Yume-iro Pâtissière Review

This is review number three hundred and twenty five. This anime is part of the Fall 2010 Lineup. The anime I’ll be reviewing is called Yumeiro Patissiere. It’s a fifty episode anime about a girl that wants to be a pastry chef and she has three guys crushing on her. It’s a cute show if it wasn’t such an awful one as well. Let’s read on.

Story

Amano Ichigo wants to be a great patissiere so she enrolled in St. Marie Academy to pursue her dreams. She was placed in group A, the best in her class, but she is still a beginner. She must now convince everyone that she belongs there and then be good enough to win the prestigious tournament where the winner gets to study in Paris.

Taking the Pants Off

This is the first time I ever watched and reviewed a fifty episode anime. I figured that it’s time to tackle these behemoths since I’ve already fallen out of the current lineup, and it’ll take a while to catch up again. So f*ck it, let’s review a fifty episode anime. This one is not planned though. TPAB of three years ago just picks up random anime to watch and I feel like that tradition should live on, hence the reason why I chose a fifty episode shoujo anime to be my first. Yumeiro Patissiere is about a girl that cooks desserts and she goes on a tournament to fight other future dessert masters. This is the most basic definition of a shoujo anime though, mainly that it targets literally “young girls” as in, damn, this show is stupidly simple. It’s a faulty show but not offensive enough considering the kind of demographic it’s targeting. What exactly do young girls of eight to thirteen like in their anime? I discovered a lot of it in this show and I wish I didn’t. TPAB from three years ago is a jobless depressed obese anime addict that had time for stupid sh*t like this. TPAB of today is an employed miserable cynic, still obese, anime addict that has lost hope on a lot of things. If I didn’t love my old self, the tradition of randomly picking anime would’ve been dead already. Anyways, this show is pretty good. I mean, you’re bound to do something right in fifty episodes and this show had its moments. Once you dissect it though, you realize this anime is just random fluff meant to appeal to its bright eyed enthusiastic and suggestible audience, which I do find endearing. Yumeiro Patissiere aims to introduce a generation of young girls into liking expensive dessert and the dreamy vibe of France and it did work pretty well. In creating a wonderful anime experience that’ll stay with the audience for a long time, this show fails on that department. Hey, it has cake so it’s all good.

This anime is about a girl named Ichigo Amano who loves cakes ever since she ate her grandmother’s strawberry tart dessert. She got into a bit of a slump when she saw her sister achieve in playing the piano while she toils away aimlessly. While at a dessert shop, she immediately remembers the subtle taste of her grandma’s dessert after tasting a cake. She went to search for the cake and met a guy patissierie named Henri-sensei who is amazed at her incredible palette. He recommends that she attends an elite culinary school called the St. Marie Academy and try to become a patissiere like her grandmother. She agreed and was immediately placed in group A, the highest ranked group in her class, because of Henri’s recommendation. Ichigo has no experience baking though and she was suddenly thrown into the wolves. With highly skilled classmates and attending in the second year, skipping first year, she is an amateur in an elite school. She must now prove to her classmates and the world that she is a great baker.

The premise is pretty decent. Our main character must prove that she is skilled at baking French desserts and every week we are treated to a lesson on how to make some tasty desserts. It works well because we have a typical shoujo main character in Ichigo. In the heels of girls like Sakura (from Card Captor Sakura) and Tohru (from Fruits Basket), Ichigo is receptive, caring and resilient willing to take all the judgment of others while also thriving to prove them all wrong. It’s also this strong personality that will attract the three guys in her team. They’re called the Sweets Prince because they’re the best in their class and they’re always lumped together. The anime has a simple formula of having Ichigo struggle in baking complicated desserts but also slowly learning to appreciate the effort in creating them then succeeding later on. She’ll get tips from her potential lovers and the rest writes itself. You just pull a cliché from the Shoujo tree and it’s all good. Gradually develop the romance, introduce girls that’ll hinder Ichigo’s growth and other predictable stuff like that will work well in this anime. The show chose other clichés though. First, it is building up a tournament that will consume the later episodes. I think the first twelve is to establish the status quo and the other thirty eight will focus on the tournament in its various stages. I guess that’s fine since more culinary techniques and complicated desserts will be featured later on. The one element that ultimately soured the whole thing would have to be the inclusion of magic. Of course, Sakura has her clow cards and Tohru has her bestiality partners but magical Sweet Spirits that turns ordinary tea cups into polka dotted ones? C’mon, that’s insulting. Of course, the magical element in this show looks forced but it does have a big reason to be there. Cynical TPAB can only think of one reason: product endorsement.

