Yumeiro Patisserie 4, Kimi ni Todoke 4

Yumeiro Patissiere 4 manages to change directions (finally), and gives Ichigo something to do besides screwing up when she discovers just why Ichita, Andou’s little brother, hates cakes. Though we had kind of figured it out for ourselves already. It plays out the way you’d expect, with the entire family and Ichigo’s friends helping out. It’s all a little too easy, but this is a children’s show after all.

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Refreshing, and along the way we get to see bits of behavior which help define the characters a little more, like mean Kashino admonishing Ichita for being mean to Ichigo. And while the ep had the usual static moments the episode as a whole didn’t feel dull.

After ten minutes of happy Sawako, Kimi ni Todoke 4 brings in some outside conflict to mix in with the “Sawako vs. her insecurities” stuff we’ve gotten before. Yano and Yoshida confront a girl about who’s spreading the rumors about them, and when they hear it’s Sawako, their reaction made me sigh with relief.

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If they had taken this info seriously the series would have passed into the stupid category.

But there’s all sorts of rumors going on here. We have the lies about the two girls, then naturally-grown catty remarks about Sawako using them, and Kazehaya. And the teacher’s suspicions concerning Sawako’s supernatural abilities (the funniest part of the episode). Plus one overheard conversation and another one only partly heard. Mix in Sawako’s failure to make Yano and Yoshida understand her feelings, her insecurity and desire not to hurt her new friends any further, which causes a further misunderstanding, this time concerning Kazehaya, and you wind up with two hurt girls, a bewildered Kazehaya, and poor Sawako feeling alienated from everyone she had grown to like and, naturally, blaming herself. It’s well done, though I wonder at Yano and Yoshida’s conclusions. If Sawako was truly, deviously stabbing them in the back, don’t they realize she wouldn’t hesitate to say she liked them? Never mind. Yano and Yoshida get a lot of screen time and make the most of it; their transition from laughter to doubt to hurt was especially touching.

I’m happy to say Kimi ni Todoke is no longer a one-note opera. New things were inserted and the show is better for it.

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