domingo, 23 de abril de 2017

STRANGE FRUITCAKE

Kirakira Pretty Cure à la Mode Review - Episode 10
STRANGE FRUITCAKE
or,

PLZ DON'T TELL ME YUKAKIRA IS CANON!!


We begin at the Kirakira Pâtisserie as usual...
TEEN GIRL CUSTOMER: Oishii!

And guess who is manning the counter?

YUKARI: Thank you very much indeed.
TEEN GIRL CUSTOMERS (excited): Squeeeeeee!!

AKIRA: Please come again.
TEEN GIRL CUSTOMERS (excited): Of coooourse!!

The beautiful (utsukushii) Yukari and the cool (kakkoii) Akira,
it's all thanks to them that the business is thriving!
The three secondary-school Precure congratulate them.
YUKARI: You are most welcome.
AKIRA: I'm happy to help.

And thus, the decision is finally made to participate in the...
Ichigozaka Sweets Festival!!
This year's edition revolves around FRUITCAKES...

AKIRA: What?
HIMARI: Let me explain.

And now an unusual flash of confidence for an introvert...
Whether you love making treats or eating them, everyone who loves sweets comes together to celebrate, in the most important event of the year!!

YUKARI: If we want to stand out, perhaps the prettier the better?
AKIRA: If it's truly flamboyant, I'm sure people will love it.
That's right! Yukari's beauty (utsukushisa) and Akira's cool (kakkoisa), all stacked up together on a brand new dessert!

A pie-like fruitcake recipe is picked and the fourteen-year-olds ask their young adult colleages for a favour:
Yukari, Akira, we'll need your help...
YUKARI+AKIRA: Huh?


With that great sense you two have... could we ask you two to select and buy the fruits for out cake?
YUKARI: The two of us?
AKIRA: Together?

Title card:
YUKARI VS. AKIRA!! A STORMY SHOPPING!!

In the meantime, the three secondary-schoolers at the pâtisserie are getting the crust ready before Yukari and Akira return.
AOI: I've been thinking lately... Why are those two hanging out with us in the first place? I mean, they're both super popular high school students (kókódemo ninkidemo), right? To be hanging out with secondary-schoolers (chúgakusei) and making sweets... I wonder if this is actually any fun for them.

YUKARI FANGIRL: Is that so?

The kitchen suddenly fills up with kókósei (highschooler) girls from Yukari's and Akira's respective fanclubs, whose affiliation can be told from the cockades they wear on their chests.

YUKARI FANGIRLS: We (watakushitachi) are the fans of Lady Yukari! Gathered in support of her singular beauty (utsukushiku kókina)!
AKIRA FANGIRLS: And we (watakushitachi) are the fans of Ser Akira! Gathered in support of her gallant kindness (yasashiku ríshina)!




AOI: They're not here right now. Is there something...
YUKARI FANGIRL 1: According to our (watakushitachi no)...
YUKARI FANGIRL 2: ...research (shirabe)...
YUKARI FANGIRL 3: these two have lately...
YUKARI FANGIRL 4: ...been right here...
YUKARI FANGIRL 5: ...quite frequently!
AKIRA FANGIRL 1: Therefore...
AKIRA FANGIRL 2: ...we (watakushitachi)...
AKIRA FANGIRL 3: ...have come to...
AKIRA FANGIRL 4: ...ask you...
AKIRA FANGIRL 5: ...concerning both of them...
ALL FANGIRLS IN CHORUS: Please do not involve them in this shop any longer! Clearly, this shop is unbecoming of both of them (ofutari ni)!
The chúgaku Cures' reaction is priceless. Especially Aoi's.


YUKARI FANGIRLS: As for the beautiful (utsukushii) Lady Yukari Kotozume,
YUKARI FANGIRLS: With her impeccable grace and form, she's a veritable Venus!
(They said Venus in English and pictured her serving at tennis. Is this a reference to both Venus Williams and Aphrodite? I guess so...) Any objections!?
For Lady Yukari, coming here is probably just a whim (kimagure).

AKIRA FANGIRLS: The ever kindly (itsumo yasashii) Ser Akira Kenjó!