In some of the episodes, and I think I got a DVD copy so it has behind the scenes stuff, the show features random stuff about the anime. The promotional events it held, the products it sold are spearheaded by the show’s mascot: the Sweet Fairies. Really, they’re here to be bought. After all, young girls seeing anime related products on TV is a smart tactic. I’m sure parents bought those sweet cards where you place dessert stickers on it, like the show advertised. I’m not judging since I have a set of clow cards buried in my room. The young is impressionable so they’ll buy your sh*t as long as it appears on TV but, damn, those sweet spirits ruined the show for me. They didn’t really belong in the show. It’s not like they added a layer to the story. It’s not like they gave Ichigo magical help like freaking Doraemon. Nah, they were cute mascots and they were just there to take up space. They would give Sweet Cards (collect them all) to their queen and they’re cards that you can also buy in real life. They have this story though where the winner of the grand prix becomes a court patissiere of the Sweets Kingdom but they bet all their chips on the humans actually cooking the dessert. So really, they do nothing in this anime and its clutter I can’t get over. Their presence also ruins the shoujo appeal of the show. It now just feels like a prime time show that targets a profitable audience. They’re cute, I guess, but Ichigo is cute too and as well as the potential romance of the anime if these damn Sweets Spirits weren’t around.

As I said before, this anime established the status quo in one chapter and the rest is focused on a tournament called the Cake Grand Prix where talented students from all around the world participate in. It covers three chapters of the show. The first one is the pre-grand prix where teams that want to participate in the qualifying tournament should win first place. It focuses on Group A getting a feel of the long heavy battle ahead of them. They must win this middle school tournament so they can participate in the high school only tournament. This chapter is particularly filled with forced episodes where members of the team face their personal problems while in the tournament and the rest tries to cheer them up. It  follows a theme of the group banding together to make their dreams come true and tries to cover each other’s weaknesses in order to win this pre-tournament.

The second chapter is the semi-finals where the winning team gets to join the actual word wide Cake Grand Prix. In this chapter, the focus is mostly on two important characters: Miya Koshiro, that adores one of the sweet prince and actually threatened Group A’s chance of winning with her approach of choosing high quality ingredient to elevate her desserts, and Mari Tennouji, the high school prodigy with the highest odds of winning the whole tournament. It got pretty tense at the end since Group A is at a disadvantage at every turn and I love how rematches are common in this chapter. The last chapter is the actual Cake Grand Prix where talented students from all over try to win the prestigious title and the prize of being taught in Paris where the best patisserie resides. The battles are a lot more elaborate and the setup is a lot more complicated. It was unnecessarily complicated, with the battles occurring all over the world for no big reason, but it did give the impression that there is more at stake in this final bout. The final match is especially intriguing since it had one particular element that really turned the anime upside down. It was a bait and switch worth waiting forty plus episodes with. The tournament chapters are pretty decent but this anime has one fundamental flaw that I personally did not like and it’s…

yumepas52

Short Sighted Storytelling. It’s basically when an anime focuses on the events happening in one episode, focusing on making it cool, rather than build up the story and have more solid episodes later on. The biggest offender of the short sighted storytelling would have to be Symphogear. Let’s have these two best friends fight then let’s have the enemies become stronger then let’s blow up the moon again!!!! It sacrifices the overall plot for the story of the particular episode making it into a show suited for people with short attention span. This was the case for Yumeiro Patissiere. It just threw random things to make the episodes special. Hey, remember that one of the guys have issues with his dead parent? Yeah, we’ll use that in this episode. Is it to flesh out the guy with the dead parent? Nah, it’s just the structure for the episode, afterwards, we’ll throw away any buildup and keep him bland in later episodes. Remember Henri-sensei? We’ll keep him out of sight for thirty episodes so we can use him in an episode and just bring up the fact that Ichigo writes letter to him there because build ups are stupid. Oh, he is also worshipped by three other girls he considers are as talented as Ichigo but we’ll keep that fact hidden until we need to in the episodes where the girls appear in. Building up a proper story to make the later episodes more memorable and impactful? No, that won’t do. We have an audience of kids here, let’s appeal to their weak minds and just keep it simple and stupid. Short Sighted Storytelling has one big flaw: it makes your anime forgettable. Sure, it’s easy to use since scriptwriting with one episode in mind instead of the whole fifty episodes makes it easier to cover that gap but the lack of proper build up and character development means your episodes are boring, stale and forgettable no matter how many moons you blow up. Going back to Symphogear, do you remember how it ended? The supporting characters? It was so focused on episodic bullsh*t that something as obscure as Aiura is more memorable (crabby time!).

