Andoh's shop is in trouble, but will he be able to realize that the problem may lie in himself? Perhaps a fairy will show him the way.
What They Say
Andoh's shop is running out of customers, and running out of time! With his back to the wall, he works overtime to come up with a new creation to bring in the customers, but no matter how hard he pushes himself, he can't come up with anything good enough. Exhausted, he collapses one night, and Ichigo and the others look after him, offering to help. Andoh refuses, saying that he has to do something about his shop himself. That's when Andoh's grandfather scolds him, telling him that he knows nothing and should just close down the shop!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Andoh is in trouble, as his shop is hemorrhaging customers and he's out of ideas about what to do. Ichigo, ever the nice, and naive, girl, wants to help him out, but he refuses, as he (properly) notes that this is something he has to fix for himself. Of course, Andoh pushes himself far too hard trying to come up with a winning idea, driving himself to the point of exhaustion. Of course, he collapses. Fortunately for him, Caramel was there and able to get help (from someone who could see her, obviously).
Of course, Ichigo naively offers kind words, while Johnny and Kashino offer direct and necessary criticism. And who would have thought that it would be Johnny that would be the mouthpiece for industry this episode, giving us a dissertation on "chance loss" and "disposal loss," two actual business concepts? Well, it would not have been me, considering he is the same character who earlier in the episode took Ichigo for a motorcycle ride, claiming "everyone in his country" had a motorcycle.
Where is mine? I would really like to know, so I could sell it and buy some more DVDs.
That idiocy aside, Andoh's grandfather comes along and tells Andoh that if he can't understand the feelings of those who support him, he might as well just close up his shop now. Even Caramel gets on his case about his refusal to accept help from others, as he is determined to do things completely on his own. Of course, the episode ends with a rally around the loser...I mean rally around their friend heartwarming moment. We even have the reappearance of an old friend. So, we learn about minimizing your losses while operating (which, by the way, was common sense before business schools tried to make it more complicated than it is), as well as the importance of teamwork and being able to rely on those under you to help support you in your endeavors.
So, it appears that introducing business concepts is going to be the main focus for this entire season. While I am sure that that will appeal to some in the audience, I find it a great let down from the fun atmosphere of the original series, which focused on the sweets. At least for the moment, the annoying bickering between the members of Team Ichigo lessened some extent, though not really enough to make this show more palatable.
I'm sure that there will be people who will continue to find cute moments in this show, and there are cute moments sprinkled here and there. But much of the magic that made the original series so endearing is largely lacking from this season. The show used to be about four talented young pastry chefs who were faced with the challenge of creating new and interesting desserts, in order to gain experience and expand their abilities to please their potential customers in the future. Now, just two years later (in show time), we are expected to watch them try to run their own professional shops, even though they're only first year high school students in age, and seem to have had no training whatsoever in absolute basics such as inventory management and marketing. I'm not sure if a show can get by completely on the characters when the plot, such as it is, is about as exciting as a textbook on basic retail management.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Apple Mac Mini with 1GB RAM, Mac OS 10.5 Leopard