Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan – 02

Rana warns Madera, who warns Rick and the baker girls that a powerful storm is coming. As they get up early to prepare and throughout the bread-selling day, they warn everyone they can. Airy helps a lonely girl whose mother is off shielding the orchards from the impending wind. When the storm hits, the weather is too rough, so Rick spends the night at the bakery. The next day the clouds disappear and Rick and the girls give Rana and her brother bread as thanks. A mysterious girl has washed up on the shore.

One thing this series has down is that it makes running a bakery seem like the most enjoyable, rewarding, noble profession one can have. If you make bread and you make it well, you’re going to make lots of money and friends. Especially friends, if you give the bread away, which they do a lot (the little kid gets free bread three times!) That said, it’s hard work and requires a vigorous schedule; Rick (voiced by a very chipper Mr. Despair) and the ladies are typically up before dawn and working until sundown. But it would seem to be worth it; their bakery is the talk of the town, all the more impressive considering Rick is relatively new to the trade.

One thing that irked us somewhat was how there was this constant dread of the coming storm hanging over the island – which we liked, especially as the skies got darker and drearier – but the storm itself really doesn’t seem like that big a deal. The rain and wind just look like a typical summer rainstorm to us, and there certainly wasn’t any damage done. It just feels like the storm hand was overplayed, and didn’t turn out to be the unprecedented calamity Rana warned about. However, it did do one thing: deposit a young lady on the beach who will undoubtedly shake things up next week.

Rating: 4 (Fair)

Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan – 01

Rick is a baker who works with his three friends Airy, Neris and Emil. His bread is the best in town and people come from all over to buy it up. When on an errand to buy ingredients, the group hews close to the border with the forboding Elven forest. After helping an injured selph, an elf admonishes them and rejects their offer of bread, angering Emil. Another, friendlier elf named Rana bids them forgive her icy brother, and gladly takes the bread. A red moon that hangs over the night sky portends a big storm ahead.

We’ll get this out of the way: we only broke open Shining Hearts on a whim. Before yesterday we’d never heard of the Shining franchise, or the PSP game upon which this series is based. We do know director Kawasaki Itsuro from one of his previous works: Chrome Shelled Regios, a manic series best described as dumb but entertaining. We definitely noticed some stylistic similarities. Unlike Regios, which started with a bang, Shining Hearts takes the quiet, deliberate, slice-of-life route to introduce us to the characters and setting, both of which came off as, well, a bit bland. The delicious-looking bread steals the show, as Rick (or Rikku) kind of just goes about his business.

His somewhat ridiculous harem conveniently consists of a blonde (also a nun), a brunette, and a redhead; unsurprisingly, the redhead is the fiery one. Rick lives on a beached ship, which is kinda cool. Their land is placid and green, not unlike Ireland, and the fantasy elements introduced include your standard elves (one affable, one aloof), a weird creature called a selph, and that portentious red moon. You could also count the bread, which may also have some kind of magical power (unless it’s just drugs). Neither an awful nor inspiring start – this is what 2.5 ratings were made for!

Rating: 4 (Fair)

Horse Cart Cameo:
A horse cart appears.
We don’t know the make or model.