Dagashi Kashi S2

June 9, 2018

There was a second season? I would have never guessed it that Dagashi Kashi would have a sequel. However unlike the first season, this second season has been reduced to half its running time. So does this mean there are trying to move things along faster or there is not much to tell this time around and they’re making a sequel just for the sake of making a sequel because almost every popular anime needs to get one. But I can already feel myself salivating from all the never seen before weird, unique and obscure little sweets, snacks and titbits from Japan that Hotaru will introduced. Snacks that I have never heard of and will never ever get to taste :’(.

Episode 1
Looks like Kokonotsu’s dad has one again left his son to take care of his sweets shop. Poor kid has to man the store as he laments some of the good food he wants to eat. Among them is tonkatsu. But he has a strange feel that this word might summon Hotaru and speaking of the devil, it did. She introduces the Big Katsu snack that can be eaten with rice. However when Kokonotsu points out tonkatsu is real pork as opposed to Big Katsu which is made of fish, Hotaru explains to him the humble beginnings of the company that experimented in using dried squid that eventually led to Big Katsu’s birth. This has Kokonotsu blowing his top and counter arguing that not being the real thing is exactly what makes sweets appealing. His rant makes her more impressed and noting him as the true successor of his store. Too bad she had to remind him about that embarrassing YouTube episode… Saya wants to eat pasta but there are no such fancy authentic Italian restaurants nearby. Oh no. Do you hear something coming? It’s Hotaru! You summoned her? Introducing her to Peperoncino, it looks like pasta designed as cup noodles. Add hot water and voila, you can enjoy your pasta in a cup. Though it tastes good, Saya then realizes the taste is exactly the same as salt flavoured yakisoba. Hotaru reveals that Peperoncino allows ramen or pasta style depending on how much soup powder you put. Half packet for the latter and the whole for the former. But it gets better because once you’re done eating, you can put the remaining powder in the container, add hot water and make a nice soup out of it. Viva Peperoncino! Ottimo Peperoncino!

Episode 2
With the strong typhoon, the lads are stuck inside and can’t play outside. Kokonotsu shows Saya some baseball board gum. A coloured gum will pop out with a push of a button and it can be used to determine which prize you win. This is also a sneaky way for kids to keep pressing and before they know it, they have to cough up the cash depending on how many gums they got. Hotaru like the little kid keeps pressing them but fails to win any winning prize. When Kokonotsu suggests everyone stay here for the night as the storm is not letting up, Saya becomes conscious. Tou convinces her to stay. So when the girls go take a bath, I guess we see Tou’s true intention as he wants to go peek at them. Kokonotsu tries to stop him but he isn’t any different either. Because his logic is that he prefers to wait for the right time to peep at boobs and not risk become a criminal. Too bad they are so loud outside that Saya busted them. So our girls are able to bath peacefully now as Hotaru introduces Saya to some Pop Pop Boat toy whereby it moves just by putting a lighted candle. It was popular as kids loved using it to learn science. Later when Kokonotsu takes a bath, he notices the boat as well as the stick. He imagines Hotaru putting her mouth on the stick and thinks he can do some indirect kissing. He gets the fright of his life when he realizes Hotaru is peeping at him and encouraging him not to be shy and play with the boat.

Episode 3
Kokonotsu instructs Tou how to tie a beigoma top knot. When he throws it to spin, it hits Kokonotsu’s feet instead. Ouch. Needing a barrel to continue to fun, here comes Hotaru to the rescue. The guys panic when they think she is undressing her skirt but thank goodness her skirt his 2 layers. She sets the stage for the tops. Her first throw ended up on Kokonotsu’s feet. Same spot. Saya then joins in and wins the battle but Hotaru’s top has flown into the grass. As they all go look for it, Kokonotsu realizes he has a nice view of Hotaru’s ass! Saya is not impressed, even more so when he tries to explain himself. She steps on his feet for punishment. Same spot. I wonder if that injury could ever heal. Oh, they found Hotaru’s top in the end. Flashback shows young Hotaru visiting a sweets shop. The old owner isn’t fond of her thanks to her unnecessary comments like how disorganized the store is and trying to look smart as she dispenses her sweets knowledge. She tries to advise him to smile in order to attract more customers but this only made him madder. But she does notice this shop barely has customers so he laments kids these days are not interested in such sweets. Hotaru then picks up one and buys it. She assures as long as there are such sweets, she will continue to come. Now, this store is gone. An empty shoplot and land for sale. Still brings back those memories for Hotaru. But does she have to call Kokonotsu to tell him how much he loves his store and send some unwarranted panic to that guy?

Episode 4
Kokonotsu sees Hotaru focusing intensely at the ice cream machine. And then she picks a Homerun Bar, which is the first ice cream in Japan that gives you a chance to win another based on the carvings on the stick. He hopes she would win and she finds it strange because would it not be better for the shop had she not? Kokonotsu realizes time has flown because Saya called earlier to join them at the beach for the fireworks display. The way Kokonotsu invites Hotaru makes it look like he is asking her out. She had to ask if it is just the 2 of them. Awkward stares… Unfortunately they miss the bus so looks like Kokonotsu has to peddle his bicycle all the way there. I’m sure this kid has no strength and not that Hotaru is heavy from eating all the sweets. At this rate he won’t make it so Hotaru suggests to take a break. He wants to use this chance to tell her the truth but she goes first and thanks him and the siblings for teaching her how she should look at things. She has never had this much fun before and now it may have very little to do with her purpose at the beginning. She gives him her ice cream stick. She won. She wants him to hold on to this so that she won’t lose it seeing that she has a short memory. The moment Kokonotsu wants to say his part, the fireworks start. Not sure if Kokonotsu is disappointed or relieved as he thought Hotaru was going to kiss him. Really? Hotaru thinks of going home now and says goodbye. A few days passed and Kokonotsu has been bumming around. Hotaru has not been seen once. Summer is about to be over and winter is coming. I don’t think it is Game of Thrones reference but did he just skip autumn?

Episode 5
Kokonotsu’s sweets shop is in a rut for 3 months! You mentions the drop in sales means lack of funds for repair. Kokonotsu is in despair although he already knew this. He kept believing things would get better if he stayed but in actual fact he was just waiting for Hotaru to show up. She never did. So father and son eventually get the motivation to start cleaning the shop but You broke his little toe’s bone and had the be hospitalized. All up to you now, son. Saya and Tou come by to help him clean up. Saya felt insulted when Kokonotsu calls her lazy despite helping him out. Good thing he showed her this snack with this vulgar name before she beats him up. So they try out the snack and the mood seems a little good. They get a little embarrassed if they should do it (as in the instructions on the back of the packet). Saya loves the ‘embarrassment’ when Kokonotsu thanks her for helping him out so many times. The mood ruined when Tou comes in and misinterpret the snack’s name. The sweets store is back up. Kokonotsu is doing his analysis of the fresh outlook to keep the store running, the kind of sweets the customers should want, etc. He akin this sweets shop like a local convenience store. You don’t say because right across his store there is a newly opened convenience store! I guess now we know where all the business went.

Episode 6
The trio go spy on the new convenience store but is caught red handed by the manager, Yutaka Beni. He thinks they don’t know how to use an automatic door and guides them in. And then he welcomes them to Towns Mart with flashy big smiles. He claims this convenience store will change things around here. In short, shops like Kokonotsu’s sweets shop will be closed down. Of course Kokonotsu will not allow that but Yutaka shows them all the things they can get from this store. The best part is the sweets section in which Yutaka personally makes. What does Kokonotsu have to say about all this? He points out his sweets won’t sell because they are too expensive! Then he shows him his in which adults and kids can walk in and buy with as little as 10 yen. Yutaka is so shocked and amazed by his ‘purity’ that he starts crying and considers him as his rival. WTF. Next day when Kokonotsu returns from school, he is surprised to see Yutaka waiting for him inside his sweets shop. He gets straight to the point. He wants him to work in his convenience store. Of course Kokonotsu rejects. But the hourly wage is 850 yen (the town’s average is 750). Tempting but still no. Yutaka then shows him dirty magazines. Perks that come with the job. Trying to resist the temptation and it is thoughts of Hotaru that made Kokonotsu reject it all flat out. Yutaka then uses his final trump card and that is to sell the good points of the convenience store and its employees. Oh, he is bragging about it…

Episode 7
Hajime Owari is begging to Kokonotsu to hire her! Well, the sign in front of his store did state he needed some help. Going through her resume, it seems Hajime dropped out of university and was working for Towns Mart for only a few days. Yeah, she got fired for being late. Every day. Fearing he would also reject her (because he too realizes she has been going around for interviews and this place is her last chance), she makes another round of desperate begging. Kokonotsu looks like he is going to give the standard end-of-interview conversation but she starts bawling about her pitiful story. No place to stay since she can’t pay her rent. Learning that Kokonotsu lives here, this means this place has lodging. She suggests using her wages to cover her rent. And so Hajime now sleeps at the register? Sure, it saves time and not to get late but oh, she is hard to get up too. Kokonotsu teaches her about the few sweets but since she is not in this industry, she finds them all confusing. Fearing that he will fire her as she doesn’t know her stuff, she cooks up some story from a random sweet she picked. Thankfully, this only serves to make Kokonotsu hyped up. They’ve been talking like this for a few hours until Hajime points out he is late for school. So he rushes out and trusts the store with her. Oh no. I think Saya doesn’t like that she saw another woman in Kokonotsu’s place…

Episode 8
Saya is so focused in wondering who that woman is, nothing can snap her out of her focus. Nothing. After school she goes to find out who she is and finds her sleeping on the job! When Hajime wakes up, she literally becomes clumsy. Hajime then explains her position. Saya is only madder because Kokonotsu had to gall to hire somebody to look after his shop while he is away at school when he has got her! As she isn’t here to buy things, Hajime wonders if she is Kokonotsu’s girlfriend. She likes that ring and will now buy something. Unfortunately Hajime doesn’t know her stuff well. So they experiment with this paper sweets thingy. Kokonotsu returns so Hajime goes off to take a bath as she didn’t have one since yesterday. Saya gets madder learning she is a live-in employee. Later, Tou comes by and acts like a debt collector. It must be some fun game he and Kokonotsu are playing but instead he is before Hajime. Tou continues his loan shark act thinking Hajime is playing along. He wants her to do something funny to repay some of the debts. So Hajime puts away her glasses and acts temporarily bling before she uses an ‘8’ chocolate as glasses. Tou finds it funny and buys one before leaving. Hajime is relieved she got through this but is now pumped up to protect this shop.

Episode 9
Yutaka brags to Kokonotsu how he could sell his cakes over the internet. This prompts him to also want to try out online selling. With Hajime’s help, she designs the homepage and everything. But with all the animations and special effects, they couldn’t help stop laughing their ass off because of how funny it looks. At least they’re having fun. But it all comes to a halt when Hajime uploads a sexy pic of herself and labels ambiguously stuffs like “We sell simple pleasures…” and “We also sell toys…”. Definitely open to lots of misinterpretation. Time to start over. Hajime completely forgot to order and restock the Super Ball toy. She lies to Kokonotsu she did. When a group of boys enter and finds it is out of stock, they aren’t pleased and decide to go to the convenience store to get some. Hajime won’t lose her customers so she decides to make one right before their eyes. It might look like a piece of sh*t at first but with a little patience, wow, it looks like the real deal! The boys are impressed but realize they are late for school. Hajime then gets this idea to make the Super Balls herself and hide her tracks. After she is done, she becomes clumsy and spills the entire bowl. Kokonotsu and Saya return only to see her in an ambiguous position.

Episode 10
Kokonotsu is so moved when he gets his first email asking for delivery. So when he goes deliver it at the hospital, he is shocked the person is his father. Damn. Kokonotsu introduces Hajime to him and You thinks he is being a naughty kid for hiring a sexy woman. After Kokonotsu hands him the skewered squid snack, he wants payment for the delivery. You is shocked because it wasn’t a gift. Besides, he didn’t order online. You is glad that he decided to continue with the family business after renovating the shop, hiring a part timer and even coming up with a delivery model. Does this mean he is ready to abandon his manga dreams? Kokonotsu denies that but it is true he hasn’t been touching it for who knows when. Back home, drunk Hajime flirts and clings all over him, prompting Kokonotsu to say he already has Hotaru. Then it hit him, could she be the one ordering online? Since the next submission review is in a few days, Kokonotsu gets motivated to finish his manuscript. However he realizes he can’t as there is too much to do and not enough time. He is thinking of giving up when Hajime spots this. She gets excited and will support him. She also ropes in Saya and Tou to help although they are just here to accompany him.

Episode 11
Kokonotsu works hard till he finally finishes. Then he collapses from exhaustion. Thank goodness he didn’t die. He makes his way there and naturally he is nervous. Meanwhile the rest seem to have a little wrap party on their own but Hajime seems to have a hunch that they better not do it today. Because he might probably come home feeling depressed. When Kokonotsu’s turn is called, the reviewer skims through and then instantly wants him to start a new series now! His manga becomes the best seller and wins an award! Wow! Too good to be true. Yup. Just his imagination. I was not surprised. So this is actually what happened. The reviewer asks how long he took to do his work. He started out like 3 months ago and spend 2-3 weeks drawing. In short, the reviewer bluntly tells him he does not manage his time well. There are good things about his work but it feels like there is an excuse he is not working on his weak points and just running away. The only credit he gives him is he managed to finish it before the deadline and his youth. Kokonotsu returns depressed. The journey here took more than 3 hours but the review was less than 5 minutes. He is in shock and doing some soul searching of what he said. What is it that he lacks? Why is he the manager of the sweets shop in the first place? It snows heavily and Kokonotsu still has much thinking to do as he waits for his train home. On the verge of tears, suddenly a familiar person pops back up. IT’S HOTARU!!! SHE’S BACK!!!

Episode 12
Looks like they’ll be here for a while with the train service temporarily halted. Hotaru hints about the family business she needed to attend to whereas Kokonotsu talks about the changes and then panicking when he realized he forgot about his dream. Today’s manga review failed. He starts crying and in his heart he knows it is wrong to take it out on her but he wanted her to see he has changed. Hotaru has the perfect tonic for this. A Super Mario sweet? It also works as a mini manga if you put it in the right order. Kokonotsu still cries after all he has been through. Hotaru says the most important things is that he made his decision and thinking about it. She is sure he hasn’t given up yet. Being depressed now is okay too. To fight the cold, she suggests eating Buta Men in which her entire suitcase is filled with it. Next morning, the snow has passed. Kokonotsu doesn’t see Hotaru next to him and panics she might have left. He runs out only to find her there as he falls face flat in the snow. Kokonotsu returns to everyone as he relays his failure. Of course they are shocked Hotaru is back. Just when you think there is going to be a cat fight between Hotaru and Hajime, it seems Hotaru is very motivated now. She believes Kokonotsu is the one. The one whom she wants to take with to start her new company. He is better than You! Could she have not timed it better to say that when the old man just walked in? Yutaka drops by and it seems Hotaru knows him. He is her older brother! What the?! His real names is Beniyutaka Shidare and was supposed to take over the family’s business but ran away. Before anything could happen, You throws a tantrum that he wasn’t given a welcome over his discharge. But everyone starts fighting over Kokonotsu. Hotaru wants him for her company. You wants him to carry on the family business. Yutaka wants him for his convenience store. And Saya… I have a hunch wanting him for the manga is superficial… Popular boy starts running away with everyone chasing him. Later when Kokonotsu returns her the winning stick, Hotaru wants him to keep holding it so she could always return here.

Sweet Treats Are Made Of These
I can’t really say that this season is better than the first one. Most probably it is because Hotaru who is supposed to be one of the main characters in the series (if not the face of this anime) is sorely missing for half the season! Man, I sure miss those huge busts the very confident smooth talker who is also very knowledgeable in all the sweets as she introduces us in a very quirky and passionate manner. So without that quirkiness, it is like the series has lost more than half of its spark. It also killed off any potential or hope to see Kokonotsu x Hotaru or some sort of development with it. I know we always know that Kokonotsu would harbour feelings for Hotaru. Is this the case of absence makes the heart grow fonder? Also, the lack of Hotaru means the lack of sexual subtexts that was also partly the motivation of you wanting to try those sweets, right?

Furthermore, when Hotaru returned at the end of the penultimate episode, I didn’t really feel relieved or a big joy over my head. In fact, it felt like an obligation that she MUST return or else. Maybe I’ve grown obnoxious but like I said, this series is nothing without Hotaru. I was sceptical to a point thinking that this wasn’t even Hotaru and a look-a-like troll but thankfully it didn’t go down that way. Yeah Hotaru is back. Okay. Welcome home. Not putting up any lively fanfare for it. By the way, I think they forgot to solve who ordered that snack online that prompted Kokonotsu to do his delivery. Was it really Hotaru? If it was, wouldn’t she be bugging him about the snack she waited for ages? But I don’t think so. So that poor person who ordered it must have waited till death for the squid snack that will never come… Perhaps the last time that person will ever try order anything online.

In place of Hotaru, we got clumsy ‘loser’ Hajime instead. Of course if you try to compare her to Hotaru, the busty one beats her by her mile and I am not only talking about her boobs. Sure, Hajime has her own personality but she comes off as boring as compared. If this is their idea of introducing a new character for the new season, well, it isn’t a good one. So all we’ve got is a jobless woman trying her luck to find one and only at the mercy (and confusion) of Kokonotsu that she gets hired as a live-in shop assistant. I suppose with Hotaru ‘missing’, the pacing of the show could have been a lot slower because who else is there to bug Kokonotsu except the siblings?

With the absence of Hotaru, this series gives Kokonotsu somewhat of a chance to rethink about his manga artist dream. Yeah, I have even forgotten that he wanted to go down this career path instead of following his father’s footsteps. Speaking of You, because he too is out of the picture and got himself hospitalized, this means no more shenanigans and becoming Hotaru’s partner in crime to annoy Kokonotsu. And now she doesn’t need the old man anymore? Things change… Man, now I am seeing why this season is also not as fun as the first. Hence for the second half of this season, we have Kokonotsu brooding about his future as he also unconsciously tries to save his family store.

I mean, the town is so dead that it looks like it is on the verge of closing down any moment. Customers do not frequent here so I am assuming they come at other times when it is not shown on our screen. Otherwise all the sweets could have gone way past their expiry date and the shop would have long gone collapsed and Kokonotsu might have gone on to pursue other stuffs. But it is not so dead after all with the opening of the convenience store opposite. Yeah, it feels like that is the only liveliest place in town. Great variety of products to choose from, great friendly staffs with great friendly services, very bright lighting and an equally quirky manager. Okay, maybe the last one isn’t necessary but his passion does help make his store a hit. But I doubt that Japanese being Japanese, their old traditions like the dagashi shop will not shut down unless it really goes out of fashion.

Hence the character development for this season feels slow and to a point disappointing. Hotaru was gone, You checked out, Kokonotsu barely hanging in there as he ponders about his future, hence no odd romance-cum-shenanigans we would expect, Saya still having her one-sided crush, Tou just being Tou and newcomer Hajime feels like a poor substitute for Hotaru and definitely one cannot envision Kokonotsu x Hajime unless you are into those nerdy looking types. Really. They try to surprise us with Hotaru and Yutaka being related but I should have seen this coming as some sort of twist because if you look a bit closer, they both have this weird and psycho level of passion. No wonder they are so alike. Dang, do we have to wait for another season for this sibling rivalry thingy to explain and play itself out?

I did not notice this season’s pop culture trivia like last time. So I am not sure if they have it or not this season. Yeah, why bother go rewatch everything again just to find out if there are any? You think I have so much time on my hand? Why, I could be watching other animes, mind you!!! ;p. Anyway, obviously the featured sweets here are much less than the first season since we only have half the screen time. I don’t know, maybe such sweets are in small fun bite size, perhaps this is why this season has only 12 minutes of running time?

While this season’s opening theme is not as catchy as the first season, it is still hectic and crazy. Ayana Taketatsu who sang last season’s ending theme now sings the very upbeat opener, Oh My Sugar Feeling. It is the kind of song that perfectly fits her character’s personality. Okashi Na Watashi To Hachimitsu No Kimi by Hachimitsu Rocket acts as the ending theme. Don’t really like the rap-like pace of this song but I feel it could have fit the series better had not Hotaru been missing for half the season. With the other casts retained, the only newly added ones are Tomokazu Seki as Yutaka (gotta love him acting like his usual crazy characters such as Gintama’s Gintoki, ClassicaLoid’s Beethoven and Inu x Boku SS’ Kagerou) and Chinatsu Akasaki as Hajime (Yasuna in Kill Me Baby).

So yeah, it seems to occur to me that Hotaru’s absence is the main factor that took out a lot of fun from this second season. Even though she came back eventually, the damage has been done. Generally speaking, this series is still fun and enjoyable but to a lesser extent. Not to say it has dropped significantly whereby it is so bad that it leaves a terrible aftertaste in your mouth. It is like having your favourite thing every day and all of the time. Eventually you will get sick of it. Yeah, but we only had a second season of Dagashi Kashi… If they have a third season and the quality of its sweets keep deteriorating, maybe it is time to go across to the convenience store and get those mass manufactured factory produced commercialized sweets.

Urahara

April 15, 2018

Not too long ago, we had a group of vigilantes protecting the sanctuary of Akihabara from aliens who want to take over the place. Looks like now it is Harajuku’s turn in Urahara. Actually a group of aliens are trying to steal cultures from all over our world. But a group of girls in Harajuku love their place so much so they band together and defend their little city from being stolen by aliens. Of course they can’t do it by themselves since they are just normal human beings. They receive some sort of power up that allows them to fight on par (or overpowered from the way I see it) with the aliens. Nobody is going to take stuffs from Harajuku and get away with it without a fight!