Cool and refreshing, the true picture of a Prince Charming! 
(Here we can see she plays [association] footie, a more masculine sport than tennis.) Ser Akira is so kind, that surely she comes only because she feels sorry for you three...


Meanwhile, on the high street, a storm is brewing as both highschoolers go fruit-shopping...
YUKARI+AKIRA (surprised): Huh?
MALE FRUIT SELLER: Yeah, I'm pretty much out of fruit for today. With the Sweets Festival and all that jazz...
This was the first one, but every fruit shop in Ichigozaka gives similar replies.
FEMALE FRUIT SELLER (in another shop): I'm very sorry; we've sold especially well today all day long...
One of the few fruits that catch Yukari's eye is a cluster of muscat grapes.
AKIRA (concerned): Here too?

AKIRA: They've sold out everywhere...

YUKARI (turning her back on her, coldly): That's too bad. Let's go back!


AKIRA (scratching her chin): No, but...
YUKARI (still back turned): Eh?
AKIRA: Those three... they're probably waiting all hopefully. We have to do something.


YUKARI: Do something? Like what?
AKIRA: Well, I'll think of --...
YUKARI (coldly): There is no greater sin than misguided kindness.


AKIRA: I just don't want them to be disappointed.


YUKARI (turning her back on her): Eh? (She walks away down the street)
AKIRA: Wait! I wasn't done yet!


With her back still turned on Akira, Yukari enters a jewellery shop and has a peek at the pendants  and necklaces exhibited.

She finally settles for an amethyst locket in silver frame and chain. One that matches her hair, eyes, and attire perfectly!
AKIRA: That's a pretty (kirei) one.
YUKARI: I know indeed.
AKIRA: Now, about the fruits we need for our fruitcake...
YUKARI: Yes. Right now, I am picturing a beautiful (utsukushii) fruitcake in my mind's eye.

AKIRA (awkwardly): In your mind's eye, eh?

Right then, a tomboyish young girl enters the jewellery shop.
LITTLE GIRL: This one, please!
JEWELLER: Certainly, let me help you. Thank you very much indeed...
The little tomboy has settled on an elegant-looking edelweiss rock crystal brooch.
JEWELLER: That one? It may be a little too grown-up for you, miss (ojouchan)...

The jeweller then points to brighter-coloured, whimsical kiddie brooches shaped like butterflies, songbirds, mushrooms, frogs...
JEWELLER: Maybe something more like these ones would suit you more, miss.
LITTLE GIRL (gaze shifting from kid brooches to the crystal edelweiss in her right palm): Sigh! But...

YUKARI: He's right. It may be a little grown-up for you right now, but... 

YUKARI: ...if you wore it, you'd someday grow into it, becoming a lovely young woman (suteki na josei) whom it would suit just fine.

LITTLE GIRL: Really!?
JEWELLER: Well, I certainly can't argue with that.

YUKARI+LITTLE GIRL: Chuckle!!
Akira, in the meantime, smiles to herself. "This Yukari girl has got an eye for details and a keen fashion sense, knowing a lot about how to combine colours and patterns the best way."


Leaving the jeweller's shop, both Zuka Cures come across an old lady desperately scouring the cobblestones on all fours.
AKIRA: Are you all right? What happened? (She rushes towards the old lady, while Yukari stays behind)
YUKARI (standing in awe, surprised): Uh?

OLD LADY: The gem on my ring has fallen off...
(Since she wears her on her left ring finger, it can only be a wedding ring).
AKIRA: What kind of gem is it?
OLD LADY: An emerald. A beautiful, dark green one (kireina midori no). It was still there while I was in the park...
AKIRA: From here to the park...
YUKARI: That's quite a long way.
OLD LADY (sighing): There's no use, or is there? I'll never find something that tiny.
Akira listens with greatest concern.
YUKARI: Could you report it to the district police?
OLD LADY: Probably...
AKIRA (determined): I will look for it.
YUKARI (surprised): Gasp!
AKIRA (right hand on her heart): I'm sure I'll find it. Please wait for me here.

OLD LADY (surprised): Eh?
YUKARI (approaching Akira): Wait a little.

YUKARI (whispering in Akira's ear): You think it'll be that easy to find?

