lunes, 27 de marzo de 2017

OF PTSD, DONUTS, AND THE ZUKA CURES

Review of Kirakira Precure à la Mode ep 7:
or this series's first pet-centric episode on the backstory of the Magical Land... surprise... it's the same world as Earth? And why shroud more the villains' motives in darkness?



Roll call!

AKIRA (to Yukari): Who would have known that you're a Precure as well?
AOI: Now that I mention it... you two go to the same high school (kókó), right?
That means Yukari must have known Akira since first sight... and the fact that Akira is female...
Awwww... don't they look good?
Well, wait until you see them in pâtissière uniform in next episode!




The first batch of donuts have not swollen in the pan, which means...
leave it to Aoi Tategami and let's see if it's worth her approval!


AOI (wincing): KYAAAAH! So hard...

That's because of a mishap involving lack of baking soda... it still stands in a little dish on the table!





ELDER: Hohohohoho, nice to see you're having fun! This reminds me of the sweets workshop back on Mount Strawberry...
A place name that has just piqued the Precures' interest.

While Pekorin hearing about her homeland has her eyes welling with tears of sorrow...
ELDER: With our friends (nakama-tachi), Pekorin and I used to make sweets back on Mount Strawberry.


YUKARI: This is making me curious.
AKIRA: Could you please tell us?
ELDER: Sigh... Perhaps this is a good moment to tell you all, right from the start.


Flashback to the sweets workshop beneath a rock ledge --I assume it's meant as a natural roof to protect the ovens and frying pans from the rain, isn't it?


Everyone's busy making donuts, frying them, kneading dough, cutting biscuits with a heart cutter... decorating treats with berries or whisking up butter cream... in some way or another. Making the treats fills them with kirakiraru, i e positive energy.


PEKORIN (mixing a bit too vigorously): Let's make delicious sweets!


Pekorin, just like Aoi, mixes too vigorously... leading the Elder to give her some constructive criticism.
ELDER: Pekorin, you're overmixing.
PEKORIN'S BLOND FRIEND: But you're still the most eager one around these parts, as always!
PEKORIN'S AUBURN FRIEND: That's right!
ELDER: Hohohohoho!


PEKORIN (in high spirits): Someday, Pekorin will make scrumptious sweets, just like the Legendary Pâtissières, the Pretty Cures!
So the Queen of the Magical Land was a Precure who is considered at least a demigoddess within her realm...


ELDER: You can do it (Ganbaru ja na). Bring liveliness into people's hearts with your treats. Then someday the time will come when we'll have to use this... (pointing at the Pâtisserie)


ITADAKIMASU!!

Pekorin and friends are nomming on donuts they have just made.
PEKORIN: Oishii (delicious)!
PEKORIN'S AUBURN FRIEND: Hey, haven't you heard? Some villains have tried lately to steal the kirakiraru from our sweets...
PEKORIN: Really?
PEKORIN'S BLOND FRIEND: There are really awful people out there...
PEKORIN'S AUBURN FRIEND: I'm worried for my friends (nakama) who are studying abroad...

THEN EVERYTHING CHANGED WHEN THE FIRE NATION... I MEAN, THE EVIL EMPIRE OF THIS CONTINUITY, ATTACKED.
The MotWs from previous episodes appear to claim the kira-kiraru; to be stopped by the Elder armed with an umbrella. Priori Incantatem ensues.


Pekorin and friends just stand back in awe.
ELDER: NOT IF I CAN HELP IT!!!


As a result, Pekorin's friends were scattered abroad all over the face of the Earth.


ELDER: In that explosion, I lost my physical body as well. And all our friends (nakama-tachi) were scattered and separated.
(So that's why he is presently a legless ghost!)

Remembering her home and the diaspora, Pekorin begins to sob as her ears glow blue and she flies away on her own...


So the Pâtisserie is more or less of a TARDIS... the size of Versailles on the inside!
AOI: Guess she wanted to be on her own, especially after losing all her friends (nakama) like that.


She only stands there musing and looking at Mt. Strawberry, which happens to be the hill behind the Cures' hometown. So the Magical Land in this series may not be another dimension, but rather a wainscot society located on Earth... that's an interesting premise, isn't it?

While Pekorin ponders, all alone, the Cures decide to try Usami's latest inspiration flash as a positive surprise for their pet...

...while they watch in the sidelines themselves, sure that their cunning plan is not allowed to fail.
#AoiApproved


The donuts have wound up golden brown and scrumptious.
AOI: Hihi... (chortles)





A smile returns to Pekorin's face as she decorates the donuts with her friends' faces.
So she leaves to put the donuts on the ruins of the workshop on Mt. Strawberry as an offering, to try to call her nakama back to her side... but in vain.
These ruins confirm as canon my hypothesis that this continuity's Magical Land is a wainscot society on Earth.


