shops spread like mushrooms...
TATSUMI: Is that so?

When handed down the cookies, Tatsumi can't believe his good luck.
TATSUMI: So then you made cookies...
What's more, they put their hearts into such a treat. So Tatsumi is encouraged to have one as proof...
(Hope he controls himself and does not empty the box!)
TATSUMI (insecure): Courage, eh? (He puts a cookie to his lips and bites off. His eyes light up and he thinks:) "They're so simple, yet the taste is so warm and familiar... To have made this batch of cookies just for me..." (After swallowing) I guess the rest is up to me. (To the Cures) For having made these cookies just for me... thank you all. I'll give these cookies to Midori, then tell her how I feel about her.
And off he dashes, confident and light-hearted, towards the kindergarten.

Yet Yukari spots the cookie-themed stegosaurus MotW up in the sky, heading towards Tatsumi.
Which we know only can feel like the prelude to the battle of the week...

We first see Cure Gelato making this huge kirakiraru ice cream snowball and throwing it towards her opponent. However, the cookiesaurus just splits it in twain with his rolling pin tail.
Fortunately, Cure Chocolat steps in to make a choco-shield for Cure Gelato.

The cookiesaurus lunges at the wall and makes it crumble, but Cure Gelato feels a lasso around her waist...

It's Cure Macaron, who lassos her into safety!

Cure cats must help one another in the hour of need. Macaron could not have stepped in at a better time!

CURE CHOCOLAT: To stand in the way of love... is unforgivable!
Being the Precure of love (even though her attribute is "ai" and the one she mentions as Tatsumi's feeling is "koi", and there are semantic nuances: ai is love or affection in general, unconditional love; while koi is romantic love), we know Chocolat is talking serious business!

So they start a barrage of kirakiraru shrapnel on the cookiesaurus, while Gelato's anger leads to her iconic ice gloves wrapping around her clenched fists...

With that mean right hook of hers, she freezes the ball of kirakiraru and sends it careening towards her opponent... and the MotW is depowered as usual!!!

The sun sets over Ichigozaka as Tatsumi muses quietly with the box of cookies on his lap...
TATSUMI: I guess there's no way I can give her these...
But finally, steeling himself and remembering that childhood memory of cookie-sharing, he decides to spring into action.
TATSUMI: That's it! Back then, Midori shared her kindness with me... And I received those feelings! It's time to return the favour and share my feelings with her! With these cookies!

Midori has just closed the kindergarten for the evening and she's about to return home, when she hears a familiar tenor voice behind her back...
TATSUMI: Midori!! (gasping for breath after the long run... and from shyness too?)

MIDORI (turning over): Tatsumi! What's wrong with you?
TATSUMI: I want to... I have to... to tell you something, Midori.

MIDORI (walking towards him): What is it?
TATSUMI (taking one step back): It's... it's...
MIDORI (sniffing the cookie box): Smells so good! Are those cookies freshly baked?
TATSUMI (blushing, stepping backwards): Y-yes...
MIDORI: Though the box is a little worn... are those meant as a gift?
TATSUMI (shyly): Uh... uh... uh...
Finally, steeling himself, our young man bows before his love and hands the gift over.
TATSUMI: Midori... here are my cookies... and I like you... a lot!

MIDORI (smiling, taking the cookies): Thank you! And I like you a lot as well!
TATSUMI: And then...?
(The Precures are watching in secret from behind a wall of the playland!)
MIDORI: Cookies are scrumptious, right? I like them a lot too!
Tatsumi is so lovestruck, and so thrown off-guard, that he staggers as if drunk.

The pâtisserie then begins to radiate a rainbow light that dazzles both twenty-somethings.

PRECURES: Welcome to the Kirakira Pâtisserie!
MIDORI: What's this? It's amazing!!

As Tatsumi and Midori enter the pâtisserie, they find it decorated... a zoo of lifesize animal crackers!
AKIRA (showing the customers to a stump table and seats): Your table, right this way.

Tatsumi and Midori sits down and the teacher opens the cookie bag.

All the cookies were broken, or rather shattered, during the fight...
TATSUMI: Oh... 'scuse me... should have told you...
But a panda pattern on a reassembled cookie catches her attention.
TATSUMI (thinking): "Those girls... thought of my backstory?"

MIDORI: Doesn't all this remind you of that day when we were kids? When we watched the pandas, the two of us together?
TATSUMI: And you gave me... half your last cookie...
MIDORI (nodding): That's right! It was the only one left, so we split it in twain!
TATSUMI: It was so good...
MIDORI: Right! Let's eat these ones together as well!
TATSUMI: Thanks!
MIDORI (after biting a cookie): Oishii!
TATSUMI (after biting another, nodding): Oishii!
MIDORI: What a strange shop this one is! It's all so warm and inviting...
TATSUMI (nodding): And those scrumptious cookies... (Pause.) I'm glad we found this shop.
MIDORI: And I too.

The Precures stand back, proud and pleased: 
yet more customers have found their service beyond compare.
All's well that ends well!

Right. These two episodes I had to review together. Lots of things came in between, such as Easter and dentist visits (wisdom tooth removal due on Tuesday), aside from homework. Health and schoolwork always come before pastimes to me, as long as I am not on holiday or convalescent (could the wisdom teeth be the perfect chance to juggle the Yukira episode review and these homework projects?).
First comes the tidying the pâtisserie episode, in which Yukari is outright badass as a snarker... and Aoi and Akira, the two ensemble tomboys, wind up making a mess even worse, yet, in the end, using all of that power they've got in store to set everything right. This episode showed some excellent dynamics and character flaws, as well as setting up the tease for a rival Aokari pairing... definitely, Aoi's hot blood and Yukari's discipline+sarcasm complement one another... The banter between Yukari and Akira, the former more sarcastic and the latter utterly honest, reminded me of Much Ado About Nothing (which one would be Benedick and which one would be Beatrice?) and such banter always makes me see that a good romance often starts with a little vitriol and a little awkwardness, and here we had both of these factors! (Hope the Yukira episode does canonize my OTP!)
Then, speaking of awkwardness, there's the Tatsumi and Midori episode, with the kindergarten teacher and her awkward childhood friend, and the Cures playing cupid; once more, a subplot introduced to see how our Precures interact with these new characters. Tatsumi is adorkable to say the least, and we are seriously rooting for him to spit it out... it's cathartic when they finally confess their feelings and go on a first date! It's like: "Awww, ain't the boy too shy?"
As for the uniforms... Akira gets to wear a skirt in highschool uniform, maybe to show she's got legs (more sunburned than Yukari's), but her trouser-wearing garçon uniform makes definitely up for this shortcoming! Even Aoi F-ing Tategami looks girly in comparison, pink ribbon and long hair and all... (Still, she's got this massive RIGHT HOOK SNOWBALL during the battle of the second week!)


Yukari and Akira have a little arms race? Or is this canonical Yukira?
Anyway, they have decided to compete in a local contest by making fruitcakes... and both highschoolers go shopping for ingredients together; sexual tension guaranteed!
(Strange Fruit pun intended right here?)
As a hardcore shipper, I cannot wait to review this episode!!

Add their respective fanbases tearing them apart... and well, needless to say I am getting impatient to review it!

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