Yumeiro 25, Arawaka 2, Working 2

I hate waiting on episodes when the previous one ended on a tense moment, even one as trivial as Yumeiro Patissiere, so I decided to watch ep25 as soon as possible. Even though I knew what would happen.

In fact, I made some predictions as to how this episode would pan out, and I was half right. They lost. Leon would be a factor in Team Ichigo’s favor. But I was wrong about Ayukama. I had her pegged as the troubled one whom Ichigo would befriend by the end of the arc, and I still think she’ll reform, but it’ll take longer. She’s much more of a bitch than I had thought. Turns out she’s team Koshiro’s missing member, and she’s also sabotaged the kitchen so that too much air would flow over Kashino’s station and his chocolate would get too hot. That’s just nasty.

Restraint of the fairies.

It does do a couple things, though. Chocolat forgets she’s mad at Kashino and gets mad at Team Koshiro instead. And it gives Ichigo a chance to pep talk the despairing Kashino. The team rallies around him, they start again, and manage to produce a cake, though it’s rushed. The music goes from tense to happy, and so does Team Ichigo. In a nice moment, Leon tastes their sachertorte and congratulates Kashino on a job well done—his only line in two episodes—then walks out on Team Koshiro. On the other hand, that means that Kashino won’t be able to work with him if his team loses.

And they do lose, by one point, because they had to rush their design at the end (they win in the taste department). Kudos to the show for making the battle more exciting than I had believed. At one point I actually thought Team Ichigo might win and blow my predictions out of the water. Now Kashino is forced to join the other team, while team Ichigo is in disarray. It doesn’t look like there’s a battle next week, just scenes of Kashino in hell. So my three-episode arc prediction was wrong, too.

For half the time Arakawa Under the Bridge 2 carries on in much the same way as ep1. Recruit meets more strange people who live under the bridge and is freaked out by them. They don’t really know what to make of him, either, except they don’t like him much.

When he’s not being knocked off his pins by new people, he’s adjusting to life with Nino. This comprises the first half of the episode. First there’s a “I’m alone with a girl in my room!” scene, another anime chestnut, except that the girl claims to be Venusian, a perfect opportunity for small talk if only Recruit can get it out of his mouth. Then there’s a rather sweet bathing scene. Recruit is constantly surprised by Nino’s switches from eccentricity to gentleness, and it’s nice to see him finally relax a little, especially when she washes his hair not to put him in debt, but because she simply wants to.

Then it’s off to meet the other residents. We got a guy with a star head, a guy who can only walk on white lines and so pushes a dry line spreader in front of him, two kids with metal helmets, none of them happy that he introduces himself as Nino’s lover. So far this is the only thing in two episodes that could be considered a plot point. And of course, there’s the Sister.

An interesting character, who holds a gun to Recruit’s head one moment and is handing out cookies to the congregation the next, a combination Confessor and Enforcer. He asks Recruit (at gunpoint) if his love for Nino is true, and Recruit stumbles out a that he’s determined, so I guess there is actually a second plot point in this show.

But I don’t think we’re going to get much more than that. The show is working with little vignettes that sometimes stand on their own. Their accumulation is going to be the structure. And that’s fine. I’ll be happy to learn more about who these odd people are and how they got there.

Let’s see … In Working 2, Takanashi gets punched a lot. That’s all I can really remember.

For example ...

Okay, it’s better than that, actually better than the first episode, since they now have a routine: Inami sees Takanashi and hits him. It’s not that the management, such as it is, condones this behavior, but they seem used to it. It’s all Inami can do not to hit the male customers, and they have little strategies for when it seems to be coming to a head with one. All they ask is that Inami not hit men, and, er, try not to hit Takanashi, while she’s at it. How she even keeps her job is beyond me.

They actually make it somewhat amusing. Inami’s doing her best not to hit men, but she can’t help it, but there seems to be an infatuation she’s beginning to have for Takanashi, though she claims she hates him (shades of Aoba). It helps that Takanashi, though a wimp and trying to put up with it, can’t resist admitting some resentment. The others are, at least, sympathetic towards his plight. At the same time I wonder why he doesn’t just quit. Oh, yes, he likes Taneshima. Hmm, he likes small things, like kids, and he looks and sounds like Tsuchida (I even checked the voice actor’s page. No, he didn’t play Tsuchida, but I did learn from ANN that Jun Fukuyama has been a very busy man).

But after they play with the Inami/Takanashi scenario for a while, they move on to less interesting story bits which usually end with Takanashi concluding that everyone he works with is a weirdo. So, some good and bad bits in this episode. Good enough to keep watching for now.

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