miércoles, 10 de mayo de 2017


Kirakira Precure à la Mode - Episode 14
My Own Review

A Hot-Blooded Musical

(for, when was the last time we had a musical review?)

Aoi Tategami, the lead vocalist and lyricist of Wild Azüre, heiress to the Tategami surname
In the male lead role
Mitsuyoshi Mizushima, her ersatz brother and retainer
Yukari Kotozume & Akira Kenjo, the One True Pairing forever
Giulio "Leo" Kuroki, that magnificent b***ard

The episode opens at a really HOT-BLOODED Wild Azüre open-air concert, fittingly enough!!
It's so cool, and even yours truly is doing the rock-on gesture as she listens!!

Tokihanate Oh yeah atsuku nareru All Right
Todoku yō ni Woah oh woah oh
Jiyū habatakou yo
Ashita ni tobikomou yo

Let yourself go! Oh yeah, light it up till it is all right
so we can reach it now! Woah oh! Woah oh!
Let's all fly to our freedom
and leap towards our new tomorrow!

AOI: Everyone!!! Let's hear what u got!!!

THE FANBASE: Oh yeah!!! (Many rock on gestures)
HIMARI (blushing): Uh-uh...

AOI: Next up... is a cover of an artist that I look up to so much...
Ready, Freddie? Allons-y!!

Suddenly, a twentyish man in a suit and spectacles swoops in from the shadows and lands on his feet upon the stage!

MITSUYOSHI (in a badass baritone): Stop RIGHT THERE!!

AOI (surprised): Oh!?

MITSUYOSHI: How surprising... (Pause.) That you were truly in that sort of band.
AOI (startled): Mi-Mr. Mi-Mizushima!? When did you get back!!??
MITSUYOSHI (coldly, advancing towards Aoi): Not long ago, Miss.
Upon saying these words, he packs a flustered Aoi in a bridal carry.

He was something to observe...
I came in close, I heard a voice...
Standing, stretching every nerve,
I had to listen, had no choice!

I did not believe the information...
I just had to trust imagination...
My heart going BOOM BOOM BOOM!!!
"Hey," he said,
"Grab your things, I'm gonna take you home!"
(Yeah, back home!)

Yes, that's a bridal carry. As subtle as it gets. No surprise Aoi is in such a state of shock.

Now THAT's awkward. This man is no stranger to Aoi and still she is flushed when he carries her like a bridegroom would carry a bride across the aisle.
Just imagine everyone else's reaction!
The bassist steps up to wonder why this Mr. Mizushima would pack their lyricist and vocalist like that.

AOI (struggling to break free from Mitsuyoshi's grasp): What'ya doing? Stop it!! Lemme go!!
KEI: Hold on a sec. Who are you in the first place!?
MITSUYOSHI (coldly): Her guardian by proxy.

MITSUYOSHI (coldly): I beg your pardon.
Throwing a little blue smoke bomb, Mitsuyoshi fills the stage with blue smoke. When it has cleared, Aoi is gone, as if vanished into thin air, leaving a fanbase in shock and the other members of Wild Azüre looking left and right for her.
SARA: Aoi!
KEI: Aoi!
RYUTA: Aoi!!

When Hades packed Persephone and whisked her away to the underworld, the maiden dropped her flower wreath on the scene of her abduction.
Aoi's just dropped her trademark electric guitar instead, to the same dramatic effect.

The Abduction of Persephone, by Bernini, brilliantly captures her captor's steel-hard grasp and the maiden's struggle to break free.

Cue opening credits!

At the KiraPâti, the Cures are obviously worried about Aoi's sudden disappearance. So much that they have barely got no eyes or ears for their upcoming jelly dessert...
Akira Kenjo thinks it through like the real leader she is.
AKIRA: It's a little concerning.
HIMARI: "Guardian by proxy," he said... I wonder if they are related.

It's up to our wistful oneesama to deliver the vital clue.

YUKARI: Why don't we go there and find out?

YUKARI (serene): To Aoi's home, of course.
Yukari Kotozume is kind of the Varys of Ichigozaka, or at least of the little high society community within this provincial town. She really needs all those connections, given her rank and popularity.

So we get this animation of the Zuka Cures and their juniors as chibis making it from the KiraPâti to the Tategami Mansion.
And their reaction to seeing the redoubtable estate is priceless.

YUKARI (savvy): Isn't it here?
AKIRA (surprised): Huh!?
HIMARI: An impressive estate!


The Tategami estate seen from the outside. The gardens stretch for kilometers around the mansion itself.

A detail of the neoclassical façade of Tategami Hall,
with a prominent heart-shaped art nouveau decoration.

