jueves, 15 de junio de 2017

UNE NOUVELLE PÂTISSIÈRE EN VILLE

Kirakira Precure à la Mode - Episode 19

My Own Review

UNE NOUVELLE PÂTISSIÈRE EN VILLE
(A NEW PÂTISSIÈRE IN TOWN)

In the last episode, a blond foreign girl was seen on the streets of Ichigozaka; later on she was revealed to be French sweetsmaking prodigy Ciel Kirahoshi...



Getting off at the Mount Ichigo trail...
...she travels through a tunnel hewn in the slope,

...as if she already knew the place.



Suddenly, her humanoid shadow...


...poofs into a yousei shadow...

Then, Ciel is revealed as actually a yousei, a pink bunny yousei...

CIEL (before the ruins, sobbing): Everyone... where are they?



CIEL: They're all gone... What ever happened?

***Cue Evolving Credits!***


This time, Pekorin and Ciel are given equal status as yousei before the logo.

Cue the Precures standing before a fruit shop.

Suddenly...
A WILD FOREIGNER APPEARS!

CIEL (grabbing a melon): Bon!
Her sudden appearance startles the Cures indeed.

To hammer home the point that she's French... what other background music than accordion?
CIEL: This one looks like the best of the bunch!

However, she hands the melon over to the Precures. 
Eyebrows are raised. Even Aoi Tategami, this show's epitome of hot blood, is taken aback by the straightforward European.
AOI: What the heck?
Akira simply keeps silence.

CIEL: Monsieur?
GREENGROCER: Who, me?

After perusing all of that scrumptious fruit, Ciel has very clear ideas.
CIEL: Hmm... Right.
CIEL (to the greengrocer): Well then, this one, this one, that one, and that one. Also that one there, as much as you have.
(She points at the fruits because she's not sure of their Japanese names)
The greengrocer gasps in astonishment.

GREENGROCER: Well, isn't that something... Those are all the local seasonal fruits here in Ichigozaka!

CIEL: Starting with the finest local ingredients is key... isn't it?

Even Akira gasps this time, while Aoi keeps silence, thinking maybe about the lines of "what an ignoramus is the lead of Wild Azüre..."

The more intellectual Cures, however, recognise her in spite of the sunglasses.
YUKARI: Isn't that girl...
HIMARI (standard introvert blurting-out): She's... she's... she's... the pâtissière prodigy...
(Well, Yukari could have done some Varysing here to explain it as well...)
(At least the highschoolers keep calm)

ALL THE PRECURES: Whaaat?! No... no way!! CIEL KIRAHOSHI??!!

CIEL (taking off her glasses): My cover's blown already?

Once the shades come off, she reveals those lovely blue eyes of hers...

...then breaks out into a wistful smile.

She looks exactly like on screen!

IT'S REALLY HER!!
Even Akira gasps it out loud. Which means it's serious business.


Soon, the square is full of passersby who gasp at seeing the prodigy right in their midst.
TOWNSPEOPLE: Is that Ciel Kirahoshi? I can't believe it! Sugoi!!


CIEL: Bonjour à tous!! I'd like to take this moment to announce, for a limited time only, the grand opening of my brand new shop here in Ichigozaka!


CIEL (doing this V sign): I encourage everyone of you to come and visit me!

Of course the intrigued Precures will be there...
for the big day is right now!!

Fireworks are fired...

...and there's an overly long queue stretching all the way along the high street...

...all the way to this park templet...

...a pretty chapel-like, neogothic one.



There, the queue disappears into Ciel's café, and right outside stands a cameraman ready to film it all.


 The interior is certainly beautiful (kirei), with all those prism lamps and the stainglass window...


MAÎTRE D': Right this way.


CIEL (turning around, to receive the Cures): Bonjour!! Please, have a seat.

However, our ever vigilant garçonne leader notices something amiss...
AKIRA: Eh? There's no display case?
CIEL: Here, we do assiette desserts.

Feast your eyes on this treat and the bishie garçon making it... and learn what's the proper name for restaurant desserts you get on a plate.
CIEL: They're desserts meant to be presented on plates, or assiettes. Sweets should be pleasant to the eyes as well... So... allons-y! (snaps fingers)

And, having said that word, Ciel deftly and quickly swirls syrup into spirals...
...on top of each and every assiette...

...then berries and white chocolate balls...

...as well as edible petals, with a speed and dexterity too impressive for this girl to be human.

