Antique Bakery (aka: Seiyou Kotto Yougashiten) Vol. #04 - Mania.com



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Info:

  • Art Rating: A-
  • Packaging Rating: A-
  • Text/Translatin Rating: A-
  • Age Rating: 16 & Up
  • Released By: Digital Manga Publishing
  • MSRP: 12.95
  • Pages: 230
  • ISBN: 1-56970-943-2
  • Size: A5
  • Orientation: Right to Left

Antique Bakery (aka: Seiyou Kotto Yougashiten) Vol. #04

By Eduardo M. Chavez     April 11, 2007
Release Date: June 30, 2006


Antique Bakery (aka: Seiyou Kotto Yougashiten) Vol.#04
© Digital Manga Publishing


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

What They Say
As Tachibana handles the day-to-day business of running the bakery with Ono, Kanda, and Chikage, memories of the ordeal he suffered as an abducted child continue to recur in his nightmares. Haunted as he is by vague images of the incident he cannot fully recall, Tachibana is slowly beginning to put the past behind him, until a series of child-abduction/murders hits the city. The same police detectives who handled Tachibana's case arrive at the bakery to inform him that the remnants of his cakes have been found in the cold, dead stomachs of the murdered boys...

Could this be the same suspect who abducted Tachibana so long ago? Another boy has been abducted, and the clock is ticking. Tachibana must stop the past from happening again, as the day he has waited for finally arrives in this concluding volume of the series.

The Review
Packaging:
As has been the case throughout this run of this series, the presentation has been very good. This volume once again features YoshinagaĀfs cover art with scratch-n-sniff. This volume has one of the AntiqueĀfs famous scones on the cover. The back cover maintains that fancy menu design that works well with Yoshinaga and TachibanaĀfs aesthetic. Like all of DMPĀfs books this series is printed in a tall A5 size GN with dust jacket.

Inside the printing is very clean. Lines look crisp and what little tone there is looks sharp. There are no real extras but DMP did include character bios. Furthermore this final volume has around 60 more pages than the previous volumes making it a good deal at $12.99.

Artwork:
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.

SFX/Text:
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.

Contents: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers)
Months of planning and experimenting has paid off for Tachibana as the Antique's business is booming. He now has two fine pastry chefs under his roof and enough trained staff to keep the place running practically whenever he wanted. For a shrewd businessman like Tachibana this is an accomplishment that was expected. However, Tachibana reasoning could not have been foreseen by anyone who was not a true regular of the Antique.

That purpose would be vengeance! Something happened to Tachibana long ago; a traumatic scene that has haunted his memories for most of his life. And with a prospering bakery Tachibana feels his odds for getting justice has increased ten-fold.

For the longest time, Tachibana attempted run from his fears by learning sports, going to law school and becoming the perfect son. However all that he accomplished was a life of passive aggression where fear and his personal inadequacies crippled his personality. He works overtime to overcome his fears. But is he afraid of his past or is he afraid of the future? If he is able to someday get have some closure will he love someone? Will he open up to those around him?

Comments
When I first began reading Antique a few years back, I had a feeling that I was reading something that was about much more than just a quaint bakery and it's charming staff. The Antique was clearly something much more profound than that. The Antique is something to be revisited and appreciated for its nuance and subtleties. It might not have the sleek look of modern or popular titles. It definitely does not read with the pace of the action titles that typically top the best seller charts. Antique challenges readers with a well thought out plot. It surprises with humor and mystery that is not seen on the cover of the book. And it accomplishes what few titles do... It closes strong with a definite conclusion.

For the regulars that frequent the establishment. The Antique is like a treat - a rare and affordable way to taste France without leaving the comforts of Tokyo. And for the staff, the bakery provides a place for them to escape their past for a day. That holds true for Tachibana, even. His new business grants him a chance to escape his nightmares. He might even overcome his fears if his plans workout; however, the odds of that happening are not very high at all. He has to make it happen on his own through long hours, advertising and special services to bring him those opportunities. The Antique is about second chances but you have to make the effort to make it worth while.

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