Episode 1
Rito Sudou, Mari Shirako and Kotoko Watatsumugi run some sort of boutique named Park in Harajuku. They are having fun coming up with designs in their field of expertise as well as selling customers their goods. One day, a strange person walks into the store and is searching for creative individuals who can create something out of nothing. He believes this store has it all from the clothes to the food. He wants to buy everything and will be right back. Soon on the news, aliens named Scoopers start scooping up famous landmarks all over the world. At first the girls thought it was some prank until those aliens really show up close to home. Orders are given to evacuate Harajuku. At first they oblige the orders but then they feel they don’t want to leave the place. So their love for Harajuku outweighs their overall safety? Whatever. They head back to Park and stumble into an army of Scoopers. Then a weird rocket ship crashes before them. Out comes a little girl, Misa Maruno and a talking fried shrimp, Ebifuruya AKA Ebi. Misa isn’t an alien but was abducted from America. Ebi who is the Scoopers’ pet helped her escape and considers himself an ally of humans. He explains Scoopers lack their own culture and is constantly stealing cultures of other planets. Thus they kidnapped Misa thinking she could help create culture for them. They will stop at nothing until the entire planet’s cultures are stolen. Encountering a real Scooper up close this time, Misa hands them some weird items called Amatsumara she stole from the Scoopers’ ship. Scoopers are unable to use them as they lack imagination. So I guess this means the girls will use their creativity with it and turn into superheroes?! So Rito has speed, Kotoko has logistical support and Mari has some super bazooka? So the first fight against the wave of Scoopers end as Mari blasts her bazooka into them and they all turn into doughnuts! It’s raining doughnuts all over Harajuku!!! When a missile from the International Defence Force (IDF) is fired, their will to protect the city is so great that they activated some self defence system in the form of a giant parfait?

Episode 2
Though it saves them from the missile, this parfait has created a large protective sphere over Harajuku. They wonder if they would be staying like this forever trapped inside this bubble. Because trying to break it has no effect (it regenerates itself) and they play it safe by not touching it, not knowing what would happen if they do. Too bad this sphere is also blocking all communications from outside. Along the way back, they stumble into a fat cat. Rito tries to offer it her sausage but it didn’t like it and snarls back before running away. Maybe it got scared of Ebi? Funny, I thought cats like that kind of food. Back at Park, they listen for updates on the local radio. When there is interference, they go out only to see a part of the sphere dented. Are Scoopers trying to break in? I’m not sure what happens next because the surrounding area starts turning into some alternate dimension. From what I understand, in this hidden area called Urahara, this allows them to fight and defend without destroying the actual Harajuku. A giant corn-like Scooper is seen. Mari’s bazooka is easily deflected. Kotoko detects its pattern and tells Mari to fire on her count. Before this giant corn fires again, its body becomes very hot so they’re going to use this window of opportunity to fire inside its opened mouth. After they do, it now rains popcorn! Different colours and flavours! Yummy!

Episode 3
The girls notice that other people are starting to come out of their hiding and into the open. I guess life has to go on as normal. The girls go check out Rito’s street art. One of her best is a Harajuku girl painting on a wall. Nearby is a girl named Sayumin who is making free crepes for everyone. Seeing the recent events, she just wants to cheer everyone up and do something for them. This inspires them to do and create something. Like Kotoko creating a new menu to reopen the store and Mari some new clothes. However Rito still cannot find her inspiration to draw. While sitting by her wall art and pondering things, Sayumin happen to pass by so she hears out all Rito has to say. Sayumin advises her instead of worrying about the hard stuff, why not just draw what she wants to draw? Now she gets inspired and has Kotoko and Mari help her too. But then they spot a Scooper. Since there are no holes in the barrier, could it be one of those trapped and hiding all the while? Looks like it is attracted to Rito’s creativity and wants to steal her art. Of course they’re not going to allow that. After destroying the Scooper and it turns into macarons, the weird effect of Amatsumara is that it also pops up cute little creatures. WTF?! They call them Shirako since it’s being a Pokemon and that’s all they could say for now. Wait. Isn’t that Mari’s surname? Rito finishes her drawing next to Harajuku girl, which is a traditional house she used to live with her family before moving out. This attracts other people to admire it. Back at Park, Kotoko sees weird visions. Purple patches randomly appear and disappear on her friends.

Episode 4
Kotoko needs to get to the bottom of this as she secretly steals a strand of their hair to experiment. Since nothing came of it, she thinks of taking their blood! Rito and Mari are also noticing she is acting strange and they get freaked out seeing Kotoko like a mad zombie scientist asking for their blood! The problem is that she won’t tell why she needs it. She falls asleep after sleepless nights of experimenting. Her friends feel the need to cheer her up and go out to buy ice cream. So when she wakes up, Kotoko gets the wrong idea they have abandoned her. Sayumin happen to pass by as Kotoko talks about being lonely as she has no friends before until she met Rito and Mari here. Like always, Sayumin advises her to talk to them and is confident they will understand. Meanwhile the duo are fighting off some sludge fudge Scooper and having a tough time. Here comes Kotoko to join them. Using her calculations, she has Mari wait until the right time before firing her bazooka at a building. Kotoko who is making herself as the bait to let the Scooper chase her so that it could get hit by Mari’s shot. Something about how Kotoko calculated the ricochet effect and all in perfect timing for the end result. Now the streets are filled with ice cream. Back at Park, Kotoko finally tells why she needs their blood. She didn’t want to say as not to make them worry. They reconcile and be as their usual friendliness again. It’s not like their friendship was that strained to begin with. That night as everyone is asleep, Misa secretly looks into Kotoko’s findings. I believe whatever unknown substances was detected, she altered it and now there are none.

Episode 5
The girls are in the midst of their own thing when Scoopers are detected. So drop whatever you’re doing and let’s go Scooper hunting. Too bad Harajuku is now a looking like a safari with all those animal-like Scoopers. However it seems these Scoopers are stealing colours from everything. Although they do not steal cultures and the object is left untouched, it is still unpleasant to see it in black and white. Hence Misa wants to join in to fight them. But with no fighting abilities? She won’t since the rest tell she might get in the way. While defeating the Scoopers will revert the colours they stole, there are too many of them and at this rate they will tire out. Noticing that the Scoopers are chasing them because of their colourful clothing, Rito gets this idea as she paints a colourful mural in the barrier’s ceiling. It does attract all the Scoopers to converge as they try to stack up and reach the mural. Cue for Mari to blast them all. However they didn’t turn into sweets and combine into one giant Scooper. They go on a full assault until they bring it down for good. Now they have a mountain pile of sweets in their backyard. After all the colour has been returned to its rightful place, Rito gets this idea to paint the ceiling so it won’t look so dull when one looks up. As the girls picnic, they give Misa a bracelet as present. Sparkly girl is sparkling happy because she loves sparkling things.

Episode 6
With Mari and Kotoko having fans and followers of their own, looks like Rito is getting down because she has none. So what’s the problem if drawing makes her happy? Nobody to appreciate it? So she talks to Sayumin about how nobody complimented her art and in fact when she was younger, she was too shy to show it to anyone. So did she answer her own problem? So is popularity her goal? Anyway a Scooper is detected. This cloud Scooper seems to be targeting Mari. After Rito saves Mari, it seems Urahara has been dispelled. The Scooper then steals Rito’s Harajuku girl art before vanishing. To cheer themselves up, Misa tries to make beads. Apparently she sucks and needs to be guided by Rito to make a better one. At the same time Rito thinks back the first time she worked at Park. Mari and Kotoko saw her drawing and were amazed. They told her to draw whatever she wants that make her happy. The Scooper returns. Again targeting Mari. Kotoko tries to study the movements of the Scooper but cannot come up with any effective strategy. Eventually all of them are caught and Urahara is once again dispelled. Now it steals Rito’s house art. Strange, why didn’t it steal it the first time since it was right next to each other? Rito gets so disheartened and breaks out of its grasp. Then she enters the Scooper and runs rampage until it explodes into cakes. With all of them freed, however they notice strange things sticking to their body and cannot get it off. Kotoko fears it must be those marks. It could be their bodies were already changing then. She blames herself for not doing more research despite the results showed nothing. Then here comes Misa with a big smile to tell them that this means they are no longer human.

Episode 7
The biggest revelation as Misa admits she is a Scooper! So was that kidnapping story a lie? It seems this is all part of the plan for Scoopers to bring creativity home. As the girls have eaten food from defeated Scoopers, those foods were laced with Scooper powers. Hence they are evolving to become one with such powers. Scoopers need them for their creativity and they are evolving to survive space. Plus, if they become strong Scoopers, they will be capable of mimicry and can be anything they want. Naturally the girls are in shock and depressed. Kotoko thinks deep and wonders if they are no different from Scoopers because they too steal cultures from others. Think about it. All those ‘research’ from wiki are mostly copy and paste, right? However Mari cannot accept this. She vehemently protests against this theory and runs away. Wow. So mad. It is her dream to be an actress and looks like she is seeing delusions of her dwindling followers. Rito talks to Sayumin while Kotoko starts to remember her lonely past. It couldn’t be worst timing than this as Scoopers attack. The girls cannot invoke Urahara since they aren’t strong enough. Ebi wants them to eat more stuffs but looks like they aren’t buying into it. Mari takes out her frustrations by blasting Scoopers. Feel better? But hearing others thank her for it, it soon becomes her drug as she turns trigger happy to hear more praises. She loves it! Man, a wake of destruction she left… Similarly, Kotoko doesn’t want to be alone again and goes to join Mari. Rito is disheartened to see them eat those foods. Kids, don’t pick up weird foods from the ground and eat them.

Episode 8
Mari and Kotoko ignore Rito’s plead not to eat and continue on. Sayumin then comes by to give them more food. At first Rito is relieved but to her horror, Sayumin’s food is the same as Scoopers! Oh no. Could she be? Mari and Kotoko want a piece of it. Heck, they’ll take the whole thing! So the rest of the episode sees Rito trying to convince her friends that they can still achieve their dream if they work together at Park but they refuse because they rather be a Scooper than lose what they fear most. Heck, they even think all they’ve done at Park are just copying from others. After eating Sayumin’s food, it seems Sayumin has grown into giant size. Sayumin tries to persuade Rito to join and because she is still stubborn, Sayumin thinks of destroying Park that is in the way. Rito will not allow it and fights her. Even if Rito is reminded about her fears, she still will not let Park be destroyed. It just looks ridiculous Sayumin feeling ‘pain’ over Rito’s weak hits. Finally Rito stabs her boob. She turns into stone and crumbles! WTF???!!! Mari and Kotoko are mad at her for killing their friend. They also accuse her along with the other people that Rito went to extreme lengths to protect Park that is still standing compared to other buildings that were destroyed. Again, Rito tries to tell them the truth. Again, they brush her off. So sad. Well, looks like the cat is her only ally. Too bad Ebi had to make it his turn to brainwash Rito. After all that nagging, I guess there is only so much a girl can take. If can’t beat them, join them. Rito has had it and will eat the food to become a Scooper. Her friends rejoice! Here we go. Yum!

Episode 9
Rito likes it when people look at her drawings. Eat up. There’s more. Rito is the fastest to evolve closer to a Scooper but the more she eats, she sadder she becomes. Oddly, she has this problem of people not looking at her drawing, so what does she do? She starts cutting buildings in half! Uhm, isn’t she supposed to draw? Anyway, with her powers going berserk, Mari and Kotoko try to stop her. Since when they snapped out and are more concerned with Rito than their own desires? It ironically comes to a point where Rito is going to destroy her own wall art. Mari and Kotoko use the power of words to try and convince her. Hence we have the remainder half of this episode showing how Rito first came to Park. They found out she has this talented knack for drawing anything and were impressed. Name it and Rito could draw them. It motivated them to come up with their own brand and everything. When you have flashback that long, it is bound to move one’s heart and so Rito snaps out of it and cue for all of them to get emotional together and bond. With their resolve not to eat anymore, Ebi is here to convince them otherwise. Are they willing to lose what they have got? Oh yes. They shock him by destroying Amatsumara. So shock that he has to repeat his shockness. The girls revert to normal and this makes Ebi mad. Why don’t they want those powers? They don’t need false powers. The have all the creativity naturally inside of them.

Episode 10
Ebi is bent on taking them as he introduces a device that will steal their creativity. But what a shocker, Misa will not allow him to do it! Change of mind? Change of heart? Apparently she now knows what is like for something to be stolen. After learning to make beads, she understands how hurt one would be to have it stolen after putting in all the effort. Misa admits she was bored the whole time. Flashback shows Misa and Ebi in their original Scooper form. They go from planets to planets and steal their creativity. Misa was always excited at new things at first but soon got bored because as Scoopers, they lack creativity to use those items. One day, their next target is Earth. Ebi shows how fascinating Harajuku is. This excites Misa as they take impersonate a fried shrimp and human girl to take a look at the place. As usual, they love it and she wants everything! Misa is glad to have met the trio because now she wants to be like them and create wonderful things. Cue for more flashbacks from the trio and how their friendship and creations in this city made them successful and wonderful. Misa reveals another shocker. The trio are so creative that they actually created this city and all the people in it! Harajuku is in ruins and everyone evacuated. Of course with Amatsumara and that parfait that amplified all their power helped too. This means all the people around praising their work are just figments of their imagination! So it’s like praising themselves? Even Sayumin was created by them. Misa is awed they were able to create and destroy her. Looks like they have been living a fantasy life. Is it that bad?

Episode 11
Despite Ebi saying their fight against Scoopers was real, the girls are still sad and in shock that everything else wasn’t. So having imaginary people cheer for them wasn’t what they wanted? Technically, wasn’t that what they’ve always dreamt of? Oddly, Misa also feels bad for deceiving them. Creating the beads made her happy so she understands now how much a lie would hurt. She would have returned to her planet had not Rito talks about realizing the difference between fantasy and reality. They now know what is important and real. Yeah, Misa is feeling even guiltier now. Also, she wants to make more things with them. However Ebi will not take this anymore. He is disappointed in her and disowns her as a Scooper. Because Scoopers are supposed to steal and not let their heart get stolen! Ebi is so mad that he transforms into some weird shachihoko? For now, the girls run. Funny, I wonder what can a weird shrimp do to them? Strangely, they lose each other but still kept running. With Kotoko tired and the need to come up with a plan, they decide to use the power of the parfait to change the straight streets of Harajuku into a bumpy and circular one. You bet Ebi is running around in circles and doesn’t even know about it because Scoopers only know how to steal, right? They’re not good in directions… So the girls’ counterattack plan is to drop some freeze bombs on him and drop a basin on his head? Nothing happens! In fact, it only makes him bigger and angrier. Now he is going to get you! This circular path backfires on them because they have now nowhere to run. Ebi is going to rid of all of them especially Misa and become the leader of Scoopers. Misa won’t allow it and vows to protect her friends. Then her Amatsumara starts to shine and respond. For a Scooper?

Episode 12
So Misa’s power is dropping loads of beads on Ebi?! I guess it still hurts. Now run! Same tactic? Thinking of a way to fight back, Misa laments her only creative is beads. So the girls help pool their ideas to come up with something. Use the beads to create a giant cat! Because cats like prawns and fish, right? And so we have a Godzilla-like slugfest between Ebi and Super Bead Kitty! Not! Ebi got his ass handed to him and Kitty didn’t even do anything much! Tired so soon? However Ebi has a secret sneaky move. His tail boomerang move destroys Kitty! My, another fragile and weak piece. With Misa losing confidence fast, the other girls motivate her not to lose faith in Kitty. With that, Kitty bounces back to defeat Ebi for good. With this defeat, Ebi reverts back to normal and seeing that a Scooper can evolve this much, there is no need for them to steal anymore. Just like that? Whatever. Hooray! So the girls return to Park and celebrate victory by eating a giant parfait they make. Then they decide to destroy the parfait in the sky. Where the f*ck did they get such a tall crane? Oh. It is their imagination. But a few pokes with the giant fork shatters it?! The real devastated Harajuku is back after the barrier disappears. They see that fat cat and find a sakura petal on it. Because it is not its blooming season and only existed in their fantasy world, it means the cat was with them in that world. So I guess the lesson is that the time they spent in a world that wasn’t mostly real, some of it was. This means it is okay to dream and fantasize? Whatever. They manage to feed the cat this time. Misa would love to stay and help the girls with their creativity but she wants to go back and teach her Scoopers how to be creative. Wow. Just a few lessons and she’s now a pro? Well, that’s a big improvement from one who has no creativity at all! As for the things they stole, it is impossible to give back all of them but they’ll try and return what they can’t. Those that can’t can be rebuilt, right? And so a tearful goodbye between the girls before Misa blasts off for home. The girls walk around Harajuku and find it weird. Because Scoopers just dumped the world’s monuments here! From Eiffel Tower to Taj Mahal! Why travel the world when you can see them all in Harajuku! Oh boy, the international community is going to cry and demand them back. The girls see the people coming back and cleaning up. Best news: The real Sayumin offers them crepes but she doesn’t know who they are. Good enough. The trio return to Park and operate their business. Rito’s new drawing inspiration is Kitty? Oh come on. I thought she could do better.

Culture Appropriation!
What a disappointment. What a disappointment, desu no! So disappointing there I said it twice! And Harajuku is saved thanks to the imagination and creativity of just 3 local girls. No blood was shed and no lives were lost during this invasion. And everybody gets to go back to their normal lives like as though none of this ever happened. Just pick up a few pieces, that is all. Yeah, you’re not imagining things. The aliens never saw it coming and will even have a cultural revolution of their own soon back at their home planet! OMG! Harajuku saved not only their own culture and the world’s but inspired some dumb alien species to spark their own creativity. And since our world’s treasures have been kindly ‘returned’ and dumped in Harajuku, are Scoopers going to do the same to the other planets that they stole? Man, that is going to be a hell lot of cultures to return. So people, if you have a feeling your country’s heritage is missing, please try finding it at Harajuku. The huge international version of lost and found section.

Not really sure if this could be considered lazy writing because of the ‘revelation’ that what the girls have been doing since the Scoopers’ attack were all just part of their imagination. In this era, if your story ends like this, “In the end, it was all just a dream…”, your story sucks. A poor finishing and a big let-down. Even though I sensed something amiss while watching the series, I never could have guessed it was this imagination thingy. I mean, I thought everyone evacuated and then there are some people still left behind and popping out of nowhere. How could this be? Sure it was odd, but never in my wildest imagination that I would imagine that the people and this Harajuku are all conjured from their vivid imagination. Yeah, the power of imagination.

But even without this imagination twist, the entire story itself is still boring. It really lacks the depth that it needs. Because all we see are a bunch of teens going around to fight Scoopers to defend Harajuku and at the same time find the meaning of creativity as well as their own. In short, it was just bland and uninspiring. At this rate, even Akiba’s Trip The Animation looks way more exciting than this piece of candy crap because at least that anime has some fun trivia for us to spot. This had literally none. I mean, Harajuku is no Akihabara but still, for those who are unfamiliar of this place won’t really connect with this place because it looks so alien. Not that I know what Harajuku looks like but at least Akihabara had all those otaku and electronic stuffs. Isn’t Harajuku supposed to be famous for its fashion trends?

The characters don’t feel as exciting and are such a bore. We got 3 girls who opened some store in Harajuku and just like any other teens their age, it is not wrong to want others to praise and admire the talents that they have. Individually, a bit hard for me to point out their uniqueness and hence they are hardly memorable. Like Rito who is good at drawing and supposedly the more rational among the trio. Mari the actress wannabe is more outspoken (tsundere potential) and is good with fashion whereas Kotoko has this fear of being alone and is technically the brainiest because sometimes when things could get technical, she really starts getting technical in trying to explain in detail what it is. Could have been interesting had this series been interesting in the first place. Because it is not, I don’t even want to hear Kotoko rant, which somewhat feels like a mini running joke for her. Each has their own dreams and fears so I guess the lesson of their friendship and story is that as long as you have creativity and don’t give up dreaming, you’ll eventually make it come true.

Misa as a Scooper isn’t a surprise because I noticed there was something off with some of her actions. So the whole while she has been observing the trio fighting Scoopers and watching them being creative. Was it to determine if they were worth the creativity to be brought back? And then for the first time she experiences what it is like to be a little creative. Woah. Suddenly a whole lot of human emotions. Don’t steal! It’s bad! Wow. A Scooper now humanized. Is it because she also took the form of a little girl unlike Ebi who looked like something edible? With this said, I guess from all the other planets’ cultures that they have stolen, none of its denizens have ever engaged Misa with their creativity. They either let their cultures get stolen or got wiped out in the process. Earth was the first for her. And she’s a princess of the Scoopers. She really lived a sheltered and pampered life. But might not be so sheltered and pampered after all because if so, she would have thrown a tantrum like a baby if she had not get what she wanted. Instead, she was being patient and then understanding. What a true princess should be like. I hope that Misa’s creativity will go beyond than just beads… Just saying…

Ebi on the other hand feels like a comic relief character as well as the series’ cute animal mascot. He is forced to be the main antagonist and final boss because what else is there left of the plot to showcase how true the girls love their culture? Another mind boggling minor mascot characters are the Shirako pets. WTF are they supposed to be???!!! Their existence is particularly useless except for the fact to drum up all the moe and cute stuffs. I suppose many would find it cute when those chibi creatures start saying single lines in cute high pitch voices. Thank goodness they decided to go back with Misa because Earthlings would start harassing them and make them trending on social media. A kind of culture we don’t really need… Say, whatever happened to that fat cat? I thought it would play some important role but looks like it only trolled us and was almost forgotten. Oh, right. Could be part of their imagination too. But then it had to show up in the final moments just to show us that it is around and some sort of ‘relief’ that all that they experienced weren’t fake. Bummer. It would have been so much better if this cat turned out to be the real Scooper boss who then transform into a giant monster cat and fought them! I know, still lame but at least it’s slightly better.

And there was something odd about Sayumin too. Out of all the people who are in Harajuku, only she came to talk to them. Only she is the one who listens to them. The only one who cares enough to lend a listening ear. I too was suspicious of her from the start. I deduced that she was a Scooper and was the one responsible of letting Scoopers into this barrier. How otherwise would some of them pop up from time to time to attack the place? Then they surprised me that she isn’t real all along and part of their imagination. You see how this reasoning is now getting annoying? Even more annoying and mind boggling that the real Sayumin exists. If she was from Rito’s imagination, how could the real one be this physically accurate? Assuming Rito never knew her before all this. Maybe she passed by the place she sells crepes and unconsciously ‘remembered’ her? Passive memory imprinting? Anyway, having Sayumin show up at the end is some sort of deluded manner to show us that the girls didn’t really kill off Sayumin. Just the imaginary version of her because the real one is still around. F*ck logic.

The fights against the Scoopers aren’t anything impressive. We see Rito swinging her back for short range combat, Mari firing her bazooka for long range and Kotoko glued to her pad as she scouts for information. You can’t have much variety with that kind of combination. After all, if everything seemed so easy and lame, we can always go back and rely on that ‘it’s their imagination’ excuse. They defeat the Scoopers because they imagine it! Because it seemed like heaven when the enemies you defeat start dropping down as tasty treats and snacks! Yum! I also want to eat them! Ultimate paradise! Like as though this is their payment for defending Harajuku. No money, have desserts then. So tasty that every episode is named after some sort of dessert. From doughnuts to popcorns to crepes, ice cream and parfait. Yum! Come to think of it, if you go by the logic that Scoopers are only good at stealing and nothing else, they shouldn’t have good fighting capabilities. This means anybody with no martial arts skill can actually fight them and win! Fighting off a Scooper should be easier than fighting a hamster! You saw how Ebi ‘fought’ against Kitty, right? Lame! So why didn’t those cultures fight back and take back their cultures? They just let Scoopers steal them and get away with it, huh? Yeah, they deserve to have their cultures stolen then.