Just a flick of the wrist and the mango is in its place.
But what comes next cements the fact that Ciel is supernatural...

For Ciel pours liquid nitrogen into a vat...





...then begins to stir it with both of her hands...

...fishing up some green ice cream, and unscathed, once the nitro-fog has cleared.

Magic? No, science. Like I feel Himari will give a chemistry lecture rather soon...

CIEL: Hmm... There. Finished!


Even the frame around the sweets is more elegant, being kirei as opposed to the Precures' kawaii sweet frames.


CIEL (doing the V sign): Parfait!

YUKARI: It means "perfect" in French.

So she speaks French --in the original series-- too? 
So far, we have seen Yukari Kotozume can:

  • brew tea the traditional Japanese style
  • make perfect macarons
  • make perfect daifuku
  • 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 - French and English (aside from Japanese), at last
  • give sensible fashion advice
  • stop fires
  • make beautiful ornaments out of kirakiraru
  • catch runaway falling plates in her left hand (further confirming my theories on her ambidexterity)
  • outwit a magnificent bastard/chessmaster while playing along with his own game

(Is there any flaw -aside from that pushing herself too hard- that may be her weak spot?)



Anyway, Ciel's tied with Yukari when it comes to skills so far... still, one of them is a demi-humanoid member of a Fairy/High People race, and the other is a regular human, which really says something.

Anyway, let's see if this assiette dessert tastes as good as it looks...
The verdict is unanimous.

YUKARI: This must be a galette, right?
HIMARI: I've never felt such an incredible texture!!


AOI: There'f bafil in vat forbet, ifn fere? (There's basil in that sorbet, isn't there?)
AKIRA: It does well with this thick mango sauce, doesn't it?

AOI (swallowing, wincing slightly): Now it's tingling...
CIEL: That's the sansho pepper.

AOI: Oh... Sansho pepper? Like the one you put on roast eel?
CIEL: Mais oui!

YUKARI: It's unusual, but it fits together well.
HIMARI: The flavours and the textures keep on shifting... So much fun!
(Wait, Prof, until the blondie tells you about the nitrogen. Then you'll go gaga!)

In the end, only a little mango sauce and a few petals are left on each and every plate.
(I take no prisoners myself...)



CIEL: How was it?
Her sweets get described as an amusement park/funfair of sparkles (kirakira no yúenchi)


CIEL: Merci! Part artist, part entertainer. That's the kind of ultimate pâtissière I hope to be!

Of course **insert idiot heroine shenanigans in here** see why I prefer escapist characters?
I just posted these pics so you could see the faces Aoi, the high-schoolers, and Ciel make.
Aside from Mana (who deserves a little more loving) and Tsubomi (the pink Cure being for once the nerdy introvert), not to mention the two original Futari wa Cures (the academic Ace on one hand, the athletic Ace on the other)... they basically use a Tsukino, or rather Zucchino, cookie-cutter for all the pink Precures.


Is there something between Akira and Ciel's maître d'? Maybe they're just talking garçon things in the background. Also, Aoi's even more catlike shock face.


CIEL: My answer is... non. As a general rule, I take up no apprentices.

CIEL: They are my staff, not my apprentices.
And he was washing in the meantime... maybe not paying any heed to Akira who was seated right before him...



And there Akira sits in front of the same garçon. Maybe he's opened up to her...


CIEL: Okay, then. This will be your entrance exam, to express yourself through sweets. Your own self. On our next day off, I shall be waiting for you here.
(Why give the Zucchino-style idiot heroine that ball? It's like... It's like, [through Ciel's POV] for me, playing poker against one of my echolalic Burrow classmates! Right, I get the whole audience surrogate point... but not all viewers are twits in the first place! Not everyone finds an outright twit relatable...)

AOI: Really? I'm not so sure...
Sarcasm, hot blood, a backstory of conflict and freedom... heck, Aoi is more my cup of tea. 
Just make Tyrion Lannister a genki magical girl warrior, that's it.

AKIRA: Not... quite that, I think.
I also love bifauxnen characters, especially if they have any boyish short hair (from Haruka Tenoh to Akira Kenjo via the Maid of Tarth), being a bifauxnen myself. 

Himari also stresses that the dish has to please a professional's high standards. She's outright called Ciel a professional (a pro in the original series)!!

Back to Little Miss Sarcasm...
AOI: This is way too hard...

YUKARI (from offscreen): Is it? I think it's quite interesting.
AOI: Huh?