AKIRA: No, but... I can't stand to see her so sad. Miss Kotozume, could you wait here with her? I think the old lady's worried sick...
And off Akira darts down the street and down the slope.

Akira even looks for the gem on all fours, surprising passersby who come across her.
AKIRA: The gem... the gem...
SPITZ: Woof! Woof woof woof woof!

In the meantime, a weary Yukari is playing with her long mauve locks as she waits on a bench by the old lady's side. The two of them sit down in silence, not carrying on with any conversation.

In the end, they are surprised when a burned out Akira, gasping for breath, dashes towards them to open her right fist and reveal the tiny emerald --which she's been looking for for hours, of course!
AKIRA (to the old lady): Is this it?

OLD LADY (gasping in astonishment, taking Akira by the hand): Yes... that's it! It's definitely my emerald. (Behind those spectacles, tears of joy well up in her eyes) Thank you!!
In response, a smile lights up young Akira's face, and more sparkles appear in her eyes.
AKIRA (reeling, sitting next to Yukari on the bench and gasping): I'm glad.
YUKARI: You all right?
AKIRA: Yeah, just a little tired.
OLD LADY (chortling, whispering in Yukari's ear): Your boyfriend (kareshi) is quite the keeper (suteki), right?
YUKARI (surprised): Eh?

There's Akira, sunning herself and resting. Once more, she's been mistaken for a stripling. Yukari cannot think of anyone deserving more rest and quiet, while also thinking to herself about Akira's kindness and honesty... and thus, Yukari smiles as well.


At the pâtisserie, in the meantime, both fanclubs had taken drastic steps to action.
YUKARI FANGIRL 3: We will simply ask both of them...
AKIRA FANGIRL 3: ...to please not come back here again!
And thus, they left the pâtisserie in droves, as they had entered.

Right when Akira and Yukari had reunited, the fanclubs stormed surreptitiously into the scene!
On the street, when the old lady had already recovered her gem...

YUKARI FANCLUB: Lady Yukari!!!
AKIRA FANCLUB: Ser Akira!!!
YUKARI: What are you...?
AKIRA: What's wrong?
BOTH FANCLUBS: There is no need for both of you to go to that pâtisserie!
BOTH FANCLUBS (whisking Yukari and Akira away at unison in opposite directions): Now then!!

AKIRA (whisked away): Whoaaa!

YUKARI (whisked away): Eeeeeh!

And the old lady just stands there, dumbfounded.

Meanwhile, at the pâtisserie...
AOI: That host of fangirls were so into it... sure was scary, right?

Akira's fans, in the meantime, are complimenting her.
AKIRA FANGIRL: Ser Akira, you're far too generous! You don't need to come back to that shop every day just because you were asked to...
AKIRA: Actually, it's not like th--...
AKIRA FANGIRL: And there's no need for you to be with Lady Yukari every day. She is most certainly only going there on a whim (kimagure) of hers...
AKIRA: On a whim of hers? 
Suddenly, Akira remembers Yukari in the jewellery shop.
AKIRA: Ah, but then...
She is cut short when she spots the tomboy from the jewellery shop talking to a friend of hers.

LITTLE GIRLY GIRL: It's so pretty! (Suteki!) That brooch looks so mature and grown-up!
LITTLE TOMBOYISH GIRL (touching the crystal edelweiss on the left side of her chest): Isn't it right?
AKIRA (to her fanclub): Thank you for your concern. However... You don't need to worry.
AKIRA FANGIRL: Huh?
AKIRA (dashing off in a hurry): See you later!
AKIRA FANGIRLS: Ser Akira!!

Yukari's also getting a shower of praise from her fanclub.
YUKARI FANGIRL: With all due respect, Lady Yukari... We do not believe it is a shop that deserves your presence. 
YUKARI: Is that so?
YUKARI FANGIRL: And we think it's pointless to be seeing Ser Akira every day like this. When she decides to help, she doesn't think things through.
YUKARI: Eh? She doesn't think things through?
At that moment, Yukari remembers Akira storming off to look for the old lady's emerald and returning successful yet exhausted.
YUKARI (pensively): Perhaps? But...

