Shoujo – Comedy, romance
5 Volumes (complete)
As a child, Komomo would always demand that the son of her family’s patissier, Natsu, make her sweets. Even after Natsu moved away, Komomo still longed to eat his desserts. Years later, a financially broke Komomo must enter the workforce. After being fired from one job after another, who should offer Komomo a job… but Natsu?!
I usually talk about the art last. This time, I’m going to talk about the art first. That’s because when I first started reading it, I asked myself, “Is this really Minami’s work? Did her art always look like this?”
Nope, definitely different. Quite frankly, I’m not a fan of her new style. It’s a little hard to see in the above image, but Komomo’s eyes tend to be split between solid black top and a white bottom with black outlines and accents. The male leads in Minami’s series have never been bundles of sunshine, but Natsu has a permanent glare — and eyelashes that would earn him the same nickname as Yuzu of Anonymous Noise. The fourth volume in particular looks as if were drawn by someone else. In some of the whitespace, the author draws Komomo in different styles. Well, she didn’t need to — Komomo already looks different from the previous volumes. Generally, she looked like Misaki of Angelic Layer with those stripes across her eyes, but then when she’s thinking about Natsu, she transforms into Shizu of My Little Monster. Rather than the characters, the desserts and Natsu’s shop are the best part of the art. Minami’s versions of sweets look as beautiful as photographs in a baker’s ad.
I probably wouldn’t be commenting Komomo’s style too much if I hadn’t already read two longer series by the same author. Okay, S.A and Voice Over! weren’t exactly visual twins, but at least any differences could be explained by first long series versus experienced artist. Komomo Confiserie feels like she’s trying to reinvent herself again. You can still see elements of her style — Komomo’s cluelessly happy smiles, jealously angry guy — but the art is more significantly different than I would have thought.
Perhaps Minami wanted to draw the series differently because she wanted a different type of heroine. Komomo has very defined, large eyebrows, and in a world full of shoujo heroines who can still fit into their elementary school bathing suit, Komomo certainly cannot. When she gets into her powerful (former) rich girl mode, she looks even more unlike herself, as she is supposed to have a powerful aura surrounding her. At least that makes sense because she suddenly becomes a bear instead of a mouse.
Well, maybe not a mouse…
You see, Komomo starts off incredibly haughty. As a child, she bosses around Natsu, demanding he make her sweets at all hours of the day. Natsu then goes overseas to train as a pastry chef, and it isn’t until Komomo is looking around for a job that they meet again. She starts off pretty clueless about working (and is oddly proud of things such as her full résumé with all of her firings). However, Komomo loves Natsu’s baked goods more than anything, and her respect for his skill as well as her own preference for quality things means she puts her full effort into making his shop succeed.
For most of you, Komomo Confiserie sounds like one of those “rich person in the real world” stories. It is… kind of. Even though Komomo is prideful, most of her job failures don’t stem from the fact she is throwing a fit about working. In one of the bonus chapters, Komomo flips out when her fast food job tries to throw away cold food. (She didn’t articulate it well, but she couldn’t stand to see food wasted.)
This is both the good and the bad part of Komomo Confiserie: no one fits in the normal archetypes, but they’re also harder to understand. Komomo is taught what a true friend is, then she turns around and starts lecturing others. Natsu, meanwhile, gets his name from the English word nuts: he likes seeing Komomo cry. He insists he has no interest in Komomo, and he does often seem to be on the hate side quite often in this love-hate relationship. One friend has a thing about food, but his extreme side never comes out again after it’s been revealed. Komomo gains a friend whose tsundere side does keep coming out, but she goes from Komomo’s enemy to best friend almost instantly.
The manga is five volumes long; unlike many short series, it appears Minami had planned on Komomo Confiserie being on the short side. I always like it when a story doesn’t feel like it’s been cut short or padded unnecessarily. The ending is a little meh, but at least the story kept its lightness and doesn’t try to overdose on drama.
With the way the characters are presented though… I don’t know. Komomo not being a complete spoiled brat, whining over her lost life, and not being bothered by schoolyard bullying should have made me really like her. But I think she and Natsu never really made a couple I really wanted to root for. It wasn’t like he completely hated Komomo when they were children, and he wasn’t cruel to her when they reunited. As a couple, though, they didn’t really make a good “so much alike” couple like in Love Com or opposites attract in Mars or childhood bossiness in Gakuen Alice.
Along the way, the two have to deal with jealousy, but neither confront their feelings until the very end of the manga. On one hand, it’s nice not to have pages upon pages of unrequited love. In exchange, though, we get pages upon pages of denials. Komomo even falls in love with a shoemaker (and has someone start to like her), but all you have to do is look at the final volume’s cover if you have any doubt about who the canon pair is. There is a beta couple, but their relationship is pretty much limited to a few panels here and there and a short epilogue. The manga is almost exclusively Komomo and Natsu’s story.
Oh, and by the way, if you’re the type to play drinking games, don’t make your keyword “sweets” or “desserts”. You will get so smashed that you’ll probably set a record.
Honorifics are used. The manga doesn’t include a lot of French words or anything, which I admit was a bit surprising. The song Komomo sings is kept in its original language.
Komomo is a much stronger sheltered rich girl than you would think, but the romance isn’t as sweet as the pastries. The story isn’t rushed, but it doesn’t leave a lasting impression. If you read the first volume and don’t immediately warm up to the two leads, you can safely drop it.
VIZ Media has released S.A. and Voice Over!