By the garden wall, Yukari reassures her friends by pointing out the master's surname, written in golden kanji on a Prussian blue field:
YUKARI: See? It says TATEGAMI right here.
Upon ringing the ornate, flowered doorbell, the Cures are recorded by a camera and asked:
FEMALE VOICE ON THE INTERPHONE:  Whom do I have the pleasure of addressing?
And, upon saying that they're friends (tomodachi) of Aoi Tategami's, they receive a reply in a familiar shrill, irate voice:
MAIDSERVANT ON THE INTERPHONE: Please lower your voice, Miss!
AOI'S VOICE ON THE INTERPHONE: I'm opening the gates!!!
And thus, outside, before the Zuka Cures and their juniors, the wrought-iron garden gates open wide!
They storm into the estate, though Yukari comes mincing at a more leisurely pace, and are overawed (especially Akira and the juniors) by the immense foyer and its red carpet staircase:

But where's Aoi? Speak of the devil, and soon you'll have summoned her!
Upstairs, a throng of maids are hot on their mistress's heels...
MAIDS: Please wait for us! Mademoiselle!!
AOI: No way!!
Yet Aoi, in spite of her frilly pink silk ballgown and petticoats, manages to outrun them and subsequently slide down the banister à la Mary Poppins!!
She lands in a tangled heap, yet without the slightest scratch:

AOI (getting up): Yes I am... I'm all right... (looking up to the others) All of you came!!

That ensemble has got more pink, frills, and hearts, that her pâtissière uniform. And she's even been forced to put lipstick on. Definitely NOT Aoi's style at all!!!

AOI (pointing at her own chest, ticked off upon not being recognized): Yes, it's me! Yours truly!! A-O-I!!!

While the middle-class Cures, led by Akira, are shocked upon seeing Aoi in petticoats, the other ojousama in our ensemble delivers (true to the Yukari style) a left-handed compliment:

YUKARI (touching some of Aoi's frills): That look suits you! (Noblewoman's laugh)
Immediately, they are surreptitiously surrounded by several valets and maids in uniform.
So. Many. Servants.

Led into a parlour, the visitors have an interview with their host.

MITSUYOSHI: I am the butler of House Tategami, Mitsuyoshi Mitsushima by name.
YUKARI: Are you referring to the Tategamis of the Tategami Konzern?
 (Yes, its brand name uses the German word)

Those ancestors' portraits seem to be watching their reluctant scion...

YUKARI (as Aoi sneers, sitting on the sofa, at the coat of arms and portraits of her ancestors): Founded by the prestigious Tategami family, it has always been one of the leading enterprises in this nation for centuries.
MITSUYOSHI: Correct. Moreover, its president is currently Mademoiselle Aoi's lord father.
MITSUYOSHI: How surprising it is... to return from a rare holiday only to find our mademoiselle dangerously embroiled in a so-called hard rock band.
AOI (getting up from the sofa, irate, confronting her butler): And what the heck is wrong with hard rock!?
MITSUYOSHI: The heir to House Tategami is to be held to the highest standards of decorum.
AOI (shrugging her shoulders): Humph! Well, I am sick of decorum...
MITSUYOSHI (deadpan as always): Sick though you may be, I'll have you adhere.

These harsh words make Aoi's eyes BLAZE with real FIRE!!
AOI (furious, lunging at Mitsuyoshi, roaring like an alpha lioness): Mizushima... you stubborn jerk!!

MITSUYOSHI (cold as ice, yet loudly and passionately): It is the way of House Tategami!!

Guardian and ward lock eyes intensely, he remaining as cold and unfliching as usual, she clenching her fists in anger and about to make Mr. Mizushima know what her right hook tastes like.

However, Aoi soon opens her right hand and puts it on her heart, bending the knee before the stern butler and pleading for mercy.
AOI (sobbing): What about my feelings in all this!?
She sees herself reflected in his spectacles. This man was there for Aoi since her childhood, whenever her parents weren't there.
However, she is already a teenager with a free will of her own. Could she at least make him flinch?
MITSUYOSHI (adjusting his spectacles): Please endure those feelings, mademoiselle.
Resigning herself, Aoi lowers that hand from her heart and leaves, silk rustling in her wake, brushing against her butler's side.
MITSUYOSHI: There is nowhere to run.
AOI (restraining her anger): Heck, to the loo...
He clenches his fist as she shuts the door behind her. The Cures all gasp in awe after she's left.

