miércoles, 24 de mayo de 2017

THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT: YUKARI VS. GIULIO

Kirakira Pretty Cure à la Mode...
Episode 16: My Own Review


THE QUEEN'S GAMBIT: YUKARI VS. GIULIO
or,
QUEEN'S GAMBIT TO BLACK KING; CHECKMATE







































AKIRA (feeling awkward): Why a hakama?
(Notice Giulio raising an eyebrow!)

YUKARI: We have chosen what would suit each one of you best.
(Ah, so that's why!)


































GIULIO:

YUKARI: You see, I have a much older sister...


GIULIO (startled):



YUKARI: She is the true heir to our family name, so I have always done as I pleased.

GIULIO (smug-faced): You can talk to me about anything.

YUKARI (smug-faced): Thank you.
























Daifuku are rice paste mooncakes with a sweet filling. I have eaten them, and love especially green tea and strawberries-and-cream daifuku. It's nice that they haven't done a European dessert this time for a change... also, the Kotozumes being a traditional household, this scenario was and is a given.





AOI (tasting a daifuku with the blue filling): Let me guess... winegums?


FANGIRLS (elated, teary-eyed): Lady Yukari's care and attention... How wonderful!! (They dry up their tears into their respective hankies).











Beauty and... intense excitement... let's la mix it up!
Utsukushisa mo... tokimeki mo... let's la mazemaze!


Cure Chocolat! Ready to serve! (Dekiagari!)



GIULIO (producing his dagger): Kirakiraru! Stained in darkness! (Raising his dagger skywards): Noire Décoration!
Lightning shoots up his right arm, turning the dagger into a formidable pair of daifuku yo-yos with a single handle that look a bit like boleadoras or castanets...

















GIULIO: How disappointing. (Pause.) Come join me and be stained in darkness.

GIULIO: So weak inside, and all the while, everyone cares only about your older sister. How lonely that have must been for you.



YUKARI (resolute, confident): I have no sisters.


So, it's canon that Yukari is an only child. Still, she's had no qualms about lying to put Giulio to the test and confirm that he and Leo Kuroki are one and the same person!










CURE MACARON: Meow!









After Macaron has disarmed Giulio, and Chocolat and the others have arrived on the scene, it's obviously time to use that Finishing Move right now!





GIULIO (seething with anger): Those Precures...









MY OWN HUMBLE OPINION: Seriously, Yukari Kotozume, you have fooled us all! Like that talk about being the spare to the Kotozume surname... you have the perfectionism/expectations issues that are so typical for only children (as I know from my own experience), and you say the heiress is your older sister!? And you had no qualms as you told that lie!? Giulio was not the only one deceived... That was a formidable ruse/shibboleth to confirm your suspicions about that Giu-Leo secret identity issue that not even your moirail Akira can understand!! I mean, as for this Giulio vs. Yukari/Macaron plot, the latter is revealed to be a true Emilia to his Iago, the perfect meeting-his-match scenario indeed... 
To recap: 
  • he tries to troll her, and, in response... 
  • she gets seductive on him (even trying to steal a kiss from the younger villain!), then invites him to her place for tea; (Fifteen love for Kotozume);
  • she then tells him she's the spare, in the shade of an older sister: he falls for it hook, line, and sinker and gives her the wrong kind of misleading advice (Thirty love for Kotozume);
  • he sets a trap for her by trapping her fanbase (Thirty fifteen: Kuroki's catching up, but Kotozume still has the upper hand);
  • both of them transform and get their weapons ready, they're pretty much equal, until...
  • he finally traps her;
  • he tries to break her, hand-tied and hanging from a thin line, by tempting her to the dark side and dissing her "little sister complex," allowing her to confirm her suspicions about his muggle/secret identity (Forty fifteen to Kotozume, it all boils down to the match point!);
  • she reveals she was and is an only child all along, then proceeds to wear her heart upon her sleeve, revealing a new disarming/weakening move (Game, set, match, and tournament to Yukari Kotozume!!)