I’m sure the idea of stealing cultural ideas is nothing new but something that most of us will not want to admit. Humanity has been ‘guilty’ from the start of time of ‘stealing’ from others. Well, there is a saying that imitation is the highest form of flattery but this series is far from being anything about copying. So when the girls were worried about copying and have nothing original themselves, then everyone throughout history should also be feeling guilty for getting inspired by something and then creating something new based from that. It is not a blatant rip-off so it is acceptable in its own way because that is how we humans move forward and evolve. At least under the name of creativity. Hence feeling shame of making a big hit based loosely on some idea to me is ludicrous as long proper credits are given. After all, when somebody makes a big hit, there are bound to be others trying to cash in and ride this wave too. It is a testament that your hit is well, a hit. So instead of crying culture appropriation, it should be culture appreciation in which the Japanese are doing it right with the spread of anime and manga culture being consumed outside Japan unlike certain parties in the west regarding their own…

One of the things that would really strike you is the visuals. Very cartoonish-like. Very colourful. Very messy. Something feels like as though they were trying to put more style than substance. Everything is designed and decorated in such a moe fashion that this truly looks like a cute fantasy world rather than anything that resembles Harajuku. I mean, you just look at everything in the background and foreground. It is like almost every object here has this cute little dots and eyes and little smile! It’s just so unreal. That said, could it be that Ebi is the laziest design of them all? Can’t decide on what animal mascot, eh? Let’s choose a food then. Mmm… I’m craving for friend shrimps now. That’s it! Just slap some eyes and mouth on it and let’s call it a new character! If you are not used to this and are new to this kind of cute visuals, they may look creepy and give you nightmares. Of course for me, they look so cute and moe to a point that it’s just nauseating. I might have exaggerated about that since I don’t get a headache or vomit at the end of the episode. Not sure if you could call it all as creative but perhaps kids who like all this happy-happy wonderland thingy might love it because it’s so colourful and cute. But sometimes the background can be just sketchy like as though somebody put it together in the last minute.

It’s hard to take things seriously when it all looks so cartoonish because the Scooper aliens themselves look as cartoonish and cute than menacing. Heck, I think this jellyfish clone alien would look more fitting as a substitute to Pac-man’s ghosts more than invaders and cultural robbers. Even the girls’ battle mode design feel a bit bland and uninspiring. Not sure if this is called fashion but I guess it is better than having them in some body hugging tight leather outfit. On a side note, somehow looking at Sayumin reminds me of that Kirari character from Kakegurui. Only less intimidating and more on the moe side. This anime is jointly animated by EMT2 (Renai Boukun, Nyanko Days) and Shirogumi (Etotama, Moyashimon). At the end of it all, somehow I started realizing how the animation style of this series reminds me of The Rolling Girls although it is not as moe as Urahara but wacky in its own right. For more creative illustrations, the end card shows different illustration styles by different people. Some look funny, some cute and some edgy. Creativity, I suppose.

The voice acting casts is literally quite a small one but none that really catch my attention. Maybe Ebi because he sounds like some enthusiastic gay. Really. He is voiced by Yasunori Matsumoto (Gourry in Slayers series). The other casts are Luna Haruna as Rito (originally a singer, this is her debut role in voice acting), Sumire Uesaka as Mari (Sanae in Chuunibyou Demo Koi Ga Shitai), Manaka Iwami as Kotoko (Chiaki in Gamers), Kokoa Amano as Misa (Sakura in the remake of Kino No Tabi) and Riho Iida as Sayumin (Rin in Love Live!). The opening theme is Antithesis Escape by Sumire Uesaka. Nothing special about it as I feel they’re trying to infuse it with lots of cute stuffs and effects. The ending theme is Kirameki Life Line by Luna Haruna sounds slightly better as an anime pop but still overall not really that attractive for me.

Overall, some may call this series creative in its own way but since it failed to entertain me, I call it crap. You heard that right. It is crap. It’s not surprising that I repeated that twice. It is definitely odd and bizarre if you can see past all that moe and cuteness permeating throughout the series. If you like it, so be it. It’s your taste. Hence creativity itself is very subjective and depends on how many people love it. The more they love it, it becomes viral and a trend. Otherwise, it is considered weird and distasteful. So now that we have protected Akihabara from aliens and Harajuku as well, when are we going to complete the holy trinity of Tokyo’s unique neighbourhoods by protecting Shibuya from space invaders? Damn those aliens wanna steal and appropriate Japan’s culture! People, get ready to protect Japan’s culture! I said be prepared to protect Japan’s culture! So jumpy that I said it twice!

Dagashi Kashi

August 7, 2016

If watching certain food themed animes like Chuuka Ichiban and the most recent Shokugeki No Souma might be too heavy for you to stomach not because the dishes are bad but they are so good that they want to make you eat them and it hurts your stomach and brains when you realize you can’t, or even foods like breads (Yakitate! Japan) or pastries (Yumeiro Pattisiere) are too much to handle for an average viewer, why not watch something that is of bite size? Is there any? Yes people, you don’t have to eat an entire Toblerone chocolate bar to satisfy your sweet tooth and sometimes only a small pop in the mouth would suffice. No, I’m not talking about M&M’s either. Bet you don’t know that there are hundreds and perhaps thousands of small candy manufacturers that you have never heard of. Some even available in certain regions. And thus that is why we have Dagashi Kashi. A small anime that introduces us to the wonders of those popular and not so popular treats in Japan. They all come in small bite sizes and cheap enough for you to get enough of that sugar rush. Time to see if some of these sweets would bring back the sweet ol’ nostalgic memories of your childhood days.

Episode 1
Kokonotsu Shikada is drawing his manga when his father, You needs to speak to him. About his manga! Father has high hopes of him carrying on as the 9th generation candy store owner but Kokonotsu is bent on walking the manga career. His son even chides him about the bad layout of their candy store that makes children hard to reach and this ‘suggestion’ is probably the reason why You sees him as a great takeover potential. After You heads out, Hotaru Shidare enters the shop. This pretty chick looks like the heroine of his manga! He finds her name familiar. Indeed because her father runs the world’s top candy manufacturer. She has business with You but since he is not around, she challenges Kokonotsu to see if his worthy. I’m not sure about the ranting she did on the umibou and the different flavours available. But it sure makes me salivate! I WANT TO EAT THEM! When You returns, Hotaru and him engage in some silly candy charade. You tries to convince his son to date her but unfortunately she has already someone she loves: The little boy mascot on the snack cover. And you thought it was Kokonotsu, eh? On to serious business, she is here on her father’s request to have You work in their factory. Of course he refuses. The reason being he blames Kokonotsu for not inheriting the shop. So if she manages to convince Kokonotsu to inherit the candy store, he will come work for her? Exactly. And with that, Hotaru will be staying around a little longer. Uhm, welcome?

Kokonotsu patrons Tou Endou, his friend’s cafe. Kokonotsu never knew his father was that famous. When he talks about an odd but pretty girl living with him due to circumstances, Tou’s sister, Saya doesn’t like that one bit and you can see how she takes out her anger by serving her mean coffee to Kokonotsu. It is overflowing with sugar cubes! Kokonotsu can drink them all with no problem because of his sweet tooth. He never likes coffee but her coffee is the only one he can drink. I guess that made Saya feel a little better. As thanks, he gives her some milk coffee candy even though he knows she doesn’t like candies. After he leaves, Tou teases Saya for being so freaking obvious she has a crush on Kokonotsu. Just too bad Kokonotsu is a bigger idiot. She heads out after having her fill beating him up to a pulp. That is when she finds Hotaru stuck in the paddy mud! Don’t worry, she is alright. She brings her back to shower. Tou thinking Saya is back enters the toilet (without knocking?) and sees Hotaru’s naked body. As expected another cold beating from sister. Oddly, Hotaru excitedly thanks the unconscious dude in her birthday suit. Hotaru explains she got into that predicament as she was cycling and eating her ice cream. She thought she won a prize and as she peered closer, she lost control and fell down the mud. When Saya asks about her business here, Hotaru dramatically narrates in RPG style about some quest to obtain the power to succeed the legend. That’s you, Kokonotsu.

Episode 2
A kid wins a prize for a free ice cream at Kokonotsu’s store. But Hotaru catches him and thinks he is a spy from a rival industry! Today’s snack demonstration of kinako sticks is brought to you by Hotaru as she tells the incomprehensible snacks war that led to the destruction of the world and thus the kinako sticks are laying in wait just to bring down mankind. Just go with the flow… She eats them but the crumbs fall over her boobs. To solve this problem, she eats it on top of her face but now her face is powdered. Kokonotsu’s solution is simpler. You use one hand as a bowl and once you’re done with the snack, you just lick off the crumbs. Hotaru tries to show off by eating several off them at the same time and also avoid spilling the crumbs. I bet she is talking while doing so and the reason why she gets choked on them. When Hotaru hints to Kokonotsu of becoming an adult with her, only dirty minded perverts would have hoped for something ecchi. You should have known that snacks will always be on her mind. There is this cheeky named beer but contains no alcohol so minors can drink it and not feel left out in the presence of the other beer drinking adults. They have their own little beer part and although Kokonotsu is amazed with its apple or pineapple taste, Hotaru is completely drunk! Don’t even ask. Expect her mood swings, nonsensical rants especially her imitation on the umibou. At least she is a good entertainer.

Kokonotsu and Saya are lazing around due to the heat. It is going to get hotter when Hotaru is here to show off her whistling skills on this ramune whistle. Yup, there is also a sad back story about this candy. The ramune whistle is taunted by others because he cannot whistle well in the beginning. But a few words of motivation from an older generation candy of the similar type has him whistling right. Although Saya doesn’t understand a word, Kokonotsu does. He does? He knows this is part of her plan trying to make him to succeed the candy store. Kokonotsu is personified as the ramune whistle and his dad as the older generation candy. When Saya realizes what is going on and the horror that there will be no more candy store, she sides with Hotaru for him to continue the shop. Hotaru is glad she has an ally now. Hotaru and Kokonotsu explain menko to Saya. A kid’s game whereby you throw your cards on the ground and if you flip other cards over, it is yours. Saya makes her first try and shocks the duo with a successful flip. Hotaru then does a tactic that allows her to flip 2 cards at once. It took her 2 years to master this, you know. She trains Kokonotsu but that guy didn’t make any headway at the end of the day. I suppose Saya is bored and wants to test out one more time. This time she flips 3 cards at once! In addition to be shell shocked, defeated Hotaru gets down on her knees and starts calling Saya her master! Please teach her the technique!

Episode 3
On the hottest day of the summer, Kokonotsu’s store air-cond is about to break down. Then here comes Hotaru to off it and tell him the way to beat the summer heat is to eat butamen. She has Tou bring over a stove to boil hot water. Man, it’s like sauna in here! I’m sure the reason why Tou agrees to do all this is because of the excitement of watching her eating butamen oh so sexy and the sweat soaking through her clothes makes her bra visible. Yeah, he didn’t pass out from the heat. A different kind of heat if I should say. Hotaru disallows Kokonotsu to turn the air-cond back on but when he mentions the candies will go bad this way, I guess she has to give in. Candies are most important, right? However the air-cond is not working. That is when Tou suggests going to the pool. The guys must be excited to see the girls in swimsuit. But no girls… And You is there working as a lifeguard because the candy store doesn’t make much income. Feeling guilty for leaving the store unattended, Kokonotsu? When Hotaru arrives, Tou is a little disappointed because she is wearing a jacket to cover up those great boobs. It is revealed this entire pool plot is schemed by You and Hotaru. Yup, that being poor part was just a lie. They have hidden jelly snacks at the bottom of the pool. Upon discovering them, this will make Kokonotsu discover the joy of candies and thus increase his interest in carrying on the candy store. Despite finding many jelly snacks, there is a sign that says no outside food and drinks allowed. It disappoints them they can’t savour the jelly. Plan failed.

Hotaru thinks she might have gotten into the wrong store when she sees Tou at the counter. Nope. Correct store. He is helping to man the counter while he is out for an errand. As she waits, she asks him if he likes sweets. Not really. She falls into shock and cannot comprehend that kind of answer. When she passionately explains her love for candies, he gives a casual answer. Not in her vocabulary? When Tou tries to eat a botan rice candy by scratching off the wrapper, Hotaru is horrified since you can eat the wrapper. She thinks if he is trying to test her if there is a better way of eating them. So she does a baseball throw of the candy into his mouth and the spin and his saliva somewhat unwraps it. Screw all that technical crap! As long as it tastes good. Kokonotsu returns with the air-cond repair men. As extra help is not needed, Hotaru is sent to hang out at Saya’s cafe. Saya fears Hotaru may like Kokonotsu when she asks they have known each other for so long. But actually Hotaru is frustrated that she has never seen her eating candy at his store. That is why Hotaru has got this Seven Neon candy for her to try. Noticing Hotaru is watching like a pervert, the pressure is on Saya to eat it properly! You can tell if she is eating it right by the expression on her face. She bites and rips off the candy. Despite this is the right way to eat it, she feels it is a bit troublesome. Hotaru explains the abundance and cheap supply of candies. It will be a waste for kids to buy and eat them fast so some snacks are devised in a way to ‘put some effort’ in enjoying it. They spend the rest of the day eating Seven Neon and talking trivia about it.

Episode 4
If you’re wondering why Hotaru is blindfolded, it is because today they’ll be having taste testing. After she sings praises about the fugashi, she has Kokonotsu tie her hands and feed her one. Very suggestive, isn’t it? She guesses correctly from the taste. Not to be outdone, Kokonotsu is also blindfolded and tied up as she feeds him a fugashi. However he cannot differentiate this taste and only gets correct because of the way the wrapper is opened. They take turns doing this until Kokonotsu realizes there isn’t much fugashi left and Hotaru might guess them easily. So he brings out one and lets her taste this big and hard thing suffocating her mouth! OMFG! Just looking like porn!!! She wants more of it!!! She guesses correctly the sakurabo. Despite only available in a certain prefecture, You was quite fond of it so he stocked up. At this time, tasting all the fugashi has left them dry in the mouth. Hotaru leaves to get some drinks. But she left Kokonotsu blindfolded and tied up… Hello, anybody? He must have waited for eternity till she returns. Too bad it is his dad! He gets the wrong idea they were in some erotic play! Kokonotsu nonchalantly sketches on Saya and Hotaru so Tou adds his nonsensical comments about their boobs. After some time Kokonotsu left the cafe, Tou texts him that he forgot his notebook. Imagine what will happen if Saya sees that… Hotaru can tell from his expression that he is in a pinch. She gives him the Glico caramel and will race there with him. The entire cross country marathon is about them calculating the calories each sweet gives, the time and distance they can run with it. Yeah, it’s freaking technical (but educational) for a dumb guy like me so I’m just going to skip the whole lot. Because I only know how to eat! After a few hundred metres, they will pop a sweet to replenish energy. On the last stretch, Kokonotsu runs out so Hotaru ‘sacrifices’ hers to give him his last spurt. By the time he reaches the cafe, Saya had already seen the sketches. If you ever wanted to know how Saya looks like when she turns into a demon, this is your chance. I hope all the Glico caramel was worth it. He is going to need it. Lastly, I think Hotaru gave him the wrong candy and thus the time lag in reaching the cafe when he should have reached in time. Otherwise if you think about it, if they started out with the same box of Glico caramel and ate them at similar intervals, don’t you think Hotaru would have ran out of hers too?

Episode 5
You sneaks in some powder for Hotaru to taste. Kokonotsu catches them in the act. Is it something illegal? Well, it is bottled ramune. Kokonotsu remembers they used to have stock of this. What happened? Apparently You confessed it was too addictive so he ate them all! Hotaru tries to persuade Kokonotsu not to blame You and coax him into tasting it. Because it is made of powder, he starts coughing. It’s like when a first time smoker smokes. But still, Kokonotsu chides his dad there is no point in selling them if he eats them himself. And so he decides to cleanse himself with some rehabilitation and Hotaru accompanies him. Late in the middle of the night, Kokonotsu hears sounds from his dad’s room. He is uploading candy videos onto YouTube! It’s embarrassing! So how many views has he got? 13 only?! Stop the embarrassment right now! You wants to test video and uses the Baby Star Ramen as his product. In addition to his lame rap opener, he doesn’t know about the product, has to read from a card and goes off track in his topic. Kokonotsu blows his top and passionately shows him how it is done. Yup, this guy is even more creative in coming up stories for this product than his dad. This video is uploaded as Saya and Hotaru watches it. Hey, at least with 100 views, that’s not bad, right? And Kokonotsu doesn’t even know when dad uploaded it…

The guys run out of cash so here comes the masterful financial planner Hotaru to tell them how to make fast easy money via candy prizes. She uses Yattamen as the source as you could accumulate and win money out of it. However Kokonotsu cautions Tou into believing that because no actual cash value is given but a coupon equivalent to it. Hotaru starts off… And makes a losing start! But hey, this is to show that with her losing streak, she has developed a way to identify a winning candy. Something to do about the packaging. She lost anyway. In fact, Kokonotsu knows better about some design in the corner that determines it. You shock, Hotaru? Trying it out, the guys win. Hotaru loses… That is when she reveals she has never won a candy prize in her life. Kokonotsu tells her to stay away from gambling but this gives her another reason to continue her gambling ways. This time she wages Kokonotsu’s life to inherit the store on the line. There are 3 grape gumballs in this candy and one of them is super sour. Whoever picks that loses. So If Hotaru loses, she’ll do anything for him. Want to guess Kokonotsu just had a lewd thought? Hotaru is confident she can win this one as the illustration on the packaging will tell her the super sour gumball (which is of course just a rumour). To her horror she realizes the packaging illustration has changed. There is no way to tell now! They pop the gumball into their mouths. The guys have it sweet. Hotaru’s sour face… Chalking up another one for losing streak. To soothe her, Kokonotsu says her talent for gambling is so bad that it is a talent itself. Poor Hotaru, still bitter from her losing streak that she runs away crying. Uhm, did she forget about granting Kokonotsu his wish?

Episode 6
Hotaru calls the gang so she could show off her long Super String Q. It is some elastic jelly in which you can play with it too. This makes Tou remember about Maken Gummies in which there is an elastic hand toy in it. He demonstrates its ‘true purpose’ by whipping up Saya’s skirt! Wow. Look how far Tou flew. Hotaru explains the many creativity kids used to play with the jelly but can it be edible after that? Suddenly she hands one to Kokonotsu and challenges him to a tug of war in which if he loses he must inherit the store! Thankfully both break and it is a draw. Phew. Hotaru then takes out a longer one as she whips it around. But it snaps so Kokonotsu in his reflex action jumps and eat it. Hotaru believes this amazing skill makes him a good successor to the store. Since Kokonotsu disagrees, they will settle it via ohajiki. The game they play with it is similar to marbles. If you can hit another ohajiki, it becomes yours. Tou and Saya are natural talents accumulating a reasonable number. Kokonotsu sucks with only a couple and if you think he is doomed losing this challenge, wait till you see Hotaru. She has zero! How bad can she get?! Hotaru notices Saya has a penchant to be great in games despite not knowing the rules. She suggests she should work in Kokonotsu’s place to utilize her talents. Saya is so embarrassed that she punched Tou! So powerful that his sunglasses break and perhaps the first time you’re seeing his true eyes! Hotaru thought she has this giant ohajiki as her trump card. However it is heavy as a rock and she accidentally drops and breaks it. Her losing streak continues…

Saya is deep in thoughts about Hotaru’s suggestion. This brings back memories when she was in elementary with Kokonotsu. He introduced her to this Yoguret candy in which claimed it has nutritional values and thus the reason why kids were successful in bugging their parents to buy it for them. In addition to the nice feeling of popping the packaging, the candy is often used in playing as doctor. Despite Saya calling that as childish, she is hinting to play it with him. He has to! But with Saya as the doctor, she is mostly flustering with Kokonotsu’s close proximity. Yeah, it looks like she is the one who is sick. So they switch roles. But each time Saya wants to get him do something physically on her, all he ever does is give ‘medicine’. Is that what doctors only do?! After she complains, I guess it is ‘surgery’ time. Here is the ‘pill’ for anaesthetic. Before Kokonotsu could do anything, he is horrified he has run out of Yoguret. Guess who ate them all up? She feels bad and tries to console him. However they accidentally slip. Don’t expect something like one atop the other. It’s just has them holding hands and staring at each other. That is already something big if you’re a kid. Saya is just embarrassed remembering this chapter of her life. And when Hotaru tries to introduce Yoguret, instantly Saya and Kokonotsu react in an embarrassing way. Yeah, the memories are still vivid. But Saya is glad that Kokonotsu’s reaction means he still remembered it well.

Episode 7
Kokonotsu and You will be operating a monjayaki stall at the festivals. You is confronted by rival, Tamai who accuses him of selling that instead of candies (there’s some link between monjayaki and candies as explained by Hotaru but I wasn’t listening – it was painful to see her climbing down that tree as she explains). When You threatens to stop sharing Baby Star with her, she lost. Then they quickly make up. Yeah, this happens every year. But the adults ditch the kids alone to go drinking. I bet Kokonotsu didn’t see this one coming. As they walk around the area, Hotaru is interested in doing katanuki. She didn’t listen to Kokonotsu’s advice that the store owner usually will find fault in the katanuki and not payout. She starts chiselling her tulip shaped katanuki. Kokonotsu wonders why she is good at this if this is her first festival. She ordered katanuki pieces as practice before and this is her first time doing it in front of others. Can you do that? With Hotaru in full concentration, Kokonotsu can’t help find her cute when she’s not talking! See?! See this kind of charm for men in a woman?! Then she nails a perfect tulip. Because of the high payout, the guys believe the owner is going to find some fault. But it is so perfect he couldn’t find any fault that he happily just pays her off! Time to spend the hard earned cash. This makes Tou want to try his hands. I believe he had many failed attempts and the final one which is also a high value katanuki is enough to cover his losses. He nails it and is about to hand it over when he trips and breaks it… So sad…

Kokonotsu is not happy he has to help his dad with the monjayaki stall. Then here comes Saya looking cute in her yukata. She is hinting about Kokonotsu have to be here to help his dad. But You is quite the perspective father and lets his son accompany Saya around. He’ll handle it. Tou is interested in trying in hands in making monjayaki as repayment for a free one You gave. Kokonotsu and Saya walk around (a little trivia on the history of floss candy too) and you bet she is enjoying every darn second of this. Till that dense Kokonotsu forgot he should call Tou to join them. Saya gives a lame excuse why he shouldn’t and being the dense kid, he agrees. Kokonotsu plays the goldfish game and his foolproof way fails. This brings back memories for Saya how he did the same thing. He tried and tried but failed. Because of his perseverance, the store owner in the end gave him one for free. Kokonotsu gave that goldfish to her in which she still keeps it in her cafe. How long does a goldfish live anyway? Isn’t it a little too big for its bowl aquarium now? History repeats itself as Kokonotsu couldn’t get one so the owner gave him one for free. He gives it to her. Just then they hear word going around that Tou’s monjayaki is selling like hot cakes. Yes, that guy is really getting good and popular.