YUKARI: To meet the one and only Ciel, that prodigy pâtissière, for the very first time in forever, and immediately request to be her student.
The plot definitely thickens here at the KiraPâti...

Cut to an ominous nearly new moon in the night sky...

BILBERRY: What the heck is up with today? Anywhere I go, these ugly line-ups are everywhere.

Maybe it looks less Sovietic than Scar's moon backdrop stance, but I can see a homage,
even more pronounced when she's seen overlooking the queues from that belltower spire. 
IRU: That's right.

IRU: Hey, maybe they're all just one and the same big queue?

And thus, Bilberry hones in on the queuers.
THIRTYISH BRUNETTE IN SKY BLUE: I can't wait to taste that pâtissière prodigy's desserts... 


BILBERRY (surprised): A pâtissière... prodigy?

 BILBERRY (chortles): Tee-hee!

Shouldn't it say Fermé instead?
Wait... far fewer Asians are francophone. Yukari Kotozume is an exception.

Isn't that star pattern nifty? Behold the door!
(Westeros pun included for this time!)

The café is empty, save for...


...a lone yousei peeling a kiwi on the counter.

A shut door and a re-entrance later, Ciel reappears in human form with a startling "bonjour!!"
CIEL: Glad you came. Is that so? Come with me.

CIEL (advancing towards the counter): I was just working on some new creations.
Are all these assiettes first trials of said creations?

CIEL: Oui! The theme of today's research was kiwi. Would you like to try?
In all these recipes, the kiwi plays the lead role, but it also adds all sorts of accents. The taste and the texture are both completely original.
In the meantime, Ciel test-tastes one of her creations...

...then writes about it in her journal.

CIEL: Maybe it could stand to be a little more tart...
Does she take notes every time she makes a new dessert?

CIEL: Oui! Even using the same ingredients, the grower, variety, locale, and harvest can vary, changing the final results.
(Look at how many different kiwis there are; she's chosen what appears to be a Zespri Green)

CIEL: From preparation and pairings, it's a world of infinite possibilities.

CIEL (elated): I want to create the best dishes I can from that world!!

That's basically her creed in a nutshell.
I love when characters explain their creeds that way, it's so ASoIaF...
CIEL: Now then. Today is your turn to shine. Show me the sweets that truly express you!

CIEL: Sigh...



Here we can see Ciel's assiettes once more.

CIEL: Sigh...
(More on why idiot heroes are not my cup of tea above)

Meanwhile, the plot requires the other Cures to stay at the KiraPâti... (What did I say? Give Aoi or Akira that discipleship and you get an equally interesting plot)
AKIRA: Ichika was pretty nervous... I hope she'll be okay.
(And I hope the spotlight will shine on you two highschoolers soon.)

One could even hear a leaf fall.
AOI: Hmm... Hmmmm...

AOI: Fine!! Let's go peek in!!
(You know what I mean? Aoi is the Large Ham and Motormouth of the show, hot-blooded, impulsive, and as sarcastic as Tyrion Lannister. Pairing her with Ciel would allow for even more interesting dynamics; even more considering Aoi's own proper-lady background.)

Back chez Ciel...

CIEL (coldly): This is the sweet that best says "you"? Is that so?
She resolves to try a spoonful of that strawberry cake herself.

CIEL (after swallowing): Hmm... All wrong. Catastrophically unbalanced. Particularly, since the sauce is broken. 


CIEL (smiling, on a more cheerful note): But... its individual components are not bad at all.

Suddenly, our French prodigy has an eureka moment...
CIEL: That's it!! Give me one second, s'il-vous plaît.
Off she saunters, running at an unusually lively pace (more credible given her Europeanness than her role as a Technician and a perfectionist), taking a left turn towards the café kitchen.
Then she runs to left, to right, doing lots of things offscreen as she scurries hither and thither, only to exclaim when she is finally ready, her catchword...


CIEL: Parfait!! I dub thee "Rondeau de lapin!!"


It's round and it has a bunny. Which basically makes this a shaped-like-itself name.
CIEL: Strawberry cake à la manière de Ciel. Feel free to take a bite.
CIEL: To keep the cotton candy from making it too sweet, the cake is made with fromage blanc to balance things out. The berry sauce really sings, n'est pas vrai?


(And now comes the conclusion of those idiot hero shenanigans...
CIEL: I'm afraid I cannot take you as an apprentice. Pardonnez-moi.
I. SAW.  IT. COMING.)


