So way back in Fall 2009 I wrote that I was going to watch Yumeiro Patissiere, an anime about a girl venturing into the world of making cakes and sweets after her deceased grandmother who was a famous patisserie.
Well it’s a year later and I finally got around to grabbing all 50 episodes for a straight-watch. Honestly, what I thought and what I got were slightly different than what I expected, as the image no doubt shows.
The series definately takes an approach much like Yakitate!! Japan did 6 years ago with a series that revolves around the baking craft. For Yakitate!! Japan it was bread and related foods, but for Yumeiro Patissiere, it is about cakes, candies, and other sweets. The format is largely the same, where as the characters go along, they are sharing the names and histories of what they are making so that you, the viewer, not only understand but know a little about it, especially if you are in that field or interested in what they are making.
Where the two separate is where I plug Shugo Chara!! into this equation. Shugo Chara!! revolved around little spirit-type beings that were companions of the main character and friends. In SC they were the character’s manifested dreams. In YP, they are beings that exist in another world called The Sweets Kingdom, and are linked to the school where Ichigo and her friends attend. They partner with a student and aim to learn the patisserie craft in order to become one themselves in their own world. So the series opens up a parallel story in a few episodes that explores this world and how it interacts with the main one.
The series follows a fairly predictable plot for series like this. The MC, Amano Ichigo, is encouraged to attend a top school for pastry chefs by a man who used to work with her grandmother, who was a pastry chef and owner of a shop before passing away. Upon getting there she was assigned to a group of boys who are considered the top of their class in the craft and dubbed “The Sweets Princes” by mostly girls, because you know, OOOOUJISAMAAAAAMAMAMAMAMA!!#@$##%25 and shit. Being new she of course fails hard on just about every basic concept of baking.
She then encounters a “Sweets Spirit” named Vanilla who tells of a parallel universe where spirits that live in a place called The Sweets Kingdom find partners in the real world to help learn how to be top pastry chefs using students from the St. Marie schools Ichigo is attending. Between her and the guys in her group, she is determined to stay, and after learning each of the boys also has a Sweets Spirit assisting them, they become a better group and team and the boys help shape her into a decent pastry chef in time for the annual school competition to see who can make better sweets.
By the end of the series (as not to spoil the rather predictable middle if you know this sort of story and format well) Ichigo proves that she is as good if not better pastry chef as her grandmother and earns the respect of her teammates/friends and those she attends school with, and her mentor, Henri, who even though being a total fucking dick, helped guide her into being the kind of top-rate chef she wants to be. Touching, amirite?
The big different between this series and Yakitate was the latter employed a different sense of humor. Aside from puns and jokes that were played on the bread types being shown and the characters themselves, this series also ran for 50+ episodes and placed a lot more emphasis on the individual battles, often drawing them out into 2 or 3 episodes before moving to the next match. Yumeiro ended its matches usually within the same episode, perhaps into the first half of the next. More time was spent on the Slice-of-Life and School Life genres, highlighting the importance of the character interactions and interactions with the Spirits. In a sense it reminded me more of Shugo Chara! in that respect because that series was also largely driven by its characters and familiars, along with those SoL and School Life genres. Also, it resembles more Shugo Chara! because the show is aimed largely at a younger, more female fanbase, given the prettyboy males and underdog female MC.
What I find rather annoying about the story and plot as I mentioned a couple times is the way they build the MC up, tear her down, and repeat a few times before making her out to be the winner in the end. It takes much of the fun out of each pastry battle, because you know that she will win in the end, but you know she has to lose at least once to have that all-important-life-lesson instilled in her before she can kick your ass. Also, Henri is a fucking dick, I mean, speaking in human terms, it must make a guy feel big to have these girls leashed by their hearts only to tear them down as a means of “molding them” into what he sees fit for a “top pastry chef”. I suppose that is the adult human element of this series, but if you could reach in the screen and punch a character in the dick, I would nominate him.
In the end, it’s a lighthearted comedy and pseudo-drama about a girl who loves to eat so many sweets a little kid dubs her “Cake Pig” in the series. If you like shows like this, especially Yakitate! Japan, it won’t be quite like Azuma Kazuma-style awesome, but it’s worth a view. I will admit though, I pan/scanned through some of the episodes, some of it was a bit much.
It’s also worth noting that a sequel is currently airing, Yumeiro Patissiere Professional, which takes place two years after the first series and has main character Amano Ichigo returning from two years studying in Paris to become a high school student at the Academy. Upon arriving however, she finds that her former team members and friends are no longer attending to pursue their dreams, and she is assigned to A Group once more but with three new faces, one of whom is Yamagishi Lemon, one of her competitors from the Grand Prix who returned to Paris after. I’ve got up to the current episode, 09, I’ve only watched part of the first. I will likely add it to my current lineup that will carry over into Winter 2010/2011.
Edit (spoilers):Apparently, as I read, the first series split from the manga and the Paris arc is actually filler, the manga is still on the Grand Prix in Japan, making Professional an anime-only original, so that should be interesting to see where they go with it based on the source material. Hopefully they’ll decide to branch out a bit and be a little edgier, if that’s possible.
Title: Yumeiro Patissiere
Sub Group I Watched: Strawberry Mint Subs, various, HorribleSubs
Rating (1-10): 7
Favorite Character: Ichigo Amano
Favorite Spirit: Chocolat
Least Favorite Character: Miya Koshiro or Mari Tennouji
Least Favorite Spirit: Marron
Favorite Character/Spirit Team: Kashino/Chocolat
Obligatory Troll: Henri Lucas
Crowning Moment of Awesome: When Francois lost the game, despite SmugSnake Henri saying Ichigo would lose.
Also, it’s good to know that after I wrote this, I am not the only one that thought of Yakitate Japan/Shugo Chara when watching this