Episode 8
Tou narrates there is a calendar in his house that cannot be touched. It has always been on the January page and features a baby. He was curious so as he turns the pages, the picture shows the different stages in a boy’s life. In the December page, an old man with his eyes’ closed. Suddenly his eyes open and blood starts streaming out and before he knew it, his hands were bloodstained! OMG! Don’t tell me such scary stories even if this is what the gang are doing during a typhoon!!! Look how scared Saya is! Tou continues he was bedridden with an unknown illness for 2 months. Mom took him to a doctor and when they x-ray his lungs, there is a ghostly face of his grandpa over it! F*CK!!! Saya is about to beat up her brother when Hotaru concludes the story. The boy remembered he didn’t visit his grandpa’s grave and after doing so, he was cured. Hotaru knows this story because it is based off some summer candy horror collection in which she has read all 144 stories. But when Kokonotsu points out the inconsistencies in the story (why would grandpa curse his own grandchild when he failed to visit his grave?), Hotaru talks about the odd part of how despite main characters in scary stories go missing, how come the story is usually told. I mean, if they died or something, then the story will forever be buried with them, right? This is why. A secret she hopes nobody will tell others. All stories are cooked up by the company’s employees. Yeah, I pretty much figure that out too. Saya is still scared so Hotaru explains about a gum that if given to some ghosts, they will leave. Saya finds it odd that ghosts chew gum… When the lights go out, they panic. You comes in with a flashlight on his face. Of course this freaks Saya out and now he is ‘chewing his own gum’.

Tou is bragging how popular kendama is. However Kokonotsu says otherwise as there are some unsold in his shop. I believe it has been there since he was a kid. To prove him wrong, Tou sucks in his pride and buys 2 of them! So they try it out but they suck. Tou did a dangerous move that bends his thumb the other way! When Saya arrives and picks it up, OMG she is such a natural talent! Saya then wonders why he bought them because they have a few back home and even then he said something about them being popular. I guess he’ll never be good at it… Tou talks to Kokonotsu about being popular. Yes, this pop chocolate has this fortune telling gimmick that is it no wonder why girls love them? So they test out a few stuffs like they both never did homework and the chocolate predicted it to be true. Tou then mentions his wish for a pantsu shot. Will he get it? That is when Hotaru comes by to say she was looking for Kokonotsu and will meet him back at the store. As she jumps off, the guys watch in anticipation her under her fluttering skirt… Did they see anything or not? But surely they are excited by this haitenai phenomenon and how the chocolate predicted something like that leaves them feeling amazed. Total respect.

Episode 9
Saya is waiting for Kokonotsu at his shop. But here comes Hotaru. My, what a painful ulcer she has. She thinks it could be from lack of sleep or stress but not eating too much candy! I know that feeling… Against Saya’s advice, Hotaru pops more candy into her mouth. Now, this WataPachi candy has that ‘exploding’ feeling in your mouth. Think of it like M&M’s but instead of melting it pops AKA explodes in your mouth. And thus it starts hurting Hotaru’s ulcer and compounding the pain. So painful that even Saya can’t bear to watch! But at the end of it, Hotaru might be a masochist since she loves the pain. As long as it is candy related… Hotaru than introduces another candy, UnChoco. Because of the way its name sounds, it can mean to be poop chocolate, something that is bothering Saya. The girls have his UnChoco party (poop party?) making Saya feeling all uncomfortable over this bad pun. Hotaru cannot stop ranting and waxing lyrical about it so when Saya can’t take it anymore and tells her to stop, Hotaru reveals she was actually talking about eggs. Wait. What?!

Kokonotsu is shocked to see Hotaru eating rice. This girl eating rice?! Then she reveals she is from Osaka and used to speak in Kansai accent. I think she is doing so, so she can make lame Osaka puns. And introduce this Sakura Daikon candy that looks like radish but is actually a candy that you can eat with rice. More lame Osaka puns… Yes Kokonotsu. We feel your pain of how annoying Hotaru is today. When she finally leaves (thank God), she says she isn’t actually from Osaka. I guess Kokonotsu figured that out since she was doing bad impersonations of it. Making it worse, he realizes Hotaru used his bowl and finished all his rice lunch! Later, she asks him if he likes boobs. Say what? Did I hear that correctly? You know guys have to think hard when a girl asks that kind of question, right? Either way, we’ll be screwed, right? So he decides to give a mature answer that he isn’t into it. Hotaru becomes depressed and walks away seeing he has no business with him then. Suddenly Kokonotsu reverses his decision that he loves them! Instantly she throws to him an ice cream balloon that she calls boobs ice cream. She has him eat it and as he bites off the top, the melted ice cream ‘exploded’ onto his face. Seems this is an experiment of wanting to know how much to melt the ice cream before she could easily eat it. Kokonotsu insists it is called bomb ice cream because of its shape. But do you eat bombs?! So can you eat boobs too? No, you suck on them! Still, Kokonotsu insists this is the name he has been calling it since young. Likewise, Hotaru too. The only way to settle this argument is to eat it. As she does so, she forgot hers has also melted and it splatters all over her face. Ooohhh… White stuff dripping all over her face, hands and boobs. While Hotaru now understands why it is called bomb ice cream, I am sure Kokonotsu understands why she calls it boobs ice cream. Stimulating…

Episode 10
When Tou is at the vending machine late one night, Hotaru is seen rushing towards him. She sounds desperate… Kokonotsu feels something is off. Because Hotaru has not visit his store for 2 days! He visits Saya’s cafe and she is not there too. Worried, with Saya they go visit Hotaru’s home. My, what a freaking big mansion! Rich people… When Hotaru answers the door, she becomes so scared in seeing Kokonotsu that she faints! They put her back in bed and it looks like she is sick. Even when she wakes up, she is still afraid of Kokonotsu. Did he do something? The scariest part is when she sees the candies he brings for her, she cowers underneath her sheets! Hotaru rejecting candy? That’s scary! Saya thought it was insensitive of him to bring candies for a sick person but Kokonotsu knows something like this won’t put her down. So he tries to coax her out with all sorts of candies but she just remains frightened. It comes to a point where he tries to fan the candy smell to her and when she finally bursts out, she is crying incessantly in Saya’s arms! Poor thing… Doesn’t this make Kokonotsu look like the bad guy?

When she calms down, she shows her ulcer has gotten much worse. After last episode of eating those candies, she made a wish on that pop chocolate that her ulcer would go away so she could taste the new Baby Star ramen when it is launched. However the fortune telling chocolate denied her that wish. Whatever she wished for it was denied, Except for outing. Outing? And so Hotaru started running to who knows where and that is where she bumped into Tou and talked to him. His answer was simple: Temporarily stop eating candy. Of course she disagreed as candy is her life. Then he tells her eating all those candies is what got her that ulcer and she won’t make it in time to taste that new release. Besides, if she stays away from candies for a while, Baby Star ramen will taste much better. This gave her the motivation to do so. Just when you think the episode is over, Hotaru now turns into a zombie and tries to eat all of Kokonotsu’s candies! OMG! Such immense strength that the duo has a hard time dealing with her! Is this something to do with her withdrawal symptoms for candy? She only stops when the cuckoo clock sounds. It is time to take her medicine. Despite looking like a poison that only anime girls who are bad at cooking could make, it actually tastes good and soothing. Kokonotsu feels something suspicious about it and to his worse fear, this ‘medicine’ is actually a mixture of pine, melon and American soda powder! See how disappointed his face is? It took Hotaru a while to realize she was drinking candy, thus her enhanced ulcer. Just when you think she would learn her lesson, she succumbs to the sweet taste and is going to drink it only to be stopped by her disappointed friends. I guess she won’t be making it for the big day.

Episode 11
After Saya learns the truth about Hotaru being here to convince Kokonotsu to inherit You’s store, Kokonotsu can’t help wonder why a big company wants to hire his dad. She is going to show it to them as they hide inside a cramped cardboard box to spy on You manning the counter. I wonder if Kokonotsu can keep his hands (or rather elbows in this case) to himself in such a tight space. All they see is You eating the store’s candy for an hour! It just makes Hotaru jealous that he is eating all that without her! Soon a local kid enters and he brings a girl his age in. Most probably he is trying to win her heart with candies. However he has not enough money! The girl feels disappointed! So young, so b*tchy?! You suggests if he wins a prize from this cola gum, he can get another one. So the boy tries but from his face you know he lost. However You acts like as though he won and gives him another cola gum. The girl is so impressed. That easy to win a girl’s heart?! Oh right. They’re kids… Hotaru explains that a candy store isn’t a place where people come to take a break but also bond with each other. Her father’s company plans to open candy-like stores worldwide and needs candy store owners like him and from what they have seen, he sure has the talents. Kokonotsu isn’t so sure about that but Saya reminds him something similar happened to them. When Kokonotsu introduced her to cola gum, she just kept winning and winning! She is going to put You out of business at this rate!!! Just as Kokonotsu has a better thought of his dad, here he is trying to sneak read through his manga. That is when Kokonotsu busts out from his hiding to confront his dad. Things can get ugly…

Kokonotsu and Hotaru missed the train. Looks like a long wait for the next one in this rural area. While waiting, Hotaru says she needs to suck on something. Really? Did I hear that right? Of course, she will let him suck too. Really?! Oh yeah. Bring it on! Nobody is watching, right?! You must be a dirty minded pervert to think of sucking that because Hotaru whips out the suckable konbu Hamakaze. Not what you expect Kokonotsu? Here is Miyako konbu then. Look at his frustrated and disappointed face… So we have a little history lesson from her about this konbu and how it is more fitting as a train station ‘candy’ instead of traditional candy stores as its small size allows you to keep in pockets and bags and you can suck on it while you wait. Hotaru drinks lamune and shares with him. Indirect kiss is all he is thinking? He won’t be fooled this time… And yes, a history lesson how this bottled lemonade arrived on Japan’s shores. Mainly due to that Perry guy trying to open up Japan and used this bottle as his trump card. Of course feudal lord has never seen such invention and is amazed with its great taste. But because Perry left and he didn’t teach him how to open it, I guess that is how they became friends and Japan opened up to the west. BS, right? It gets a little serious when Hotaru mentions about her goal to become the world’s top candy manufacturer. Her knowledge on candies is already exceptional but spending her time here more than expected is eating in to her time of doing more candy research. So Kokonotsu’s stubbornness is to blame? But she understands he has his own aspirations and will not force him to succeed his place. When the time comes for him to decide, she’ll be waiting. It is like something inside Kokonotsu clicked. Like he realizes something important and about to lose it. He chases after the train she just boarded, calling out to her. Because where exactly will she be waiting?

Episode 12
Saya is shocked when Hotaru asks if she knows what the taste of love is… Holy cow! Well, at least she didn’t first think she was implying something with Kokonotsu. Rather, something yuri! She thought Hotaru is serious in giving her a taste of love when she is asked to close her eyes. Then Hotaru pops a candy into her mouth and Saya is left guessing its flavour. Cherry, right? Hotaru is so happy she guessed correctly from this Sakuranbo No Uta candy. Meanwhile Kokonotsu asks Tou if he wants to be famous. There is this candy that can if you will become famous or not. Kokonotsu accidentally shakes 2 pink candies into Tou’s hands. To his dismay, Tou eats them. This is when Tou explains he was fully aware of his plan. The reason Kokonotsu let Tou try his luck first was because he was confident Tou wouldn’t get a pink candy. By doing so, his chances of getting one will increase. Kokonotsu regrets his busted plan but Tou hands to him a pink candy. He pretended to eat 2 but only ate one. Kokonotsu gladly eats the pink candy and they put up a silly dance. I don’t think they’ll get popular this way. The girls spot them and with Saya noticing Hotaru looking longingly at Kokonotsu and talking about bittersweet love, she fears she may like him too. But then she realizes Hotaru is just being Hotaru as she is just fantasizing a candy mascot instead.

When Kokonotsu asks Tou if he himself has been tying down Hotaru lately, Saya gets the wrong idea it is BDSM style! Tou suggests the fastest way is to ask her directly. Oh, here she comes. Oddly, she asks if there is a smoking section. As they observe her behaviour, Kokonotsu realizes the significance when she takes out a milk caramel candy. In the old days, it was advertised as a substitute for cigarettes. Furthermore back in those times, Japanese weren’t used in western dairy products. Hotaru’s face signifies she wants to know more but there is all about to it that he knows. So when he starts giving examples of different flavours, she gets up and leaves satisfied. He remembers he needs to talk to her and rushes out to chase her. It starts raining and they take shelter in a bus stop. Hotaru then shares her Sakumashiki Drops. Its tin can packaging makes it ideal for any situations but it is just hard opening the lid. She is surprised when Kokonotsu uses a coin to open. Didn’t know that, did you? Yeah, she had always been using her will. He picks up a peppermint flavour he doesn’t like and tries to put it back but she doesn’t allow it because it is against the law. What f*cking law?! He has to eat it since her boobs are too close to his arms. Not bad the taste, right? Kokonotsu then mentions about that train station talk where she would wait for his decision. He feels guilty his deferring is stopping her from becoming a top candy manufacturer. She rubbishes that thought because that isn’t a dream. It is her reality. Besides, she can go on a candy spree anytime and even right now. Despite her goal coming to his place every day to convince him, the most important thing is because she enjoys it. The rain stops and they make their way back.

Sweet Romance
Well, that’s all folks. If you expected some sort of dramatic storyline or even a freaking twist, you would be disappointed. But I think those who would be even more disappointed are those who were hoping that their favourite childhood candies would pop up but didn’t make the cut. Uh huh. There is only so much a dozen of episodes can introduce even at most 4 types of candy manufacturers per episode compared to hundreds and maybe thousands of other obscure ones. Basically the entire ‘plot’ of this series is just to introduce some candies and their history. No violence, no sex. Geez, are they trying to change the age old trick of sex sells? Not unless you count sexual innuendoes…

Although there are a handful of pop culture references especially from the anime (Saint Seiya, Fist Of The North Star, K-ON!, etc), the true trivia stars are the candies themselves. Since I am not very familiar with the candies in Japan, there are none that I recognize. It is very obvious. I don’t live in Japan and many of the candies and sweets are produced for local consumption. Though there are some big sweets manufacturers and some of their products are exported worldwide, but for myself as a kid I wasn’t that exposed to the various candies and even my local ones. So it is with mixed feelings that as I watched the series, it felt sad that I never knew them and probably will never ever get to taste them but I’m glad that by watching them being introduced in this anime gave me that sensation of wanting to try it out. You know, like how I want to eat all those delicious foods in food themed animes. For those who have been fascinated by this series and not a native of Japan, this series might have given you the extra enthusiasm to go check out your own local candies. I’m sure you will find a lot of wonders there too.

I later found out that the term dagashi in this case does not accurately refer to candies as I have referenced it in this blog. While it is not entirely wrong either but it is not exact so to speak. To put it simply, dagashi are cheap and filling snacks and usually popular with children. Therefore not all dagashi consists of candy and certainly not all candies can be classified as dagashi. But I’ll continue to use the candy term for consistency in my blog. Yeah, it will be a pain to change my entire blog for a word although there is technology to easily do so…

Truthfully, this entire series could have been one boring affair and a big advertising promotion campaign to promote Japanese candies had it not been for just one amusing character. Yes, that is right. Hotaru. Right from the start, you can tell that she is going to be an oddball character. An eccentric character. Somebody strange enough that attracts your attention. Therefore instead of telling us the boring grandfather-long stories of the candy’s history and its features, we have Hotaru in her unconventional ways telling us all about it. Be it in some silly exaggerated fantasy or some competition showdown. It is never a disappointment to see what kind of things she will do. The only ‘sad’ thing about her is that she is bad at gambling and is still on a long losing streak that will continue to last forever.

Sometimes she is so confident in what she says, even though you know it is a whole load of crap, you can’t help believe what she says. Quite the smooth talker, eh? But Kokonotsu won’t be easily swayed… Of course she has her faults and not entirely perfect but she isn’t all air without any substance. Her knowledge of the world of candies is quite astonishing and I believe she only revealed bits of them here (due to time constraints and we viewers might not want to be bored with prolonged introductions of the candies which will then look like desperate promotional attempts). As Hotaru is such a confident girl, she lacks the self-awareness that would have many other girls feel embarrassed. That’s right. I’m talking about sexual subtexts and ambiguity here. This particular personality of hers is one reason why we guys watch this show. The motivation to do so. Probably she is divulging in the sweet fantasy of her candies that makes her unaware of the sexual innuendoes she is making sometimes. Or maybe she is that innocent and the word porn does not exist in her dictionary. It is all part of the series’ fanservice. Double treat for horny guys who have a sweet tooth. Am I not right? Imagine the impact of it all if her character has small boobs or as flat as a washboard like Saya. Oops! Sorry, Saya…

Other characters are interesting too but they pale in comparison to Hotaru. Like You who could be Hotaru’s partner in crime in whatever shenanigans to annoy Kokonotsu. I guess life of attending a candy store all day long must be so boring that trying to sneak read his son’s manga provides some cheap thrill in his life. That and eating the store’s candy stock. Hey, if nobody is going to buy them, let’s not let it go to waste, right? Kokonotsu might aspire to be a manga artist but he knows his sweet stuffs well enough so as not for Hotaru to pull the rug under him. Then there is Saya whose only existence is to provide the trope as Kokonotsu’s childhood friend and an unrequited crush. And also to balance out the boobs factor… Haha! Aside that, her only other trait is her natural knack and talent in mastering all sorts of games the first time she plays them. Japan should send this girl to the Olympics and she’ll definitely bring back the gold medal. Unless she is only a pro at children’s games… Finally there is Tou whose character is supposed to be so cool that he wears sunglasses on all occasions even if it is night time. He is supposed to be the joker of the series (like being beaten up by Saya at times) but he has his own merits like dispensing good advice and being truthful.

Trying to add more spice and drama to the otherwise would-be drab series other than Hotaru’s colourful personality is the side distraction of romance. We all know it is not going to happen and yet we still hope for it. Me in particular. It might be a good thing it did not happen because you wouldn’t want some cheesy teenage romance to over shadow the great candies that have been around for ages, right? That is why it goes without saying that Saya will forever never have her love returned as long as Kokonotsu is being a dense guy. On second thought, he might have and is just playing poker face as he thinks Saya might not see him that way whatsoever. And sometimes I think Kokonotsu might be interested in Hotaru and there are a few scanty hints about that but that is just when his thoughts get a little perverted about her. And Hotaru? Her first love will always be candies! No doubts about that! For all you know, she might even marry a candy mascot character in the future. They tried trolling us with a few seemingly romantic hints pertaining to Hotaru but eventually it all boils down to her ambiguous actions that will always be something related to candies.

One minor thing that keeps bugging me in the series is how this town feels like a zombie apocalypse! I know that it is a rural town so it is expected that there would not be many people around. However if you noticed for a very big part of every episode it is like the entire town would just consist of the kids and You. Where the heck is everybody else? Apart from a few people entering the candy shop on and off and maybe some old citizens passing by once in a while, therefore at other times it seems like the entire town belongs to our protagonists! Therefore the festival scene was the only scene whereby it was crowded indeed. It’s like the people were hiding in their houses, only coming out to entertain themselves at the festival and then go back to their eternal summer slumber.

While the art and drawing of the series is relatively standard and simple, I believe that lots of emphasis in this area is given to the candies. It would be a waste and redundant for a series that wants to introduce to viewers about the wonderful Japanese candies and they skimp on this visual area. Because I am very sure that with countless of such candies, visual attraction is important and thus you can see lots of colourful and even amusing art on the wrapper to attract customers to buy them. Furthermore, I think that in the case if the candies are parodied instead of in its original form for copyright reasons (heh, you want to know how many times Google, Starbucks and Window brand names have been intentionally misspelled in animes?), which I think isn’t logical, how would you think viewers who would want to buy that candy for real suddenly cannot find it in real life? I mean, as seen on TV, right? Hence I trust that all the candies featured and given the limelight are a true reflection of their real life counterparts.

And still on the topic of art and drawing, the only character design that stands out the most is of course Hotaru herself. Otherwise with everybody else looking so bland and in a boring sleepy rural town in the midst of the hot summer, the candies will be all that we have to feast our eyes on. That is why coupled in with her eccentric behaviour, her seemingly gothic style dress in such a weather makes her stand out the most. Not to mention her enormous boobs! Seriously guys, would you not be more attentive and listen to Hotaru’s shenanigans had she not been this busty? Another eye candy to feast on! Oh yeah!

Ayana Taketatsu has been quite impressive voicing Hotaru. Although she sounds like many of your typical lively Ayana Taketatsu anime characters such as Momoko from Momokyun Sword, Kirino from OreImo and Mio in MM!, this one takes the cake because she really sounds like she is having fun playing Hotaru. Her voice fits seamlessly into her character that it brings out the best (and perhaps worst) in Hotaru’s eccentric character. In short, she did quite a good job and it was quite fun to hear her play this character in various moods. Keiji Fujiwara is also recognizable as his low soothing voice makes him perfect to play cool older men or father-like figures. So as You here, he fits right in. The rest of the small casts include Atsushi Abe as Kokonotsu (Touma in To Aru Majutsu No Index), Manami Numakura as Saya (Narbarel in Overlord) and Tatsuhisa Suzuki as Tou (Ban in Nanatsu No Taizai).