What the donuts do, however, is trigger an immersive pensieve flashback of the happy days before the invasion.


However, no filler episode is complete without the standard MotW attack and the ordinary call into action, right?


Definitely... seeing Akira take the leadership in battle is impressive.
AKIRA: Now it's our turn to help! (Watashi-tachi mo ikuyo!)
YUKARI+AOI+HIMARI: Right! (Hai!)

CURE À LA MODE! DECORATION!



An impressive choco-shield from Cure Chocolat! Now it's time for Macaron to use her yoyo!


CURE MACARON: Hey! Over here!


CURE GELATO: My turn!! Here I GOOO!!! (She sends out a right straight that has the multiple MotWs of this episode --a temporarily quadruple battle; this MotW could use Double Team or a similar technique-- exclaim: HOW DARE YOU, PRECURES!?)
Now: We know, from seeing Aoi play the guitar and write lyrics, that she is a rightie.
We also know that her magical self Cure Gelato is a boxing battler.
The right-handed boxing stance, the orthodox stance... is exactly this one: left fist forwards for defence and the right one backwards for more offensive purposes.
Which means... that maybe if a sinistral antagonist appears, they will exploit the gap in Aoi's/Gelato's stance. **shudders**


Once more, the Precures claim victory...


Returning to the Pâtisserie, they decide to open it to the general public.


Then, maybe Pekorin's friends (nakama) will come!

AKIRA: Pretty good, eh?
YUKARI: I suppose so.



And thus, everyone gets ready for the grand opening of the Kirakira Pâtisserie. But it will be no bed of roses... that's for certain...

CANNIBALISM!?



If Pekorin eats a Pekorin donut (or one of those patterned after her friends) is it cannibalism (no matter how scrumptious the treat is)!?

THE MISSING QUEEN
Is this legendary Precure from the past some kind of queen of Pekorin's species? If so, why is she rather more humanoid than her subjects? Did the evil empire take her away... Little by little, the plot thickens...


MY OWN HUMBLE OPINION:
Akira Kenjo/Cure Chocolat takes the de facto leadership of the group from on right now.
Historically, and seeing how the shadow of Sailor Uranus was cast over the whole character archetype for these two decades, otokoyaku had always been Aloof Allies... that is, unlike the first Western example of one,  the impressively deconstructive Brienne of Tarth, deviated significantly from what we expected. (Though the first otokoyaku, those long-haired princely girls in uniform like Oscar de Jarjayes --colonel of the French Royal Guard at 18--, were quite badass leaders, and Oscar's rose-haired reincarnation of the 1990s, Utena, followed very closely in her predecessor's footsteps! Still, Uranus was far more popular than Utena; and the Sailor Soldier of the skies and elegance was the first short-haired otokoyaku ever, while neither Utena nor Oscar had Boyish Short Hair... a feature that has become a FIXTURE of the otokoyaku aesthetic and that the first Western otokoyaku, the Maid of Tarth, has got as well as many other modern examples!)
The Magical Land being located on Earth... and some of its denizens are studying pastry techniques abroad, in foreign countries... gods, how do you, if you're basically a sentient stuffed animal, get to learn pastry skills while still blending in and finding a niche, a life, on the Left Bank, for instance, without making anyone wonder? My own theory --later to be confirmed-- states that there are various mascot communities/polders spread across the Earth as wainscot societies.
As for Pekorin's PTSD; Kuroro in Go!Princess was the first thing I was reminded of. Only that Pekorin did not have a temporary coat turn to the dark side. Still, that depression and guilt remain the same. As well as the way these brooding characters' new human friends help them cope with the trauma...

Now, there's something I forgot to explain for you about why I always explain why I put the original word used for friend/s in parentheses after it. And the answer is that there are two different concepts signified by these two different words in Japanese:
Nakama means more like comrade or companion, and refers to those who share battles/adventures, and/or pursue a goal, together. Tomodachi refers more to the concept of friends as people who are close to each other without sharing blood ties.

NEXT EPISODE -8-:



It's messy, isn't it... the pâtisserie upstairs garret has not been cleaned for ages.
Akira gladly takes up the cleaning chore, while Aoi just standing there as if she thought: what if I make a bigger mess, given my own impulsive nature? (Spoiler alert: She will make a bigger mess indeed!)
I clearly understand Aoi's predicament...

The Headman/Elder becomes a human... who looks like a classier Count of Tilly, right?
PS. Any slender old (like, senior) gentleman with a curly moustache looks like Jan 't Serclaës to me...


Also, the Cures get to debut in their pâtissière uniforms,
Akira being the only one donning trousers instead of a skirt.

Don't the Zuka Cures look good in uniform? PS. Akira wears trousers as part of hers...