Yumeiro Patissiere is fundamentally flawed. It doesn’t have good character development and it lacks build up. The matches just happen without anything special in it. The premise of presenting beautiful desserts and sophisticated France appeal is lost in later episodes. The opponents aren’t properly introduced as well and they lack diversity. The matches look all the same and badly predictable because it failed to develop the story. While I believe it was kept lighthearted because of its target audience, I don’t think it’s an excuse. Card Captor Sakura has a simple structure as well but it had character development and a steady growth for the story. Sakura worshipped Yukito just like how Ichigo worships Henri-sensei and they both turned douche-y at the end. I still fondly remember Yukito though because his secret was a subtle focus and he has that thing with Sakura’s brother. I was eight when I watched Sakura and it was awesome. I don’t believe in dumbing down a show to appeal to kids because they’ll just grow up forgetting it instead of comparing it to new shows that they’ll watch later on, and blindly conclude the one they grew up watching is better. If you respect your audience then your show will live on forever. It’s a testament to Fruits Basket since the show was a manga lure (didn’t conclude anything urging viewers to read the manga to see its continuation) with crappy visuals but it’s a show people will recommend in a heartbeat. Why? It gave us a dreamy version of love with memorable characters and a cute story to go along with it. Yumeiro Patisseire could’ve had the same beautiful appeal if only it presented things a bit more smart. The tournament is a good chance to introduce more fancy desserts, especially since it’s a worldwide competition later on, and fancy culinary techniques. There’s unlimited potential to the amount of awesome techniques to feature but this show is just too damn lazy to present it. It also missed a great amount of potential in building up the opponents. It came to a point where all of Henri’s harem met in the grand stage, with all of them having different backgrounds in cooking and yet the show didn’t properly present it. It was a disjointed mess through and through with no real continuation.

This is a fifty episode anime. I was sadly introduced to the most annoying staple in anime for the very first time. Filler episodes. You can spot them easily since they have no real relation to the story and random sh*t just happen. I’m fine with hot spring/beach episodes but seeing standalone episodes littered in a fifty episode anime is pretty painful. It ranges from dumb things like Ichigo helping a husband get his wife back to those Sweet Spirits episodes where the episode is just a chibby mess of randomness to holiday themed ones that doesn’t really do anything to the anime. I guess it makes sense on a weekly basis and they serve as a lighthearted breather but, with no build up to the story and character development, they’re just added clutter to an already underwhelming anime. Seriously, wasting my time on an episode about a Sweet Spirits finding her partner, it could’ve been done in five minutes but the show stretched it to fit twenty minutes. It is boring as hell and ultimately killed my enthusiasm for this show. Gawd bless all you strong souls for enduring fillers. I once thought to myself that “eh, it can’t be all that bad” but fillers are literally just something to draw out an anime. If you cut out the fillers in Yumeiro Patisseire or just edit it down to its important bits then you could cut twenty five episodes, half of the episode length. I’m serious, fillers are poison and it’s unneeded. It should go away.

The characters are all one dimensional. Ichigo is interesting at first since she has an incredible palette but it’s never really utilized in the show properly. In the tournament, the judging is purely subjective and deadly simple that you don’t need her amazing palette to win. She can detect which cow gave a certain glass of milk, that’s how impressive her taste buds are but it’s never fully utilized in the show. Her main contribution to the team is her ability to design desserts, and her more experienced teammates just go along with it. I do love how she screws up during crucial moments because it keeps her grounded. Her inexperience is often utilized smartly in the show to give it a more dramatic progression. Ichigo is also an airhead which is cute for the romance. Things often progressed romantically but Ichigo is slow on the pickup.