CIEL: I'll go make tea.
And off she saunters to the kitchen to put that kettle on...

While Ciel's away... why not have a peek at her illustrated journal?
Conveniently for an Ichigozaka-based loser protagonist, it's not in French.
Unbelievable. This is how hard she works to make her sweets... (and, for once, the word rendered as "work hard" by the subs is not "ganbare" ["give one's all"], but a more accurate "doryoku shiteru"!!)




However, here lies her motto and the core of her philosophy:
SWEETS TO BRING HAPPINESS TO EVERYONE.

Suddenly, the door opens with a loud bolt and a Perky Female Minion stands right in the doorway.

BILBERRY: Hi-i-i!! So this is... the Pâtissière Prodigy's shop?

BILBERRY (chortling): Ha-ha! So those must be the Prodigy's sweets, amirite?

Notice that Iru's right leg is still bandaged. I somehow have the feeling that all four of his limbs will be injured one by one during this summer cour... (think Monty Python's black knight or the Tar Baby story!)

Suddenly, Iru's muppet mouth opens wide, revealing the black hole within and attracting the kirakiraru within the Rondeau, and all the other assiette desserts on display, towards Bilberry.



BILBERRY: Ha-ha-ha-ha! (Off she gravitates out of the café as the doors shut behind her, right before Ciel arrives)


Enter our prodigy with a teapot and a teacup.
CIEL: Did someone come in? (Looking at her desserts, in shock) Gasp! That is...

BILBERRY (from atop the Chez Ciel tower): As expected from a pâtissière prodigy's sweets. Look at all of it!!


BILBERRY (spinning around with arms outstretched and Iru in her hands, until she stops with the ragdoll right in front): Kirakiraru! I stain you in darkness!

BILBERRY: Noir Filling!
As she says these words, Iru's hat star glows and darkens all the kirakiraru; then he opens wide once more and breathes in, or swallows, all the darkened kirakiraru...


...making Iru's belly swell until it's spherical...


...then turning him into a daikaiju Iru with a cotton candy torso and arms.

***CURE À LA MODE... DECORATION!!***
***cue transformation scene***





Out of the café storms Ciel to find herself right in the middle of this mano a mano battle.

Upon seeing Cure Whip, our prodigy's eyes suddenly widen...
CIEL: It can't be... Gasp! It's...!!
 From right above, she hears the voice of the PFM perched on her monster's top hat.
BILBERRY: Right! Take this kirakiraru to my beloved Master Noir!!

As usual, Kaiju!Iru spits the black hole out of his muppet maw.

CIEL: What's that hole?

Right then, she gasps in horror as as the massive right fist of a cotton candy kaiju looms overhead...

...suddenly falling down upon her...

...and sending her reeling, unconscious, about five meters backwards on the lawn.



Still Ciel, in spite of the pain, is pretty much alive.

BILBERRY: Aaaaight! Let's go!!!

BILBERRY: Pest... Go get her!!


BILBERRY: Haha! I should have known! Such awesome power from that pâtissière prodigy's sweets and their kirakiraru!!

BILBERRY: This is the best...

BILBERRY: Huh!?
Ciel's sweets deserve better than to have their power misused. Ciel's sweets were meant to make this world a happier place! Those beautiful, wonderful (kirei mo suteki na) sweets...

Ciel, still unconscious on the lawn, reacts to this praise.

BILBERRY (sarcastic): Ha! Then let's just use those boring feelings to crush you!
IRU: No-III-r!! (seriously, like Hodor, that's all he can say as a daikaiju)

And then, all suddenly, right when we expected it the least... GASP!
 CURE CHOCOLAT: Kirakira-kirarun... CHOCOLAT... AROMASE!!


Checking blood pressure: four heartbeats per second...


Right when we least expect it, the bifauxnen leader swoops in to save the day!!

That Aromase quickly reduces the enemy's cotton candy volley to smithereens.
Bilberry is not amused.
BILBERRY: What the...??!!
CURE CHOCOLAT (to Cure Whip and Ciel): You okay?


Everyone!!


Once the Zuka Cures step in, the battle always gets more exciting.

CURE CHOCOLAT: Right. Let's go.


First, we open with a nice Gelato Shake...


Let that ice shrapnel scatter in all directions!!

With the present-day heat wave, encasing Iru in ice from the waist downwards seems to be the best solution, especially in the light of the move to come...

That's right! It's not over till the oneesama sings...
...and she is right about to begin!


