Someone got that reference, right?
Which is to say – anime bloggers and their readers aren’t completely one-dimensional in their interests, right?
Anyway, I have arrived at the decision that the best show of the season is… Yume-iro Pattissiere.
Yume-iro Pattissiere is one of very few magical girl-type shows in recent years that is actually intended for young girls, not older men. Superficially, it seems to share some traits with one of the other few of these shows, Shugo Chara, although unlike that show, this will probably not devolve into filler hell since it is only slated for a scant thirteen episodes. And, in actuality, it honestly has more in common with a show such as Ouran High or Hana Yori Dango in that the focus is on school-life and all the little dramas associated with such a thing. Which is to say – yes, there be magical little helpers, but that is essentially the extent of magical involvement in the show… and, honestly, these little magical helpers could just as easily have been replaced with supportive friends, since they don’t really lend any magical aid.
The lack of lending magical aid actually plays into one of the strong points of the show, which is just that – the dessert fairies (known here as ‘Sweets Spirits’)? They don’t wave their little wands to make things magically better. Ichigo, our heroine, is actually disappointed when she realizes that Vanilla, her Sweet Spirit, has no intention of using magic to improve her abilities. Vanilla instead scolds her, and informs her that she can only get better if she works and practices. Good going, Vanilla! Its an approach that is extremely refreshing in a field where a magical element automatically means that our leading lady is suddenly going to be imbued with amazing powers, a la La Cordo d’Oro.
Given the previously described nature of the Sweets Spirits, they actually come off in a more delightful manner than magical aides usually do, in that they really come across as imaginary friends-ish in nature instead of as magical guides to help with the quest. Because of that, I get this sweet feeling of vague nostalgia when watching Yume-iro Pattissiere – I had imaginary friends! And they were awesome! (Ok, full disclosure: I had imaginary… armadillos.) They cheered me up when I was feeling a bit down, they kept me company when I felt lonely.  And this seems to be the real purpose of the Sweets Spirits – they bolster our protagonists when they’re feeling discouraged. Unlike the magical guide in shows such as CardCaptor Sakura or Pretty Cure, the purpose of these guides are solely to encourage their human counterparts in succeeding at their own, non-magical goals. 
Anyway, I’ll admit that Yume-iro Pattissiere isn’t exactly high art. In fact, it gets quite silly at points. But it is extremely enjoyable when taken on the merits of its genre, and Ichigo has a much more positive attitude than do many other shoujo heroines (her moping is mercifully confined primarily to the second episode at this point). Yeah, the reverse harem element is kind of dumb (I was amused by Ichigo’s realization that one of them is a bit of a narcissist, though), and a lot of the tropes have been done before, but the execution is quite fun. I wish they made more shows like this these days. (I also wish I had a Sweet Spirit, but that’s another matter entirely…)
* * *
 Curiously enough, I think I’ve carried over my habit of imaginary friends into my adulthood in a different form, in that I have the habit of addressing myself to the departed people I know (don’t worry, they’ve never responded – so I’m not crazy!). Granted, instead of this being a respite for boredom or loneliness, it is generally me telling them about things going on in my life or something of that sort. I’m not sure how crazy this comes across as being, but to quote my favorite football coach: it is what it is.
 There is a sub-plot that the Sweet Spirits have to collect these recipe cards (basically, they take a magical picture of the dessert that someone made and send it to their queen) in order to become pattissiere themselves, but this is very much in the background – Vanilla explains it once, and the only time it appears thereafter is when she sends the magical recipe cards in. Basically, what I’m trying to say is, the quest for the Sweet Spirits isn’t even remotely the focus of the show – the maturation of the heroine is of far greater importance.