The voice of an aged acquaintance brings Yukari to see Akira in a new light.
OLD LADY (to her friend): You're right; I couldn't have done it alone!
YUKARI (turning over): Huh?
OLD LADY: To go into all that trouble to search, for my sake... You can't find a boy like this in these days!

Yukari stifles a ladylike giggle as she remembers the old lady's remark and gender confusion.
YUKARI FANGIRL: Lady Yukari?
YUKARI: No... It's nothing, nothing. Now, if you excuse me...
She turns her back on them and walks gracefully down the stairs.
YUKARI FANGIRLS: Lady Yukari!!



In the meantime, the secondary school (chúgakkó) trio decided to already begin making those fruitcakes.
Though Yukari and Akira are delayed a lot and the secondary-schoolers wonder what to do if the Zuka Cures don't arrive in time... (here seen as clouds drifting away)
 ...these three devote themselves earnestly to making the crust and the cream,
knowing that Yukari and Akira will definitely be back soon. 
So the high-schoolers will be in for a pleasant surprise!
AOI: It's not like either of them said they weren't coming!!


Or at least just the base and the cream, before the cavalry arrives with the fruit. 
Aoi lends the strength of her right arm to whisking as usual.
Now all they need is the fruit...

ELDER: Now where are our key players, Yukari and the other girl?


And, as usual, the MotW showed up to drain the fruitcake of kirakiraru.
The three secondary-schoolers alone were no match for this pie-crust-ballerina-themed MotW (not even Cure Gelato was, in fact, the ice ball she threw was bounced back at her),
but luckily the cavalry arrived just in time!

#Back2BackBadasses: an awesome stance for battle couples since its conception.
AKIRA: Everyone! Excuse us for being delayed!
YUKARI: Leave this to us!
YUKARI: That is our fruitcake, made for the two of us.
AKIRA: Don't you dare to lay a fingertip on it!

Cure à la Mode!! Decoration!!
AKIRA: Strength and love, let's la mix up! (Tsuyosa to ai wo, let's la mazemaze!)
YUKARI: Beauty and excitement, let's la mix up! (Utsukushisa to tokimeki wo, let's la mazemaze!)

Cure Macaron, dekiagari!
Cure Chocolat, dekiagari!

First, to stop the spinning-top ballerina whirling à la Tasmanian Devil at full throttle, Cure Chocolat raised a wall that made her bounce back...

...so the MotW threw her berry hair decs at Cure Macaron, who just spiked them back...

Then Chocolat used something of a concealing kirakiraru fog similar to Smokescreen to confound the ballerina, while Macaron covered her opponent in lighter-than-air kirakiraru balloon bubbles...


PIE BALLERINA (flailing with her arms): I'm floating away!!
Their opponent being left unable to move, she is completely at the mercy of the Zuka Cures... if they have any mercy upon this enemy, that is!
CURE MACARON: Chocolat!
CURE CHOCOLAT: Right!

Cure Macaron creates an unusually large macaron yoyo for Chocolat to ride upon and soar across the sky... and Cure Chocolat rides the yoyo standing up as Macaron spins the yoyo faster and faster around her head to confuse their opponent (without Chocolat getting even light-headed or losing her footing!)
This really badass move serves as the perfect springboard (pun intended!) for Chocolat to perform an attack in mid-air.


So Cure Chocolat throws a tennis-ball-sized ball of kirakiraru that divides as it careens up through the springtime sky.
All the kirakiraru balls strike the ballerina MotW from all directions, causing her to become stunned and depowered.


Yet another victory for Macaron and Chocolat... and now it's time to receive that acclaim from their younger friends!

CURE CHOCOLAT: 'Scuse us... we don't have the fruit yet! Wait for us at the pâtisserie!

And thus, having detransformed, hand in hand, the Zuka Cures dash back into town, hoping that no one has purchased the fruits Yukari was thinking of for the cake in her mind's eye... or are they?
YUKARI: Hold on... What are you thinking of?
AKIRA (resolute): The next town over. Let's do whatever we can.
Akira runs at full throttle, dragging Yukari along, the more feminine girl not losing her grip.