There is something catchy about the opening theme, Checkmate by Michi. Most notably its very funky, jazzy and boogie woogie tune and style which reminds you of something similar like Kekkai Sensen’s ending theme. The opening credits animation itself is amusing because it parodies some of Hollywood’s movies like Indiana Jones and Star Wars. The ending theme is Hey! Calorie Queen by Ayana Taketatsu, a title that is an apt reminder when you are watching this show and binging lots of snacks while at it, sounds like your typical cute idol music. The ending credits animation is amusing as well. After a couple of episodes with boring animation (which ironically lacks any of it) of Kokonotsu watching TV with clips of scenes from that episode, it changes to one with Alice In Wonderland theme. Who wouldn’t want to miss out on Mad Hatter’s tea party, right?

Overall, to say that this is a sweet series depends very much on your taste for sweet things. If you are the kind who prefers bitter, sour or salty stuffs, well, this series might leave a bitter or sour or even salty after taste in your mouth. Only people with sweet tooth will appreciate this series. Like me. Even though it is sad that I have been cutting down on my chocolate and other sweet dessert intakes for years. Blame the price hike and being poor. So I am relegated to just watching the candies being paraded on the store shelves till I have had my fill of salivating and fantasizing myself eating them. That isn’t entirely bad anyway. Because staying clear of sweets help me to be healthy, right? But then again, eating candies will still always be good for you. What do you mean candies are not good for you in anyway? I’m talking it is good for your soul. Always remember, STRESSED is DESSERTS spelled backwards!

F*ck! This is one anime whereby you can judge a book by its cover. With a title like Panty And Stocking With Garterbelt, it’s not hard for everyone to think that this show is not for kids. Damn right! Parents, you don’t want your kids watching this show because it is filled with sexual innuendos, indecent jokes, shameless rip-offs, profanities, toilet humour and the likes so for those who really get offended by watching this kind of genre, please stay out. For those who wish to journey into it, do it at your own risk. Just remember to leave your brain in a safe place so as not to get corrupted or influenced before taking it back.

One very obvious difference about this series is the drawing and art. Not your usual anime style cute, wide-eye girls and handsome hunks. Yeah, blocky and kinda… Cartoonish. At first looks, in nobody’s right mind would you have thought that this is an anime. Nobody. In fact, everything here is so different and non-anime-like so much so you may have mistaken this to be an American cartoon! Indeed 99% of the show feels like an American production (though this series is produced by Gainax. Those guys who brought you weird shows like that Gurren Lagann series, Mahoromatic, FLCL and Abenobashi Mahou Shoutengai). The action and humour is so American-like. The characters are so Caucasian-like. The sounds effects that splatter across the screen like you see in comic books are in Roman alphabets and English. What’s more, all the music including the insert songs, opening and ending themes are in English. The only thing that makes this an anime besides the production house is that the main language spoken is Japanese. Even so, at times that put in some English in their sentences (usually profanity). It’s amazing this show even got past the censorships and be shown on TV.

So everybody is saying how this is a very ecchi version of Powerpuff Girls. No more the sweet little innocent kindergarten girls but grownup hardcore dirty ladies. Here is the brief synopsis. The city in focus is Daten City. No, not the City of Townsville, mind you. Just like any cities, crimes are bound to ‘flourish’. Like our titular characters, the Anarchy sisters, Panty and Stocking are fallen angels from Heaven. Say what? You heard that right. It’s Panty NOT Patty. It’s Stocking NOT Stockard. So how the heck did they become angels anyway? Their behaviour is so bad that they are kicked down to Earth for a redemption mission. But even so, will they learn? That’s because Panty’s mind is always filled with sex and men while Stocking’s head is nothing but munching away sweets and her gothic fashion. Bad role examples for angels. That pretty much says about them. You can add more if you wish. They live in a church with an afro priest named Garterbelt who is also their mentor. He gives them their missions but always gets annoyed by their f*cking behaviour (oops, first profanity of this blog). However he is not the one to talk as he too has his own weird fetish. You’ll find that out later. They have a little green dog called Chuck (at least he isn’t named after some underwear) which serves as a punching bag and retribution for all sorts of unfortunate events. Say, doesn’t Chuck closely resemble to a character in Invader Zim?

So basically the sisters’ mission is something like this. Going around in their jeep called See Through (what’s with all this underwear names?), they have to go around defeating ‘monsters of the week’ called Ghosts. They are born from men’s suffering and despair and you can easily spot them with their dark colour and red outlines. How do they do it? Well, Panty has this ability to materialize her panty into a gun while Stocking her, erm, stockings into twin swords. Yeah, taking their undies off makes it look like they’re doing some striptease show. Besides, this is the only time you’ll see the girls in hot sexy anime-style bishoujo drawing. Yeow! And that “Fly away now. Fly away~” background theme, it’s even catchier. Each time they defeat a Ghost, several number of coins called Heavens (depending on the difficulty and complexity of the Ghost) will drop as their reward. Collect enough and this will allow them to return back to Heaven. Seems like a long road. Do they even want to go back seeing all the men Panty can sleep with and all the desserts Stocking can stuff her face with? Oh by the way, another fun thing about each time a Ghost is defeated, a real paper mache model of the Ghost is made and filmed being exploded to bits! Boom! Come to think of it, can Daten City even survive the havoc that the sisters will wreck? They’re quite destructive, you know. So are they really angels?

Episode 1A: Honour Without Excretion And Humility
We are introduced to the characters and even seeing them in ‘action’. Not Ghost action. Yeah, Panty’s having her satisfaction in bed with some guy. Who knows how many she’s done in. And Stocking? Let’s hope she brushes her teeth after all that sugary treats. Anyway, the sisters are to investigate the case of people being swallowed by toilet. Yup. Here’s your toilet humour. What a way to start it off with a stinking bang. So Panty thought it is some plumber but ends up f*cking that guy. Ultimately Panty experiences of getting eaten by her own toilet bowl. The chaotic scenes that ensue sees everyone vomiting and puking whenever they come into contact with that stinking stench. What more, everyone is covered with sh*t. Ah, that’s how they’d probably feel about life. Just kidding. Oh yeah, it’s a Ghost who is behind all this. So the sh*t Ghost starts rampaging and covers everyone and everything with faeces while the stupid numerous police starts shooting at it knowing too well that their pee shooter bullets can’t harm a single thing. So leave it to Panty (covered in excretion) and Stocking to shoot and slash the Ghost for good. How many Heavens? Just one. Ah, sh*t.

Episode 1B: Death Race 2010
Panty is f*cking a new guy so much that she might be breaking Daytona’s record. Apparently she has no limit to reaching her climax because the guy reached orgasm many times fold! And I thought sexually active females should be able to climax faster and more. Anyway, there is some Ghost who is able to possess vehicles, speeding down throughout the city like nobody’s business. So it’s up to Panty (perhaps it’s best for her to leave her guy to find her new thrill) and Stocking to stop the speed demon. Of course, the useless police seem to just pile up all along the way. During the high speed adrenaline chase on the freeway, Panty’s panty got stuck on the Ghost so it’s going to be tough not to damage her precious pantsu. After possessing trucks to even trains, zooming pass clueless citizens, the crazy exhilarating chase comes to a climax when Panty gets back her special weapon and blows a point blank shot in the Ghost’s head, sending him to a grinding and crashing halt. So what does Panty learn from all this? That speed and stamina isn’t important but technique and elasticity is. Oh…

Episode 2A: The Buzz Of The Beehive
Panty and Stocking are sent to infiltrate Daten City High School to investigate a series of disappearance. They’re supposed to do it discreetly but end up entering so flashy that they attract attention. They also meet a geek boy who dresses somewhat similar to a Ghostbuster, Brief, and also an obnoxious current-queen and cheerleading club leader of the school, Barbie. With the sisters coming into the picture, Barbie’s popularity is in threat as she tries to sabotage them but it all backfires and ends up embarrassing herself. Brief who has a crush on Panty (it’s a one-sided crush by the way) offers to help out to look for Ghosts since well, he’s an occult freak. With jealousy running high, Barbie plans an ultimate attack on the sisters and it is revealed she herself is a Ghost and the one behind the disappearances. As expected. She fails and this releases all her slaves from her hypnotism. And what Panty is to do than to satisfy herself with those big and muscular rugby guys. I think she can do in the entire team.

Episode 2B: Sex And The Daten City
Panty and Stocking are living the life of celebrities seeing the release of the preview of their yet-to-be-released film. They’re really popular. Very. On the day of the premier, the announcer was saying something about their first movie but Panty isn’t happy because she did make a previous movie before. She proceeds to show to all those clueless blokes on screen live to the whole world. Well, turns out to be a porn video. However this threatens to end their high celebrity life so they go around the world and destroy every darn tape they could find. Amazingly, if this was so effective, we won’t be having issues of pirates and leaking anymore. But really, they did just that. From Egypt to war zones, that sex tape is just about anywhere lah. Ironically it could make her even more famous. If she could live with the fact of being a porn star. What’s the difference? Panty loves sex, right? In the end, they decide to keep the final copy for themselves. So on the day of the re-release of the movie, Panty gets cocky and even brags about editing out Stocking’s scene so much so she has no appearance at all. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorn so Stocking leaks the sex tape onto the internet. Yeah folks. Watch it on YouTube. If it’s still there, haha!

Episode 3A: Catfight Club
Panty accidentally ate Stocking’s pudding and they ended up in a huge argument. They aren’t seeing eye to eye. How will they do their mission? Beats me. Just do it separately. So they are to track down a pair of Ghost who are luring humans like some Red Riding Hood thingy. The sisters are united but their refusal to cooperate has the Ghost pair winning. They continue to fight among each other and ignore the Ghost but get a good pounding. As the Ghosts continue to mock them, that is when they have had it and decide to call a truce, team up and put a stop to the black-red menace once and for all. So it goes to show that they will only shine when they’re working together. It takes 2 to tango or clap hands.

Episode 3B: Pulp Addiction
This episode starts in a WWII-like D-Day gloomy atmosphere (only with lots of sex gags as motivation for those doomed soldiers). You know those soldiers in the boat knowing that they’re heading to their deaths once they reach land just to infiltrate the enemy on higher ground. Something about all this is General Scottie’s fault as we see the enemy in the form of tissue box and papers absorbing the army. So in present time, Garterbelt is having a hard time holding in all his… I’ll leave that to your imagination and has the sisters infiltrate a paper plant. They meet several sperm-like Ghosts who are causing shortage of tissue papers so that men can’t ‘relieve’ themselves as revenge. The crazy slut and choco mania couldn’t care less about their problems so they blast them all to smithereens like how they normally do. In the aftermath, the story of the doomed soldiers continues. Their penetration seems like a success when they are obstructed by some sort of plastic barrier. Uh… It occurred to me that this is a metaphor of ejaculation. You know those soldiers at sea are like sea man… Semen… Geddit? And even if they triumph over the tissues, now they’ve got condoms to deal with.

Episode 4A: Diet Syndrome
You know how girls love eating cakes but never like the idea of getting fat. Stocking never had that problem and it seems to be bugging her now. She goes on an intense diet but each time her hard work turns into despair because the more she refrains, the more weight she gains! Ironic? Then trying some reverse diet thing, the more she eats, the more she bloats up! Now she’s a big fat giant that resembles somewhat like that fat kid in South Park. She just keeps on growing and growing and growing. Panty learns that the cause of all this is a Ghost who is bend on making every girl in the world fat by eating her cakes just because she herself refuse to diet. So Stocking goes to get her revenge but finds her swords limping because her stocking has stretched out too much. So while the Ghost tries to escape, Panty fires a shot into that fat blob. Stocking resumes to her normal desired figure and continues to enjoy her cakes. Isn’t she worried about putting any more pounds? Better than going through that hell diet.

Episode 4B: High School Nudical
Daten City High School is holding a night lingerie run and the bored angels decide to join in. If a school can even hold this kind of event, imagine how low morality has fallen. Heck, even this show is so questionable. Yeah, just run the race in your underwear. Hey, isn’t that mysterious host Master G, Garterbelt in disguise? I’m sure he has his own ulterior motives for his fetish. Brief gets bullied by some other guys while Panty and Stocking thrills the crowd with their presence. Hey, they’re the new queens of the school, right? However their fun run is interrupted when a quick Ghost turns up eating everyone’s underwear. However the sisters have a tough time against the Ghost because their sacred weapons broke. Needing to find a substitute, Panty takes all the guys underwear to materialize into a gun but she finds them all useless. Too small, too twisted and too whatever unsatisfied reasons. Apparently you can tell a lot about a guy from his underwear. So the only one left is Brief’s and to Panty’s surprise, his guns are as big as a shotgun. And boom! There goes the panty thief blown up, covering the entire town with undies. And would you believe Master G’s advice about underwear soothes the soul sending the students into approval frenzy? But it seems on the news report he was arrested for being a suspicious person. Oh father, father, father, help us.

Episode 5A: The Runny
Everyone in Daten City has a new fad: Picking their own nose. Shock, eh? Hey, we’re guilty of doing it ourselves. Then there is this rich dude called Oscar who invites everyone for a party on board his blimp including Panty. In the party, Panty and Oscar get a room of their own and penetrated each other… Noses, that is. However Oscar turns out to be a Ghost and something about being with Panty makes his nose runny rather than hardened nose wax. Of course he has his nefarious plans of ramming the Moon using the guests’ nose bleeds (because everyone by this time has rubbed to hard). So leave it to the sisters to go into swinging high altitude action (the guests get a different kind of nose bleed after seeing Panty’s no-pantsu) blasting past Oscar’s Ghost flies and eventually the rich Ghost himself. I’m not sure about this part but the propulsion sent Stocking flying into the Moon which causes that satellite to sneeze as well. So Panty’s final words? Which hole do you get your thrill? I’m sure she’d get hers in any.

Episode 5B: Vomiting Point
This episode takes place at a neighbouring city of Daten City, Little Tokyo. Yeah, another gloomy slum city. But the drawing here takes another different turn. The characters here look like somewhat of those from Windy Tales or Mahaou Tsukai Taisetsu Na Koto: Natsu No Sora. Yeah, horrible. Terao is a struggling salesman and his weak demeanour doesn’t help as he gets a pep talk from his sales boss to improve. Even his colleagues badmouth and look down on him. Back home, his daughter is a big fan of Panty and Stocking and wishes to meet them. Yeah, you can see he is struggling to make ends meet for his family too. On the day Terao is supposed to attend his daughter’s birthday, his colleagues force him to join them in a drinking spree. They force him to drink glasses of beer till he can’t take it anymore and pukes. In that process, his vomit turns into a giant Ghost, flooding the city and causing everyone else to throw up. Panty and Stocking arrive to swiftly clean up the mess. Terao then pleads to come to his house for his daughter’s birthday. Why would a bunch of b*tches do that? But to show that they’re not that all black hearted, they leave their autographs in which Terao’s daughter frame it up on her desk. And for Terao, he is still the same struggling salesman. The gloominess never ends.

Episode 6: Les Diaboliques
Panty and Stocking’s popularity takes a dip because there is a new pair of hot sisters called Demon Sisters, Scanty and Kneesocks establishing themselves as the new popular queens with their strict regimes. It’s always about the ruuuuule (role your tongue for its effect). Plus, they are the mayor’s daughters. Aren’t they just evil rip-offs of the fallen angels? Who am I to say who is good and who is evil. What’s the difference anyway? They’re all f*cking b*tches. Oops. Sorry. The Demon Sisters also have a pet called Fastener which is of course Chuck’s counterpart. Ultimately Panty and Stocking couldn’t take any more of the humiliation and mocking and challenge them to just whatever. However the Demon Sisters beat them in every aspect. Hands down. Because of that, the Angel Sisters are banished to the lowest level of the school where the lowest of the lowest life form dwells. Who the heck can study in this kind of environment. Oh wait. School is for studying? With the help of Brief and some puny idiotic Ghost, the duo discover that the Demon Sisters are running some underground plant that manufactures fake Ghosts. Will they let their secret be blown? Oh yeah, even the Demon Sisters have their own menacing transformation scene. Hey, Scanty wears 2 panties?! I know, it’s for fanservice but it proves useful if you’re going to use 2 guns. As the girls prepare for a showdown, Chuck accidentally steals the stone that stabilizes the plant for making those artificial Ghosts. It ends up in Brief’s hands and a chase ensues. So what follows are action-packed scenes that has the counterparts fighting each other all over school. You’ll see windows smashed, furniture torn, toilet seats breaking as they try to outdo each other in a thrilling dog fight with all the bullets splaying into every nook and corner of the wall and the sharp edge of the swords slicing and dicing, slashing and hacking the wind, the air, the wall, anything you can name. It gets even exciting when Stocking and Kneesocks play a test of chicken in their respective vehicles, See Through and the ridiculously long luxury limo, G-String. Poor Brief gets caught in between and it’s amazing he is still breathing. The fright of his life. Then the Demon Sisters hold Brief to hostage. But the Angel Sisters don’t care about him, upsetting them about their f*cking attitude. So what about the rules? The rules that good guys are supposed to surrender when there’s an innocent party involved. What makes them think they are the good guys in the first place? “Rules are meant to be broken”, says Panty girl. It ends when Brief tosses them the stone and they blast it away to not only destroy the plant, but send the entire school on fire (poor guys who are taking a leak in the toilet got their dicks burnt) before it becomes a huge damn crater. This gives a whole new meaning for “school’s out”. Scanty and Kneesocks apologize to the mayor-cum-dad, Corset but he is not happy that they underestimated their enemy and failed. He sends them dropping down into some stinky toilet bowl lockup as punishment.

Episode 7A: Trans-whore-mers
Yeah, one of my favourite parodies and as usual, Panty and Stocking are in another argument while Brief tries to calm them down. Out of nowhere, that Autobot and Decepticon leaders land in the church about to begin their generations-long feud. They all got ‘disabled’ quickly when the sisters eat their power core. This causes them to turn into robots themselves. Each have their own set of robot followers as the feud escalates into an all-out and ridiculous war for who knows how long. From surprise assaults to silly decoys, you’re wondering what the heck they’re fighting for as their subordinates slowly get taken out. Meanwhile Brief tries to convince the heads of Optimus Prime and Megatron to stop the terror of robo-Panty and robo-Stocking. They must have misinterpreted his intentions because they decide to stop fighting each other (which is good news) and destroy the human race (which is bad news)! So now we know why Autobots and Decepticons can’t merge and live together as one because as seen in this case, they become Ghosts. Yeah, even robots from outer space can turn into one. Once again, it is up to Panty and Stocking to put aside their difference and work together to do what they do best together. Yeah, their transformation scene returns them back to their original self. The sisters are happy since they received a flood worth of Heavens but Garterbelt inspects and says they ain’t worth any sh*t because they are foreign Heaven coins. So yeah, the sisters continue their little feud and probably couldn’t care less about the impending doom that will befall on mankind. Isn’t that a giant Unicron just next to Earth?

Episode 7B: The Stripping
Garterbelt is mad that the sisters are wasting money like nobody’s business. Furthermore, their careless wrecking of the city has been causing them to fall in the red. They take up a challenge to earn 3 million in 3 days but it is easier said than done because they can’t just do a simply f*cking job right. Thinking about taking the easy way out to make money by gambling at a casino. Feeling lucky, eh? Yeah, they are indeed lucky, hitting the jackpot and could possibly their target soon. They really seem like they could put all those God of Gamblers to shame. Wanting to end their winning streak, the Demon Sisters disguise themselves as a croupier in a roulette game. As we know, it is rigged so the Angel Sisters are losing the winnings like water at each bet. Easy come, easy go. And if they don’t have the cash to splash, they have to strip their clothes and sell them. Are there any takers? Of course there are. Just look at all the perverted men behind waiting for a chance to grab a piece of their lingerie. Yeah, it’s like an auction too because their clothes bid are fetching a high price and ultimately the men are waiting to see their totally naked bodies, something that the Demon Sisters are planning as revenge for their humiliation. Because once they have no cent left, they will be automatically sucked and dumped out of the casino. Then on the final decisive bet, Panty’s sneeze (because it’s getting cold without the clothes) accidentally lands the roulette ball on the right number. They win and this causes the guys to go into despair. No more free show. This also causes some Ghost machine in the background to explode and flush out all the money it has been sucking. Another defeat for the Demon Sisters as they make their retreat. Back in the church, Garterbelt is pissed off that Panty is selling her sacred weapon online for 200 grand! Talk about dirty money. And Brief, he’s buying it to protect Panty’s panties. Maybe that’s just an excuse to own something belonging to her.

Episode 8A: … Of The Dead
It must be Panty and Stocking’s bad day because they are trapped in a police base with a few others (including Garterbelt) and the entire town is surrounded by zombies. No, not the one from Michael Jackson. The one that will turn you into a living dead if they manage to sink their teeth into your flesh. It is all part of Scanty and Kneesocks plan as usual as they are able to turn corpses into zombies. Not only that, they manage to make Ghosts out of zombies too. Now that is double the times to be undead. Since the Angel Sisters’ weapons have no effect on the zombies, they have to get some real ammo to blast the head off of those zombies. However the nearest so called weapon store turns out to be a sex items shop. Ah well. This will do. So along the way, we see the remaining survivors getting chewed and instantly turned into zombies and their brains getting splattered the very next. So it’s every man and himself or in the case of our angels, woman. I’m sure they’re trying to hint that being selfish isn’t a good sign so in the end, they too turn into zombies (they got bitten by Chuck). But unlike those mindless ones, they retain their sanity. Just that their bodies are now rotting and stinky. The Demon Sisters think their plan is going to be a success but they got a slap in their own faces because the zombies surround them and they got owned. I mean, if everybody else in town has become a zombie, don’t you think you should’ve run away instead of gloating in victory (which isn’t one by the way). Panty and Stocking decide to wait till morning because of the belief that they’ll turn back into normal. But when the sun rises, they’re still the same undead. Can we call this a happy ending?

