Posted by psgels on 20 September 2008 with categories: Anime Reviews



Bishounen-series are in a way much like bishoujo-series. It’s just too easy to just treat the fanboys or fangirls to a lot of fanservice and get things over with, but of course the real challenge is to put them in interesting situations, develop them properly and flesh them out like real characters, otherwise you could just as well start selling paper bags. Antique Bakery is an example of how to do this right, although it’s rather unconventional.

I’ve said this before, but the series of the past spring- and summer season often had theme of fooling the viewer. Quite a few series defied expectations by focusing on something different from what you’d expect them to. Antique Bakery for example, looks all the way like a yaoi-series. Instead, it’s just an iyashi-kei series with a bit of mystery, where one of the characters just happens to be gay.

It really knows how to handle its cast of characters. At first, it starts out like a rather cheesy series, but very soon the cheese turns into genuine drama. Every character gets enough attention to show what he’s got. Because the series deals with such an original setting of a cake-store, the characters really have the ability to move away fro the stereotypes, and develop in the way they want. There’s this strange bond that develops between them as the series goes on, and it just seems to fit perfectly.

The mystery-part of the series is also delightfully unpredictable. How often do you see a guy with a trauma, because he had once been kidnapped in his past by someone who forced to make him eat cakes all the time? At first, it might seem like a bit of good cheese, but interestingly enough as the show goes on, this develops into genuine drama, with an actually very nice ending that prefers logical progression over a sensational ending, and yet puts a satisfying conclusion to everything.

There’s one character who feels a bit out of place in this series. This series is mostly about adults, but there’s one teenager amongst them, but he just doesn’t feel as part of the cast as the others. All attempts to flesh him out feel a bit shallow, and the moments that focus on him are mostly the less exciting of the series. An ex-boxer who loves cakes may sound good on paper, but the creators just didn’t use his character well enough.

This also isn’t a series for everyone. The fact remains that one of the characters is gay, so if you hate gay people with the intensity of one thousand suns, then you’re not going to like this series, even though the fact that the guy’s gay is used very nicely to symbolize the anxieties of gay people in the modern society. There’s also one particularly wrong scene where the guy carries his fantasies a bit too far, but apart from that the creators nicely balanced his feelings, to prevent the shounen-ai tones from getting too big of a focus.

Overall, though, Antique Bakery is another example of why Noitamina rocks. It comes with the most unconventional premises that actually work out somehow. It’s an inspired series that’s sometimes relaxing, and sometimes it shines with powerful drama, and the creators showed that they knew exactly how to use their limited time of 12 episodes. While it’s not going to break any records, it’s another good example of a nice quick watch.

Storytelling: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Production-Values: 8/10
Setting: 8/10

3 Responses

  1. Sapphire says:

    What’s “iyashi-kei” ?

  2. psgels psgels says:

    http://www.conservapedia.com/Iyashikei

    I think that that link explains best. It’s a “healing”-type genre, which pretty much describes the quiet parts of Antique Bakery.

  3. Starss says:

    Terrific spot on review, Antique Bakery was a big surprise for me and I didn’t know what to expect but it was brilliant and also surprisingly comedic. Some of the most dramatic scenes were the funniest while also feeling so wholeheartedly genuine, it just feels unexpectedly cruel to laugh.

    I really hope that scene about Ono’s fantasies refers to the one scene in the rain, which so perfectly demonstrated his nickname while being that much over the top you can’t take it seriously.

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  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    But Eva just left a bad taste in my mouth as a whole, I understand that Bam you are very passinette about it and thats fine, I wasn’t aiming to provoke. I just feel that its frustrating that like alot of certain anime, that I am not allowed to dislike it or have reason to.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:32 AM)
    If anything at least I found Ikuhara’s symbolism while obvious at least in utena and straightforward was at least visually interesting to look at.
    I love every David Lynch film and again I thought Lain was exceptional.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:26 AM)
    And I found the monogatari franchise to be a massive letdown/waste of potential after showing some genuine promise with two of its earlier arcs, only for it to get so caught up in itself quickly and then losing me.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:21 AM)
    I do believe that a nonsensical narrative can increase enjoyment and creativity of something and I dislike being spoonfed information but it won’t automatically make me enjoy every show/film/etc that uses that approach.
  • Emma
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 01:08 AM)
    In both attempts that I tried to get through darker than black I felt that it could have been so much more were it not so episodic and that it could have gone into more depth, as it stands the show never really worked for me beyond the ovas, some of the action scenes and Yins background.
  • Bam
    (Friday, Mar 6. 2015 12:03 AM)
    I agree that there are loose threads in Evangelion that were probably never fully developed by the committee, and a lot of symbolism (primarily Christian) that were only there for flare and edginess. But everything I say is backed up by the information available in the material or straight from the infodumps. If you see the Eva proposal to TXN (Tokyo TV) you can see that everything, and so much more actually, was planned from the beginning; albeit some stuff did change when Anno lost his mind.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 11:58 PM)
    The alpha strike was to infiltrate Central Dogma and take command and eliminate everyone inside. Seele is not really a sentimental type, if you hadn’t notice, so a ouple of hundred casualties before everyone turns to goop is pretty inconsequential.
  • Bam
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 11:56 PM)
    @Aidan: Gendo is one of the few at NERV (if not the only one) who knows about the scrolls and the truth behind the Evas, and keep in mind Shinji is primarily piloting 01 just to get his acceptance; so he was certainly needed. Plus in the original series you need an intermediate vessel to connect thru an entry plug (Shinji and Asukas, moms) so not any kid will do. This is before the dummy plug and Toji mind you.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 11:50 PM)
    There is being obtuse and indirect. And then there’s just being plain nonsensical. I don’t want to spell out everything but I hate to see people tie thin threads together and act like it was some great master-plan when it could just as well have been a guy just throwing any random shit together that he could think of. Ikuhara for one got away with that bullshit far too often.
  • AidanAK47
    (Thursday, Mar 5. 2015 11:45 PM)
    @Bam, And why was alpha strike necessary? If the goal is to destroy the evas and such then why not do as I suggested. Remove Gendo. Then it would be a piece of cake. And killing everyone just seems excessive and really unnecessary.
    Pretty sure anyone in Shinji’s class was suitable to be an evangelion pilot. And alright, shinji’s connection to the Eva is a reason to keep him in. But Gendo…not so much. He doesn’t influence it in any real way personally.

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