YUKARI: Everyone's waiting excitedly for us... Akira.
AKIRA (surprised): Huh?
When entrusting the old lady to her, Akira had called Yukari "Lady Kotozume." Now the heiress has replied by calling the bifauxnen by first name... And the reply confirms their distance growing closer.
AKIRA: Thank you... Yukari.

Holding hands and first-naming... that's definitely how things are getting a little bit warmer.

At sunset, the two high-schoolers return to the pâtisserie with a load of fresh fruit.
AKIRA: Thanks for waiting!
CHÚGAKKÓ CURES: Wow!!
YUKARI: These muscat grapes are a beautiful (utsukushii) shade of green.
AKIRA: And a purple touch is added with blueberries.
YUKARI+AKIRA (unison): And, finally, strawberries!

So we've discovered the result of Yukari's visual intelligence. It takes to see an idea in her mind's eye and then perform it perfectly. The cake is decorated with concentric rings of fruit; the outermost of grapes, the middle one of strawberries, the innermost of blueberries. She has paid attention to shape, colour, and flavour as well as to the way it will combine with the cream and crust.

So far, we have seen Yukari Kotozume can:
brew tea the traditional Japanese style
make perfect macarons
play tennis like a pro
combine colours, shapes, and other details with incredible aesthetic sense (in fashion, cuisine, everything)
speak more than one foreign language
give sensible fashion advice
stop fires
make beautiful ornaments out of kirakiraru
(Is there any flaw -aside from that pushing herself too hard- that may be her weak spot?)

Right, now comes my comment on the fruitcake decorations. Yukari Kotozume shows great taste when it comes to fruit, to matching flavours and colours. The outermost ring is of muscat grapes, followed by strawberries and blueberries.
So far, the cake looks scrumptious and surely tastes as well; real fruit porn. Something that could have been served at Renly's and Margaery's wedding+coronation feast!

Right then, both fanclubs storm into the pâtisserie once more.
YUKARI FANCLUB: Lady Yukari!!
AKIRA FANCLUB: Ser Akira!!
AKIRA: Just in time.
YUKARI: Please join us.
Of course they are all meant to have a slice of the cake their idols have decorated.

AKIRA FANGIRLS (elated): Excellent!!
YUKARI FANGIRLS (elated): Cute and delicious!!

Of course both high-school stars' fanclubs agree on that!

YUKARI: Well, of course the festival will be ours...
AKIRA: We love this place, after all.

YUKARI AND AKIRA ARE REALLY THE BEST (YAPPARI SUTEKI)!!

In the meantime, a sinister-looking stripling in black, wearing a golden Venetian mask, is standing on the twilit church tower of Ichigozaka, holding a brochure for the local sweets festival in hand.
GIULIO: A Sweets Festival, eh? This whole town will be overflowing with kirakiraru then...

Definitely, in the next episode, the arc finale (or cour finale), Giulio will make his move on that sacred day...



