Tired of inventory, sales and accounting? Then how about a trip to the Sweets Kingdom where they have waterfalls of pure chocolate and mountains made of gelato? I'm there.
What They Say
One day, the Spirits get a letter from the Sweets Kingdom from Andy, asking them to come help them pass their advancement exam. But after the magic spell to head to the Sweets Kingdom goes haywire, Ichigo and the rest all come along, too. With the theme of the exam being the "Sweets Kingdom" itself, Kasshi decides the best way to prepare is to visit all the most famous places in the Sweets Kingdom and collect ingredients along the way. And so begins the epic tour of the Sweets Kingdom!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Note: Crunchyroll has numbered this episode number 55, as if it were being numbered continuously from the first series.
Perhaps the writers were getting as tired as I was with the "run your own business" story they are focusing on, so instead, we are going to get a trip to the Sweets Kingdom. While the Spirits are doing a little song and dance number, they get a message (which Lemon's spirit can't read, since she hasn't learned to read yet...how old is she?), actually two messages. The first is from the Kingdom telling them that they have been given new powers, including the ability to come and go to the Sweets Kingdom as they please. The second message is from Andy, the Sweets Spirit who looks exactly like a miniature version of Andoh, and is friends with miniature replicas of Hanabusa (Narci) and Kashino (Kasshi). He is asking for their help in practicing for the exam.
Of course, Vanilla and Chocolat compete with each other to try out the magic that teleports you to the Sweets Kingdom. They manage to overdo it, and wind up transporting not just themselves, but also Ichigo, Lemon, Johnny and Kashino as well. We were waiting for it to happen and it finally did: Kashino meets Kasshi, and both refused to see any resemblance between them.
After discussing the possibilities on how to tackle the exam, whose theme is the Sweets Kingdom itself, Kasshi suggests that they take a tour around the famous places in the Sweets Kingdom, collecting ingredients and getting ideas. During the expedition up Mount Gelato, Kashino and Ichigo manage to become separated, which allows for the two of them to have one of those "getting closer" moments that are quite common in shoujo romances.
In the end, the entire party is reunited and gets to see a fabulous view of the entire Sweets Kingdom from the top of Mount Gelato. Even Kashino is moved by the experience, one which he notes he would never have had if he had just stayed in the kitchen.
So, clearly, there seems to have been a touch of fatigue even among the writers with the "run your own shop" storyline, and thus we have this side excursion to the Sweets Kingdom to provide some comic relief. They also take this occasion to revisit what was only briefly hinted at in the very last moments of the original series: the possibility of romance between Kashino and Ichigo. They don't go overboard on it, instead making it rather subtle. Overall, this episode, even though it was just a fluffy diversion, was a needed fluffy diversion. So far, the show has tried to leaven the serious tone of running a business by injecting moments of character-based humor, drawing upon the repertory of personalities they established in the first series, as well as the introduction of two new characters (Johnny and Maize) who are clearly meant to be laughed at by the audience. But it has not been working well at all, as the character humor has been rather bland and done nothing to lighten up the series.
So, this time, they seem to have decided to switch gears, by moving the action entirely to the Sweets Kingdom, as well as bringing back the three Jerks from the original series. While this is a welcome diversion, the one drawback is that this is only a diversion, not a new direction. The trip is going to last a little longer (their journey through the Sweets Kingdom was not completed in this episode), but there will eventually be an end where they will have to return to the real world, and their business. Which is boring. Enjoy this diversion while it lasts.
Chocolat and Vanilla get a letter from Andy, one of the trio of Sweets Spirits apprentices who look like the Sweets Princes in the human world. He asks them to come to the Sweets Kingdom to help him, Narci and Kasshi prepare for their advancement exam. If they don't pass it this time, they'll never become Court Pâtissiers. Chocolat, Vanilla, Mint, and Maize all agree to go, but Chocolat and Vanilla, as usual, butt heads over who gets to use their new magic power: the ability to transport to the Sweets Kingdom whenever they want. They both overdo it and teleport not just themselves, but also their human partners. While in the Sweets Kingdom, they all decide, with the Jerk trio, to visit the most famous places in the Sweets Kingdom. Along the way, relationships are tested and revealed. A nice diversion from the boring business storyline that has been dominating this series so far. They still didn't back anything, though.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
Apple Mac Mini with 1GB RAM, Mac OS 10.5 Leopard