The ribbon is cut and the Main Street of Marie's Garden is now open. But that's just a sideline to the real grand opening: the start of the contest for Makoto Kashino's very life. Will he be forced into slavery as Miya Koshiro's play doll? Or will he continue to taste freedom? It does not look good at the outset.
What They Say
It's the grand opening for Marie's Garden, and Miya is pulling out all the stops advertising her Beautiful Night Castle, even going so far as to by television advertising! Faced with such overwhelming PR power, Ichigo's shop is immediately off to a terrible disadvantage! Everyone seems to love the new sweets they sell, but with so few people actually even going there in the first place, what's the point? Team Ichigo brainstorms ways to increase the customer flow into their shop, like holding tastings, but the true draw has got to be the "Sweets Princes" themselves!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Team Ichigo and friends have prepared their new assortment of sweets, but is that going to be enough against the massive financial power of Miya Koshiro, regardless of whether her sweets are any good or not? That is the central problem presented by this episode. Koshiro has certainly gone full bore with her advertising, buying television time and plastering the subways with her image and that of her new sweets shop, the "Beautiful Night Castle." She even hires a blimp.
Ichigo and Lemon counter with handing out fliers to the crowds gathered at the opening of Marie's Garden. But Miya even has her Andorran lackeys working on her behalf there. Finally, the grand opening ceremony for "Marry's Garden" is held. The huge crowds all head for Miya's overblown shop, but large numbers are left waiting for a long time to get in, since the crowd is overflowing far too much. Eventually, Ichigo and friends are able to bring in some customers, but the numbers they have can't compete with Koshiro on the first day.
While she has been nothing but furniture for most of the series, during the strategy session the first night, Lemon manages to come up with an idea that might work: use the Sweets Princes as a selling point. They have an open kitchen up front, and they can use it to showcase the Sweets Princes at work. And work it does, as they manage to increase their sales by 20% on the second day. Of course, that does not impress the Heiress and her chief lackey Johnny, who come to brag about their huge sales (they've sold over 8 million yen worth of sweets the first two days, while Team Ichigo has managed only about half a million).
Of course, things are going exactly according to plan, as I predicted last week. We'd have the competition rev up with a seemingly impossible mountain for Team Ichigo to climb, and we have that in the large sales numbers racked up by Koshiro's ludicrous sugar palace, thanks to the massive advertising she has used. Team Ichigo is not going to give up, however, as Kashino does not want to be condemned to marrying Koshiro (which she might seem an envious catch to some, he's not the type who would ever want her for a wife). In the next episode or two (it looks to me from the preview from next week that that will not be the end of it), I'm sure the contest will continue to look near impossible for Ichigo to win, but somehow they will come up with a plan to increase their sales exponentially while I predict that within a week (show time), Beautiful Night Castle will start boring people, and its sales will taper off. The only question is how much longer the writers are going to bore us with the predictable story line.
As the competition between Ichigo and Miyo Koshiro begins, predictably, the Heiress gets out to a big lead, thanks to her overbearing financial resources. It is hard for Ichigo's little shop to compete, as they do not have the same ability to advertise and get their name out there. This start to the contest comes as no surprise to anyone. We should expect her vast wealth, poured into beating Ichigo's shop, to prevail in the opening phase to this battle between the two. It would have been strange if it did not accomplish this. The issue that remains to be decided is how long they will impose upon us with scenes of Miya and her lackey Johnny smugly lording it over Team Ichigo, before they get their comeuppance. I sure hope they get their comeuppance. If they don't, I will admire the courage of the writers for going that route, but also will likely wish to stop watching the show.
Japanese 2.0 Language, English Subtitles
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