by Natsumi Ando; story by Miyuki Kobayashi; adaptation by Nunzio DeFilippis and Christina Weir
published by Del Rey Manga; $10.95 US
Akane, the evil teen model, is sowing dissension between happy chef Najika and potential crush Daichi by stealing the watch Daichi gave Najika and lying about it. Daichi thinks she rejected his gift, while Najika thinks Daichi is tired of her food.
It strikes at what’s most important to each of them, even if it is very artificial and fiction-like. it’s a plot where if the characters would only spend two minutes talking to each other honestly about what was bothering them, the scheme wouldn’t succeed. In this case, though, it takes a third person to force the truth.
I was disappointed at the resolution for the instigator, too. It seemed to concentrate on the wrong things. Instead of emotional realism, we got dramatic visuals that didn’t seem plausible to me, and then it was all forgotten too quickly.
Najika also finds out who her secret young friend was (as set up in the first book), but it’s not necessarily the answer she was expecting. He keeps setting her life in new directions, though, resolving broken friendships and aiming her towards a national dessert competition.
The book is simple in its resolutions, with the reader expected to consider the characters friends or rivals or love interests simply because they’re told they’re now such. That’s probably why I think of it as something better suited to younger readers, even if the recipes are more complicated than that. In this volume, there’s also a bonus ghost story with the same cast.
Every time I think I should start following this series again (as I did after the last book), I hit a bum entry in the series that kills my enthusiasm. Maybe it’s just me. (A complimentary copy for this review was provided by the publisher.)