MY OWN HUMBLE OPINION:
Akira and Yukari are two halves of a whole. Seriously. One does parkour and footie, and the other plays tennis. One is an older sister and the other is most likely to be an only child. One (like most bifauxnen) gives off a gender-crossing Prince Charming image, while the other exemplifies traditional feminine beauty as an Imperial Carnation (the Japanese equivalent of the English Rose lady). One cares far more for practical matters and is more realistic, while the other is a perfectionist with an aesthetic flair above all. One wears her heart upon her sleeve to the point of seeming blunt or even gauche, while the other often replies with ice-cold sarcasm. One leaps before she looks, while the other looks before she leaps.
Long story short, they are definitely made for one another. To say it in another way, #YukakiraIsCanon!
Furthermore, this episode proved that their respective fanclubs are at each others' throats (think Montagues vs. Capulets or Starks vs. Lannisters): Akira's fanclub stereotypes Yukari as too wistful, while Yukari's fans think Akira is too stubborn and impulsive... Nothing but a little star-crossedness to make a relationship more exciting! In fact, only the two Precure highschoolers are the ones who see each other warts and all, with both the strengths and weaknesses.
There's that Sancho/Quixote or Hamilton/Burr chemistry between foils that we adore here as well (Just hope Yukari doesn't put Akira in harm's way...). Gustavus Adolphus said of his right-hand man Axel Oxenstierna that "his coolness quenches the hot blood within me." The two Zuka Cures complet one another in exactly the same fashion. And that last first-naming, hand-holding fruit run was definitely the heartwarming crowner for this episode; the point when it all comes together...
AzenZone, who appears to be a Pretty Cure series connoiseur, says the following:
Let's start off with the high-school-age duo: Yukari Kotozume and Akira Kenjo. The two of them are an interesting case because there's only one other active Precure about their age (Yuuri Tsukikage, AKA Cure Moonlight). Due to their age, these sorts of team members usually become more mentor-like figures to the team, which they sort of are, but here they're also shown to have their own flaws. Ironically enough, it's also because they're older that they have such flaws. Both of them are seventeen or so, meaning that they're just on the cusp of entering young adulthood, and therefore developing concerns about how the world around them perceives them. In Yukari's case, it's more of an internal struggle of her dealing with her pride and perfectionist tendencies; while for Akira it's more external, with her worry about satisfying the needs of those around her, especially her sick little sister. In the end, both are putting unnecessary pressure on themselves. It's actually quite interesting that these two Cures, given their respective motifs, have similar yet opposite goals. You could say that they're kind of meant for each other!
Nonetheless, while they haven't got quite as much characterisation as their younger teammates, I do see potential in their characters developing in interesting ways, should they address these issues.
Of course, hard to see whether or not the writers are going to make these aspects integral parts of their character arcs, but, if they are, I applaud them for tackling such a delicate stage in a young person's life.
The Kirakira Pâtisserie was enjoying some booming success. This was in no small part due to the two older members of their team, because as we all know, all those sweets match up so well with all that ho-yay!
They leave the fruit selection up to Akira and Yukari. However, with every other shop getting ready for the same festival, fruits are in high demand. Thus the two end up spending the afternoon looking for a fruit shop that still has some. 
(As the fanclubs enter the pâtisserie, to ominous music)... A group of unholy hellspawn! Seriously, screw the thieves; these Akira and Yukari fangirls were about a thousand times more threatening!
Speaking of those two, there was some slight discord going on between them, as they couldn't fully agree on how they approach finding fruits. Akira wanted to take a more aggressive approach before it was too late and all the fruits were gone, but Yukari pointed out that recklessly pushing something might cause more damage than good. From here, the episode takes an interesting turn by having both sides exhibiting the merits behind their approaches. For Yukari, she's able to help a little girl make a jewellery purchase by simply consulting her through it; while Akira helps an old lady find her lost emerald. Akira searches high and low, looking a little bit like a creep in the process, and manages to find the tiny gem. I like this, because it brings up the classic passive vs. aggressive argument in a nice, subtle way. By taking a more laid-back and comforting approach, Yukari helps the little girl make her own decision over her purchase; while, by going all out, Akira helped the elderly lady find something that she probably would have never been able to find on her own. Two polar opposite problems were solved by two polar opposite approaches, showing that you kind of need a little bit of both sometimes. 
It's at this point that the fangirls try to destroy the HMS Yukakira before it sets sail, but the people they just helped just happened to pass by to remind them of what they had accomplished, and they rightfully give the weird alien girls the cold shoulder.
Again, the monster of the week ...was inevitably defeated by an awesome combination performed by Akira and Yukari... 
Anyway, the episode finally ends with the team finally completing the fruitcake thanks to Akira's and Yukari's efforts, and it looks like they're ready for the Sweets Festival next week.
However, looks like there's also a new threat looming in the distance...
Akira's and Yukari's interactions and blooming friendship feel very natural, and of course it's also great to see these characters being able to share their values with one another, leading to a great message about how different problems can require different approaches sometimes.
The stuff with the fangirls was absolutely hilarious. They might be selfish little bug-eyed broads, but, seeing them argue with the Pretty Cures at length over the ownership of their waifus was fun.





IN NEXT EPISODE:

The Sweets Festival comes, and everyone has got quite ready;
a sinister young man shows up and makes it all unsteady!



With Candy Rods for upgrades, following each arc tradition,
will the Precures' new powers gain thus even more precision?

(Just had this Lemony Snicket Netflix opening filk as format for the new next episode previews)



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