Antique Bakery (aka: Seiyou Kotto Yougashiten) Vol. #03 -

Anime/Manga Reviews

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: N/A
  • ISBN: 1-56970-944-0
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Antique Bakery (aka: Seiyou Kotto Yougashiten) Vol. #03

By Eduardo M. Chavez     April 26, 2006
Release Date: April 01, 2006

Antique Bakery (aka: Seiyou Kotto Yougashiten) Vol.#03
© Digital Manga Publishing

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

What They Say
Two women reporters - a.k.a. "busty female announcer unit Haruka & Tammy" - also enter the scene, and while manager Tachibana is interested in them, they're only interested in Ono's cakes. Each new character has his own lumbering way of searching for happiness, and we dig deeper into the closets of the series' most popular characters.

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 three staff members from the Antique Bakery checking out a key lime cake. Now, take a look at the left corner of that pastry, 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 cake over the long volume description. Simple but very nice.

Inside, the printing is good with sharp inking, void of tone issues, and because of the size, it is free of alignment problems. I had to drop this from very good to good because my print looked a little dark. Almost felt as if the paper was the reason, but I definitely noticed this volume was a little dark. DMP also includes a few ato-gaki pages each focusing on the days the staff have on their own.

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. Add sunglasses to Ono = Chikage. The rest is the same. Jaw-lines, eyes and body shapes are very similar. Close enough to be a little confusing with all of the flashbacks when the characters are younger and have even fewer distinguishing features.

The random customers are much more realistic and are more detailed With more features, texturing and more intricate costumes they tend to show off Yoshinaga's technique more. 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 Yoshinaga'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)
With business doing well at the Antique you would expect their business savvy proprietor would not concern himself with advertising. The Antique is already at the edge of quiet residential neighborhood surrounded by apartments and fish-mongers and business is already doing so well Tachibana-san has had to double his staff since their grand opening. People are coming formal over the Greater Tokyo Metropolitan area - Tokyo, Yokohama, Kawasaki, Chiba and Tachigawa because of the delicious pastries, luxurious teas and elegant design.

Well Tachibana is no one's fool. He is going to get help anywhere he can find it. He is going to prove to his family that he is self-reliant and the talent they wished he would be (but never at the same time never nurtured or challenged because of a tragic event in his youth). When he heard a TV variety show was doing a show on the best shops in this neighborhood he jumped on it. TV crews and announcers were partaking in his cake. They would in turn beam his bakery across the Kantou region. Then he would join a baking fair to show off the ambiance and taste of his Antique to even more housewives. Finally, he will be able to get the crowds he has been waiting for. Who knows, that could in turn become appearances in magazines and even more TV shows. Profits could go through the roof if all goes wall.

Then he will be able to get that monkey of guilt off his back. Or might he be able to finally beat that ghost that has haunted him for so long? Either way Tachibana will hopefully no longer have to try as hard to please others, results (whatever that means to him) will come to him because of his patience and talent. If you build it, he will come!

After reading the first two volumes it was obvious that Antique Bakery is one of the more charming titles I have read in ages. Everything from the cast to the pacing to the art just expresses charm. Yoshinaga's little bakery has its mysteries and dark past but when you sit down with the Antique this story quickly makes you forget all that.

To be able to spend some time to get to know the characters and get a full feel for the mood and ambience was refreshing. I do not think it could have come at the proper time in this series, either. Yoshinaga has given her readers little tastes along the way and she has not been shy about revealing critical parts of her cast's background. However, what we find out in this volume ends up completely revealing part of the motivation behind the Antique. We find out the reason for Tachibana's obsessive behavior. We get to see the monster that created Ono's gift. We see how truly capable an individual Chikage can be. And as Yoshinaga moves to the last volume in this series, we figure out that nothing is what it seems on the surface... Just like a good cake! And most importantly we are lead to believe that the Antique can be as entertaining even if we did not know its history.

I honestly almost feel as if I could be right in the Antique sipping some Irish Breakfast while taking in the scene, eyeing the crowd and while listening to the conversations that are being shared. You want to take your time to pick up the personalities and the clues of the mystery behind the Antique so you can enjoy this rich manga title.

If only every title could taste so good.


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jnager 3/13/2012 6:56:54 PM

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