MITSUYOSHI (concerned, showing signs of emotion at least): She was more cooperative (sunao) when she was younger...
The retainer stands back and remembers his own childhood...
*Flashback begins*

MITSUYOSHI: When I was quite young, and left an orphan without any living relatives, Mademoiselle Aoi's parents took me in.
(Definitely, this is the first time we see Mr. Tategami, although from behind and only his torso and a little of the limbs. Patting the head of this orphan boy in the grey rain of depression as another mourner holds up an umbrella.)

MITSUYOSHI: Until I became an employee of the Tategami Konzern, I lived on this estate with them.
(As a child, Mitsuyoshi was as lively and eager as Aoi, when both of them grew up together as siblings, that's for certain; but the couple in servants' uniforms in the background are definitely not the Tategamis).

*End of flashback*

Having reminisced enough, the scary shiny spectacles of the retainer light up, showing a pair of teary blue eyes... the ostensibly stern, maybe even sinister, guardian has a heart of his own!
MITSUYOSHI: Mademoiselle Aoi should become a true proper lady of refinement, and I must see to it. Thus, I would have her resign from the pâtisserie as well.

Aoi's sweetsmaking companions just stand there, speechless, before they leave.
Soon, the sun is setting behind the Tategami estate.
In her vast bedchamber, the retainer is drilling the heiress. Aoi has just traded her petticoats for a comfier burgundy jacket frock, as an aged, bespectacled maid takes those frills and petticoats away in her arms.

MITSUYOSHI: La leçon d'aujourd'hui is that we would have you refrain from running about the estate grounds in petticoats.
AOI: (Sticks her tongue out)
MITSUYOSHI (standing to the right of the door): Tomorrow we will be hosting a garden party. I trust we will not have any further blunders.
AOI (turning her back on him, irate): Humph!
MITSUYOSHI: This is all for your sake, mademoiselle, and for the good of House Tategami. Upon that I rely and beg my leave.
No sooner has he shut the door that Aoi finally wears her heart upon her sleeve.
AOI (irate): "For my sake," he says...!! (She throws her frock on a chair in a fit of rage, revealing her rockstar ensemble beneath, and slumps forwards on her bed)

When illusion spins her net,
I'm never where I want to be...

And liberty, she'll pirouette
when I think that I am free...

Turning over in her bed, Aoi looks up to the Ganache posters that overlook her bedside.

AOI (reminiscing about Ganache concerts): Sigh! Misaki...

AOI (reminiscing about Wild Azüre): All of my bandmates...

AOI (reminiscing about the Precures, sobbing): Yukari-san... Akira-san...  Sigh! Will I ever get back to all of them?
Her own bedchamber is now more vast and emptier than ever.

Watched by empty silhouettes 
who close their eyes, but still can see...
No one taught them etiquette;
I will show another me!

Tomorrow I won't need a replacement;
I'll show them what the smile on my face meant...
My heart going BOOM BOOM BOOM!!!
"Hey," he said,
"Grab your things, I'm gonna take you home!"
(Yeah, back home!)

Back at the Kirakiraru Pâtisserie, everyone is worried about Aoi, and whether she will lose her involvement in making both sweets and lyrics.
YUKARI: Every family of rank has its own considerations and circumstances. In Aoi's home, maybe freedom is hard to come by.
(She surely knows this from her own experience, for her own elders expect her to perform to perfection like a wind-up doll. The Kotozumes crave as much perfection as the Tategamis crave decorum.)

Suddenly, a familiar young male voice is heard offscreen.
LEO: I happened to hear you from outside... 

LEO: 'Scuse me. I just overheard... I have to agree with Yukari.

LEO: Whoever that Mizushima guy is, he doesn't seem to want to listen. Awkwardly cutting in might do the opposite of what you intend. Other people can never understand how you truly feel...

In response, Yukari raises her eyebrows, as she always does whenever she mistrusts the Kuroki boy.

The atmosphere thickens, as if an angel were flying right through the counter.

However, the Cures will not budge that easily either... time to return to the Tategami estate quite soon!

LEO: And what makes you think that's going to work?

The fact that Aoi is equally stubborn, and that she wears her heart upon her sleeve.
*Short flashback*

AOI (sobbing): What about my feelings in all this!?

She brushed past him like that...

And there was such a look of concern in his eyes...
*End of short flashback*


LEO (startled): Eh!? Were you even listening to me!?

YUKARI: It's gotten interesting here, right?
AKIRA: But we should all go together.

YUKARI: We'll need a bit of a plan. They won't just let us barge in.

Leo just stands there, worried that he's become invisible to their eyes.

Time to set that garçon collar right...

...and to don those bonnets...

...and to remember Aoi's latest idea!
AOI: What about jello as blue as the sky!!