Episode 8B: One Angry Ghost
Panty and Stocking are indicted in some sort of trial which pretty looks like a TV talk show called Judgement Day, hosted by Tom Croose, who is also the prosecution lawyer. No, that’s not a spelling error. But he certainly looks a lot like the real life celebrity. They are accused of murdering a friendly Ghost (not Casper by the way), making his Ghost wife inconsolable. All evidence points to them and they don’t really have a good alibi. As part of “your right to have a lawyer”, the sisters are to choose from a choice of 3: The oldest lawyer, the cheapest lawyer, or the lawyer with the highest IQ. They want to get out of this, right? Yeah, so choose the third one. Unfortunately, it turns out to be a monkey and his IQ is said to be the highest in monkey land. Bummer. Still acting like a monkey, though. They’ve been duped. So the sisters are made to provide evidence why people should believe that they aren’t the culprits but it wasn’t convincing enough so they are found guilty (they even had everyone putting in their votes) and put into some Iron Maiden device and are to be electrocuted. During the process, the monkey also gets electrocuted and this results into his IQ soaring sky high. Now he is an ace attorney! Don’t play play! Exuding confidence and grace, he tells everyone and provides evidence why the sisters couldn’t possibly be the murderers and ultimately the killer turns out to be the wife. It is revealed that the Demon Sisters were impersonating as Tom Croose and another host in another attempt to bring down the Angel Sisters. Of course they fail and escape so they leave it to their counterparts to clean up the mess. Since the judge is pleading them, I guess they have to go put on some show. Blam! There goes the Ghost. Now they’re really popular. And the monkey? After another round of electrocution (when it revealed the Demon Sisters), it returns to its original ooky, ooky self.

Episode 9A: If The Angels Wore Swimsuits
A beach episode as the Angel Sisters relax and attract the guys. Actually they’re supposed to be helping Garterbelt with his beach house. Unfortunately the Demon Sisters come crashing in because they’ve just bought the entire beach. This leads to both sides engaging in a beach volleyball match to determine who will control the beach. The losers will have to strip naked in front of the crowd. Well, no matter which side loses, the crowd will ‘win’, right? With their modesty on the line, both sides pull off fancy moves with equally fancy names. In the end, the angels won so the demons will have to live up to their end of the bargain. Being true to the baddies they are, they break their promise and turn the entire ocean marine life into Ghost to attack the beach while they themselves flee. The Ghosts wreak havoc on the beach by stripping everyone of their clothes. The guys really love that idea till those damn f*cking mini starfish and sea anemone stuck on the girls’ body as natural censors. Does Stocking really love the sensation of tentacles wrapping around her? Seems like it. As for Garterbelt, a huge whale wrecks his house. You can say that is one heck of a whale of a time.

Episode 9B: Ghost: The Phantom Of Daten City
The Angel Sisters are ‘staking out’ for some prospective guys to do them in. I’m sure Panty is the supreme expert as she can even tell by a single look what kind of man he’ll turn out to be, turning down choices suggested by Stocking. “He’ll opt for the missionary position so he can see your face when you orgasm”. Uhn… Oh those comments… Then Stocking spots a smelly (always farting) and rude Ghost who is trying to ask girls out but they ignore him because he stinks. However Stocking falls completely in love with him! Serious! Has love really come to Stocking? She’s a changed lady now as she dresses up nicely and even cooks for the Ghost guy on their date. However the Ghost guy is being a total bastard because he is unappreciative likes as though he is doing her a favour. Even so, Stocking remains loyal to him. Just like any other girl in love, they’d do anything to be with the guy she loves. Even if that includes abandoning her duty. Though she comes clean and tells her true identity and mission to that Ghost jerk, she decides to live her life as a woman rather than an angel and wants to elope. She’s willing to follow him to hell. For once that guy is sweating and panicking. On the day of the eloping, he tries to be concern but it turns out to be Panty in disguise. She’s going to exterminate him out of concern for her sister. Stocking arrives and she is hell bent on hurting Panty if she lays a finger on him. They argue about love when the Ghost feels repentant and gives Stocking a ring (shape of a dung?) and proposes to marry her. Stocking accepts but at that moment, the Ghost felt at ease and was able to move on to the next world. Stocking returns to her normal life and still keeps the ring.

Episode 10A: Inner Brief
Due to another one of the Demon Sisters’ traps, Panty and Stocking shrink into their mini sizes. Being small doesn’t mean that they’ll be good little girls. Instead they continue to be the naughty and destructive angels we all know as they end up inside Brief’s body and mess around with his brain, lungs and whatever organs they can get their hands on. I just wonder why they didn’t play with his balls. Haha. Anyway the effect of the shrinking is wearing off so they are threatening to blow out of Brief’s body if nothing is to be done. Yeah, have you ever seen a pregnant guy? Besides that movie Arnold stared in. There is one way, though. Garterbelt is going to do some intensive surgery on his arse! Oh sh*t! GAAAAAYYY!!! In the aftermath, the sisters freshen up themselves with a shower, not caring what happened to poor Brief who probably can’t use his butt for the next few months because he got screwed cukup-cukup. His butt must be hurting like hell. Yeah, this proves Garterbelt must be some sort of paedophile because he comments on his nice posterior.

Episode 10B: Chuck To The Future
In this short trilogy that is separated into several segments, Chuck is given a little taste of the limelight. In part 1, we see the usual fight between Chuck and Fastener but it’s usually the dumb former that gets disembowelled, mashed and there’s even a pyramid chart to show the pecking order of king Fastener at the top and loser Chuck at the very bottom. I don’t understand the end when Chuck ‘win’s by unzipping open Fastener’s mask and a little devil MIB lady runs away from inside. But Chuck gets run over by a car soon. Part 2 makes use of the zooming in and out and the circling effects as we see Chuck lying in bed all bandaged and kills a fly that annoyed him. This results in a bunch of flies attacking him. They fight and eventually roast Chuck inside a microwave oven. However Chuck regenerates back after that. Is this a Terminator parody? Part 3 left me scratching my head on what the hell it is all about. I think they’re trying to employ angles and visuals of psychological horror scenes like the black and white old video camera effects. So Chuck too has a male MIB devil inside him. When he spots his female counterpart (from Fastener), she kisses him and they end up having sex. At least that is what the shadow casted on the wall indicates.

Episode 10C: Help! We Are Angels
This is an MTV-like and worthy music video of the song, D City Rock Anarchy. Yeah, the quartet of the band singing and causing a mess and havoc everywhere they go. From backstage concerts to talk shows to hitching a ride in the desert to famous places all over the world. Behold everyone! Get ready for mayhem and anarchy! With Panty taking the lead vocals, Stocking on bass and Garterbelt on drums, it bugs me how the heck Chuck is going to handle the electric guitars. Oh well, don’t think too much. And Brief? Trouble always comes looking for him. Too bad for his short appearance. In its own right, I guess I could say that this video is quite cool. They even did parodies of several album covers like The Beatles, Nirvana and Lady Gaga. Hey, come to think of it, doesn’t the drawing look so much like Gorillaz? Of course there is a part that features them in their Japanese anime style art (the part Panty and Stocking are shown naked but the guitar or hair strategically covered those necessary areas, and sprouting angel wings). So in the end of it all in the video, everybody gets arrested for the ruckus and Panty gives the middle finger. What a way to end it with a bang. One thing I noticed in this entire episode and not just this part: There is no Ghost!

Episode 11A: Once Upon A Time In Garterbelt
The Angel Sisters get another lecturing for their f*cking attitude. But when he accidentally drops some sex toy, they become suspicious that he too has some secret activity going on behind their backs. Late that night, they tail him to a secret under-passageway to find evidence to get back at him. After miraculously getting through all those traps, they come across his diary. It details his life of crime and he has done every evil deed possible. Back then, he spots a Rastafan hairstyle. Garterbelt becomes a ruthless badass criminal as he makes his way up to the top of the ladder. He got everything. Money, power, women. Just like one bad deed deserves another, he gets killed. But God decided to give him a second chance and that is to become his missionary. Of course he would screw that idea off as he would prefer to drop into the depths of hell. However God has other plans for him. After getting zapped by His lightning (that’s where he got his afro), his life becomes a living hell when he is brought back throughout time from the dinosaur age to the early years of man and even those Biblical moments (it wasn’t Eve who ate the apple. It was Garterbelt!), each time barely escaping from the jaws of death. He went on to experience happiness and suffering throughout the ages and ultimately becomes a wise sage (though I feel he still has his quirks and fetish). By the end of the story, Panty and Stocking are heavily asleep so they decide to ditch their initial idea and go do something else. Yeah, and that story was just part 1! Who the hell cares about his past! At least not them. Either way, it shows that Garterbelt is some sort of cursed immortal, eh? After the sisters leave, turns out Garterbelt is hiding behind a picture in some bondage position wearing, uhm, garter belt. Something about his bondage is a secret method of judging himself. But why is he enjoying it? Masochist? Maybe living too long has got him some screws loose in his head.

Episode 11B: Nothing To Room
The camera angles for this episode is static so you’ll be watching the sisters talk nonchalantly away (because there is no action) from a single point of view in the messy living room. I think this is the episode that has the longest straight profanity streak. Anyway, the girls are reluctantly waiting for Garterbelt to cook them dinner. Yeah, why the heck did he wake them up hours before and up till now he still hasn’t finished. Must be some grand dinner, eh? The discussion involves Panty’s idea of making a pole to space so that they could reach Heaven, the guys they did in, getting tired of waiting so they ordered a hell lot of takeout orders so much so they got tired and hungry from all that talking. Then Brief comes by to pay a visit for some lunch party he was invited by Garterbelt. So nothing happening and back to more talk like the CD he bought, some TV drama and the reasons Garterbelt is doing all this may be for their appreciation (that’s why it’s taking so long). Then all the takeout orders arrive and now the room is filled to the brim with delicious food they ordered. But the sisters agree to wait for Garterbelt since well, they’ve been waiting for 9 f*cking hours on an empty stomach thinking that he may be really slaving away for their sake. So when Garterbelt really comes in with trays of food, he tells them that his afro was voted the best by some Afro Brotherhood Association thingy. He had is fill and is stuffed. He tells the dirty b*tches (that’s what he said!) to finish everything and not leave a crumb because all this food is a blessing from God. Yes people, do not waste your food. Brief makes a smart move by taking his leave when more takeout orders arrive. I thought the sisters wouldn’t give a sh*t and ignore stuffing everything but amazingly, the finished the whole damn thing! Now their bellies are bloated (though they didn’t become a giant like in the earlier episode). And they still can talk about making a return to Heaven with that pole and f*cking some guys. What else more to do but to talk when you’ve eaten full? And just like the previous episode, there isn’t any Ghost for the sisters to bust. Yeah, maybe they got tired of it once in a while.

Episode 12A: D.C. Confidential
This episode is mainly a recap episode from Scanty and Kneesock’s report to Corset. It is a summary of how those defeated Ghosts came from (they even had their own names) and the comments made from Corset. He did mention about wanting to find some kin of the Hell’s Monkey blood. I’m not too sure what is all that about except that it will bring chaos to Daten City. Corset is unhappy with the failures of the Demon Sisters so when he sees them indulging themselves all over in some food-fetish-cum-sexual-play instead of finding Hell’s Monkey blood, he sends them in for another stinky punishment. Then he sees footage of Garterbelt doing his ‘invasive surgery’ on Brief’s butt and he thinks he may have found it.

Episode 12B: Panty + Brief
After accumulating enough Heavens, the sisters are ready to return to Heaven. Seriously? They collected enough? Anyway only Stocking returns while Panty has to remain because of her slutty ways. Which is true because while Stocking is working destroying Ghosts, Panty is busy f*cking any guy she could find. Yeah, she wants to do in 1000 guys before returning to Heaven. No sex, no life? Yeah, this would put B Gata H Kei’s Yamada to shame. Panty is forced to repeat her duty so Brief feels happy that he gets to be her new partner. Not that she cares anyway as she goes round screwing up more guys to reach her goal. She is 1 guy short of her target when Brief gets a call to attend some party. Though he refuses, he thinks about Panty’s welfare and decides to attend and bring her along. Sure she is spoilt for choice but suddenly Brief is kidnapped and Garterbelt appears and warns her that a condition in her repeated task is to abstain from sex. So what about the other guys she had sex with? Anyway to prevent her from f*cking around, each time Panty thinks she is alone with a guy, you can bet that Garterbelt will be just around the corner to put a stop to her slutty ways. That’s why two’s a company, three’s a crowd. Then Panty spots a handsome guy through the aquarium tank. However he gets taken away. Then the mayor announces the marriage of his daughter to that handsome guy who is the son of the host of this party. However he refuses to marry out of convenience and points out that there is 1 girl he is in love with: Panty. She must be shell shock of what’s going on. If you haven’t realized it yet, that handsome kid is Brief while the bride is Scanty in disguise in another one of her failed traps. The Demon Sisters attack but Panty can’t effectively handle them since she is starting to lose her angelic powers. Brief takes Panty to escape as she realizes who he is. As they drive away from the city, See Through also starts failing for them in the middle of the woods. They notice an abandoned cabin and seek refuge inside. Just then, Panty okays with the fact to make Brief her 1000th man. She takes a good look at his face (man, he really does look good) and begin their intercourse. However Panty feels pain from his penetration. Garterbelt appears and explains about the reconstruction of her angel’s hymen called Virgin Revival Syndrome. In short, she can’t have sex anymore. Then Corset shows his face (seems he and Garterbelt know each other) and his happy that she unknowingly assisted in awakening the key. Well, the key is supposed to be Brief’s dick! Perhaps no wonder why Panty felt pain. The Demon Sisters mock Panty as a virgin angel who can’t have sex anymore. They take Brief and his key away. Panty losses all her powers and even her halo. See lah. F*ck around too much.

Episode 13A: Bitch Girls
It doesn’t help when Garterbelt tells Panty off that she isn’t a b*tchy angel, but just a normal b*tch and throws her out! Panty experiences lots of misfortune but she seems so pitiful that you don’t feel like laughing at her. Okay, I take that back. Then she sees the animals and people around her in sexual intercourse and couldn’t take it anymore. What follows next is a scene whereby Panty lives a happy and peaceful farm life in the mountains. All that tranquillity is shattered when a mountain gang attacks and massacres them (see how a farm worker got his organs splattered out!). Before the granny dies, she tells Panty that there is someone waiting for him and that b*tches are supposed to live a free life and the way she wants. Panty gets her resolve back as she rides through the havoc back to Daten City where Brief is being held atop Corset’s building in some sort of weird bondage of his with Brief’s dick. It is revealed that the gang assault and granny are still alive because it is just an act and all part of Garterbelt’s plan. Panty arrives at the top and tells Corset off in her b*tch talk about crushing anyone in her way and will do anything she wants. Corset mocks her and dares her to do it with Brief. She goes up to him to finish the job they started and says that though he is number 1000, he is number one. Corset panics as this causes the power inside Brief to be stable and orders the Demon Sisters to stop her. However Stocking reappears down from Heaven to prevent their intercourse from being interrupted again. She then throws the duo up into the sky because she couldn’t stand them f*cking in front of her eyes. That’s when Brief’s Key penetrates through Panty and hits her spot. You could say she’s finally experiencing Heaven with him. When she’s done with that, she joins Stocking in her fight.

Episode 13B: Bitch Girls: 2 Bitches
Brief also comes falling down but his Key landed directly into the keyhole. This activates the final form of Hell’s Monkey as the building starts to transform and open. An Ultimate Ghost also appears from it. How come it looks like some erected penis? They attack it but their sacred weapons are having no effect and it is spewing out smelly white liquid (?!). Corset transforms into his rippling muscle self and uses the Demon Sisters as his swords and fights Garterbelt in a sick bondage battle. Garterbelt tries to warn the Angel Sisters about Corset’s plan to use Hell’s Monkey to invade Heaven and thus causing Heaven and Earth to be overrun but demons and their rules. However the sisters can’t hear him and couldn’t be bothered with it. Corset then crushes Garterbelt’s heart and kills him (he even has his own paper mache explosion scene!). Brief is saddened by his death and ticks off Panty and Stocking’s attitude for not caring. However they tell him off and see an Express Black Card from Garterbelt’s afro. This allows them to buy unlimited supplies from Heaven. Then they tell Chuck to get serious as he transform into a large menacing beast giving the sisters a ride up the Ghost, in which Corset has merged himself with. At the top, they summoned a super cannon blaster and point it towards Corset. When they fire, they realize they faced it the wrong way. They just shoot Heaven! But that’s just a blessing in disguise because a real cut out of a sexy lower body torso in white panty and stockings appear from the clouds to step and crush Corset. The gate is closed and the city returns to normal. Brief’s dick also returns to normal. Garterbelt also comes back alive. Because he is an immortal, remember? He’s not allowed to die but he gets pissed off when he learns that they have used and max out his Black Card. Looks like they won’t be going back to Heaven for a while. Back at the church, Stocking asks Panty that their Heaven-sent weapons only work on Ghosts but not people. Wondering if it works on angels, Stocking suddenly stabs Panty in the head! OMG! She slices her into several pieces too! Stocking reveals a shocking fact: She is actually a demon! Then a piece of Corset appears indicating his plan to use pieces of Panty to make a trail to the neighbouring city and open Hell’s Gate there. Everyone stares at disbelief at this development (including the Demon Sisters) so Garterbelt tells Brief and Chuck to go forth and complete their mission. Yeah, perhaps it’s their to the frontlines. Brief And Chuck With Garterbelt. How does that sound?

Special: Panty And Stocking In Sanitary Belt
This 8 minute special is what you get when you buy the DVD, not Panty’s panties, okay. It consists of very short nonsensical and random clips that lasts from a few seconds and the most a minute. Some are hilarious, some downright dirty while some just plain gross. Check it out if you’re not fainthearted. The clips include Panty being invited to throw the first pitch of a major baseball game on live TV but she strips and shoves the baseball down her uterus instead (some Japanese pun of uterus and throwing the first pitch, I guess); Brief dating zombie Panty and as much as he loves her, she bites off his lips when he tried to kiss, chewed his head and swallowed him entirely before sh*tting him out in an instant; Garterbelt introducing some of the (in)famous places of Daten City but why does it feel like he’s going on a pedo patrol?; A Mario Bros game version featuring Chuck as the playable character who dies easily right at the start till the fourth try did he managed to win the level. Notice all the sexual innuendoes in the background? The panty clouds, tits mountain, blocks made up of ‘SEX’ on it, penis-like mushrooms and vibrator-like tunnels?; Newly born babies have their private parts cut off in a manufacturing factory to become popular snacks called Prickles! WTF?! F*CKING GROSS!!!; Garterbelt playing little figurines of Panty and Stocking on his nipple during bath time; Panty purposely cutting Stocking’s hair till she is bald after she accidentally sticks her gum on it so as revenge Stocking cuts off her head top and uses her blood as her new hair fashion; Panty and Stocking doing that transformation scene but it seems their movements are mannequin-like but they become broken and they end up getting swept away into the dust bin. Aren’t the clips all just sick?

Indecent Proportion / The Lord Of The Kinks / I Know Who You Did In Last Summer / Sex Toy Story / Dude, Where’s My Condom? / Sleep Impact / The Wizard Of Orgasm / Meet The F*ckers / Booty And The Beast / 69 (parody to 300)
The New Dirty Pair…
Oh gosh! Oh dear! Oh my God! What a twist at the end of the TV series! I never expected this. To be continued next season they say?! Well, so far I haven’t heard of anything so that cliff-hanger ending is definitely a shocker and unexpected. Well, at least to me. Even if there will be one, I’m expecting it’s going to be a bigger kickass and epic success that exceed expectations. Surprisingly, the overall series is quite enjoyable and fun. Yes! You heard me right! Even with all the sheer indecency, simplicity shallowness, shameless rip-offs, cussing, vulgarities, ridiculous exaggerations, WTF moments and mindless nonsense, those are probably the reasons why this series in its own right is quite entertaining. Of course, I left my brain somewhere else too. Depending on your beliefs, it is either you will love it or despise it. Some may go into culture shock for the distasteful and shameless portrayal about everything that is just so wrong. For me, I’m currently not a fan or avid follower of western cartoons at the moment (unless it’s Spongebob Squarepants) but to do so in the ubiquitous and saturated anime industry, it is really something different and unusual experience.

Due to the nature of the episodes, some of them end abruptly and do not have any subsequent effects in the next, making them somewhat independent of each other. It doesn’t really matter since it isn’t the plot that makes us the reason to watch this, right? ;p. So unless the final episode shocking revelation falls under this category, then I suppose there is nothing to worry about. But why am I feeling uneasy about it? Panty and Stocking being angels are questionable themselves due to their f*cked up attitudes. Sometimes you’d think that they are the devil themselves (which is what Stocking may seriously be). Scanty and Kneesocks as antagonists are equally as destructive and vile but being the baddies of the series, they have to lose, right? The onscreen chemistry between Panty and Brief was probably a short one. A one-sided love affair from the start. Panty still continues to call him Geek Boy and those nice words in the end were just probably to return his confidence and let her have her last fling. As for Garterbelt, he may look like the angels’ mentor but it’s quite ironic too that he has his distasteful habits. Like he is the one to preach, scolding four letter words at the girls (probably it’s the only way for them to really listen. Hey, can’t win them over with sweet words, eh?), a priest with bondage and shotacon fetish is unthinkable. Maybe that’s why he is cursed to do missionary work for God forever.

I’m not saying that the action is one of the greatest but due to the American-like production, it is sufficient and exaggerated enough to keep us glued to the seats. One thing I want to mention about the profanity spouted. While I notice that when the characters curse in Japanese, the English translated subtitle would no doubt put the four-letter ‘F’ word even if that word in Japanese doesn’t conjure up such a strong meaning. No doubt it may not be accurate, but think about it. There is an impact when that foul word is put in so if there is a streak of offensive lines, you’ll see lots of ‘F’ and ‘B’ words in it. Either you’ll find it offensive or darn funny (like yours truly). Another point is the bleeping and censor of some of the vulgar words. I noticed this. When that word is said in English, it isn’t beeped out but if it is in Japanese it is. Are they trying to say that Japanese viewers don’t really understand the word in English? Heck, even the four-letter word and its equivalent appear as words right across the screen! Sometimes repeatedly! So forgive me if my blog uses lots of those improper words. It’s for the impact. As for the names of the main characters, with many of them named after lingerie, I just wonder why none is named after a bra. Maybe a new character if there is ever a sequel?

All of the episode titles are parodies of some Hollywood movie, though some may not have any relevance to the episode plot itself. I’m sure you can spot some obvious once for instance from the old such as Back To The Future and the recent like Sex and the City and Death Race. Yeah, notice that I even come up with a few of my own for this heading? Oh great. Looks like I’m a little influenced. Of course in the series itself, there are many parody scenes from other movies or previous works of Gainax to look out for. Unless you’re a movie buff or have seen Gainax’s past productions and possibly (though not necessary) have a sharp eye, you may overlook them since it feels like blink-or-you’ll-miss-it. This includes cameo appearances of other characters from other animes.

