Yumeiro 42, Occult Academy 5

In last episode’s Yumeiro Patissiere Team Ichigo decided to make gelato for the Cake Grand Prix. This week they have to figure out how to make it actually taste good.

So the first half goes. It’s all business. They clean out the old kitchen, they work over recipes. They’re helped by their landlady, dutifully tasting every attempt and shaking her head almost every time. Eveyone’s got their game face on. There’s no time even for jokes. I can’t recall an episode that had such a long, determined sequence like this one. I should point out that it’s the boys doing the serious work here. Ichigo’s stuck making cones. I thought this would come to a head some time or another, and it does, though not the way I had figured.

But they manage. The landlady says they need a unique flavor, so they come up with a salt-sakura gelato, and it’s off to the contest. Things lighten up here because the fairies get involved. They’re allowed to fancy-up the contestants’ stalls and uniforms—just as well, as this whole thing is happening just outside the Louvre. Now it comes to salesmanship and what the customers want. In the chilly morning the gelato doesn’t sell very well, so it’s Ichigo’s turn to help the team.

Pandering to base desires.

So they win the round. Had they gone head-to-head with Team Tennouji they would have been destroyed, but they manage to slip past Team Ricardo by a single customer, because the landlady and her daughter show up at the last minute, which proves some point or another. You kind of have to feel sorry for Lemon, beaten by Ichigo twice now. And Ricky, who’s only fault was he was a flirt (When he talked about wanting to taste Ichigo’s gelato it sounded dirty). He smiles the loss away. As for me, I’m glad they didn’t stretch the competition through another episode. Next time it’s more intense training for Ichigo at the hands of a sadistic looking patissier. No, not Kashino.

I paired these two shows up last time, and not long ago. I would have waited but I’m behind with Yumeiro, and a post on Bateszi’s blog made Occult Academy 5 look so cool I decided I couldn’t wait. And it is a good episode. The darkness and annoying revelations about Uchida are thrown pretty much to the side, and what we get is an episode of cheerful vignettes—and a bit of a shock ending.

The episode gives some love to Kozue, that spirited and nerdy chaser of the occult, and it’s about time. So far in this show she’s been possessed, abducted and nearly turned into a tengu. She deserves some attention, even if she comes off as ridiculously silly, what with her falling off cliffs while chasing a black cat, searching for OOPArt objects that clearly had “Made in Japan” written on them, and I don’t know what that snake with a frying pan was supposed to be. As for the things that happened to her, she never got to actually experience them. What fun is that?

Oh, other things happen. Uchida gets permission to let Mikaze sell lunches on the school grounds, and gets chewed out by the future guys because he hasn’t found the Nostradamus thing yet, and I can’t blame them. But all this pales to the final bit where Kozue cheerfully volunteers to have a near-death experience and gets taken to this slick lab. No note from her parents? Man, that’s some school they have there. I wonder if that’s one of the recruiting points, near-death experiences? I would have enrolled. … I’m a little surprised that Maya (acting as Kozue’s straight man this episode) doesn’t try and talk her out of it. I guess she thought it futile.

Boing!
Whee!

Her “experience” is amazing, and far too short. The show hasn’t given us anything like this before, and it’s so far from the clichés that occult-oriented shows, including this one, bring us that it’s like we switched channels. Yet it’s grounded by the fact that the others are watching her experience on a big TV. I myself would charge admission. But Kozue is a hard-luck girl, you knew they’d have to mess with her some more, and that’s exactly what happens. But at least the series gave her a minute of pure joy, and gave us proof that it has a deep bag of tricks.

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