In this week’s Blend S review, Ariana takes a silly anime way too seriously.

Summary:

Because Kaho gets a suntan, and Maika gets sunburns from their beach trip; Dino decides to host a limited time jungle-themed cafe. It ends up being pretty popular.

The cafe actually looked pretty neat and I would totally go to a jungle-themed cafe like this one.

After the cafe returns to normal, Kouyou discovers that the cafe has run out of strawberries. Dino and Maika go on a quest to find more strawberries, but all the nearby supermarkets seem to be completely sold out. While Dino and Maika are shopping, the rest of the staff at Cafe Stile try to keep customers from ordering dishes that have strawberry in them.

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Mafuyu in “little sister” mode. She puts on this act scarily well.

In the last segment of the episode, Cafe Stile has become very popular. The cafe is so busy now that the waitresses are taxed and have trouble keeping up their act. There’s a discussion about hiring on another staff member. At the end of the episode, a new face appears…

You deserved this, Dino.

My Opinion:

The good things about this episode:

-Hey, an episode actually focused on what happens at the cafe.
-We get to see Kaho, Mafuyu, and Miu acting out their “roles” while working; which I sorely missed.
-We get some small bit of character development on Maika’s end, as she’s (understandably) concerned about how scary she is to others.

The bad things:

-Kouyou grabbing Kaho’s boob by accident is cliched and stupid, especially since nothing came of it.
-The cafe segment where Kaho, Mafuyu, and Miu tried to get customers not to order things with strawberries in it was amusing but also extremely dumb. Couldn’t you just… tell customers that the cafe is out of strawberries… it’s not gonna hurt your customer-base.
Dino. Just… Dino.

Dino’s character is so horrible in this episode that I need to dedicate the rest of this review section to talking about it. I let his creepiness slide in past episodes but this episode actually made me hate him. I know his entire “shtick” is that he’s meant to be a huge geek about anime stuff, that he’s intentionally portrayed as a man-child, and that he has an obsession with Japanese culture. But christ. Dino’s words to Maika reads less like a cheer up pep-talk and more like something insidious.

This isn’t even about the huge age gap anymore, I think Dino’s words here are despicable on many levels. Maika’s obviously upset about how she appears to others, and it’s shown from the very beginning of the series that she desperately wants to change. There are real consequences to her appearance, such as accidentally making a kid cry. Dino’s brand of “encouragement” is to essentially say something to the effect of, “It’s okay that you seem scary to other people, because the people at the cafe (who have a noticeable S/M fetish) and I, love your eyes!” And it’s just… what the hell. I get that the message here is probably something like, “don’t worry too much about what others think, just be yourself.” But coming out of Dino’s mouth… after which he goes on to talk about how much he loves Japanese girls is just… ugh. It’s like Dino’s encouraging Maika NOT to change, even though he knows she wants to, merely because Maika’s current appearance/personality fulfills all his fetish points. And that’s just… horribly selfish.

If it was impossible for Maika to change, then I’d be more willing to accept this botched message. And yes, it’s true that Maika wouldn’t be able to easily change her face/eyes. But Maika for the most part looks fine when she’s not nervous or trying too hard to appear “nice.” So the only thing Maika really needs to “change” is to gain enough confidence/experience presenting herself to others to stop accidentally scaring people or giving people the wrong impression.

I would not hate Dino so much if he wasn’t basically the de-facto deuteragonist. It’s pretty blatantly obvious that Dino’s the creator’s pet; which is the only reason why he gets so much screentime/focus despite the cast being largely female. And because he’s “bishonen,” I already know he’s going to be easily forgiven for a lot of shit just because of that, sigh. At least he did get arrested by the police in this episode. Add that to the list of “good things.”

Anyway this episode ended up being such a mixed bag for me. It was great because we actually went back to the cafe for the majority of the episode. And I liked that! But it was bad because… effing Dino. Dino seriously just ruined this episode for me, I’m sorry.

Out of five:

precure heart2 and 1/2

Here’s hoping that this new staff member takes time away from Dino and his awfulness.