Surprisingly the various background music which are a mix of techno, R&B, dance beat and pop sounds catchy enough. Yeah, turn on and up your bass effects and shake the house down. However after hearing briefly their original soundtrack, most of them sound really weird. So if you buy the album without thinking of its origins, you might think it’s some American artiste instead. The opening song, Theme For Panty & Stocking by Hoshina Anniversary lasts only 30 seconds! This is also the original length of the full song! The shortest opening theme that I have ever known! It got even shorter towards the end of the series. Not lasting more than 5 seconds. As said that the ending theme is in English, if you didn’t know if this ending theme was from this series, you might have mistaken Fallen Angel by Aimee B to be another American performer released via some American record label. Ironically, the full length song on the soundtrack lasts over 15 minutes! I did a little test-listening and found out its true length is only 4 and a half minutes. The remainder? Nothing! What a waste of ‘time’. Oddly in the ending credits animation, we see the Angel Sisters going through some sort of unfortunate events and suffering like being driven off the cliff, starving to death in the desert or being chained and sawed alive. Some sort of retribution after all they’ve done?

Sometimes I think that what they’re trying to exclaim is that panties and stockings are formidable weapons too in real life, if you know what I mean. Who would have thought that a few pieces of cloth could actually ‘disarm’ a man. Don’t underestimate them… This show may be a step in declining moral standards in our modern society today. But it’s something we have to accept seeing that the world has changed so much in a short span of time with technological advances providing easy information access and information overflow. So move over Powerpuff Girls, you’re too innocent way below your age to handle these hot improper stuffs anyway. We’ve got a new sexy crime-busting duo in town. Step aside Ghostbusters because people are definitely going to call them even if they end up destroying half the city. It’s time for Ichigo Kurosaki to retire as a substitute Shinigami and let the new pair take over the limelight. And for you normal citizens out there, looks like we have something new to fear besides the monsters. If they ever come to your city, please do lock your doors and windows and especially most important of all, keep your chastity safe.

Yumeiro Patissiere

July 2, 2011

Mmm… Yummy… Food for thought. After watching a handful of animes, some leaving a bad aftertaste in the mouth, some sourish, some with that unsatisfied and un-full feeling and just several enjoyable ones, I thought to myself that I need to go for something sweet. That’s when I thought of giving Yumeiro Patissiere a go. That’s right. I love eating sweet things especially chocolates so I was hoping for some savoury treats while watching this series. In my opinion, as far as the tasty pastries are concerned, they do not disappoint. At least visually. Now my mouth is getting watery even as I type this blog.

Those seeking inspiration or aspire to be a patissiere (that is a fancy French term for what most of us would call a pastry chef), may look to this series as a start but still, don’t expect to perform miracles after watching all 50 episodes of the first season. You still need practice, practice and more practice. Yeah, not just making tasty pastries but the need to make them look good, glossy and delicious so that all those who take a bite from them would really feel like they’re eating a piece of Heaven in their mouths. Damn, I need to have one right now! Because long running series that span over a year or so, you know my style of not going into real detail. So for those who wish to have additional references can go to Wikipedia and Mania Beyond Entertainment as both these sites I frequent for references.

As usual, such genres will have a main hero and in this case, a heroine by the name of Ichigo Amano. Like most protagonists that start out, this 14 year old middle school girl is well, a klutz, talentless (good for nothing if you want to put it in another way) and an airhead. Yeah, not a good way to introduce things but hey, it’s a fact. She’s got a habit of tripping and falling down stairs so much so you’d think it’s her destiny to do so when she goes down one. But being so has its good points. She’s carefree (in a good sense), happy, loves to help those in need and a pig glutton (she’d prefer the term ‘big-eater’). You think the last one isn’t a good point? Think about this. You’re a girl and have a bottomless stomach. Way better than the Black Hole. You can swallow any kind of food, fatty and filled with cholesterol without gaining a single pound. That has got to be a blessing, right? Her destiny to become a patissiere begins when she was eating (the word ‘eating’ is underrated) at a cake shop after her little sister Natsume‘s piano competition. Top French patissiere, Henri Lucas was there to showcase his talent and he was amazed by Ichigo’s superb sense of palate. Coincidentally, Ichigo’s late grandma, Michiko had once studied in the renowned St Marie Academy, a place where professional patissieres are made. Guess what too? Henri’s great grandmother founded the academy and his grandfather was Michiko’s tutor. Yeah, this has got to be more than just fate. Ichigo finally decides that her true calling is to become a patissiere and plans to enrol in St Marie’s Japan branch. Though her mom and Natsume are supportive, but it’ll take a little more nudging before he allows her little girl to realize her dream. I understand him as a father will sorely miss his daughter when she’s gone, not to mention the possibility of bad boys wanting to ‘eat’ her. Sooner or later, he has got to let the bird fly out from the nest.

Ichigo is as excited as ever after successfully enrolling at St Marie. To put icing on the cake, she is being paired in a group with 3 good looking guys: Makoto Kashino, Sennosuke Andou and Satsuki Hanabusa. How come a new transfer student and a total beginner gets to be paired with hotties in Group A? Well, one thing, Ichigo is sure ‘famous’ since word has it that Henri was the one that recommended her. Expect envy from other b*tches. However those 3 guys aren’t just looking good for decoration as they have the skills to prove and live up to their name as the Sweets Princes. Moody and prickly Kashino is a chocolate specialist (always constantly arguing and reprimanding Ichigo. Yeah, you know what they say about couples that fight a lot), polite and calm Andou is Kashino’s childhood friend whose family has been making Japanese confectionery, Yumetsuki for generations and lady-killer and narcissist Hanabusa has his strong points in candy sculpture, designing and flower arrangement. Wow. Now I can see why many would feel irk for Ichigo to be in this group. Feels like a reverse harem, doesn’t it?

Of course Ichigo knows nothing about making pastries but you know her hidden talent in making them (but some after hundreds of tries and practice), you can tell she’ll just get by. Although Makoto may be harsh on her, scolding her each time she screws up or her density about not reading up or just common sense (maybe that’s his way of showing his love. Tsundere…), at least she’s got kind Andou and Hanabusa to help her out nicely. She’s really lucky. Another thing about this academy is the belief in the Sweets Spirits legend. What’s that? Little chibi spirits from the Sweets Kingdom that seem to pair themselves with a patissiere student so that they can be patissieres back at the Royal Court in the kingdom by sending pictures of cakes and sweets made back to the kingdom via the Queen’s portrait. Like a twinning programme, eh? A symbiotic relationship that provides benefit for both? Hmm… Note how the top students have Sweets Spirits with them? Cheating? Don’t worry. Though the Sweets Spirits can sprinkle some magic on the cake, decorating and providing pleasing eye candy, it is basically the students’ own effort that makes their respective sweets delicious. In addition, for those who do not have Sweets Spirits, they can’t see them though at times they can faintly hear them. You’re not hearing things, eh? So yeah, Ichigo has got Sweets Spirits Vanilla who specializes in, well, vanilla. Kashino’s is Chocolat who makes good, erm, chocolate. Duh. Andou’s is Caramel who does well in… Yeah, you’ve guessed it. Finally Hanabusa is Cafe. What kind of flavour does he provide? Coffee lah. Each of the Sweets Spirit not only provides comic relief with their cutesy antics but morale support and booster to our protagonists as well. Then there are other supporting characters at the academy as well such as Ichigo’s dorm-mate-cum-best-friend, Rumi Katou, other supportive classmates like Kanako Koizumi, Miki Mori and Sayuri Kanda.

The most interesting one has got to be Miya Koshiro (love her or hate her). The daughter and “Heiress” of the internationally famous sweets delivery company Chateau Seika is Kashino’s self-proclaimed lover and isn’t shy or afraid to show her utmost affection for that little kid in public. The reason she fell in love with him was because he did not hesitate to condemn her pastry skills when they first met. She liked how he was being honest with her unlike everybody else who was just putting up a fake front to please her. Regretting it, boy? I smell a love triangle coming up. Not that oblivious Ichigo and Kashino would know about. I guess Kashino knows her so well that you can say he can really avoid her ‘rushing hugs’ whenever she makes her obnoxious grand entrance (coupled in with her trademark annoying arrogant laughter). She has 2 loyal servants, Satou and Shiotani who will gladly serve out her whims and fancies and as a bloody filthy rich girl, she gets to buy all the best ingredients to hire the best patissieres to make the best sweets and cakes in the world. But even so, there are things that money can’t buy. Like Kashino’s heart. Can’t buy me love, baby. Don’t you know? A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach? And even if she does practice 24/7, you still can’t beat a pro who has been practising for umpteenth years. But will that stop Miya? Noooo… Just like Ichigo, her perseverance in pursuing Kashino’s love is admirable. You’re in one big sh*t and long ride, pal.

So in the long journey that Ichigo and the Sweets Princes’ goal to become professional patissieres, most of the initial episodes are in this kind of format. We see Ichigo and her group trying to come up with sweets for a particular theme or occasion such as Kanako’s little kindergarten sister, Ringo’s birthday and putting up jealous b*tches that craftily steal their design. Of course, they don’t go blaming or even tell on the culprits and even come up with their own new design with limited time. Wow. That’s why they’re all so talented, including beginner Ichigo who has got a knack for creativity as well. There is a part Ichigo goes a step further by observing a customer’s sweets habits and preferences and customizes her sweets accordingly to their tongue. Is it hard to see why the Sweets Princes follow her (heh, Kashino just don’t want to admit it)? Then they also go solve other people’s problems via their delicious creations (if words don’t help, eating something does. Logic, right?) such as helping Andou’s youngest sibling, Ichita to realize big brother’s dream of opening his own branch that fuses Western and Eastern sweets, helping a depressed customer to reunite with his loved one after 7 years abroad playing for a jazz band, helping a friend Hayami regain her confidence to continue since she was on the verge of quitting school because of her diminishing grades (due to non-interest by her group members, she was relegated from a top group to the lowest), making friends with a group of travelling circus band, help the husband-and-wife dorm landlady and landlord to make up and remember the reason why they stayed on in this academy, rejuvenating Natsume when she is down and planning to quit piano, a field trip to a dairy farm, a cruel prank to leave Ichigo lost in the forest by those jealous b*tches in which it leads her to the room of student council president (nobody has been in there before so for Ichigo to do so is such an honour and amazement) and Henri’s favourite top genius student, Mari Tennouji (her Sweets Spirit is Honey), and of course the pudding battle or Valentine showdown with Miya over Kashino (no prizes to guess who comes out tops). Miya also gets her own Sweets Spirits: Marron.

The series also deals with some flashbacks such as Ichigo’s past on how she enjoyed the sweets Michiko made in her shop and came to realize her calling in this trade and the day the Sweets Princes meet but loggerheads Kashino and Hanabusa didn’t see eye to eye till an accident in the forest strengthened their friendship as they made madeleines to commemorate it. We also have glimpses of the Sweet Spirits quartet going back to their kingdom to help out with the New Year preparations or to take a supplementary exam or else they’ll fail for good. Even Ichigo had a chance of going back there in her chibi form (since everyone in the campus had gone home for the holidays, leaving her alone. What else better to do?), accidentally meet the naughty trio called Jerks and helping them out with their project. Hmm… They have this uncanny resemblance and personality to the Sweets Princes… Kasshi? Andy? Narcy? Very similar indeed… Sure they’ve done something unspeakable like cheating to be expelled and even plan on some grand revenge to ruin it, but in the end, the Queen saw their sincerity and accepted them back.

Basically a big chunk of the series is about the main competition event of St Marie called Cake Grand Prix. Groups of 4 can participate in this tournament and facing off with other teams depending on the sweets’ theme designated and winners will advance to the next round if they score higher than their opponents by the judges based on design, originality and taste among the several criteria. The winner would of course have the privilege to study at the main campus in France. Sounds nice, eh? What a better way than to hone your skills further in a country famous for its sweets. As for Ichigo, it is also her dream to meet Henri. The Sweets Princes partly also garnered famed when they participated last year and was the first freshmen to advance to the next round but failed due to Miya’s fiasco and failure. To ensure Ichigo doesn’t flop, she has to undergo lots of physical and mental training from the Sweets Princes. No pain, no gain! Who said being a patissiere is easy? Since there are too many middle schoolers participating this year, a qualifying round is held to trim down the participants. Each of them have to enter a hall and walk through a choice of doors as answers they think right in a series of questions about the pound cake they have just sampled. If a member fails, the whole team fails. The Sweets Princes are particularly worried about Ichigo. I can see why. Even if she’s such a blur case, she didn’t get by via luck as she remembers hard the lessons she learn and much to the relief of her comrades, the whole team qualifies for the qualifying round. The guys also decide to make Ichigo their team leader and thus their team name will be Team Ichigo. A klutz as their leader? Probably the same reason why Luffy is the captain for the Straw Hats Pirates. Sixteen teams have made it (I guess it’s easier for us to turn it into a direct knockout) with 10 from third years, 5 from second years and first years only have 1. The format of the tournament won’t bore you since we will be briefly told what they are making and how they are making it. Yeah, just show the bits and parts of the action before the judging. You already know which team will advance, right? After each round, there will be a slight break (some may call it fillers) to see Team Ichigo in other action apart from their Cake Grand Prix competition before the next round begins.

Amidst all that, we get to see members of Team Ichigo aren’t completely perfectionists since they have their own problems too. The odd thing is that whenever they are down, they have this tendency to want to quit the academy. That’s more like running away! Ichigo must have started the trend since after too many shelling from Kashino, she thinks she would be better off doing something else and ran away back home without permission. The Sweets Princes wouldn’t let her go just like that and go all the way to bring her back by making her realize that she does best making people smile with her sweets. Of course, after wasting daddy’s money like that, don’t tell me you want to just easily quit! Just made that one up, hehe. Then we have Hanabusa about his rosewater bottle flavour thingy because it brought back tragic memories of how his dad died in France while holding that bottle as his last gift for his son. Kashino comes from a family of doctors (they have a whole building with doctors bearing the same surname! Imagine the chaos of calling a specific one!) so his dream of opening a chocolatier in Paris is not approved by his strict and stubborn parents (ultimately his sister does though not directly). And Andou, he does the same after a losing a match. But that’s what friends are for. They stick around through ups and downs. Can’t stay gloomy forever, eh? Maybe they need to take a breather once in a while and relax and get new ideas rather than getting all cooked up in the kitchen all day long practising.

The Cake Grand Prix’s first round has Team Ichigo facing Team Ichimatsu, third years who have their cakes featured in the Salon de Marie (a cafeteria in the campus in which if your cake is featured here on the menu, it means it must be damn good). However Team Ichimatsu is cocky and arrogant, looking down on Team Ichigo. Yeah, mistake number one. Without going into details, Team Ichigo wins the pound cake and family theme contest. In the quarter-finals, they face the only first year team, Team Lemon. Lemon Yamagishi is from the main campus and has been transferred to Japan upon request by Henri. The friendship-themed round ended in a draw and a rematch had to be done (Ichigo who had fallen to Lemon’s ruse and surprisingly Andou contributed to their lost) and this time, Team Ichigo wins it. Lemon reveals she boasted about her top grades in the main campus so Henri wasn’t amused and sent her to Japan to observe Ichigo. Plus, her other members only let her joined in since they thought she was Henri’s favourite pupil. Lemon learns her lesson and returns to France, vowing to become a better patissiere. In the semi-finals, they face Team Koshiro. Finally an official bout between the ‘love rivals’. The theme for this round is love. Something Kashino isn’t happy with. To make things interesting, Miya wages that if Team Ichigo loses, Kashino must join them. Wait, is that legal? Team Ichigo gets off to a nightmare start when Ichigo unknowingly shows her cake design to classmate Youko Ayukawa who happens to be on Miya’s team and a spy. They got their design stolen and Miya has got some famous Parisian chocolatier (Monsieur Leon – I guess he must be a real person) to train her and be on the panel of judges. Ichigo works hard all night and comes up with a unique design for her sachertorte but in the end, falls short by a single point! Oh dear! Team Koshiro wins! Oh no! Is this the end? However there is 3rd placing and the winner of this match gets to advance. Ah, I see. Phew. But in the meantime, Kashino has been whisked away to Miya’s team and while contemplating on the theme for the finals, she relegates Youko to be a substitute. See, this is what you get. One bad deed deserves another. Youko may be feeling bad and how she deserves this retribution but kind Ichigo forgives her. Kashino puts his foot down and wants Miya to let him take command of her team. This means he wants Youko to be in the main team while Miya the substitute. However Miya isn’t a total b*tch to sell out her team mate so she fires Kashino from her team and lets Youko back. This doesn’t mean she would be giving up on his love, though. Maybe it’s part of Kashino’s sly plan to get out. So Team Ichigo is a whole again. But it makes you think. Can you really swap team members in the middle of the tournament? As for the finals, Team Koshiro pounds their rivals while Team Ichigo faces Team Kobayakawa with the theme bond (not that 007 agent but ties/connection lah). As expected, Team Ichigo wins by a 7 point margin after paying tribute to all those who have supported them as their bond theme.

The main tournament of the Cake Grand Prix arrives. Team Ichigo is paired with Team Tachibana. As the theme is elegance, Team Ichigo breezes through because the country girls of Team Tachibana’s peacock cake crumbled. Ichigo even wanted a rematch for a fair fight (she probably got too much emotion up in her head) but their fallen opponents accepted their defeat with much graciousness. The other highlight match of the first round is Team Koshiro against Team Tennouji. Miya’s team got trounced as Mari shows her worth of being a top student. I guess this adds to Miya’s list of people for revenge, eh? I don’t know how many rounds they skipped because it is the semi-finals now as Team Ichigo meets Team Natsuki, a bunch of lively girls specializing in serving natural tropical fruits with sweets. Well, it seems that is the theme of this round too. The Sweets Spirits came out with an idea about strawberries so the rest is left up to Ichigo as she creates a dish that sends them into the next round via a single point! The finals will be Team Ichigo versus Team Tennouji. To grace the event, Henri is here as one of the judges. Both Ichigo and Mari are determined to win as they want to be with Henri (obviously you can tell Mari is in love with him). However Henri cautions Mari about chasing his shadow. The theme for the final is ‘dream’. Team Ichigo decides to design a cake that displays all their dreams while Team Tennouji a beautiful swan taking flight. As the time ticks down, Kashino is having problems finishing his Eifel Tower piece. Because of that, points are deducted from Team Ichigo’s total. However one of Team Tennouji’s members didn’t use originality so Henri’s tongue couldn’t be deceived and they got their marks lowered too. In the end, Team Tennouji wins by a single point! Oh no! However as Henri announced, since Team Ichigo did so well and exceed expectations, they are also invited to study at Paris. Oh well. I guess it’s a win-win situation. Yay! Off to Paris! Bonjour mademoiselle, bonjour monsieur.

In Paris, airhead Ichigo is so excited about tasting every French pastry and even got lost. Heck, her French sucks. She meets a cool handsome Italian hunk, Ricardo Benigni AKA Rick. Oh no. Not that the guys in Team Ichigo would want another playboy fooling around with their gal. So the World Cake Grand Prix is about to begin in the main campus. Guess what? Rick is also participating as the main campus’ representative. It’s a small world. But I have to mention several few things about this World Cake Grand Prix. Firstly, if this is where every campus of St Marie gathers for the finals, how come there are a total of only 8 teams? Since 2 are already from Japan, that leaves 6, right? And among the 6, Rick’s team felt a little international since we have Lemon (yeah, it’s her again. But now she has her own Sweets Spirit: Mint) and one from Germany and the other from Greece. As for the rest, they come from other parts of Europe. Hey, there is no team from England?! British make good scones, you know? What about China or even USA? Malaysia have their own unique tasty delights too, you know. Doesn’t feel that international here. Oh yeah, everyone here has Sweets Spirits. So is it a wonder how they made it here? Oh and oh! Miya is also back! How? Apparently her large fortune has her bought over the St Marie campus of Andorra so she’s got another 3 Spanish hunks under her wing. Wait a minute. A tiny country like Andorra has a St Marie school? But not England or China or even USA?! Andorra’s campus is so small, cramp and pitiful that it doesn’t even look like a campus! Mind boggling…

So another direct knockout round as the matches Team Ichigo faced felt like rematches. Yeah, quarter-final match they are already up and against Team Rick. Which means, they’ll be battling against Lemon again but this time in a food wagon. But the stakes get higher because you are now not only required to make delicious sweets, but to make sales and attract customers too. Yeah, should’ve taken up Business Administration, eh? Team Ichigo can’t lose because if they do, Rick will make Ichigo his girlfriend! Hey Kashino, hey Hanabusa, would you really like that? At the end of the competition day, Team Ichigo’s gelato defeats Team Rick’s doughnuts by a single point. Phew. Didn’t I tell you it felt like a rematch since Team Ichigo will face Team Koshiro again in the semi-finals? The location is at Saint-Michel’s castle and they have to make a dress out of sweets. However, the match between Team Ichigo’s Cinderella dress and Team Koshiro’s huge light-emitting dress ends in a tie! Which means a rematch. During the break, both teams are sent to tour Europe. At Neuschwanstein Castle, again what is a match with Koshiro without a wager on Kashino. If she wins, Kashino will marry her right now! The match of the bon-bon chocolates has Team Ichigo besting Team Koshiro this time by a healthy margin of 14 points! Why? Team Ichigo had taken their slow journey across Europe and used all the ingredients they gathered into their dish whereas Team Koshiro flew pass each destination in her helicopter (see the disgusting love design on her heli?) without taking time to absorb and use those experiences in making the chocolates. Looks like another wedding postponed. Safe.

To prevent this from becoming a total rematch, we’re expecting Team Tennouji to win, right? Wrong! They lost! To another France team of the main campus: the all-girls Team Francois. Watching the replay, it seems Mari looked disturbed and couldn’t concentrate so much so her chocolate dress crumbled. She fell into depression since. It is revealed that Mari spotted Henri with Francois Adjani and they were close to each other so much so they seemed like lovers. He was even talking about making her part of his Henri Project. This sight devastated Mari and thus her confidence shattered. Suddenly a shocking revelation that Henri purposely put up an act to see how strong Mari was. He mocks her feelings for him and even mentions that love is not needed to become a patissiere! OMG! Say it isn’t so that Henri’s true colours are turning him to be an antagonist! Ichigo felt sorry for Mari but vows that she will beat Team Francois in the finals after Henri mocks her skills as well. In the finals at Versailles Palace, both teams have 3 hours to make their sweets with several themes and subjects. On a side note, I’m wondering if every of Ichigo’s pals and family members got sponsored to take a flight here and support her. At the end of the day, both sides are tied. What? Again another rematch? This time it will be an individual match-up on batter. What’s this?! Another draw!!! I can’t believe it! Ichigo once again flops but Hanabusa’s loss was merely due to a less popular trend of an ingredient he picked. It won’t be fair if you declare both sides as winners so a final match will decide it all. Each team will pick a representative to battle it out. Francois obviously is chosen but for the Sweets Princes, they think it is a good thing for Ichigo to represent them. Hey, their team name is taken after her, right? They seem to really trust her a lot by now, entrusting the whole fate of the team to her.

