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Firechick's Anime Reviews: Bonjour Sweet Love Patisserie



I give yet another bland but still endearingly sweet reverse harem series...a 58/100.

I'll be honest, I never knew this show even existed until I went to an anime convention and went to a panel talking about short series, and this happened to be one of the shows they talked about. As soon as the panelist talked about it, I immediately got flashbacks to Yumeiro Patissiere, a shoujo series that's also about a girl going to a confectionary school befriending pretty boys and making sweets, even though it's been years since I've actually seen the series. But I was bored and running out of good anime to watch, and since the episodes are all five minutes long at the most, I thought it'd be a nice little time killer and take me away from reality for a while. Needless to say, it met my expectations. However, from all other standpoints, it is VERY disappointing.

The show's about Sayuri Haruno, a young girl who gets the chance to go to a famous confectionary school, Fleurir, on a scholarship so she can fulfill her dream of becoming a chef. It's nothing like she expects, and she meets many colorful friends and teachers. One of them is Ryou Kouzuki, a hot headed and blunt classmate who also dreams of becoming a chef. Teaching them are teachers like Aoi Mitsuki, a sweet and charming chocolatier who's adored by all the girls in the school, Gilbert Hanafusa, a half-French half-Japanese guy who's cheerful, bouncy, and...who acts like he's in high school, and Yoshinosuke Suzumi, a traditional, stern man who takes pride in making Japanese sweets. The show is very light on plot, and very episodic in nature, so it mostly focuses on Sayuri's interactions with her classmates and teachers, and there isn't really much to comment on. She also has to deal with the headmistress, who has a very strict "absolutely no teacher-student relationships" policy and hammers it over everyone's heads with the subtlety of a wrecking ball, even Sayuri, and she just won't let her hear the end of it.

If you're looking for a nice cooking show with three-dimensional characters who actually develop and evolve, you're in the wrong place, as in spite of its sweet nature, the show is as bland as they come. All of the characters are little more than stock archetypes with little, if any, personality or depth beyond the one quirk that gets shilled to no end. Other characters just act plain stupid at times, with Gilbert acting like a kid even though he's, you know, a friggin' teacher! And don't even get me started on the headmistress who is annoying as fuck. All she ever does is look strict and constantly accuse Sayuri of trying to shack up with one of the three main teachers over really petty reasons. Now, I hate the whole student/teacher romance trope as much as the next guy, especially because in real life that's a huge problem and could get the teacher in question either arrested or fired from their job. Most anime tend to romanticize student/teacher romances, and the show does acknowledge it as a bad thing. But the way the headmistress goes about being hyper vigilant about it doesn't make her come off as someone who's genuinely concerned about her students, but more like a hyper paranoid social justice warrior who actively looks for problems where there aren't any and seems to be looking for any excuse she can to kick Sayuri out of school. She even accuses her of trying to shack up with the teacher in situations where there is clearly NO romantic attraction between them at all! It got old, and it got old fast. Lady, if you're really gonna bully an innocent student just for looking at a teacher in a certain way, maybe you should quit being a principal and join the FBI or something. You'll probably do a better job scaring off criminals. Oh, and you want to know the worst thing about this? The whole thing is played as a running joke. Because playing this stuff for comedy surely isn't offensive, right?! There's also the purple haired bitchy girl who is way too obsessed with Mitsuki, to the point of making an entire half-naked chocolate sculpture of him. Shouldn't she be reported or something, because some of her behavior borders on really inappropriate.

Of course, the show is aware of how problematic its whole set-up is, but it still doesn't hesitate to indulge in the very tropes its trying to criticize, what with having girl characters gush over the teachers, even outright calling them sexy during the beach episode (Which is so not appropriate at all!!), and framing the teachers in bishie sparkles and the female gaze. Then again, otome games and adaptations of such have never really been known for their commentary on real world issues, nor were they intended to be so. Still, the show is clearly trying to have its cake and eat it too, and being indecisive in whether it wants to criticize the whole student/teacher romance implications or romanticize them, or doing both, just doesn't work. All it does is give off mixed messages, like "Don't get into romantic relationships with your teachers" and "Check out these super hot teachers! Don't you just wanna bang'em?" Yeah, I think you can see how wrong this is.

But even without that, the show is just another generic harem about a cipher otome protag who gets into a special school and gets surrounded by hot guys. With the show being about cooking and baking, you'd think it would actually show the characters cooking, preparing ingredients, and all the important things that cooking anime are known for, right? Sadly, even that's brushed off to the side. Instead of showing the characters actually cooking, the anime instead has these over the top, melodramatic shots of the teachers and Ryou spinning around and swinging their tools around like they're performing some special attack that's played out like a transformation scene, all with sparkles and dramatic effects. It's like the anime doesn't want to put in the effort to show them actually cooking or something! The animation in and of itself is fine, if nothing ground breaking, though it's not safe from the occasional weirdly drawn face or stiff movement, and the character designs are a little too over the top and otome-esque for my liking. The soundtrack isn't very memorable either, and the opening and ending songs...they're phoned in and badly sung, which is a shame to say because they're sung by the actors who play the three teachers and Ryou, and their acting is fine! Also, for some reason, there are also these cute round chibi creatures that end "maro" at the end of all their sentences that appear every now and then, and they serve absolutely no purpose other than just being cute and annoying, with episode 15 being the worst offender in how poorly written it is and how it's little more than filler made to shill these cutesy spheres.

Honestly, the only real saving grace this show has is that all of its episodes are five minutes long. That, at the very least, keeps the pacing consistent and the episodic conflicts never drag out longer than they need to, though that still doesn't save it from being dull and boring. Then again, I did find out this anime was made solely to promote a cell phone game, and anime based on cell phone games don't really have the best reputation. This could change, and I have seen some that are genuinely good (Granblue Fantasy and Kemono Friends being two examples), but some can be held back by the flaws of trying to adapt a mobage game into an anime and wind up not being very good (Magia Record). If you want to watch something similar to this but better, I'd recommend Yumeiro Patissiere. It's much longer and has more time to develop its characters, and while it's more of a children's show and still adheres to certain shoujo anime stereotypes, such as having a bitchy rival girl character and a green haired pretty boy who's just there to look pretty, it's far better than Bonjour is by a longshot. I mean, Yumeiro is no masterpiece, but it's a much better take on the reverse harem cooking school show than Bonjour tried to be.

Overall, if you like your saccharine reverse harems, this one's cliche but mostly harmless. Otherwise, give it a miss.
Tags: anime, bonjour, koiaji, love, patisserie, review, sweet
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