Story/Art: Maki Minami
Translation: Christine Dashiell
Touch-up Art & Lettering: John Hunt
Design: Yukiko Whitley
Editor: Nancy Thistletwaite
What They Say:
Now that Komomo’s family is bankrupt, the arranged marriage her father had planned for her is most likely void. With her future now open, Komomo decides to look for love and start dating. Natsu offers himself up to be her suiter, but will Komomo accept him?
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Komomo Confiserie is a confusingly frustrating title. On one hand, it’s a manga about a girl who’s lost everything and is standing up on her own (mostly) despite that. When she runs into a tough situation—like at the end of volume one or with the shoemaker Seto’s family—she stands with her feet firmly planted to the ground and a strong head on her shoulders. On the other hand, it’s a manga about a girl who’s dependent on another man to provide food, shelter, and an allowance (read: wages) for her. The latter isn’t actually all that bothersome, given the circumstances. I mean, Fruits Basket depends on the same thing, but Tohru is a strong woman on her own who changes the life of those around her. But I don’t recall so many situations where, conveniently, Komomo is taken out of a position of power only to be saved by Natsu.
That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the manga a lot, I do, but it could be a lot more consistent with its storytelling. Though, that said, not EVERY story can be of Komomo being strong. Everyone has weaknesses. It’s just that, through two volumes, I recall more weaknesses than strengths. In both Special A and Voice Over, Maki Minami’s other manga series, her lead girls were much more independent from the get go. It is a journey though, and one that I’m happy to ride on. I’m ignoring the fact that Komomo is much different from Special A’s Hikari Hanazono or Voice Over’s Hime Kino. She’s not in the top of her class and she’s not trying to claw from the bottom up. She’s fallen from the heights of Special A to the caverns of Voice Over and she’s learning to cope with it.
But this is her story. This truly is the story of a girl who’s learning not to be a terrible person, of someone who needs as much help as she’s getting, and can stand on her own after it’s all said and done.
This is only two volumes in and I’m weighing some pretty hefty criticisms of it. It’s because I want growth faster, and I think Komomo can, but is being held back. But that’s as much part of the story as Komomo coming to grips with having no money and even making a friend. This has been a solid two volumes and it’s set a foundation for what could be a very solid shojo manga. Nothing has knocked my socks off yet, but give it time. It just might.
Content Grade: B+
Art Grade: B+
Packaging Grade: B-
Text/Translation Grade: A
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Viz Media
Release Date: December 1, 2015