YUKARI, AKIRA, THE SECONDARY GIRLS (raising their whisks): Let's la cooking!!

"According to plan," Leo seems to think as he leaves the pâtisserie.

The next day, the high society of Ichigozaka has gathered at the Tategamis' garden party.

The dessert buffet is full of all kinds of treats, yet parfaits appear to be in season.

YOUNG FEMALE SOCIALITE (curtsying before Aoi): Good day to you (Gokigenyó).

AOI (awkwardly): 'Afternoon!
MITSUYOSHI: (Clears throat loudly)

Watched by empty silhouettes 
who close their eyes, but still can see...
No one taught them etiquette;
I will show another me!

MITSUYOSHI: (Clears throat loudly)
AOI (still awkward): Good... good day to you too.

Today I don't need a replacement;
I'll show them what the smile on my face meant...
My heart going BOOM BOOM BOOM!!!
"Hey," he said,
"Grab your things, I'm gonna take you home!"
(Yeah, back home!)

Popping out of a moving shrubbery (ah, the classic Birnam Woods ruse!), the Pretty Cures and their pâtisserie suddenly pop up on the estate guards, surprising servants, guests, Aoi, and her guardian alike.
YUKARI: May we offer you a dessert?
AKIRA: It is delicious (Oishii desu).

MALE SOCIALITE: Is it a jello?

It's an ocean-themed jello dessert, with cetacean treats trapped in jello that looks and feels like sea jellies.
I wonder what it tastes like... blue Sugus sweets taste like pineapples, and an 80s ice lolly called Frigurón tastes like pineapples... so I'm obviously assuming.

The Zuka Cures' operation has gone as smoothly as can be so far.
YUKARI: Leave this part to us.

In the meantime, Aoi, detached from the rest of high society, is leaning against the pedestal of a princess statue in a corner of the gardens.
Once more (remember the ancestor portraits?) we have an image of her elders' expectations overlooking the Tategami heiress. I luv this symbolism...

AOI (weary): Sigh! I'm beat...
Suddenly, she feels a shadow coming over her face...

She wows in elation as soon as her Cure friends offer her the jello, no matter if it looks more middling than the other desserts at the party.

Down the hatch, she thinks as she puts the spoon to her lips.

AOI (after swallowing her spoonful): So. GOOD!! I like this one way more!! Even with sweets, it's all this decorum all the time...

*And thus, Aoi's childhood flashback begins as her memories flow back...*

(Violin riff)
How does an aristocrat,
daughter of two socialite Lordships,
dropped in the middle of a spot chock-full of privilege
by providence; as spoiled as most of toffs are,
grow up to be a lyricist and rockstar?

(Middle-class schoolkids laughing)
The teenager who had grown up without a father
got a lot farther by trying a lot harder,
by getting a lot smarter, by being a self-starter;
by thirteen, she thought her whole sheltered life was a bother!

AOI: Being locked into that kind of routine got more and more painful with each passing day.

And, every day, while middle-class kids went out to play
their time away, she struggled and kept her guard up!
Inside, she was longing for something to be a part of;
in fact, she ready to beg, steal, borrow, or barter!

AOI (remembering her first Ganache concert): But the way Misaki's song ran across that clear blue sky...

Then visual kei came, and on the stage it reigned,
our gal thought her caregivers' expectations were in vain...
Stood entranced and stopped to listen, connected into her brain,
and she wrote her first refrain, a testament to her pain...

AOI: ...It made me feel so free!

Well, then word got round, three kids heard her, thought she's wicked!
Soon their vocalist and lyricist they had well pickéd!
Get our first rehearsal, don't forget from whence you came,
and the world's gonna know your name... what's your name?

Aoi Tategami...
my name is Aoi Tategami...
and there's so much out there awaiting me...
But just you wait, just you wait...

AOI: I want to sing whenever I feel it inside!!

*End of flashback.*

AOI (irate): But, no matter how often I say it, that Mizushima guy doesn't understand!
Then, if that's the case, let's get to him one more time. Aoi-style through and through!!
AOI: My own way...?

In the meantime, Mitsuyoshi strides in his own curmudgeonly manner towards the KiraPâti.
MITSUYOSHI (stern, harsh): What on Earth is all this for? What on Earth are you doing!?

His rant, however, is cut short by the twang of an electric guitar.
Storming towards the venue, from where he heard the music, he finds a stage covered in smoke or fog and the silhouettes of four young people...

And, when the smoke clears, he realizes they're Aoi and her Wild Azüre friends, the heiress's petticoats tied up into a balloon skirt.

