KITCHEN PRINCESS (Kitchen no Ohimesama, “Kitchen Princess”) ????????????• Miyuki Kobayashi (story), Natsumi Ando (art) • Del Rey (2007-ongoing) • Kodansha (Nakayoshi, 2004-ongoing) • 8+ volumes (ongoing) • Shôjo Cooking Romantic Drama • 13+ (brief mild violence)
Flan, french onion soup, carrot cake, tiramisu, omrice–this shojo manga should come bundled with an Easy-Bake Oven. Najika, a cheerful orphan blessed with great taste buds and cooking abilities, leaves the orphanage and goes to school in the big city, where she is tormented by backstabbing girls but makes friends with two handsome brothers, Daichi and Sora. Could one of them be the half-forgotten dream boy from her childhood, whom she promised to serve “the most delicious dessert in the world”? With desserts and comfort food worked into every chapter, and recipes in the back so you can make it yourself, Kitchen Princess is a delightful mix of drama and cooking. The art is plain and the English rewrite is fairly rudimentary, but the storytelling is clear, not flashy and confusing like so many shojo for young readers. (Despite the 13+ age rating, there’s nothing here unsuitable for elementary school students, except possibly for a tastefully handled subplot about bulimia.) A quick, delightful read.
Today’s winner is Jennifer S. of Pennsylvania. Congratulations, Jennifer! I’m moving this week, so there’s going to be a small gap in manga shipments — please hang in there and I’ll send you your goods as soon as everything is unpacked. And once you get your manga, please send me your photo for the website so I can send you more!