viernes, 19 de mayo de 2017

TOUT POUR AMOUR

Kirakira Precure à la Mode
Episode 15 - My Own Review

TOUT POUR AMOUR


Yes, that's the Akira-centric episode I mentioned last week, that has sent my heart throbbing ever since I watched it. Being an only child, stories about sibling dynamics have shown me many different facets of what it's like to be an older, middle, or younger sibling.
Today, Miku Kenjo, Akira's terminally ill little sister, is on a short leave and visits her at the KiraPâti...


SIGN ON THE KIRAPÂTI DOOR: COOKING IN PROGRESS


At first we see Akira pouring dark chocolate into moulds for making chocolates... as gracefully as ever.
AKIRA: Today's batch of chocolates are looking great indeed.
HIMARI: Are you going to visit your little sister?
AKIRA: Yes. I'm looking forwards to Miku's smile.
AOI: I wonder what she's like!!
HIMARI: I imagine her as a cute, polite, and charming little girl...

Speak of the devil... a little redhead with a bob haircut, in a pleated skirt, is standing outside the pâtisserie and opening the doors.


And, interrupting the conversation, Miku Kenjo storms into the kitchen.


MIKU (excited): Lookie here! Oneechan!

Akira's reaction awkward face is priceless.

AKIRA (gulp/gasp): Miku!?

Of course she has to introduce the little redhead who looks as a younger version of herself, more kawaii than kakkoii:
AKIRA: My little sister, of course.

MIKU (giggling): Sur-prise!

After our bifauxnen leader has left for a pause, she stops for a call in a park phone booth:

AKIRA: I see... Miku insisted, did she? I will take care of her, then.

In the meantime, the Precures are having tea with their new little friend:


MIKU: Yes, I'll have to return! But the doctor said I was good enough so I could have a three-day pass! (Putting a spoonful of pudding to her lips) Ommm nomm!

Meanwhile in the phone booth:
AKIRA: It's all right. I will protect Miku as I've always done.

*Cue opening credits*
MIKU (patting her belly, not a single glob of pudding left on the plate): Aaah, that was so good (oishii)!!

MIKU (standing up, determined): My name is Miku Kenjo! I'm nine years old! Thank you for looking after my older sister!!

And then she bows so low... surprising everyone at the table except for the courteous, savvy Yukari.
AOI: That's Akira's li'l sister in a nutshell...


Soon, Miku tries to guess who each Cure is using her sister's bedside descriptions. When it comes to the resident proper lady/oneesama, we can see through that this li'l girl is wise beyond her years:


MIKU (to Himari): The Sweets Professor, Himari...
HIMARI (shyly, nervous): I wouldn't say "professor..."
(For being so introverted, I must agree, she is modest, humble... and she's taught us a lot about kitchen chemistry. Remember her churro lecture? I am more of a creative arts person myself...)


MIKU (to Aoi): That badass/amazing (kakkoii) singer, Aoi...
AOI (surprised): Huh? (Producing a mic) Would you like to... hear me sing?


MIKU (to Yukari): And then there's the fickle and beautiful (kimagure de tottemo bijin) Yukari-san...
YUKARI (smiling, as serene as usual): Correct.

MIKU (to the Elder): And then there's the stylish (kakkoii) pâtisserie chef...
ELDER (feeling flattered): What a fine taste this little girl has!


MIKU (elated): Everyone is just like Oneechan described them!! I'm so happy to have met you all!

Though Miku feels a little awkward upon receiving another refill of treats, she politely says thank you.


Right then, Pekorin flies into the parlour.
MIKU (excited): Awww! So cuuute!! (Kawaii!!)
At first Pekorin is startled by the little girl's elated expression and attempts to catch her (a bit like the children who wanted to play with the Ugly Duckling during his winter stay on their farm)...


MIKU (crouching and hugging Pekorin): Aww! It doesn't matter...You're so cute!!/Kawaii!!

MIKU (to the Precures and the Elder, determined): Um, I actually have a request for you!

