Who doesn’t like eating the cutest, most colorful, and most damn delicious desserts? Okay, maybe you don’t, but I sure as hell do! I also put myself through the torture of watching shows like Iron Chef, Good Eats, anime like Yakitate!! Japan, and Asian dramas like Bambino! and Pasta. What do all these shows have in common? Delectable eats and fascinating premises.
Yumeiro Pâtissière SP Professional is the second season of the very successful anime, Yumeiro Pâtissière. Like its predecessor, YPP follows main character Amano Ichigo and her friends, both new and old. After the showdown in Paris at the end of season 1, season 2 takes off on a new route not previously explored: the business of sweets. Ichigo and her friends tackle this competitive industry with gusto and learn that success cannot be achieved solely through heart.
Not unlike the first season, YPP covers typical lessons of teamwork, spirit, endurance, and competition; however, this second season adds one more spice to the mix (sick of these puns yet?): money. While profits were introduced on a very small scale in YP, YPP goes much larger and tackles the shop front, including such details as basic business strategies and online marketing. Coupled with the now older characters (high school) and poppy OP theme, the anime sparkles with a sense of growth and blossoming love. Unfortunately, YPP doesn’t follow completely through on these promises and while it pleases at times, I was left with a sense of incompleteness after the final, 13th episode.
YPP runs significantly shorter at 13 episodes (compared to the substantial 50 of its prequel), and as such, much of the story and conflict is crunched down to fit. Amano Ichigo has finished her studies in Paris, won after her successful competition at the end of the first season. The main focus now is Marie’s Garden, Henri-sensei’s sweets park creation. The one location houses many shops catering to one idea–sweets. There are shops for Japanese sweets, American desserts, and the pastries of many other countries. Henri-sensei brings together a new team for Ichigo, one that includes only one of her previous 4-member Team Ichigo members. Together, they must set up and maintain one of the shops of Marie’s Garden.
This idea is pretty fun and in line with the older, and supposedly more mature, characters. Introducing a business front also pulls the show away from the predictable high school set, which we had plenty of (well, junior high) in the first season. While the business plot goes through plenty of conflict and resolution, the side-plot of Ichigo and Makoto’s relationship does not. Their attraction is mutual, and they’re both aware of that fact, but if you’re looking for any movement in the relationship, you’re going to be disappointed. There’s plenty of the awkward glances and blushing, but nothing more than some hand holding and a cute little kiss at the end, which we don’t even get to see on screen.
What of course comes with maturation are new relationships. Team Ichigo has become a joy of the past, and Andou and Hanabusa move onto new challenges. YPP introduces team members Johnny McBeal, his sweet spirit Maize, Lemon Yamagishi, and her sweet spirit Mint. Again, because of the shortness of this anime, we get very little insight on the subtleties of these new characters, with the exception of Lemon who first appeared in the first season.
Johnny shows extreme attraction to Ichigo, but has a similar affection for any female he comes across. This attraction for Ichigo makes no sense as he doesn’t appear to have any significant shared moments with her that would garner such a response. His defection to Koshiro Miya’s team makes more sense, as they are cousins, and she is able to support his ambitious desires for a theme park-styled shop. Between he and his sweet spirit, Maize is definitely the more comical and likable of the two (if only because she’s a cutie pa-tootie). Her English/Japanese mix-ups are adorable, as is her very sudden personality change from sweet spirit to bossy-as-hell spirit.
Perhaps the most interesting character is Tennouji Mari, a continued character from season one. She still exhibits her confidence and capability, but her weaknesses are magnified in YPP. She continues to yearn for Henri-sensei’s approval and applause, and lacks drive for her own individual desire to make sweets. We get to see her down, and more down, and see some ugly traits of jealousy and pettiness from her character, making Mari all the more real and accessible.
Overall, my feelings about this show are about the same as the feelings I had with the resulting tie in the competition between Beautiful Night Castle and Le Reve Couleur–EHHH. There were so many directions this show could have taken to further the episode count and have a more fulfilling end. I wanted to see more of a development in Ichigo and Makoto’s relationship, as well as more progress in the friendship with Lemon and Johnny. It also would have been nice to have a bit more time at the school, just because I was curious how different patissiere school is at the next level. One of the additions I really loved about this season was the extended time in the Sweets Kingdom.
If you like this show, and others that include the fairy idea (Shugo Chara and A Little Snow Fairy Sugar), then you can understand the desire to see all the characters in chibi-form. Heck, you don’t have to be a fan of these types of anime, just a fan of cute🙂
My final vote for show is a 7/10, “Good.”