The rest of the cast is pretty one dimensional as well. The three Sweet Princes are bland as hell. The show took time to introduce their backstory but it’s never implemented smartly in the story. It was supposed to help the romance blossom but the anime cut that out in the second chapter. This wonderful story of one of them fixated on chocolate, after eating when he was a child and then slaving away at tempering it as he grows up, is never smartly folded into the story. Ichigo is supposed to fall for his determination and dedication but I think the anime wanted to keep the romance stand still since there are three guys after our heroine. She ends up with one of them though for a random ending which is annoying. You had forty nine episodes to build it up but she just suddenly hold hands with one of them in the end. F*ck that. That is insulting that you would let me sit through forty nine episodes of crap, take away the only satisfying element I am hoping for and plop it out with no build up. The Sweet Princes are also wasted potential because they never really master their craft. It would’ve been nice to see them widen their skill as they progress in the tournament. One of them is a master chocolate temper, the other is well-versed in Japanese desserts and the other is skilled at candy roses. It would’ve been great to see them try and master more skills like learning how to do big chocolate sculpture, doing transparent candy roses or learning how to incorporate more traditional flavors with simple flavors of France. With Ichigo’s amazing palette, it feels like the obvious is written out to dumb down the story. Her classmates and opponents are also badly wasted. Koshiro is interesting because she is an heiress to a chocolate company and she is rich enough to afford expensive high quality ingredients yet the show blandly presents this strength of hers. She was never a threat because of the lack of buildup and character development.

The same goes for Tennouji. She is the best patissiere in St. Marie Academy but she never really convinces you. She just happens to have that title so Ichigo can aim a title better than hers. It would’ve been awesome if she has a skill like being able to learn stuff quickly so it can make her a threat. Sadly, she was just talented and the show ends it there. Henri-sensei is also a confusing character. He is a young prodigy in the patissiere world but he never convinces us and it’s very annoying considering how many girls look up to him. He made one dessert in the show which is as good as Ichigo’s gradma’s work so does that mean her dead grandma can match his skills? That doesn’t feel right. There are a lot more characters badly wasted in the anime. Lemon-chan, the young first year prodigy from France, and Team Natsuki, highly skilled in tropical desserts, is also badly presented. Lemon-chan could’ve been that smug know-it-all that has the skills of a third year student but she was just a prodigy as the show instructs never convincing the audience. Team Natsuki had a great chance to give us a different kind of plated dessert with their knowledge of tropical fruits but the anime didn’t properly utilized their greatness as well. It’s frustrating how many characters are left underwhelming when they had the opportunity to shine brightly making them superbly memorable. It was not in the show’s intention though so they just look bland, boring and stupid.

It’s a shame how this anime turned up pretty bad. I actually wanted to like it some more especially after investing fifty episodes in it. I mean, damn, I deserve something better for wasting two weeks on this crap. I don’t want to believe that the manga is as stupidly simple as this anime because it means that a talented hack got her work published simply because it can sell products. Nah, I want to believe the anime studios behind this young girl show are at fault. I wanted to blame Kenichi Yamashita, the script writer, who also wrote the script for other shoujo anime like Fresh Precure and Yes Precure. It looks like he writes simple stupid shows targeted for impressionable audiences but I find it hard to admit he did it on purpose because he knows kid’s watches it. It’s a really insulting practice and I hope it should never happen again. This is directed by Suzuki Iku. She directed DearS and a bunch of OVA practically making her unremarkable and it now feels like this show intentionally knee capped its potential with the people working on it. The crappy visual presentation is obviously brought to us by Studio Pierrot, aka the studio that creates Naruto. They never really care for stunning visuals and this is also a missed potential considering they could’ve made more delicious looking food if they got their mind updated and realize high quality visuals is a norm nowadays. They keep their less important anime low budget and it’s really annoying. You can feel their effort for big shows like Naruto and Bleach but something like Yumeiro Patissiere gets just half (or even less) of that effort. This is more evident when they actually gave the job of animating to another studio. Studio Hibari is known for Mirmo so it makes sense that they handled this anime. Mirmo has cute mascots as well but it was a fluff anime intended for sh*ts and giggles. Yumeiro Patissiere is beyond that yet they treated it like another Mirmo anime. That’s like treating Cowboy Bebop as a Space Dandy anime expecting it to just be random western ideas instead of the awesome space jazz experience it actually is. Ah, f*ck me. I just never expected my first fifty episode anime to suck so badly.