 In the meantime, Akira returns to the pâtisserie.
AKIRA (to herself): But even so, if it's Miku...

Our bifauxnen/otokoyaku enters, opens the door...


...and is surprised by the sight of her little sister in pâtissière uniform!


MIKU: Welcome to the KiraPâti!


AKIRA (gasping deeply): Miku!! What's up with that uniform!?
MIKU: Just for today, I'll be helping out here!

Definitely, the uniform makes Miku Kenjo look even more adorable.

AKIRA: No way... you shouldn't push yourself like that!

MIKU: But I want to help! And I'm going to help!!

AKIRA (still worried): Miku...

The other Cures are counting on this little girl...

MIKU: (giggles)
AKIRA (relieved): Thank you, everyone.

Still, Akira's big sister instinct is tingling...
AKIRA: If you don't feel well, you tell me right away, okay?

MIKU: It's all right! I have your charm with me!


She keeps the charm in that little red handbag she always wears...
but what's this charm in the first place?


MIKU (excited, to Akira): This time, you take it easy and I'll take care of things!
YUKARI: (Noblewoman's laugh)

AKIRA (nods in silence, still concerned)

MIKU: (giggles)

And thus, Miku's first day of work at the KiraPâti begins...

MIKU (to a young straight couple): May I take your orders? So. One strawberry shortcake, one fruitcake, and one cream puff...
ANOTHER FEMALE CUSTOMER (behind Miku): We're ready to order as well!
MIKU: Coming! (She runs towards this table on the picture)

MIKU (to these two young women): So. One cupcake, a half dozen churros, and one jello.
(To herself) Cupcake... churros... jello. (To the customers): Understood!

However, remembering all those orders by heart without a notepad is too hard for li'l Miku, leaving her confused, even lightheaded.


AKIRA: A slice of fruitcake and a cream puff, that is. And the other table ordered a cupcake, churros, and jello.

MIKU (sighing, covering her chest with her serving tray): I'm sorry...

AKIRA (reassuring her): There's a lot of sweets to remember here, it's all right.

MIKU (holding the tray even closer): Sigh!!

So it's up to Akira to serve those orders in all her bifauxnen glory (roses and sparkles and all)!
AKIRA (dashing): Thank you for your patience.

CUSTOMERS (with hearts in their eyes): How wonderful.../Kakkoii...

Little Miku, watching and listening closely, can only look on and wonder why.

MIKU: That isn't going so well...

The Cures offer her, then, a chance to help out in the kitchen,
and will she accept?
MIKU: Okay!

In the kitchen, an idle Aoi is belting out her image song:

While Himari teaches Miku, and us, the chemistry of icing. Like... why can't it be made with caster sugar?
MIKU (wondering): Icing?


HIMARI: Icing consists of icing sugar, egg whites, and lemon juice mixed together.


Hey, that's not a chemistry lesson like the ones we had before... Like... we get to know why churros are star-shaped but not why icing has to be made with icing sugar, and what role the egg white and lemon play in the making, if there's some reaction or such?

MIKU: Okay, I'll try!


After a while, Himari leaves the kitchen, leaving Miku in charge.

MIKU: All right!

So she sets to work with icing those cookies.

In the meantime, Akira pops up at the kitchen window to get a gratifying surprise.

Herself unseen, our bifauxnen watches her little sister decorating biscuit by biscuit...

...and feeling her heart swell with pride.


In the end, the Cures come together to have a look at the biscuits Miku has iced.
AKIRA: These are... (laughing heartily)... they make me laugh!!

Indeed, they're not perfect panda faces, but there's nothing a little more effort cannot improve.
However, Miku is rather embarrassed of having failed her sister a second time.
MIKU: Eh... I'm so sorry...

MIKU (looking downcast): Sigh!

Is there anything she can do right? She gets a third chance... at shopping groceries!
There's fruit to buy...

...there's flour and sugar to reach...


...and, before returning to the pâtisserie...

...how about a rest in the park?

