Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Manga Review: Kitchen Princess by Natsumi Ando & Miyuki Kobayashi, Omnibus 1 *Spoiler Free*

Rating: 5/5

Categorization: School Drama, Coming of Age, Cooking

Length: Vol. 1 & Vol. 2, (400 pages total)

Plans to Continue the Series: ABSOLUTELY


If you are looking for an adorable manga, about an upbeat, optimistic, and considerate main character, then Kitchen Princess is absolutely the read for you.


What this manga has to offer you:

Spunky upbeat female protagonist
Cooking!
Pastries
Cute boys who happen to be brothers
A search for a person from the past
Mean girl classmates
The seriousness of eating disorders
The importance of family
Silliness
Funniness 

Najika was orphaned when both her parents died early on in her childhood.  As a result, she moved to Lavender House Orphanage where her depression worsened until she walked into a pond with the intention to drown herself.  Before she could succeed at ending her young life, a mysterious boy pulled her out of the water and offered her his snack, flan with a silver spoon.  This boy tells Najika that the delicious flan will make her smile and that in turn will make her want to live again.  Then, he promptly leaves, leaving only a silver spoon behind as a clue to who he was.  Najika vows to become a great chef and one day find her "Flan Prince" so that she may prepare him a delicious dessert in thanks for saving her at her darkest hour.

In her early teen years Najika realizes that the silver spoon bears the emblem of the prestigious Seika Academy.  Her best shot at finding the Flan Prince is to enroll in this highly competitive academy located in the heart of Tokyo where life will be completely different from her former life at Lavender House in rural Japan.

In these first two volumes of the complete ten volume series, you journey to Seika Academy with Najika where she realizes just how difficult her search for the Flan Prince will become.  To make matters more confusing, Najika is placed into the extra prestigious 'gifted class' where each student has an exceptional talent.  With no overtly recognizable talent to speak of, the other students accuse Najika of being a fraud.  Najika works hard to gain acceptance among her new peers, but even she must admit to herself that deep down she does not know why she was placed into this class, and ultimately is not sure if she can continue to stay at Seika Academy.

The only friends whom Najika can turn to are a pair of extremely popular brothers, Sora and Daichi, who also happen to be feuding with each other.  Sometimes they make her life easier and other times harder.  Could one of them be her Flan Prince!?

Overall, the story in the first two volumes remains very simplistic, but it is also very cute and heart felt.  Anyone who enjoys cooking, and cooking drama TV, would appreciate how food is integrated into this story.  My absolute favorite thing about this manga series is the style in which it is presented.  I love the use of patterns in the backdrop of the panels and on the fabrics.  There are stars, flowers, twinkling, polka dots, checkers, and shadowing.  Also, there is no recognizable pattern to the flow of the panels.  So nothing feels repetitive.  The layout of each page is completely different depending on what the story calls for.  The combination of both of these aspects gives the manga the look of a very pretty scrapbook and seems to add to the ambiance of the story.  Even though this edition is in full B&W ink, I get the sense of pastel colored pastries, vintage clothing, and elegantly dressed, charming, boys.





Oh!  And!  The recipes for everything that is made within the volume is included at the end.  So you can make the dishes that Najika made in your forrealsy's life.  

Its ADORABLE!  And funny!  And satisfying!

Read the synopsis on Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13154242-kitchen-princess-omnibus-vol-1

Final thoughts?   Everything is pulled together so nicely in this manga that such a simple story feelings very complete and engrossing.  I can't wait to find out what happens next.

Thanks for Reading!
A hungry Manda