Posted 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
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 09:04 PM)
    While I guess it was ballsy for a shounen manga to go down the route horimiya did by the sound of it, I think it may be asking too much for a shounen manga to start getting THAT heavy.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 08:38 PM)
    @DreinBecker, Not a chance in hell of that happening.
  • DreinBecker
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 07:33 PM)
    @Asuka I bet you Hori is pregnant and they’re going to have a huge arc where they have to deal with the fallout. I saw no condoms used
  • Asuka111
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 07:37 AM)
    @Lacrid Surprising, yes, but it seems they’ve brushed over that so far. The story has gone back to normal romcom/slice of life.
  • LacridSayo
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 07:11 AM)
    Wow, Horimiya managed to surprise me twice. They teach me that in the face of adversity, conformity is the way. Also, Miyamura and Hori f&@ks.
  • Bam
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 04:09 AM)
    The whole world structure and the framework of spirituality, eyes of death perception, counterforce and whatnots are kept intentionally vague so he can have some wiggle room to bullshit and handwave plot elements as they go on. KnK was a pretty good OVA series tho and Ufotable had a big party to play in that.
  • AidanAK47
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 03:56 AM)
    Here’s some classic Nasu at work.
    http://lparchive.org/Fatestay-night/Update%2003/30-P02-034.jpg
    A f*cking security system? No, it’s a person creating a small alternate world around them from their mind. Plain and f*cking simple.
  • Emma
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 03:45 AM)
    I’ve heard people criticize Nasu as “writing terrible history fanfiction” and “Like my old bad fanfiction” “When the action scenes actually happen they suck”
  • Raggers
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 03:44 AM)
    @K-Off: didn’t we all.
  • Raggers
    (Tuesday, Sep 16. 2014 03:44 AM)
    @Aidan: I didn’t know what they were, but “withering eyes of death perception” doesn’t really leave a whole lot up to the imagination anyway…

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