MIKU: Sigh! That didn't go well at all...

MIKU (her mood suddenly improving): That's it! (Reaching into her handbag) At times like these...

She produces her charm, revealed to be a box of chocolates decorated with a picture of the Kenjo sisters and a border of hearts.


It contains the latest batch of chocolates Akira brought to Miku's bedside!



MIKU (putting a piece of chocolate to her lips: Whenever I eat Oneechan's chocolates, I always feel better!

And thus, as she swallows, she smiles an innocent smile, proving that her heart is full of kirakiraru...

MIKU: Chocolates are my lucky charm! Like a charm that says: "may Miku always be smiling." My sister gave them like that to me when I was young. That's why I like them so much (daisuki).

MIKU: I wish I could do something for her as well...

MIKU: If I could make a sweet that would bring a smile to her face... (Elated, remembering something) then I want to make chocolate cake! We'll make it in secret and surprise her!


LEO (from a treetop as usual): Bright idea, isn't it? (He saunters to the ground, stunning Miku when he lands unscathed on his feet)

LEO: Oy oy... No need to be surprised. I was just napping up there when I heard you talking.




LEO: Anyway, this idea you had, li'l one, I think that's great! I mean, Akira would surely love it if you made a chocolate cake just for her!

Something tells us that he's already locked the target of the week... but hurting Miku Kenjo would be like getting too close to a bear cub, no matter how far the mother bear may be. He's fought Cure Chocolat before and defeated her, and furthermore he knows that Akira is Chocolat... he's in for a great surprise as well!

MIKU (giggling): Hehehe... all right! I'll do... my best!!/ganbaru!!


Right then, Akira, who had left for a walk, comes across her sister quite unexpectedly in the park.
AKIRA: Gasp!

AKIRA (surprised): Miku!

MIKU (winking back): Hi, oneechan!!

As he looks over his shoulder, our villain recognises the tall bifauxnen whose contralto he's just heard as one of his enemies.
LEO (looking back, recognising Akira): Isn't that...?

Akira just stands there, without saying anything.
We wonder... is she aware of the fact that Giulio is Leo? So far, only Yukari is suspicious but has not confirmed his identity.


LEO (index finger to his lips): So, it's our little secret, right?


And off he darts, wishing the li'l girl the best of luck...
LEO (winking an eye and giving her a V sign): You can do it (Ganbare yo), Miku!!


"COOKING IN PROGRESS" SIGN ONCE MORE ON THE DOOR

Akira Kenjo is still concerned about her sister when another loved one offers her some respite...
YUKARI (flirtatious): Why not go out for a walk?

YUKARI (taking Akira by the hand): Let's go... Akira...

Then, our proper lady seizes the bifauxnen by the wrist, left hand seizing left wrist, and forces her to tag along, as a startled Akira looks over her shoulder.

AKIRA (looking back): What? Wait...

AKIRA (as Yukari drags her along) Wait... Yukari!?

Trysts may begin with such scenarios, one partner dragging the other along against their will.
This scene also confirms the fact that Yukari Kotozume is left-handed by birth (being raised to ambidexterity as part of her proper upbringing), since she clearly grabs Akira with her left hand and drags her along like that, proving that Yukari's left arm is the stronger one. Also, she plays tennis. She holds the racket right-handed, but maybe (like the titular character in The Prince of Tennis) she might switch her racket arm half-way across a hard match when the going gets tough.
Count of Yukakira episodes in the series so far: two. Their relationship has at least progressed a little more!

In the kitchen, Aoi shows Miku how to whisk the batter.

Maybe this little girl's right arm is weaker than her mentor's, but give her time and practice, and you'll see!


In the meantime, the Zuka Cures stop for a rest in the park playground.


AKIRA (worried): I wonder why Miku wanted to help out at the KiraPâti so much.


And thus, our leader begins to remember their childhood together...

*cue flashback*

One autumn day in the same Ichigozaka Park, some years ago...
TODDLER MIKU (falling on the floor, crying and sobbing): Oneechan!! Help!!

