Story/Art: Maki Minami
Translation: Christine Dashiell
Touch-Up Art & Lettering: John Hunt
Design: Yukiko Whitley
Editor: Nancy Whistlethwaite
What They Say:
As a little girl, Komomo Ninomiya delighted in picking on Natsu Azumi, the son of her family’s pastry chef. Ten years later, when the family fortune is lost and she has no place to live, Komomo encounters Natsu again in her hour of need. Now that Natsu is a master pastry chef in his own right, he’ll help Komomo—but only if she works for him at his new confiserie!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
By the end of Komomo Confiserie, I was in love. It took a while to get there, but here’s the thing about manga: for about 10 bucks, you can sit down for 30 minutes to an hour and read through a book to completion. Better yet, it’s at your own pace. A chapter can be an entire episode in anime, so it can be excruciating to sit through an episode—and I imagine it might be to sit through an anime episode of Komomo Confiserie (I still would, believing it would pay off, at least based off this volume). Books like Komomo Confiserie are why I prefer manga over anime.
The manga starts off innocently with both rich girl Komomo and patisserie-in-training Natsu as kids 10 years ago. Komomo kind of picks on Natsu because she doesn’t really know better and no one teaches her otherwise, but she actually likes Natsu and LOVES his pastries. Natsu, by the end, is seemingly a little sadistic toward Komomo and reciprocates the same kind of like Komomo had back when in the same way.
I don’t see why any of this is necessary. They could just be relatively nice to each other and still feel kind of generic shojo machinations. As it is now, I’m just frustrated at Natsu being overly mean to Komomo (and Komomo being overly mean to Natsu 10 years ago). By the midpoint of the book, I didn’t know if I wanted to continue. I did, though, because it’s only about 200 pages of comic and that’s not that long. The approximately 45 minutes it took me to read the volume isn’t long so it’s not hard to stick with the book.
When I got to the final chapter, Komomo is entering her first year in high school and her first year in public school and she makes quite an entrance. Current queen Rise gives everyone a gift to begin the year, but Komomo gives it back. “After all, I haven’t done anything for you yet, Rise.” she says with conviction. She becomes the outcast after that. They take her chair, they put funeral flowers on her desk, and they write mean things all over it. She gets a nicer chair for herself, the loves the beautiful bouquet, and she covers her desk with a tablecloth. When she catches those who wrote, she lends one of them a handkerchief because she got some ink on her face and she has “too charming a face to be sullying it by writing nasty things.”
So yes, I quickly fell in love with a comic that I almost stopped reading out of frustration. That’s the execution and what “sticking the landing” can do. I’m always a proponent for the journey over its conclusion, but they’re related and one cannot exist without the other; they can only enhance each other.
I could have lived with another comic where the rich girl is thrust into the public school and has to try and adjust to that immediately instead of the four chapters of wheel turning Minami did to begin the series. The first two chapters were good introduction and set up, but everything after seemed retreading (except introducing Yuri, I guess).
I liked Special A and Voice Over, so I picked up Komomo Confiserie sight unseen and I’m glad I did. Had I read the first few chapters, I would have put it back down without a second thought. Being able to read through the entire book gave it all some perspective. It’s still very rough, but I think it only has up to go.
Content Grade: B-
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: September 1st, 2015