MITSUYOSHI (startled): Mademoiselle! What on...!? How...!?
YUKARI: We have properly asked the estate staff.
MITSUYOSHI (irate, startled): What!?

YUKARI (showing the servants): They said they wanted to hear her music.

Clearly, each and every one of them (man and maid, young and old) is secretly proud of the young mistress and a closeted member of the Wild Azüre fanbase.

MITSUYOSHI (incensed): You all...!?

Let it go, let it go;
can't hold it back anymore!
Let it go, let it go;
turn away and slam the door!!

Here I stand, and here I'll stay...
Let the storm rage on;
the cold never bothered me anyway!

Can’t you see my feelings? 
They’re like a whirlwind 
leaving all my daydreams 
’cause I need to go 


Close your eyes and hear me:
we don’t have eternity,
singing your songs since years ago,
now I just wanna go...


I wanna live it my own way,
thinkin’ back it is all right!
I wanna live it my own way,
this is what I feel inside!
There is so much to lose 

by your side...
I wanna live it my own way 
every time, oh yeah!

I say:

don’t, don’t
 take my time!!

I say:

don’t, don’t, 
’cause I want my life!!

Looking up to his ward passionately stealing the stage (and the episode),
and listening to the guests and the servants clapping their hands at unison,
the stern retainer finally sees the error of his ways.
Yet he's too stubborn to say it out loud.

So I went from day to day,
though my life was in a rut;
till I thought of what I'd say
and which connection I should cut!

I was feeling part of the scenery,
I walked right out of the machinery...
My heart going BOOM BOOM BOOM!!!
"Hey," he said,
"Grab your things, I'm gonna take you home!"
(Yeah, back home!)

When illusion spins her net,
I'm never where I want to be...
And liberty, she'll pirouette
when I think that I am free...
Watched by empty silhouettes 
who close their eyes, but still can see...
No one taught them etiquette;
I will show another me!

Seeing all those upper-class scions all fired up, as if her enthusiasm had spread to them...

...makes Aoi's guardian finally see what she sees in hard rock music at the end of the day.
He just stands agape, at attention, surprised by all those socialites storming towards the stage, and he wonders...

Today I don't need a replacement;
I show them what the smile on my face meant...
My heart going BOOM BOOM BOOM!!!
"Hey," I said,
"You can keep my things, they've come to take me home!"
(Yeah, back home!)

Suddenly, the retainer is offered one of the jellos, with the explanation that it was Aoi's idea.
MITSUYOSHI: Mademoiselle's?
Curious about the taste of the jello, and especially because Aoi's to thank for, he puts a spoonful to his lips...
It goes down smoothly, at a single gulp.
As the glob of jelly slides down his throat, his eyes are fixed on the mademoiselle pouring out all of that blazing passion into song upon the stage.

Again, that look in his eyes that show he's a person at the end of the day.

And he's left gasping, wavering, having reached the climax of his realisation.

Perched on a tree branch as usual, our villain surveys the hearts of his most numerous quarry so far.
LEO: The power of music... brings out so much kirakiraru...

Seems like Leo/Giulio has found a buffet of his own...
...there are so many hearts rife with kirakiraru, of socialites young and old...
...all of them cheering on the blue-haired rockstar singing upon the stage...
these barriers of pain!!
to the sunshine from the rain!!
Make my feelings known towards you
turn my heart inside and out for you now
I have to make this final breakthru.

Your smile
speaks books to me,
I break up,
with each and every one of your looks at me!!
Honey you're starting something deep inside of me!
Honey you're sparking something, this fire in me,
I'm outta control, I wanna rush headlong into this ecstasy!!

As for her guardian, it has already dawned upon him, the jello having melted under his waistcoat, that what is for sure is that Aoi will be Aoi.
MITSUYOSHI (smiling with pride and understanding): There's no need to scream... I understand already.

If I could only reach you,
if I could make you smile,
If I could only reach you,
that would really be a breakthru...
If I could only reach you,
if I could make you smile,
if I could only reach you
That would really be a breakthru!!
Breakthru, breakthru...

After that final riff, the whole fanbase bursts into applause and screams of excitement.
AOI: So, Mizushima!! Did you like my songs!?

He's still too conscious of his reputation to reply earnestly.
MITSUYOSHI (adjusting his spectacles, stern once more): Hmmm... Even if you ask me how... (Pause.) Hard rock is not befitting of a proper lady's modesty.

This reply hits the heiress like a bullet right between the eyes.
AOI: Why can't I get through to him...?

However, we all know, like the Cures, that those aren't the retainer's true feelings; that he's merely putting on a façade.

Suddenly, Leo (still on his perch) produces his mask...