Turns out she was scared of a passing-by woman's pet poodle pup!
POODLE: Woof! Woof!



PRE-TEEN AKIRA (rushing onto the scene): Miku!
TODDLER MIKU (still crying, pointing): A woofwoof...

PRE-TEEN AKIRA (sitting down and soothing Miku): It's all right, it's all right...

TODDLER MIKU (having calmed down, but still shutting her eyes): I'm so scared!

PRE-TEEN AKIRA: Here, I've got a present for you...

The present turned out to be a square of chocolate, which made Miku's eyes light up.

PRE-TEEN AKIRA (unwrapping the chocolate): This is a special charm... meant to make you smile!


So Miku let her sister pop it into her mouth at once.

As she swallowed, she felt at ease and happy once more.

*end of flashback*

AKIRA: For as long as I can, I want to keep protecting her smile.


YUKARI (with a hint of sarcasm): Miku is just like you, isn't she...?
AKIRA (raising her head): Huh? Just like me?

YUKARI: I mean she feels exactly the same way you feel towards her, right back.

As she looks into Yukari's eyes, our resident bifauxnen finally realises what her partner means.

Meanwhile, at the KiraPâti,
the secondary-school Cures and Miku are preparing the chocolate cake.
The chocolate sponge out of the oven and just cooled, Miku finally puts her pastry bag skills to the test. Practice makes perfect, and she's determined not to fail.


AOI (producing a mic): And I've got the right song to cheer you up!!

AOI: You see, Miku was all like fangirling about me, and thus...

As Aoi puts the mic to her lips, Himari forces her mouth shut, nearly making her suffocate.
There's a novice pâtissière at work right here, and her concentration shouldn't be disrupted!

With just the right amount of encouragement, Miku finally succeeds, 
creating a cake so rife with kirakiraru that it surprises everyone in the kitchen, 
but mostly the little pâtissière who has wrought it herself!

Right then, Yukari and Akira return to the pâtisserie.
AKIRA: Huh?
MIKU (running towards her sister): Oneechan! Welcome back!

However, the skipping little girl stumbles upon a cobblestone and falls forwards, pale and reeling, and unconscious...
...into the arms of her older sister, who picks her up by reflex!
AKIRA (catching Miku in her embrace right before she can hit the floor): Miku!! Are you all right? Aren't you tired?

MIKU (coming to): Tee-hee-hee! I'm all right! You should come over!


Then our leader gets to see the chocolate cake, modelled after that poodle, that her little sister has made.

AKIRA (surprised): Chocolate cake?
MIKU (gesturing to a seat): Please, your table, take a seat!

MIKU: Please enjoy!
AKIRA (after a while speechless): You made this...? Miku?

Cutting off one tiny piece, our dashing redhead puts the fork to her lips and lets the cake piece in.

MIKU: So? How is it?

Akira can't reply as she swallows that piece of chocolate cake; 
it's as if a curtain had been pulled before her eyes.

Remembering how hard her little sister tried as a waitress...

...and as a cake decorator...

AKIRA (to herself, gasping): I get it now... Miku... it was all for my sake...

MIKU: Oneesan? Is it good? (Oishii?)

At first, Akira is caught off-guard by this question, wondering how to reply...


...but then she understands and answers without words, with a warm Kenjo smile.


AKIRA: Miku...

AKIRA (smiling in earnest): This is the most delicious cake I've ever eaten! Miku...!
MIKU (elated): Oneechan! I'm so glad!

AKIRA: It's the poodle from back then, right?
MIKU: Yeah! I'm so glad we got to be friends!

*flashback to that autumn day in the park*
POODLE (happily): Woof! Woof!
TODDLER MIKU (looking over her shoulder): Oh?
And she even trusted the poodle to lick her in the face, which tickled Miku pleasantly!

*end of flashback*

AKIRA: You were so scared at first... (Cutting another tiny piece of cake and putting the fork to her sister's lips) Here, Miku, try some.
MIKU: Omm nomm nomm...
MIKU (after swallowing): So good! (Oishii!)