Though the climax of this episode's battle, with Giulio trolling and tempting his opponent hand-tied and hanging from the edge, reminded me just a little of The Empire Strikes Back (you know, that climax when Darth Vader cuts off the perilously hanging Luke's right hand) and far more of those scenes when the Snow Queen tempts Kai, Facilier tempts Tiana, and Satan tempts Jesus (the trope codifier) here... "Come join me and be stained in darkness..."  But of course Yukari Kotozume, being such a strategist and a schemer to rival Giulio himself, doesn't even put that bait to her lips! The fact that he literally had her hanging on a thin line added even more suspense to the scene; showing us that this is a damsel scenario, but the one in distress is not your conventional whiny and brainless damsel at all!
Her own character development in this episode... it was defrosting on all fronts. Defrosting with Akira, defrosting with her (Yukari's) lady grandmother Shino, defrosting when it comes to getting stuck in a rut and being wistful (kimagure) to find her own skill as a strategist and play a redoubtable game of speed chess against, and defeat, the Iago figure of the show. Once more I have to say she's the Emilia to his Iago. The only one aware of his agenda and able to outwit him indeed. That creed she says after freeing herself from Giulio's death trap, is an impressive outright heart-upon-sleeve declaration of what she truly believes in that has taken our hearts and minds by surprise... as well as her new attack, Macaron Julienne, which involves putting buzzsaw blades as the fillings of her macaron yo-yos. Badass...
Today Giulio produced a pair of daifuku yo-yos to match Macaron's macaron yo-yos in battle. Yo-yos vs. yo-yos. That's inevitable. Though Cure Macaron is ambidextrous and uses separate yo-yos, while Giulio uses his pair of castanet-like daifuku yo-yos right-handed. Thus, especially after getting her upgrade of the cour, she is the one who has the upper hand (not to mention her wit as her primary weapon!)! As for Macaron Julienne, which involves putting buzzsaw blades as the fillings of her macaron yo-yos, that's badass... As badass as Chocolat Aromase, I must confess. Tied for the first place.
As for Yukari's grandmother, the Kotozume matriarch... Up until now, I thought Olenna Tyrell (née Redwyne) was the epitome of cool old lady/wise matriarch with a youthful streak. Now I've found one who not surpasses, but rather equals the Queen of Thorns. And that's Shino Kotozume. The wise advice she gives her granddaughter is worth gold; one can see that she genuinely cares for Yukari.
And Akira being the only Cure to wear a hakama (those puffy long trousers or britches)... this detail really cements her bifauxnen status; like the garçon uniform, it compensates quite nicely the fact that she wears the skirt in high-school uniform. The fact that Yukari was the one who decided on Akira to be the only one in breeches (biologically male Giulio aside)... as our Sailor Uranus expy gets all flustered and our proper lady replies: "We have chosen what would suit each one of you best." Indeed, it fits Akira like a glove, proving Yukari's excellent fashion sense, right?
Which brings us to the progress of the HMS Yukakira; so far, it's cruising as smoothly as can be across the serene waters of trust. Yukari can clearly confide in Akira when it comes to those expectation issues, and those are really strong shoulders to dry up her tears on.

PS. The Kotozume Yashiki is as different from the neoclassical Tategami Mansion as I expected (a far cry!), and the same goes for the residents of both estates; maybe this reflects a more traditional vs. a more Westernised elite...
PS II. On In the Shades of Dawning: Aside from the ice puzzle, Yukari will also have to solve three riddles, which she will not be able to answer until defrosted, to win her freedom (these riddles are taken from Puccini's Turandot). Only if she solves the riddles will she get the clues to do the ice puzzle right and win her freedom. Akira's words of encouragement, her blood, and her embrace will allow Yukari to solve the riddle clues to the ice puzzle:
1) Through the dire winter night
soars a dazzling rainbow sight,
shining above all so bright
to make everything seem right.
(Hope).
2) Blazing without being fire,
'tis searing fever, heat, desire:
Idleness turns it hard and cold,
so do despair and growing old...
yet if a dream should one inspire,
it rises brighter, hotter, higher!
Its voice you listen to without regret,
its light is bright and warm as sun to set.
(Blood).
3) So ice-cold that it feels searing is she,
yet to your heat frozen far even more;
both fair and dark, and, if she sets you free,
she binds you, kneeling, mercy to implore.
If she accepts that you for her fall down,
she will her yielding captive kiss and crown.
What is this ice that, in exchange, gives fire;
so lovely, yet so sinister and dire?
(Yukari herself).



IN NEXT EPISODE (17):


At last it's time for Giulio to turn it up a notch;
he makes a move that keeps the Cures concerned and on the watch...

This springtime cour will end with a high-stakes two-part finale,
during which friends and enemies will all their powers rally...