Antique Bakery (aka: Seiyou Kotto Yougashiten) Vol. #01 -

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Mania Grade: A

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  • Art Rating: B+
  • Packaging Rating: A
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 192
  • ISBN: 1-56970-946-7
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Antique Bakery (aka: Seiyou Kotto Yougashiten) Vol. #01

By Eduardo M. Chavez     August 23, 2005
Release Date: August 01, 2005

Antique Bakery (aka: Seiyou Kotto Yougashiten) Vol.#01
© Digital Manga Publishing

Creative Talent
Writer/Artist:Yoshinaga Fumi
Translated by:Sachiko Sato
Adapted by:

What They Say
When an old antique shop re-opens as the hottest new bakery in an unsuspecting neighborhood, there's no doubt that a few surprises are cooking. Love, rejection, old high school flames and the most delicious boy-to-boy affections all blend together to make a treat unlike any other. The Antique Bakery is now open... care for a dessert?

Antique Bakery teases the palate with humor, fun flirtation and a host of sweet and sour moments. No matter what you crave, this is one shop you can't pass up.

The Review
DMP’s standard size is an A5 so do not be alarmed at the oversized format they use for this title. They also provide dust jackets for all of their titles, as well. Presented right-to-left format, Antique Bakery looks great on the outside and inside.

On the dust jacket there is an image of the three staff members from the Antique Bakery working on a fruit tart. Take a look at the strawberry in the center of the cover, underneath it are some instructions on how to smell what the Bakery has made for you! Scratch-n-sniff manga, what will they think of next! The opposite cover simple features the finished tart over the long volume description. Simple but very nice.

Inside the printing is very good with sharp inking, void of tone issues, and because of the size, it is free of alignment problems. DMP also includes a few ato-gaki pages on the everyday lives of the cast followed by ads for Yellow, Only the Ring Finger Knows, Cafe Kichijouji, la Esperanza, Dost thou Know? and Beyond My Touch..

While some people might balk at the $12.95 price, in my opinion it is worth the excellent packaging, especially when considering some studios charge the same for sub par presentations.

Yoshinaga's art is simple with tinges of realism. Typical of most mangaka, Yoshinaga draws her main characters with the least detail with the main difference being height and hair. Kanda is the standard. Add stubble and add longer hair = Tachibana. Add glasses and shorten the hair = Ono. The rest is the same. Jaw-lines and eyes are very similar. Close enough to be a little confusing with all of the flashbacks. The random customers are much more realistic, with more features, texturing and more intricate costumes. Most of the characters are on long side. Long faces, long bodies and long appendages are nothing new to shojo manga. However, Yoshinaga has used this to give some of her cast a sensual look, specifically to make some of them as irresistible as the cakes they eat.

The rest of the art is lacking. The background art is almost non-existent. This was surprises me because the cafe and bakery are not shown enough despite its importance to the story. We do get to see some nice looking cake, flatware and table settings giving an appearance that the place is still upscale despite the location and the scruffy guy behind the counter. The layout is good, even though panel placement and size are simple as can be. What Yoshinaga does well here is perspective. Getting reactions from the characters as they talk and eat is great. She sets them up nicely, and the lack of background art really makes them stand out. Moreover, because of the casual personal nature of this title seeing the change of tempo come from such subtleties makes them much more valuable than they are for other titles.

The translation for this title sounds really good. First, they have kept honorifics, which really helps define the interesting relationships the costumers have. They have also kept cultural phrases in the dialogue, and they define those phrases in gutters and super text boxes. They have done a solid job with how personalities come through in the translation. With a large cast sometimes dialogue can be pretty flat but as DMP kept honorifics and did not abuse slang original context came through well.

This title is also filled with desserts and confections and the translation keeps all of the original recipes and ingredients. None of the recipes go into much detail, since they are explained in the dialogue, but I point this out because other publishers might have changes the names. DMP also keeps the currency in yen! Overall, a solid job.

SFX might get some attention as DMP handled these in a unique way. They are all subbed using a small font as not to compromise Aritou's great art. However, the way they translated some of SFX might confuse some readers. Some of the translations are literal so in some situations the kana for "mogu" will be "mogu" instead of "chew." But the translation would be reversed in other situations. Readers familiar with raw FX might not have a problem, but having to translate a translation might annoy some.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Welcome to the Antique Bakery!

Take a seat; look over the menu. Maybe suggest a set of cake stories revolving around cake? Or would you like a blend of drama and romance with your Russian tea? The pumpkin scones are fresh out of the oven. Relax take your time; the staff is at your service.

You may not have heard of the Antique Bakery, but once you go there it is tough not to come back. The cakes are delicious, the tea and coffee is out of this world and the staff is young and hunky! Generally speaking, it is a great place to sit down, relax and chat over some sweets.

Conversations are quite welcome. Actually, the staff appreciates it (they get a little bored at times). The lighting is a little on the dark side like the coffee but that gives patrons a comfortable feel that they can just make themselves at home. Tables are small enough to talk across without much effort and because of the location the café area is hardly ever full or noisy (they leave the crowds to the take out window).

Whether you want a nice cup of breakfast tea and scones while reading the morning paper or you want to try some raw cheesecake with your friends, the Antique Bakery is the place to go. Just make sure to leave some memories for the staff okay.

Antique Bakeryis a unique title because it is as much slice of life drama as it is a hard core specialized cafe manga. It can throw both sides to readers equally well, for it uses its best resource very well. While it is still a little early in the series to really grasp how the story as a whole will progress, so far we get to see both aspects as they play off each other within Tachibana's Antique Bakery.

The most important character so far has been the bakery itself. Yoshinaga uses it almost exclusively as the setting for this volume having her main characters only within its grounds. As the bakery does not close until 2:30a Tachibana possibly never leaves and Ono and Kanda tend to be stuck in the kitchen all the time whipping things up. We can only assume they have lives outside of the business, but we won't go there now. There is enough drama cooking up within the bakery Yoshinaga doesn't have take them anywhere.

This is also where each of the supporting cast gathers. Each of their stories make up the Antique Bakery and like the staff at the customers play an important role in this drama. Actually, customers provide most of the drama. Readers get to see the customers mainly from the perspective of the staff. They get to people watch, listen in on their conversations and even make sales in the process. Readers can do the same, except we don't make money. Each story gives readers a chance to experience the bakery for what it is - a place to socialize and eat sweets. People come in and talk, they mull over the menu and the oh and ahh over the dishes, but you feel as if you are right there in the cafe area attacking the raw cheesecake while drinking butter tea with friends. The stories are only temporary but the memories will linger. The sights, sounds, tastes and smells (scratch-n-sniff) and mot importantly the feelings will remain until you come back.

I feel people will not appreciate this title because of the casual pacing and the concept, because I feel DMP has picked another winner. Similar to another Kodansha Manga Award winner Nodame Cantabile (Del Rey), this series uses its unique theme to bring out humor and romance. The characters have a job to do and while it is work they all appreciate what they do and they respect that others get joy from their efforts. There are no gimmicks; instead the characters and their tales seem really honest. Yeah the cast might be quirky but there are people like that, and because of that we get to relate a little for we usually tend to focus on the weirdoes or the extremely pretty when we are daydreaming at the local cafe.

Cannot wait for another serving.


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jnager 3/13/2012 9:44:57 AM

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