It’s a good thing that Delicious Party♡Precure has such a good storyline, because the product placement this week was definitely more than obvious. Those candies that “taste like first love” actually serve as a nice plot point and bit of character development, but I swear that there was one shot of two of the girls holding the (admittedly attractive) box that looked right out of a TV ad . While we definitely have to expect a substantial degree of marketing in a kids’ show because that’s how the game’s been played since at least the 1980s, this still felt obvious enough that it actively detracted from the story, character development moments notwithstanding.
But it also has to be said that those moments are pretty good for both foreshadowing and just showing the difference in how each of the main players views the idea of love. Poor Takumi (who inexplicably chose the one candy with the color of zucchini) said that first love tastes bitter, which is a very apt description for how his crush on Yui is going, while both Mari and Secretoru comment that first love is bittersweet. Meanwhile all three girls have idealized flavors that come straight out of shoujo romance, indicating that they don’t have much, if any, real experience of love – basically they’re just parroting a few stock phrases that they’ve likely consumed in the media aimed at girls their age. This is further evidenced by the way that Ran and Yui keep getting stuck on the whole “flavor” issue when Tomoe is pouring her heart out to them; love just isn’t really on their radar at this point, which may be bad news for Takumi but feels nicely true to kids their age: not everyone gets interested in the same things at the same time (or ever, in some cases), and that’s okay. In fact, Mari says as much when they’re discussing the candies, and as far as one-line blink-and-you’ll-miss-it affirmations go, it’s a good one. Mari’s casual remark not being made a big deal of almost makes it work better, because he says it as if it’s a given truth that he’s just vocalizing, which in itself sends a powerful message.
Meanwhile poor Takumi (which almost feels like his name at this point: Poor Takumi) is still struggling with his overwhelming embarrassment. The wrong girl blindsided him with a confession, he’s still trying to figure out what Yui’s up to and what Mari has to do with it, and to top it all off, Mari flat-out tells him that he and Yui were spying on his little scene with Tomoe. Add in his realization that he needs to put on the dumb (in his mind his) costume and show up in front of Yui and it’s the complete package of “How to Torment a Fourteen-Year-Old.” you can just feel him cringe when he tells the Cures that his magical boy name is Black Pepper, something he’s clearly come up with on the spot.
That name does raise an interesting question, though. Mari comments when he first sees Black Pepper that he looks like Cinnamon, who is presumably Takumi’s dad Monpei. Since we know that his name is Monpei, that implies that Cinnamon is his magical boy name, or rather, his Cook Fighter name. (Is that dumber sounding than Pretty Cure? I ca n’t decide because I ‘m so used to Pretty Cure as a title.) Does that mean that “Rosemary”is similarly not Mari ‘s real name, but his secret identity she of? Or does he not count as a Cook Fighter? Assuming that Monpei and Cinnamon are one and the same and that his hair also changes color when he dons his knock-off Tuxedo Mask outfit, that means that Cook Fighters transform while CooKingdom workers like Mari don’t, which again is an interesting bit of worldbuilding to think about. It’s reminiscent of Laura/Cure La Mer’s background in Tropical-Rouge! Pretty Cure, but she was an official (girl) Cure, so this does feel a little different, especially since Black Pepper is definitely filling the Tuxedo Mask role of “throw an object, say something to motivate the main girl, and then back off.” I admit I was hoping for more of a Kaito Sinbad role for Black Pepper, but that may come later.
In any event, Narcistoru is clearly enjoying himself way too much, which can’t be good for our heroes. Gentlu, brainwashed or not, she just did her job her; Narcistoru releases his. I’m hoping he doesn’t get as creepy as Daruizen in Healin’ Good Pretty Cure, but I trust this show to do it right even if he does. And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go try to wipe the image of fried eggs with ketchup and mayonnaise from my mind. Mayo and egg whites – two of my least favorite flavors and textures. How I wish I’d never seen them together.
Delicious Party♡Precure is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.