BONJOUR Sweet Love Patisserie: Cute Visuals But Stumbles Over Its Narrative
Sayuri Haruno attends the elite confectionary school Fleurir in order to follow her dream of opening a pastry shop. As Sayuri is there on scholarship she is under severe scrutiny from the head teacher and several wealthy students. Still, she refuses to be intimidated as she works with her classmates towards becoming pastry chefs. However, there is one school rule she must never, ever break if she wants to see graduation day: students cannot have a romantic relationship with any of the teachers.
Based off of the in-development mobile dating-simulation game of the same name, this original net animation by Silver Link runs twenty-four episodes. Each episode is five minutes in length, providing bite-sized segments for those who may not have the time to dedicate to half-hour shows. Initially these short episodes follow a pattern where each one will feature a certain dish, but change to follow the budding love story between Sayuri and her classmate Ryou. This drives the story away slightly away from the “one school rule” plot point into an area where the teachers are more so friends and supporting characters to Sayuri’s budding romance.
I truly did want to enjoy this series, but it was hard to get a handle on exactly what I was watching. The series gets confused as far as what type of story it actually wants to tell, and suffers from the five-minute time constraint. Additionally, there were some animation and narration elements that did not fit in with the style of the story, eating up screen time and preventing a steady flow to episodes. The cooking scenes feature sequences that harkens back to magical girl transformations, and there are little blobs representing sweets that occasionally have influence over the plot. It causes you to wonder if, since the game is currently in development, the story itself is not solidified and Silver Link only got vague plot line to turn into a series.
In terms of a dating simulation game the school rule of students being forbidden to have a romantic relationship with any of the teachers is an interesting concept. Clearly your choices on which male you decide to romantically pursue can change the story and outcome drastically, providing a unique experience each time you play. However removing that element of choice by transferring the concept into a non-interactive medium cuts out an important portion of the story. I suspect that this animation was made not necessarily to tell the story, but to build interest in the game.
Looking past the story elements, the series has the overall element of “cute.” The characters and scenery have soft lines with a color palette made up mainly of pastels. Though the animation is severely limited, not going into anything more complicated than the sparkles of the “transformation” sequences, it is overall aesthetically pleasing. In terms of a food-based anime the varying sweets are presented with great care and do not disappoint.
If you are looking for a streamlined story this series is not for you. However, if you just want a bit of fluff, cute visuals, and some “slice of life” moments surrounding romance you may find entertainment value in this series.