Change is never easy, and loss even less so. That’s a lesson Ran has to learn this week when her favorite traditional sweets shop posts that it’s going to be shutting down, and there’s a real sense that this is her first time losing something that’s important to her. There’s a definite metaphor in there, and we can see that Ran’s the member of the group who’s lost the least over the course of her life thus far: Kokone deals with it regularly with her perpetually absent parents, Amane lost her sense of self when she was Gentlu, and Yui’s lost her grandmother, so all three of them have some experience with grief. While losing a favorite confectionery may not quite be on the same level if we just line the four losses up, to Ran it’s just as important as anything else, and that’s what’s important here.
Ran is, arguably, the least mature of our girls, and while I’d hesitate to say that she does a lot of growing up in this episode, she does learn how to cope with her own feelings a little better, which honestly is more important than if they used the loss of the restaurant as some major trigger for a personality rewrite. Mostly what we see is that she learns to be less credulous and to really think about a situation while still retaining her trademark enthusiasm. When Ran first notices that the shop is closing, a man comes up to tell her that the closure is due to a new mall being built that will house many sweets stores. We can write him off as the neighborhood gossip, but to Ran, he’s preaching the gospel, and she immediately seizes on his explanation as The Truth. She goes into full Ran-Ran Mode and launches a campaign to attract more business, figuring that if she can boost sales and call attention to the restaurant, it wouldn’t have to close.
That this may not be the actual reason never occurs to her, but when she brings the girls and Rosemary there, Amane quickly puts the real pieces together: the owner is an old woman, and after sixty years of running her confectionery, she’s ready to retire It’s not that she has to close her business, it’s that she wants to – and that’s not something that Ran can fathom or even wants to hear. As far as children’s media depicting loss and grief, I really like how this episode handles it. The general go-to in kiddy lit is the loss of a pet or agemate, with books like Judith Viorst and Erik Blegvad’s The Tenth Good Thing About Barney or Katherine Patterson’s Bridge to Terabithia still topping lists. By making Ran’s experience about a restaurant closing because the owner/chef is old, the same point is still getting across with more subtlety and less trauma for the intended audience. Ran still goes through the same slow realization that not all change is warm and fuzzy and that sometimes we lose people and places we love, and she learns how to cope with that in her own way: creating a Curesta page of memories is the modern- day scrapbook/photo album. Her friends gently help her grieve and ultimately Ran comes to terms with the loss – and in her coping, she helps the store owner as well, by showing how much her restaurant meant to others. It’s a warm and kind way to teach the lesson.
It is a little too bad that Cure Yum-Yum doesn’t get to truly lead the charge against Narcistoru, but this is still first and foremost a story with a formula, and at the end of the day they’re going to follow it in the fight scene. Of course, that may get shaken up next week, because Black Pepper’s random appearances and insufficient explanations are starting to get to everyone, so we could read this week’s fight as setting the scene for that.
And finally, unrelated to anything, I do love the old-fashioned cooking implements that Narcistoru uses for his Motto Ubau-zo in this episode, and not just because I’m a history nerd; I love using old implements when I bake, and since my specialty is old-fashioned desserts (mostly hot puddings; I’ve had several old folks say that I’m the only one who makes Indian pudding anymore), that really was a treat to see.
Delicious Party♡Precure is currently streaming on Crunchyroll.