Sight and Sound

Gawd damn, look at those eyes. It’s the typical bug eyed freaks that plague anime, once upon a time. After moe was perfected, this kind of character design is now considered old and archaic. It feels weird seeing it now. Natsumi Matsumoto’s design is stupidly simple. The body build are all the same for the young boys, young girls and even Ichigo’s grandmother which threw me off while watching the anime. The only thing different is that boys have short hair and girls have long hair, often in pony tail and other styles. The beauty of her design is lost in the show though. Like any mangaka, she makes the stupid simple design standout through the subtle details and it’s those details the anime doesn’t have the budget to include. The gentleness of the faces, the frailness of the bodies, the light shadings on the hair, the frills on the dresses and those heavenly expressions when a character eats a dessert, they’re all subtle details you won’t find in the anime. In fact, the show just roughly created the characters not paying attention to the small details that make the manga a Shoujo work. It’s the same for Fruits Basket. The character design is simple often childish but the feminine quality brought about by the subtle details makes it incredible to read. The Fruits Basket anime captured that gentleness so it’s sad Yumeiro didn’t even try. The way the anime is presented looks rough often rushed and it’s clearly not how the mangaka envisioned it. I particularly love how she draws the desserts. It’s nothing special but the dreamy effect she utilized is so captivating counter the anime’s attempt at making them look flashy. The Sweet Spirits appear in the manga as well. Oh my, I hope they’re more than just mascots in it. Someone please tell me.

Animation is awful. It recycles scenes and the movements look awkward. The anime also has a pretty underwhelming color palette so it can be very boring at times. It didn’t properly feature baking techniques and scenes where characters mix something in a bowl look boring. There is no care given to the animation. It doesn’t want to dazzle and it certainly didn’t want to show off its awesomeness. Even though it had moments that call for incredible animation, the show just looks low budget through and through. The design stays consistent so that’s one positive aspect but it really could’ve been better. The animation could’ve been the one saving grace since it lacks proper character development and story build up. Sadly, it’s not. It looks pathetic and often lazy with no real effort given towards it. The lackluster animation also made those reaction scenes look weird than the intended purpose. The anime had characters give exaggerate reactions like in Yakitate Japan but the animation forgot to present that it’s supposed to be an exaggerated campy reaction. So scenes like this:

It just looks serious in the anime. I mean, my gawd, what the hell is happening there? You focus on that sh*t yet you won’t give effort on character development? I also want to mention the live action specials after some of the episodes. It features a behind the scenes in promoting the anime and a lesson on how to bake desserts with an actual patissiere teaching the audience tips on baking tasty sweets. My favorite segment is the one where two kids, who obviously doesn’t know each other, is paired up to create some desserts. Their fake smiles make me laugh as you can see the transparency of the segment. It’s stupid.

The anime’s OP song is “Yume ni Yell! Patissiere” by Gojou Mayumi. It’s a pretty cute song as it tells about the anime in a cute way. It’s a very catchy song and Mayumi’s voice is a nice standout. The OP sequence gives a rundown of the important characters along with some random dancing of th Sweet Spirits. The anime’s ED is “Ichigo no Miracle” by Sugihara Yukina. It’s a cute song and Sugihara does have a cute voice. It’s a song about the Sweet Spirits and I do love how it can be catchy at times. The ED sequence f*cks it all up though. It features the spirits dancing to the song. It is awful as it just features a loop of them doing the same thing over and over. It’s awkward and stupid. It’s meant to be cute but, you decide, because it looks retarded to me.

Overall Score

5/10 “It’s underwhelming, lacks proper development and utterly forgettable. It’s not worth the fifty episode length and definitely not worth your time.”

This anime is forgivable if it had a twenty five or lower episode run but fifty episodes of unremarkable sh*t with even the basics not done properly is insulting to anyone that watches it. It has its moments of teaching us the beauty of desserts but things crumbled at the end and the experience is just too damn bad to justify the fifty episode run. It lacks character development, story build up, proper presentation of conflict and even romance. Hell, the whole saccharine theme of friendship and following your dream is also muddled in this anime. If you enjoy desserts then watch the first twelve episodes then walk away if it doesn’t suit you because it’s not worth it, dude. If you want to see a badly executed Shoujo anime then watch this little f*ck up. It had good intentions but it’s still an awful show bound to give you an awful anime experience.

Thoughts~

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