Yumeiro 18, Letter Bee 18, Baka to Test 7

Yumeiro Patissiere 18 is one of the odder episodes I’ve seen in this series. It isn’t that the show gets even more surreal than having sweets fairies flying around; it’s the whole circumstance of Kashino’s family, especially his older sister.

Ichigo falls down the stairs and gets taken to the hospital for some routine tests. We learn that the entire hospital is staffed with Kashinos (I’ll use his first name so as to avoid confusion), and they all look down on Makoto for not becoming a doctor like them. A large hospital, staffed by members of a single family, all doctors and nurses. Who chooses to be a nurse in that family? How big IS that family, anyway? There’s something … just not right about it. No wonder Makoto wants out, and no wonder he’s so screwed up. To make it weirder, his sister sees him and kidnaps him. She intends to torture him until he agrees to quit patisserie school.

The rest of the episode has Ichigo and the gang go and rescue him, by making a cake that the evil sister cannot resist, blah blah. I just can’t get over the weirdness of the Kashino family. They could just force him to quit school by cutting his funding. The sister’s decision to kidnap him was apparently a whim of hers. And in the end she doesn’t really seem too serious about it all. She could have easily said she hated the cake (and why opera?) and forced him to quit. As I said, no wonder Makoto’s so messed up.

How they do things in the Kashino family.

Letter Bee 18 brings us a rival mail organization called the Letter Pigeons, who challenge Lag, Zazie and Connor to a delivery race. It’s an interesting idea. Why should the Bees be the only ones who deliver letters?

And their hearts are in the right place. There are places that Bees rarely travel to who need a service, as Lag learns through the inevitable using-the-amber-to-reveal-the-truth cliché. But when the Pigeons start using dirty tricks during the race our sympathy for them goes down. Besides, we know what’s going to happen. The Pigeons will encounter a Gaichuu (actually, two or three) and the Bees will have to bail them out.

Not much more to the episode, but I wonder if we’ll see more of the Pigeons. With Lag’s support they start to make more deliveries on their own. If they can compete with cheaper rates, well, that’s free enterprise and the sign of a strong economy. But that’s about the only thing that stands out for me about this episode. There was hardly any Niche, even.

Letter Bee with no Niche is no fun.

Baka to Test 7 has Shouko forcing Yuuji out on a date, and guess what? It’s a premium pass that includes a mock wedding! Yuuji is all against it, but one cannot say no to Shouko.

This is nothing new in this series. Shouko’s been in love with Yuuji, and forcing him to do her will, ever since elementary school. What’s different is that the other Class-F characters are in on this, and are trying to guide them together. They’d always been indifferent about this. After all, it was just one of the show’s running gags. When did they take Shouko’s side? Well, it adds to the laughs, as they try to guide the not-so-loving couple into romantic situations (like a haunted house). For the most part, it’s well done. Then the show takes an odd, sentimental turn.

Actually, they do make a nice couple.

It may be just a running gag, but we see Shouko is dead serious about Yuuji, and because of this she becomes, for the first time, vulnerable. When someone heckles her about her commitment, she can’t stand it and vanishes, and later Yuuji has to console her. It’s actually the first time in the series we’ve seen Yuuji stronger than Shouko, and his reassurances to her (even if he says she’s chose the wrong guy) come off as genuinely touching. I didn’t think this show could handle these sentiments. I don’t want it all the time, or even every episode, but it was a refreshing break from the usual fast-paced mayhem we usually get.

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