CURE MACARON: Kirakira-kiraru! Macaron Julienne!



CURE MACARON: Meowww...


Right as she gives this kitty impression...

...those sharp blades appear on the macaron yo-yo!

BILBERRY: (Gnashing of teeth)

All right, time for that Finishing Move, to purify Iru with Sweets Wonderful à la Mode!


Soon, the Iru of the Week is steeped in colourful kirakiraru...



...as Ciel, coming to, witnesses the outcome of the battle.
CIEL (slurred): Pre...cures...
She catches merely a glimpse of the Cures' Finishing Move before her eyes shut and her consciousness drifts away once more.

The purified Iru has no more injured limbs than his right leg, as before. Only that his injuries have spread down to the foot due to Cure-Gelato-induced frostbite.

BILBERRY (picking up Iru): (Gnashing of teeth.)
Exit Bilberry stage left, with the usual hop backwards.

 Soon Ciel comes to for good, with a startled gasp.

CIEL: Waaah! Hey, were the Precures right here??!! So... They really do exist...

Does Ciel know... does that mean she, as a yousei, thought that the Precures were nothing but the stuff of prophecy and old sages' tales? It surely does...

AOI (crazy ironic as usual): As for THAT kind of thing...


What does the rest of this cour have in store?

A surprise visit from the Tategamis and/or the Kotozumes?
Akira in a frogman suit (I cannot see her wearing trunks or a bikini, given her bifauxnen physique) at the seaside?

An arranged marriage for one of our young Ladyships?
More chemistry explanations (Ciel and Himari never discussed nitrogen freezing onscreen, but it's still a headcanon of mine)?
Surely, the HMS Yukakira will stay afloat, I've got the feeling...




MY OWN HUMBLE OPINION:
We get to see Ciel Kiraboshi from a bit closer up when she's arrived in Ichigozaka. Apparently, she must have heard in Tokyo or Osaka of the pâtissières in that idyllic provincial town and decided to pay them a visit... and to open a shop in Ichigozaka herself. A pretty fancy shop that makes the KiraPâti look austere in comparison. For once, the token European shows no signs of gaucherie in her new environs, becoming extremely popular among the consumers, and a serious contender for the KiraPâti.
The word "prodigy" (tensai) is used right off the bat for her. So... tensai (天才, rendered in the fansub as "prodigy"), is a word often used in anime to describe an Ace character, to emphasize the formidable combination of their youth and skills.
We know that she's in the same age group as the secondary-school Cures (again, because the latter were intended as audience surrogates)... let's see if she's good at more things than just pastry-making and speaking French, shall we? (Is she an all-round Ace as an artistic academic athlete?)
On her chemistry with the Zuka Cures... The review Akira gave of Ciel's sherbet shows that our resident middle-class and practical bifauxnen actually knows how to enjoy the finer things in life.
On her relationship with her maître d'...
On her shop... Ut supra diximus... move away, KiraPâti. It looks too kawaii, unless they improve it mid-season.
On her principles of sweetsmaking... These assiette desserts are treats I imagine as being served for dessert in at least a five-star restaurant. But she makes them for the general public.
On the reveal of Ciel being actually a yosei from Ichigozaka... It seems that, when Giulio's cronies stormed Mount Ichigo, she somehow wound up in France. Or did she leave before the invasion? So many mysteries...
 
On the possibility of Giulio and Ciel being siblings: Just look at the two of them.
Maybe I should just stop calling this summer cour the Bilberry arc and call it the Ciel arc instead, right? The Ace/Technician (Ciel focuses on the technical aspects and visual presentations of making sweets, including the taste and combinations) token foreigner overshadows the Perky Female Minion by faaaar... I mean, look at the desserts our blonde has made, and even how she outsavvies Yukari when thinking about flavour and presentation.
Usually, when she wears sunglasses, she is avoiding from the people, but, once revealed, she quickly shows herself in public. Comparing to Kirara, she is quite arrogant (even though she is worth to be arrogant).
PS. Speaking of Bilberry, her facial expressions are comparable to those of both Shut and Ranko. She looks like a palette-swapped Elegant Gothic Lolita Ranko Ichijo with a few dashes of that PFM icon and codifier Harley Quinn, doesn't she?


IN THE NEXT EPISODE (20):



Our Ace is an aloof young girl, like most prodigies are,
yet she admires the Precures, who eclipse her very own star...


A trip into the woodland may reveal some more backstory:
the plot thickens as much as storybooks by Edward Gorey...


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