Yumeiro 37, Amagami SS 1

The Cake Grand Prix final begins in Yumeiro Patissiere 37. We were told that they would only learn the theme on that day. Well, they were stretching the truth a little. The final takes two days, so they have one full day to prepare. It’s not like they’re being thrown to the wolves.

The type of sweet is so complicated that I couldn’t follow it, but the theme is “Dreams.” Each team goes off to come up with a design. We learn that Tennouji’s team is cocky, but supportive of each other. Team Ichigo goes off on their usual nutty way. Their design, frankly, seems to be a bit much, with the Eiffel tower covered in vines and a little cottage and whatnot. But excess is something you expect from this show, so I’ll work with it. But it does seem a little tacky …

That’s the first half. In the second, Ichigo meets up with Tennouji while planning, and have a little talk about Henri-Sensei. The stories are similar in that tasting one of his cakes inspired them, and they’re both determined to work with him again. Tennouji goes from good to bad mode so often that even Ichigo notices (It’s funny that at their first meeting Henri told Tennouji to lighten up and have more fun. Has she forgotten the meaning of that word?)

There’s not much to this episode. A strange moment when Ichigo tries to beg a recipe off the girl who stole her design in the great preschool cake wars so long ago. A lot of “I won’t let up on you!” and cries of defiance. The actual baking hasn’t even started yet. The sweetness and over-the-top surreality this show is capable of doesn’t appear. And judging from the previews, there might not be much of that next time, either.

I understand that Amagami SS is based on some sort of online dating game. I have no experience with those things, but the Key/KyotoAni trilogy all turned out pretty good. So I thought I’d at least give this series a try.

Junichi, our hero, was stood up on a Christmas date two years ago and hasn’t gotten over it. This made me worry. Is this guy going to mope all through the series? He even sleeps in his closet that has a planetarium design on the walls, his own private mopey universe. Fortunately, he’s not always like that. The show is quick to establish, thanks to his friend’s procurement of idol photo albums, that Junichi has a libido, and he’s quick to acknowledge the beauty of the series’ first girl. In other words, he’s a normal adolescent boy with an aching heart.

Haruka Morishima, our girl of the moment.

Haruka is beautiful and popular, so Junichi thinks she’s out of his league, but in true meet-cute fashion, he keeps running into her (once, literally). She takes an instant liking to him, or she knows how to twist a boy around her little finger. Either way, he’s soon smitten. I could warn him that when a girl keeps saying to a boy that he’s “so nice,” that’s a danger sign, but anime characters never listen to me when I talk to them.

Even Junichi thinks he was a tad hasty.

Never mind, Junichi, there are plenty of other fetching girls at your school. The class rep, the little red-haired girl (no relation), the “best friend” girl, the one in the swimsuit, even Junichi’s sister, who’s furious when she sees him walking with Haruka … no, let’s leave her out of it. There are so many that I gave up taking notes. This show throws so many girls at you that you wonder how they’re going to all fit into thirteen episodes.

While these are all kids who go off on strange tangents in their sex-starved heads (the imaginary Haruka/Miya bath scene, for example), they don’t act like complete idiots. They’re portrayed realistically. It also looks good, The snowflakes occasionally giving off a Kanon vibe. There’s nothing terribly wrong about this show. Besides, I’m curious about how its going to turn out, a good sign after one episode.

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