...and dons it, turning into Giulio.
GIULIO: Hehehe... Time for the experiment!!

Everyone except the Precures is drained of kirakiraru and falls unconscious, from Wild Azüre members Kei and Ryuta (not to mention Sara)...

...to the socialite guests...

...to the cupbearer servants.

The thud Ryuta's form makes in falling on the stage floor 
startles Aoi, who looks over her shoulder and is subsequently shocked.

The forms of the victims of Giulio's first mass attack lie right below the stage pell mell,
just like the slain upon a deserted battlefield.
AOI (shocked): This is...

Even Mitsuyoshi himself has been sapped dry of kirakiraru; gods know when he will awaken...

On the other hand, Giulio is clearly enjoying himself.

GIULIO: Kirakiraru that gleams with music! How fascinating!

All of those lifeless forms lying pell mell at Aoi's feet... she cannot take it any longer.
Neither that her own songs have been perverted to such a sinister end.

AOI (furious, clenching her right fist): WHAT THE HECK DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING!!??
Let's la MAZEMAZE!!
My power flurries through the air into the ground...
My soul is spiralling in frozen fractals all around...
And one thought crystallises like an icy blast...
I'm never going back; the past is in the past!!!

Of course, Giulio is not going to lag one step behind and uses all that kirakiraru he stole from all those socialites at one fell swoop to make the weapon of the week in the usual way...

GIULIO (producing his dagger): Kirakiraru! Stained in darkness! (Raising his dagger skywards): Noire Décoration!
Lightning shoots up his right arm, turning the dagger into a dark purple partizan with a spearhead of translucent Prussian blue jelly.
Right, Giulio... so you wanted to shake spears, eh?
(PS. Julius Caesar in Italian is Giulio Cesare... so the Bard pun felt completely irresistible!)

GIULIO: Let's go.
The ray from his partizan shoots out globs of dark jelly all over the sky.
GIULIO: With kirakiraru gathered from so many, my victory is certain.

Once more, Chocolat takes the lead.
CURE CHOCOLAT (determined): We need to move!
She flies up into the sky, followed by the other Precures.

GIULIO: Running is to no use!
The tip of his partizan glows sky blue...
...and a flurry of dark spearheads, made of those globs of Giulio's jelly, the size of the Precures rain down upon them, forcing them to run for cover!!

Cure Chocolat is thrown backwards by the expansive wave of an explosion...

...while Cure Macaron gracefully darts out of harm's way.

Both of them, however, have made it through unscathed and ready for retaliation, as the dust from the expansive waves clears...
...and their opponent's silhouette strides confidently towards them.
GIULIO: Ha-ha! So much kirakiraru, all gleaming with music... You are powerless before it.

However, the faint glitter of some kirakiraru through the clouds of dust catches his eye.
GIULIO: What's this?

GIULIO: Is there some powerful kirakiraru left here? Well then, I shall have it too.
However, as our villain lowers his spearhead, a flurry of slushy snow surges through the dust clouds right towards him, forcing Giulio to shield himself with the spear staff, and forcing him to reel backwards.
GIULIO: What!?

Cure Gelato confidently steps forth, protecting that tiny hint of kirakiraru.
CURE GELATO: That rhythm...

It was a flitting spark of kirakiraru from that jelly left within Mitsuyoshi's heart...
something Giulio will have to step over Aoi's, or Gelato's, dead body to claim!!
She suddenly hears a familiar tune and lyrics from the left side of his chest, throbbing within his failing heart:
If I could only reach you,
if I could make you smile,
If I could only reach you,
that would really be a breakthru...
CURE GELATO: What the heck? That's my song...
CURE GELATO: It did really reach you... All the way through.

 However, Giulio won't let something so precious remain where it is all right.
GIULIO (raising his partizan): You don't need that stubborn jerk's kirakiraru, do you?

Perhaps the other stubborn jerk should have asked a different question!

CURE GELATO: I won't stand you messing with us anymore!
Indeed, the feeling of having reached one another appears to have been mutual.

You're the one who held me up
and never let me fall...
You were the one who saw me through through it all...
Maybe I don't know that much,
but I know this much is true;
I was blessed because I was loved by you!!

You were my strength when I was weak...
You were my voice when I couldn't speak...
You were my eyes when I couldn't see...
You saw the best there was in me...

Suddenly, the kirakiraru from her guardian's heart is drawn to our passionate genki girl. Aoi just stands there in awe... surging into her candy rod and creating a new power!!

CURE GELATO: Thank you, Mizushima. I just need this kirakiraru a sec.
Lifted me up when I couldn't reach...
You gave me faith, 'cause you believed...
I'm everything I am
because you loved me...

