Komomo Confiserie Vol 1

Komomo Confiserie, Volume 1 by Maki Minami

So far, Maki Minami’s shoujo series haven’t totally connected with me as a reader. I didn’t care for Special A very much, and while I liked the first couple volumes of Voice Over!: Seiyu Academy, I haven’t gone on to read the entire series. Maybe Komomo Confiserie will finally be the Minami series that I actually finish!

The series starts out with a flashback, as the incredibly spoiled and rich little girl Komomo picks on a young boy named Natsu. He’s the son of her family’s chef, and Komomo only likes the sweets that Natsu prepares for her. Komomo is ungracious and bossy, but she has an emotional connection to Natsu’s food, it serving as a substitute for companionship as she lives in a huge mansion abandoned by her parents. In just a few panels, this rich yet emotionally empty life is overturned, as Komomo’s father announces that he’s lost their fortune, and Komomo has to work to support herself with a part time job. Life as a rich heiress hasn’t prepared Komomo with the social graces or work ethic to be able to handle any type of employment and she keeps getting fired over and over again.

It wouldn’t be a shoujo manga if Natsu wasn’t about to return to Japan a triumphant celebrity from studying pastry abroad, determined to seek out his old “friend” to exact revenge, only to find that their positions have been reversed in an ironic twist of fate! Natsu has an exceedingly charming pastry shop to run, and he runs in to Komomo just as she is tossed out into the street from her latest misadventure in employment.

If Komomo was absolutely unrepentant and spoiled, this manga wouldn’t work very well, but what I enjoyed most about this series were the cracks in the facades for both Natsu and Komomo. Komomo gradually begins to realize how superficial her previous life was, when none of her old friends come to her aid. While Natsu initially appears to be slightly psychotic in his pursuit of revenge, he is actually moved a few times when seeing Komomo eat his food and try to adjust to her new life. Komomo’s rich girl attitudes come in handy when she’s faced with a new high school. Mean girl bullying just slides off of her, and she sails through unaffected. Komomo is gradually learning to be a real human being, and as her personality changes, Natsu begins to find her more and more adorable.

Minami is a solid shoujo artist, and I particularly appreciated her being able to dramatize facial expressions that are a bit off, for example when Natsu’s kindness is a facade for his evil plans. I’m hoping that Komomo will become more and more adept with dealing with the real world, changing the power dynamic between her and Natsu more in the next few volumes.

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