Both Kenjo sisters enjoy their lovely smiles, unaware that someone is watching them...

Someone who has seen both of their hearts...

...shining blinding bright...

...from a nearby treetop.
GIULIO: He-he-he! Just as I suspected. That's powerful kirakiraru, indeed.

And thus, he hops down, scoring yet another perfect landing on his feet.
AKIRA (shocked): Giulio!!

The masked villain draws his signature dagger...

...pointing it at Miku's little chest at blank-point rage.
MIKU: Gasp!


AKIRA (lunging at Giulio untransformed): What on Earth are you trying to do to her!!??




With a quick dagger thrust of his right arm, Giulio knocks Akira out of his way.

MIKU (shocked): Oneechan!!
She grows even more shocked, gasping and screaming in pain, as the kirakiraru within her heart begins to recede...

...sending her backwards, racked with searing pain...

...until her little heart is drained, making her plunge into a deep void. Given that she has a heart condition, her life is hanging on the thinnest of threads.

AKIRA (looking over her shoulder, shocked): MIKU!!

All of that kirakiraru flows into the crystal tip of Giulio's dagger.


GIULIO (examining his dagger): I guess I only got hold of the little sister's kirakiraru. That's fine... I've got plenty for what I have planned.



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 formidable dark purple five-prong trident (PS. If it's got five prongs, can it still be called a trident?)



AKIRA (swallowing her anger): How dare you do this to Miku...
 
AKIRA (exploding in fury): UNFORGIVEABLE!!

AKIRA: Strength... and unconditional love... let's la mix it up!!
(Tsuyosa wo... ai wo... Let's la mazemaze!!)








The background music is certainly badass and fits this mise en scène like no other tune, even Let it Go itself, can.






That dramatic pose is also an otokoyaku staple. Notice the eclecticism of the periods from which the theatrical costumes for Cure Chocolat are drawn: Shakespearean/30YW-era (collar, puffy-sleeved doublet), eighteenth-century (cravat, short cape), and Victorian (top hat), as if to synthesize the idea of the princely young man character played by otokoyaku actresses despite the settings of these plays being diverse.




Cure Chocolat! Ready to serve! (Dekiagari!)

The stairs behind Cure Chocolat may be familiar to you as the Grand Staircase of the Takarazuka Theatre.



A furious Cure Chocolat lunges full throttle at Giulio...

...but he deftly parries her kirakiraru attack by spinning his trident.
GIULIO (taunting Chocolat): He he he... Ah, so even you sometimes get angry!?


CURE MACARON: Chocolat! Wait!
But Cure Chocolat won't listen... rage has taken a complete hold of her...


And thus, she heedlessly storms alone against the enemy...

...only to be met by a ray of kirakiraru from Giulio's quinquedent... cinquedent... five-pronged spear so powerful that it sends her, and her fellow Precures, reeling backwards.

Wincing and swallowing her pain, our otokuyaku leader gets up again.


GIULIO: This time the power of the kirakiraru is something special...
GIULIO: The strength of a little sister's feelings (omoi) for her older sister.

GIULIO (twirling his spear for parrying): That must be what's amplifying its power so much!

Indeed, and that's also the reason why Cure Chocolat 
is hell-bent on claiming and purifying all that kirakiraru.

Giulio counterattacks by firing volleys of five darts of dark kirakiraru from the prongs of his new spear.

At first, Cure Chocolat dodges the shots with all her skill as a traceuse...
 
...but each volley of darts get closer and closer to her...
 
...until one dart strikes her right shoulder blade, striking Chocolat down, unconscious.

Thankfully, she lands on her feet, racked with more pain than before, 
yet she will never surrender that easily:
CURE CHOCOLAT: Miku's kirakiraru... I will DEFEND it!!

Giulio launches yet another ray of dark kirakiraru at Chocolat, who instantly summons a shield to defeld herself.

However, the ray of darkness overpowers her, sending Chocolat backwards...