Another point to ponder. Each of the battle takes 3 hours, right? There is a 1 hour break in between so come to think of it, don’t you think the finals nearly spent half a day?! Don’t they feel tired? As the final of the finals begin, as expected Francois does her popular signature sweets, Dijonaise au Chocolat while Ichigo improvises on Michiko’s trademark strawberry tart and names it Sourire de l’Ange (Angel’s Smile). Previously, Ichigo in search of the key to her grandma’s strawberry tart’s recipe, went back to the Sweets Kingdom to find the key and chance upon Michiko’s Sweets Spirit. After passing her trial of the original tart’s taste, Ichigo decides not to read or use her recipe because it is fundamental that she creates her own original sweets. And because of that, Ichigo defeats Francois in a high scoring match by 1 point! Deja vu?! Another slim victory! The scores they obtain are close to perfect! Ichigo sure loves winning by a single point. Hooray! Team Ichigo wins!!! Henri’s reasoning why Francois lost was because she seemed contended with her signature dish and didn’t bother to create something original. In the end, it is revealed that Henri purposely said those mean words and took on the role of the bad guy so that Ichigo can improve. Not only that, he felt the sweets industry has stagnated and wanted people to come up with more creative ideas and originality. Shame on me for ever doubting Henri as a baddie. Henri shows a photo of Michiko when she was young studying under his grandfather. Hmm… Looks a lot like Henri and Ichigo. You can say it’s like history repeating itself. Lastly, we see Kashino and Ichigo holding hands! Is it a sign that they’re a couple even if they mention that they won’t let each other know about their feelings?!

Yumeiro Patissiere SP Professional

It’s not really over yet because right after the first season ended, a second season called Yumeiro Patissiere SP Professional with additional 13 episodes. It takes place 2 years after the end of their World Cake Grand Prix victory as Team Ichigo are returning back to Japan for the first time after a couple of years studying in Paris. It must be a relief for Ichigo. Not because she gets to reunite with her friends but rather the amazing and mind boggling part is that her French still sucks! OMG! After 2 years, it makes you wonder how she could communicate with the people of France. Hand signals? Other than that, many of the characters have a slightly grown up and mature look and some of them even have a change in hairstyle like growing long ones (Hanabusa and Andou), cutting it short (Mari) or simply letting it loose (Ichigo and Lemon). However Ichigo’s return to Japan is greeted with some sort of sad news: Team Ichigo is breaking up! Oh no! Say this is not true! Unfortunately it is. Hanabusa and Andou decide to take leave from school and pursue their own dream. As Kashino mentioned, it was Ichigo who indirectly spurred them on during all these years to do so. Kashino himself skips a grade due to his excellent grades but is in the same class with Miya. Oh the horror! Thus with Ichigo’s return, Group A is totally revamped. They include Ichigo, Lemon (looks like she transferred back here again and due to her outstanding grades, is able to skip a grade and be in the same class with Ichigo), Rumi and Johnny McBeal. Johnny who? No, he does not have any relations with that lawyer Ally. Instead, this American transfer student guy may seem like a slacker but his pastry skills are top notch since it is his dream to create original sweets back in America. And you know, Johnny loves greeting girls by carrying them in his arms. Plus, he likes Ichigo so you know what this means, right? Right. The love triangle gets heated up with the appearance of a new character. Johnny and Kashino do not get along well, most of the time arguing. Johnny also has a polite-but-strict Sweets Spirit named Maize who frequently messes up Japanese terms. In this sequel, I guess in a way viewers will be glad we won’t be seeing anymore sweets competition as it takes a more business approach. Hey, when you become a patissiere, not only you have to make good pastries but learn how to run a shop and manage your customers. Damn. Should’ve taken up Business Administration.

However you won’t see the new Group A into action because Henri calls Ichigo, Lemon, Kashino and Johnny (okay, maybe 3/4 of the gang) to be in charge of a main street in his project called Marie’s Garden. Seems like a huge town with lots of shops selling different types of sweets around the world. If it’s bad enough that Johnny and Kashino are loggerheads, it gets even worse when we find out that Johnny’s cousin is Miya!!! MIYA!!! She’s back! Again. Oh damn it! It’s such a small world after all. Apparently Johnny plans to request loads of cash from Miya’s dad and company to create his ideal plan of a sweets theme park but you know, Kashino would prefer to utilize the limited resources they have. Here we go again. Another argument. As the new Team Ichigo decides on what to do for their project, Henri announces the opening of a street filled with different shops of different nationalities selling different sweets. So now you don’t have to travel the world to eat sweets. It’s all right here. Andou’s Yumetsuki is also part of this street. To make this street more competitive, at the end of each month, the shop with the lowest sales will have to close down and a new one will move in and replace it. Andou has Kanako and her friends help out and it seems the shop is attracting lots of customers. However the waiting time causes them to be irritated and with the lack of stock in certain items, they slowly disappear. Andou is further stressed when preliminary results show that his store is in last place and may have to close down. Apparently he is taking upon himself to do everything, causing himself to turn ill. But with advice like Johnny’s Chance Loss and Disposal Loss and the support from his friends, grandpa and Caramel, Andou learns to let everyone help him out (including Hanabusa who has just returned from overseas) and in the end he makes a comeback and his store is saved.

Problems in the real world take a break as the Sweets Spirits return to their kingdom (accidentally taking along Team Ichigo as well) to help the Jerks prepare for an exam in which if they fail, they won’t advance to the next grade. Since the theme is to depict the kingdom, the gang decides to travel around the kingdom to famous landmark and spots to collect its ‘natural ingredients’ to make the ideal theme. Their journey along the way includes meeting Kasshi’s farmer mom, climbing a high crystal mountain top (Kashino and Ichigo temporarily separated as a cue for the lovebirds to spend a little quality time together) and watching the beautiful breathtaking overall view from atop, riding through the powder desert and milky lake, getting lost in the Baum Forest (in which the Jerks were accused by the forest’s master for littering and imprisoned – of course their name cleared and the real culprit turn out to be the master’s grandson), and the Egg Village in which we learn that all Sweets Spirits come from eggs! Holy! Are they like chickens?! Anyway the importance of the Egg Village is to appreciate one’s parents since it takes lots of love and perseverance to get an ‘egg’ and even so it is not guaranteed. The gang collects all the necessary ingredients and have enough time to think up of the rest. During the strict exam (passing means getting all to approve. A single disapproval means total fail), Kasshi uses his mommy dearest vegetables as part of his theme. The judges think they have strayed from the think but when the Queen tastes it, she finds it delicious. In short, they pass!

Back to the real world, Team Ichigo is called to visit Mari in New York. Currently she and Rick are being tasked to handle a shop there as part of Henri’s project. However it seems Mari is having a hard time finding customers so as expected, Team Ichigo is here to help her out. However Mari is also given an ultimatum. If her sales do not reach the expected target, Henri will replace her with someone else. It’s a dog eat dog world in this trade too. Mari is adamant of maintaining her French theme for the shop as an experience of Paris even if those Americans do not know how to appreciate or told her bluntly that “this is America”! Duh? Hanabusa stops by to help out and the love triangle heats up when you realize that the potential lovers of Ichigo are all in one place. To make matters worse, Miya is also in New York. You know why lah. It was pretty hilarious seeing how she got all the large television screens on the streets to play out her undying love for Kashino. Then right in the middle of the busy street, her helicopter somehow manage to ‘kidnap’ Makoto and go on an aerial date. I guess that guy just gave in and go with the flow. As the gang discuss about their plan in change of the design and concept, they have Mari take a break since she haven’t had one when she first started manning this shop. Along the way, she helps a family of blacks by reconstructing their daughter’s wedding cake back to normal. They are delighted with her skills and invited her to the wedding party. That is when Mari realized that this town is about its people. With the help of a dancer friend, Linda who got inspiration from her cakes, Mari also gets inspiration from her. They use coupons as part of their plans to attract customers and slowly they start trickling in. Henri warn them of being too optimistic and counting their chickens before they hatch. That is because Miya plans to open her own branch in New York (partly to settle her old score with Mari) by having celebrities to come and a large outlet at Central Park. But this is a blessing in disguise because the customers who came to Miya’s outlet just came for the free sweets and left soon as the celebrities left. Plus, there were no place to sit down and eat thus making Mari’s place and ideal spot. As for the increasing queue, Linda’s dance performance entertains the waiting customers while the rest have their hands full serving them and Mari coming up with a new sweet. In the end, Mari gets a call from Henri but she is too busy and will call back later. Is she snubbing him? Apparently that’s not how it looks like. She’s in a delicate process making her cake and that call was just Henri wanting to congratulate her of meeting her target.

When everyone returns to Japan, it seems Miya continues to be a pain in the ass for our heroes as she throws down another challenge. Between both sides whereby the winner is decided by the most sales at the start of Marie’s Garden opening. But it seems Johnny has defected from Ichigo’s team and is siding with Miya. Why? Apparently his school fees are paid by her Miya’s dad so in a way he is bound to do as he is told. Plus, since Chateau Seika is a big sponsor of Marie’s Garden, you can bet that Henri has to approve this and their store Beautiful Night Castle (a play on Miya’s name) is a large complex a few stores away from them. Yeah, something about how they want the customers to experience the ultimate cream of the crop experience of eating sweets like the wealthy and nobles. That’s how much money they’ve got. And you can guess what’s in for Miya if she wins, right? Uh huh. Kashino will instantly marry her (‘nice’ delusion she got there) and not only that, Kashino will take on her name! Makoto Koshiro… Hmm… If that isn’t enough, Johnny gets to date Ichigo till they get married! In the even if they lose, they will give up on Kashino and Ichigo. Hanabusa and Andou return to help out and for the first time the original Team Ichigo reunite with Lemon to come up with a counter plan. Hanabusa and Andou confront Kashino and let him know that everybody knows about their relationship. Of course Kashino denies and tries to cover up by saying that his pals too like Ichigo. They admit that they like Ichigo. But for Andou, he decided to give Ichigo to Kashino because he has got his own girlfriend (Kanako) while Hanabusa is too busy to get into any relationship (I thought he was lying) but will attack straight if Ichigo dumps him. Everyone works hard to come up with the design of their shop and new sweets. However with Miya’s advertising at a frightening rate (she’s got her posters just about everywhere!), this depresses Ichigo a little but she can’t stay that way forever as there is work to be done. But it isn’t going to be easy as it is like David against Goliath. Miya shows she is serious as she is a step ahead like handing out free chocolates and even hiring her Andorra guys to back her up though they manage a different shop (if customers buy from their shop, they get discount coupons to buy at Miya’s). Sales at the end of the first day sees Team Ichigo tasting the vast difference and power of Miya and Johnny. While Team Ichigo barely reach their target and only managed a few hundred thousands, Miya and Johnny are already easily into millions! Their Castle is immensely popular and the waiting queue is crazy. Japanese people sure do love queuing. But Team Ichigo didn’t give up and improvise to attract customers like putting a window to display the Sweets Princes making their stuff, doing market research, setting up an online website and their old friends helping out. They make steady paces to catch up so even if Miya isn’t worried, she has to by now even though they are still leading by a convincing amount.

This means that the battle will be settled on Christmas Eve and the side that sells the most Christmas cake will win. I guess Miya ‘played cheat’ by ordering her father’s company employees to come lining up to buy the cakes but would they do so in the cold snowing weather? The end results show that both sides end up in a tie! What the? How can this be? You can say it’s a miracle for this to happen. However Johnny admits that his side actually lost in terms of net profits due to huge advertising and discounts were given to many of their cakes. Yes! Another triumph over Miya and thankfully Kashino lives another day without becoming Mr Koshiro. The next day, Kashino and Ichigo have a very intimate moment at the lake together. Just like us viewers, the Sweets Spirits are anticipating a confession. Well, even if Kashino stops short of saying “I love you”, at least he hugs her and tells her that he wants to be with her. They were about to kiss when Miya and Johnny interrupted. Damn perfect timing. I thought they agreed to give up on them? Well, I guess they could also become sly lawyers because though they agreed to do that, they didn’t say they would give up forever. Yeah, they’d give them up till just yesterday. They start pushing each other so Kashino and Ichigo fall together into the bushes. Though we don’t get to see what really happened, their position and facial expression indicate that they may have locked lips. Then they get a call from Henri and he is happy that Marie’s Garden is so successful that he plans to open one in London. Yup, he needs their help. Are they up to it? You bet.

Having My Cake And Eating It…
Wow. That is quite a sweet ending though it doesn’t pretty much ‘end’ since there will be more challenges for the gang as they go on honing the skills and experiences to achieve their dream. Through the series, we see how the main characters develop out nicely. Ichigo may be still the dreamy airhead but at least she has found what she likes doing best and something that brings everyone around her happy. The Sweets Princes also had their course of direction change for the better after meeting Ichigo. They are able to see things and bring new fresh ideas and motivation from her point of view. Lemon and Mari also changed themselves for the better as it isn’t being number one or just yourself. As for Miya, it’s hard to hate her though some may call her annoying for coming in between Kashino and Ichigo. She may be a recurring ‘villain’ for Team Ichigo but without her, they won’t get to come up with answers and solutions to improve themselves, right? You have to admit that being stubborn and not giving up her love for Kashino as a good persevering point to fight on. And her laughter too… Each time I smile whenever she does that. Henri has a good eye on people and he knows his stuff well. Without favouring or discriminating, he offers not only Ichigo but everyone else the same opportunity to improve and shine. The pacing of the story is also nicely laid out. Especially between the competitions, these fillers aren’t just mindless as we see the protagonist improving their skills and we get to learn more about them and the other side characters even if they just appeared for that episode. It would be boring if we are shown them going from one competition and straight to another. The small arcs in the second season are also nicely set in ‘bite size’.

As we can see, the first season focuses on the Cake Grand Prix tournament but in the second season it’s all about the other stuff like running a shop comes into play. All these elements are important if you want to be a successful patissiere. Just like in any other field, you will have to be an all-rounder if you want to be tops. In the second season, it seems that many of the supporting characters do not make their appearance or enough impact. For instance, I thought it would be Rumi’s turn to shine but she’s still a background character. Natsume and her family didn’t even make their periodical appearance and had they not make that short cameo patronage to Ichigo’s store, we might have all forgotten about them. Also, I noticed that Kashino didn’t do much of his chocolate tempering as seen frequently done in the first season. Same case with Hanabusa and his flowery candy sculpture. Perhaps it’s because he’s going around the world doing so. Mari seems to have that melancholic look in the sequel instead of her previous self that exudes confidence and grace. Is it still has something to do with her love with Henri? It also makes me wonder how long it takes for the Sweets Spirits to become Royal Court patissieres. Well, the youngest of the lot, Mint is 150 years old! Woah! I guess they’ll have to undergo several more pairings before they are successful, eh? How is it for a Sweets Spirits to be with you till your dying day? Say, another funny part is how the Sweets Spirits transport back to their own kingdom via any oven. I just hope they don’t get accidentally burnt when they hop in.

The major eye candy and of course my favourite are the various designs of the many sweets and cakes. Each time they are presented, it makes me want to have a taste of it! It got so annoying that at one point I just thought of swallowing my whole monitor! Of course that didn’t happen. I’m glad to learn a few types of cakes such as macarons and terms such as meringue and add them to my little knowledge of sweets though shamefully I could do better (heck, by the time I finished watching this series and blogging this, I already forgotten many of them! DAMN IT! NOOOOO!). Maybe I should try my hands at being a patissiere? Heck, I only know how to eat ;p. But those who are inspired and wish to start making simple sweets, at the end of each episode there is a segment called Magical Essence in which most of the time we are given short demonstrations and short handy tips on how to make a certain sweets via some famous patissiere. This segment also showcases other stuffs like decorating one’s cake, the reception and premier of this series and other kids trying their hands making their sweets. Mmm… Yummy… There is also a short OVA lasting minutes called Mune Kyun Tropical Island. I find this nonsensical because we see Ichigo and the Sweets Princes stranded on an island. I don’t know how this happened as we see them trying to survive like getting chased by a giant tumbling rock and fishing out a giant fish. Some close intimate moments with Ichigo too and a disgusting one whereby Hanabusa is admiring his beautiful self amidst the waterfall. In the end, the Sweets Spirits ate too much and turned into giants the next day. Huh?

As for the overall drawing and art of the characters, they lean more towards cute since the characters have sparkly bright eyes as I feel it is aimed towards young teenage girls. As for the exaggerated reactions, I say this is a must in every anime that has food as its main theme. I’m not going so far as to say that the judges’ reaction are really funny when tasting the sweets because you don’t see them screaming in delight whenever they taste sweets that are out of this world. Yes, each one of them are mature and veterans in their area so it wouldn’t be just funny to see old buggers getting all excited in an exaggerated way, it would be plain weird. Thus you can see the images and the scenery they are being transported to when they take a bite. Again, nothing very exaggerative (don’t expect to see volcanoes or the universe exploding) but enough to give you a hint that the confectionery is indeed worthy of the heart, soul and love they put into when making in. Then again, how do you really describe such nostalgic happiness? I really need to have a taste…

Besides the values we learn such as friendship and perseverance, we also learn the importance not only in the sweets itself. For instance, we also learn how to appreciate the basic ingredients that they come from such as flour, sugar and eggs. If the basics aren’t good, then you can bet the end product will also be bad. Other educational insights such as sugar shouldn’t merely be seen as a sweet substance that contributes to obesity and diabetes. It is an important substance in holding out the structure of certain sweets and the same types of sugar can turn the sweets into a different type depending of the amount and heat applied. Very enlightening for me. But too bad I had forgotten most of them. DAMN IT! NOOOOO! Another thing I noticed is the wastage of the ingredients when the gang used to make sweets during their practice. It is a good sign that we see them producing trays after trays of sweets but come to think of it, the amount that they churn out (especially Ichigo) seems like too much for her to finish and thus wasted, right? I’m also a little puzzled since these ingredients aren’t that dirt cheap and the St Marie Academy seems to be able to provide unlimited supplies of them. Of course the idea that they are a patissiere school should make this argument invalid but like I said, it just seems endless.

For the cast of this series, I am surprised that some of them are young and below 20 years old. For example, Mayu Iino was only 10 years old when she took on the role as the voice of Caramel. No wonder she sounds so cute! She sounds real different from grownup ladies trying to make squeaky high pitch girl voices. So when Caramel is in a pinch or go shouting “Aaaaaaa~”, she does sound different and in a way, cute. Aoi Yuuki as Ichigo (Mina in Dance In The Vampire Bund, Murasaki in Kurenai, Budoko in Akikan) really fits her character on all occasions, whether she is being dreamy, klutzy or serious. She is only 17 when this series is made. Other young casts include Sachika Misawa as Cafe, Yuri Yamaoka as Chocolat and Yui Ogura as Mint and Ringo. At first I couldn’t place my finger on Vanilla’s voice as she sounded so familiar. When I found out she was Ayana Taketatsu, it occurred to me whenever Vanilla tries to motivate and get Ichigo going and not slack off, she reminded me so much of her other role as K-ON!’s Azusa trying to do the same to Yui! Other casts include Nobuhiko Okamoto as Kashino (Usui in Kaichou Wa Maid-sama), Shinya Hamazoe as Andou, Tsubasa Yonaga as Hanabusa (Jun in Special A), Daisuke Kishio as Henri (Suginami in Da Capo series), Sayuri Yahagi as Miya (Haruna in To Love-Ru), Eri Kitamura as Mari and Honey (Yui in Angel Beats), Mariya Ise as Lemon (Stocking in Panty & Stocking With Garterbelt), Tomokazu Sugita as Rick (Gintoki in Gintama), Marina Inoue as Francois (Chiri in Zetsubou Sayonara Sensei series) and Kikuko Inoue as the Queen (Belldandy in Aa! Megami-sama).

The first season’s opening theme by Mayumi Gojo, Yume Ni Yell! Patissiere sounds like a lively anime pop piece and with the lyrics filled with lots of tasty pastries, it definitely gets you into the mood of the series. “Strawberry fraisier and framboise, happy happy macaron, happiness made go!”. Oh yeah. Got to love that even if sometimes I get goosebumps hearing this groupie part. Ichigo No Miracle by Yukina Sugihara is the first season’s ending theme sounds like a slow-moderate anime pop. It’s funny to see the Sweets Spirits doing some kind of dance. However come the second season, the opening theme feels more like a techno R&B dance beat! Sweet Romance by Mayumi Gojo makes it sound as though it is for a series that is dramatic and romance (even the opening animation suggests so with some mature visuals like lipstick, Sweets Spirits in black cat suits and such). So much so you’d wonder if you’re watching a pastry-themed anime in the first place! But the dance beat is catchy enough to make me get up on my feet and impersonate (albeit very lame) dance moves of my own. The second season’s ending theme by Primavera is Home Made Happy and though it is slower, feels suitable like another dance song. This one didn’t make me get up and do a full gig but enough to make me shuffle my feet. The animation of the ending credits shows the Sweets Spirits each cycling. What does this imply? After eating too many sweets, they need the workout to burn those calories?! Haha! As for the background music, I’m not saying that they are similar but it somehow reminds me of the other bread-themed anime series: Yakitate! Japan. From the ‘battle’ themes to the jazzy casuals they are nicely fitted for the atmosphere and scenes. Perhaps it’s the overall feel that reminded me of such since both series’ story flow (the competition, ‘power up’ training and ‘fillers’ sense) are pretty much alike.

Though this series may not be one of top favourites but in my opinion it is one of those better animes for the family (also read: no fanservice). In addition to the drama, romance and comedy, viewers get knowledgeable insights in the world of sweets. Speaking of which, no matter what kind of sweets and from wherever in this world they are from, it is important and essential that sweets make people feel relaxed and happy. Just like how it did to me. I may not be able to tell apart or identify many sweets or chocolates but each time I pop them in my mouth, I know that I am experiencing a little part of happiness. I know the prices of chocolates aren’t cheap these days and with a limited budget, it really puts a damper. Maybe, I should really start trying to bake those sweets myself. But then again, maybe not. Why? Because like I said, I only know how to eat.