Stepping forward, she puts her new power to the test!
Let it go, let it go;
I'll rise at the break of dawn!!
Let it go, let it go;
the perfect girl is gone!!


Here I stand, in the light of day!!
Let the storm rage on...
The cold never bothered me anyway!

To be honest, this Gelato Shake feels like the culmination of Aoi's ice boxing style. Fisticuffing that huge ice ball into a flurry of frappé shrapnel is badass to say the least.

The largest of the ice shrapnel shards forces the enemy to reel backwards.
GIULIO: What's this power!?


It's hissatsu time, and soon, with a perfectly executed Sweets Wonderful à la Mode...
...the partizan is finally purified.

GIULIO (retrieving his dagger): All those people's wrested kirakiraru, and one single person's kirakiraru was enough to defeat it all... How interesting. (Pause). That was a fun experiment.
(Exit Giulio stage left, sauntering away as usual).

The kirakiraru returning to their hearts, all the victims of Giulio's first mass attack awaken,
from the muggle members of Wild Azüre...

...to a confused Mitsuyoshi, under Cure Gelato's sparkling eyes.

CURE GELATO (chuckling): Tee-hee!

The next day, a cheerful ring on the KiraPâti doorbell and a familiar loud and proud voice herald good news and a positive surprise for Aoi's Precure friends.
AOI (elated): THE GAL IS BACK!!
Her friends welcome her with open arms and wonder if Mr. Mizushima has finally understood.

AOI (awkward): Um, well...

*Cue flashback to the Tategami Mansion after the party, Aoi wearing the burgundy frock in her bedchamber, having a talk with her guardian/retainer*
MITSUYOSHI (sternly chiding AOI): You certainly made a mess out of this important event!

AOI (pleading for mercy): Sorry, I know it was wrong...

AOI (changing from sorry to ironic): But what do you really think of it all, hm?

AOI (still ironic, her back turned to her guardian): I know the truth. No sense in trying to hide it!

In response, Mitsuyoshi is left speechless, adjusting his spectacles and then showing that look of concern in teary blue eyes.
That look that betrays his real feelings.

*End of flashback*

AOI (elated, doing a V sign): He said both the band and the KiraPâti were fine!!

Today I don't need a replacement;
I show them what the smile on my face meant...
My heart going BOOM BOOM BOOM!!!
"Hey," I said,
"You can keep my things, they've come to take me home!"
(Yeah, back home!)

AOI (sighing): But only if my grades were higher than 5.

(Oh, Aoi, I know this feeling all too well: struggling with Terminology, this Shakespeare MOOC, and reviews of this anime, and sports... being a genki girl free spirit with education parents/guardians ain't easy, right?)

AOI: That's easy pie, I got a six now.
(A slacker genius like yours truly? Bring it on... definitely, Aoi Tategami is tied first place with Tyrion Lannister in my list of top sarcastic characters).

In response, the other Precures laugh earnestly.

But Aoi's own laugh is the heartiest of them all.
This is a real Laughing Storm, not that Baratheon in the Dunk and Egg stories...

If anyone wonders about my Alexander Hamilton, Solsbury Hill, and Let It Go filks; I thought those songs fit Aoi's character arc as a whole. There are also going to be Solsbury Hill lyrics references in my Snow Queen AU; the one where Aoi is both the robber leader AND the robber maiden to Akira's Gerda and Yukari's Kai. Not to mention the Shakespearean references in both this review and the AU (Aoi will, for instance, pin an ace of hearts to her left sleeve!)...
I just love doing musical reviews, especially when finding lyrics that mirror the POV character's plight...
One of the things I loved about this episode is the subversion of these "calling the old man out" and "taming of the shrew" plots that fit Aoi like a glove. This is a shrew that doesn't let herself be tamed, and, instead of the old man and/or old lady, we get a younger retainer/guardian with an icy exterior, yet a heart of his own (and a convincing backstory, being an adopted orphan and her older foster brother). The ostensibly stern, curmudgeonly Mitsuyoshi reminds me of Stannis Baratheon and even more, in fact A LOT, of Malvolio in Twelfth Night, and it appears that he has deeper feelings for Aoi hidden underneath that deadpan brave face; I've got this AU where he is made to crossdress, or at least to dress as a sissy villain, misled from a forged letter allegedly from Aoi!!
(PS. In my Snow Queen AU In the Shades of Dawning, the captain of the Queen's guards will be revealed to be a frozenhearted Mitsuyoshi, frozenhearted from the glass in his specs, whom Aoi will set free with a serious right hook and the ensuing black eye and concussion! There will be this whole subplot about "the Tategami girl" keeping all of Ichigozaka on tenterhooks after Yukari's disappearance in similar circumstances; what with the Tategami heiress being presumed suicidal having jumped off the bridge and the Kotozume heiress having allegedly shared her fate [when she's been abducted by the Snow Queen]... Imagine Akira's surprise upon realising that the leader of the outlaws that have taken "him" prisoner was Aoi Tategami all along!! And Aoi's own surprise that her opponent, when the helmet was knocked off by her right hook, was her retainer all along... "I went forth to find Mademoiselle... but she was the one who found me instead!" As well as when she helps him up and both leave the battleground for the Sage's place... AOI: "I beg your pardon, maybe I have been..." MITSUYOSHI: "...a tad harsh on you? And as stubborn as you are." And both of them laugh heartily.
Of course Yukari and Akira, whom we have followed as POV characters, are not aware to this until they return to the Sage's [Elder's] to rest after leaving the ice palace and find Aoi with a thirtyish man half-dressed in plate armour [only the limbs, not the head or torso], her left arm in a sling and his left eye bruised and cooled with an ice pack... and we hear the other half of Aoi's story. Also, when she meets the other Wild Azüre guys on the return trip to Ichigozaka, they decide to no longer be outlaws and become an entertainer troupe instead!)