...shattering her shield, and striking her in the chest, so that she, screaming and racked with pain, falls unconscious on the ground.

It seems that she won't recover from this injury...


What's more, Giulio lassoes Macaron and the three secondary-schoolers with a rope of dark kirakiraru that gradually coils around their ribcages like a constrictor!

A staggering, reeling Cure Chocolat rises once more, this time her strength being nearly exhausted and the pain impossible to hold in check.
GIULIO (pointing at Chocolat): You go first! Brace yourself!!

This time, the five-pronged spear fires five thin rays of kirakiraru that lash at Chocolat from all directions as they envelop her...


...gradually wrapping her into a cocoon, or bubble, of darkness as she screams in pain.


Giulio then proceeds to use his spear to attract the unconscious Chocolat in her cocoon far closer to him, like a fisher spinning in the fishing line back into the reel...

GIULIO: Hehehehe...
In her deep state of unconsciousness, Cure Chocolat hears the familiar way in which a child in particular is calling her...
VOICE OF MIKU: Oneechan!

Gradually, Cure Chocolat opens her eyes and sees her sister lying prostrate upon the ground, in a far worse state than her own.

At first, our bifauxnen fears the worst... Is she...!!?? 
 She is not. In fact, deep within her stirs a lonely spark of life, of hope, and of kirakiraru.
A spark that reassures Chocolat as much as finding the feelings behind that kirakiraru reaching her.


MIKU (in her own memory): I just wanted to see you smile...

MIKU (in her own memory): Not just that face when you're worried about me, but a real smile! 
Indeed... that's what Miku wanted... those are the feelings that make her older sister so strong and so resilient.
What's more, the same warm golden light irradiates from within Akira's own heart...

AKIRA: Miku's feelings (omoi) are... inside of me...

Led by her conviction, she places her right hand on her heart,
and thus, the light warms, spreads, and irradiates.


The light from within Cure Chocolat's chest irradiates more and more intensely within the cocoon...
...until it bursts, setting the prisoner within free
as its shards are purified back into colourful kirakiraru.

GIULIO (shocked): What on!!??

This is the power of the kirakiraru from Miku's cake. Admit it.


Cure Chocolat twirls around...

in an endless pirouette...

...creating a cyclone...

...that she finally compresses into a sphere of golden light atop her Candy Rod.

CURE CHOCOLAT: Thank you, Miku!!


And now she proceeds to do her new signature move by stretching out her right arm and letting spirals of chocolate kirakiraru swirl around her Candy Rod:
Pretty Cure... Chocolat... Aromase!!



Until the swirl spins out of control in a badass ray of chocolate.


That's a full-on Priori Aromasem.
Giulio's dark force is at first equal to Chocolat's maelström of affection...

 ...since both opponents are giving their all to overpower one another.
So Chocolat decides to turn it up a notch...

having her aromase vortex drink it all up...

...and encapsulating it in a ball or cocoon of chocolate with golden glitter.

GIULIO (shocked): My dark power!!

Now it's the cocoon made by Cure Chocolat that bursts, freeing a lot of purified colourful kirakiraru...
...and breaking the other Cures' chains.
CURE CHOCOLAT: Everyone!
THE OTHER PRECURES: Okay!

From on then, after throwing Giulio now more off-kilter than ever, it's hissatsu time...


...and the dagger is purified once more with 3 2 Wonderful/Sweets Wonderful à la Mode!


GIULIO (recovering his dagger): What just happened?! Did their sibling bond prove her kirakiraru even further?
In the meantime, Miku is coming to while a concerned Akira watches on.
The Kenjo sisters are both glad that one another is safe and sound!

GIULIO (furious): Even so! It shouldn't be able to defeat my dark power like that!!

Exit Giulio stage left, hopping away as usual.

All's well that ends well, Macaron and the juniors think as Akira and Miku look, at last reconciled, into one another's eyes.

The sun is soon setting over Ichigozaka as Akira escorts her little sister back to the hospital.

MIKU: Thank you for everything. And... please take good care of my Oneechan!


AKIRA (startled): Miku!!


YUKARI (ironic): See? She's just like you.
AKIRA: (gulp!/gasp!)
YUKARI (still ironic): Maybe Akira is the one that's being protected and not the little one, right?

Once more, Yukari has hit the nail right on the head.

On the bus, the Kenjos are reminiscing about their day together.
AKIRA: Miku... will you make sweets for me another time?
MIKU: For sure!
AKIRA (smiling earnestly): Thank you, Miku...




MY OWN HUMBLE OPINION:
(Gasping like a fish out of water)
The course of true love (whether ai/agape or koi/philia) never did run smooth, the Bard once said. And yet, in spite of it, there are those who brave those rapids; Akira Kenjo is a perfect example.
The Akira-centric episode of this cour far exceeded my expectations. To start with, Miku Kenjo is an adaaaawwrable primary school-age ill girl indeed; no wonder that she pretty much got to share the spotlight with her oneesan for this week! Her young age and unspecified terminal illness have also given her a tad of a little sister complex; this episode revolves around her attempts to reciprocate, to do something herself for Akira, instead. And needless to say, after many a pear-shaped attempt, she finally succeeds, only to have Giulio show up and drain her frail little heart. The intense pain that she felt in that moment hints that Akira's imouto suffers from a congenital heart condition... some kind of mitral valve disorder, maybe? (PS. The uniform also raised Miku's kawaisa levels a lot... and that part where she describes Yukari is really confirming her as a shipper on deck!).
The result shows why Akira's representative values of strength and love (in the sense of agape, or selfless affection/unconditional love) make this show's resident bifauxnen such leadership material. So far, she's the Precure whom Giulio dreads the most, and for a good reason. Definitely, it was far more of a Darkest Hour in her case than Aoi's in the last episode. Just seeing her lunge at Giulio untransformed... she's got a real big sister instinct; even laying a fingertip on her imouto for sinister purposes is enough to declench the wrath of our usually serene leader. Long story short; what Akira felt when her ill girl little sister was drained of kirakiraru finally let us see the effect of her wrath; we got a Furious Cure Chocolat as the episode title says. Not even Macaron could rein her in, which already says a lot about the intensity of Chocolat's/Akira's feelings. And, furthermore, seeing Cure Chocolat trapped in that bubble of darkness, while Macaron and the secondary-schoolers were all tied up and suffocating, and her "ai" love for Miku manifesting as her new attack Chocolat Aromase... (Really aromazing indeed: Move aside, Gelato Shake!) Besides, recalling how Giulio curb-stomped Cure Chocolat at the start of the springtime cour, it's satisfying to see that he got his comeuppance in such an exciting match that kept me hanging on the edge of my seat (with a Priori Aromasem, no less!!) and Chocolat won the rematch! Yet this has developed into a grudge on Giulio's side as well, and the sinister idea of a rivalry between them raises the stakes even more in this series!
Also, we got more fluff time for our OTP (ie more "koi," or philia, romantic love) when, as li'l Miku makes the chocolate cake with the secondary-school Cures, Yukari takes Akira out for a stroll to distract her. During said scroll, our OTP shared a heartwarming tête-à-tète conversation! The final result is a pleasant and most positive surprise for our bifauxnen team leader upon her return to the pâtisserie.
Definitely, this episode surpasses the previous one in all sides.
PS. Speaking of Yukari, she takes up the limelight in next episode, which will center on her grandmother, her life as a proper lady, and her suspicions that Leo Kuroki may be Giulio (or at least have some sinister plan). The stakes are high in this arms race of elusive flirtation, aren't they? So far, a love letter and a stolen kiss have appeared in the episode trailer!


IN NEXT EPISODE (16):





Both green tea and trouble are for our proper lady brewing...
What's her intent on Leo? Maybe kissing, even screwing!?



While everyone else thinks that the oneesama's delicious,
the Kuroki boy and she think each other is suspicious...









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