These dynamics between the retainer and his ward also reminded me of Persephone and Hades in classical myth. There are only a few times when the Lord of the Underworld has become teary-eyed. The first was when Persephone had to return for half a year with her friends and mother in the surface world. The second was when Orpheus, come to claim his late wife, sang a song which reminded him of that moment:
A dim and awful form did he sit, wrapped about in darkness and mist, and on his right hand sat Persephone, his wife, whom he stole from the meadows of Sicily. When he saw Orpheus his eyes gleamed like the gleam of cold steel, and he stretched forth his gaunt right arm towards him.
"What dost thou here, Orpheus?" he asked.
"I am come to ask thee a boon, O king," he answered.
"There be many that ask me a boon, but none that receive it."
"Yet none have stood before thee in the flesh, as I do, O king, to ask their boon."
"Because thou hast trespassed unlawfully on my domain, dost thou think I will grant thee thy boon?"
"Nay; but because my grief is so great that I have dared what none have dared before me, I pray thee to hear me."
Without waiting for an answer, he struck his lyre and sang to them the story of his life, and of how he had loved and lost Eurydice. The eyes of the pale queen brightened when she heard him, and the colour came back to her cheeks, as the song brought back to her mind the days of her girlhood and the sunlit meadows of Sicily. Then a great pity filled her heart for Eurydice, who had left the green earth for ever, and might not return, as she herself did, in the springtime, living only the dark winter months below. As Orpheus ceased his song she laid her hand upon her husband's.
"My lord," she said, "grant his boon, I pray thee. He is brave and true-hearted, and he sings as no man has ever sung before."
But the stern king sat with his head upon his hand and eyes cast down, deep in thought. At length he spoke, and his voice was soft and kind.
"Orpheus," he said, "thou hast touched my heart with thy singing. Yet it lies not with me to grant thee thy boon."
"But if the queen, thy wife, may return to the earth in the spring-time, may not Eurydice, too, come back at thy command?" asked Orpheus.
"The ways of the gods are not the ways of mortals, Orpheus; they walk by paths you may not tread. Yet, though I have no power to give thee back Eurydice, thou mayest win her thyself if thou hast the strength."
"How may that be?" cried Orpheus. "For the sake of Eurydice I have strength for any venture."
The feels, the feels, the feels. Aoi is both Orpheus and Persephone in this episode.
We also got Giulio's first mass attack and Aoi's new move, Gelato Shake (cannot wait for Akira's or Yukari's!). It's basically using those badass ice boxing gloves to punch a huge ball of ice into frappé shrapnel. Long story short, the most badass technique I have ever seen in this series so far (hope neither one of the Zuka Cures disappoints me!). Elsa, eat your heart out.
I have identified myself with Aoi's plight and lived this episode to the fullest. Nothing more remains to say except what can be said from this and the lyrics in this review.
Moving on from one character archetype I adore to another, from the genki girl/the free spirit to the bifauxnen; next week's the one with the Akira-centric episode, and, since our Sailor Uranus expy has showed to be made of true leadership material since her introduction, and her ill girl little sister's life is on the line, it makes things even more exciting!!


When little Miku Kenjo visits the pâtisserie,
how happy, yet how worried can her older sister be!

Yet Giulio's sure to drain and stop her little heart forever...
Is this something Akira'll forgive? The answer sure is NEVER!!

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