Faceoff! : Yumeiro Patissiere versus Kitchen Princess!

After a bit of a hiatus due to university exam season, it’s back to normal shoujo programming!

When I was taking study breaks, I found myself reading three different cooking manga: Oishii Kankei, Yumeiro Patissiere and Kitchen Princess. Oishii Kankei is not being included here – I plan on doing a review for it in a subsequent post. But Yumeiro Patissiere and Kitchen Princess are so incredibly similar, and yet completely different, I couldn’t resist doing a post to compare the two!

Yumeiro Patissiere by Matsumoto Natsumi

Kitchen Princess by Ando Natsumi

Holy mackerel, they’re both by two different mangaka with the same name. Did NOT see that coming.

The similarities:
They are both two incredibly cutesy manga about baking. They both involve two girls going to a special baking school. They both involve an aloof male character who badmouths the girl about her baking abilities (what were you expecting, an easy pass?) Also, both girls start out being completely inept, and go on to improve their skills significantly (almost to the point where I had to suspend belief, honestly…)

Both series also involve incredibly cute and delicious pictures of cake. Yum. Also included are relatively detailed cooking instructions, as is generally the case with most cooking manga (I first noticed this trend with cooking-related manga after reading Yakitate! Japan!!)

The differences:
They were published in opposing magazines: Yumeno Patissiere in Ribon, Kitchen Princess in Nakayoshi. I also think Kitchen Princess is the more….”mature” manga, based on the fact that it involves themes and devices such as death and bullying; Yumeiro Patissiere is a lot more lighthearted. As such, it’s evident that both were targeted at different age groups.

But which one is BETTER?
It really depends on what you want.

No, seriously. These two series are so incredibly similar, it’s almost insane.
If you want your traditional, 13+ (okay, that’s really pushing it, maybe 12+ at most) shoujo romance, I really think that Kitchen Princess is your thing. Najika actually starts a relationship in the manga, and there are a LOT of twists as she tries to discover the identity of the “Flan Prince”. The manga leads you one way with that, then another…and it’s done in a rather unique and not-so-predictable way. So I do think it was well done in that regard. Also, Kitchen Princess touches on elements such as death rather frequently throughout the series, which adds some depth to Najika’s character in comparison to Yumeiro Patissiere’s Ichigo.

Meanwhile, Yumeiro Patissiere is a lot more cutesy by a factor of about…ten tablespoons of sugar more. The sweets fairies are cute, the confections are cute – it’s quintessentially Ribon, I guess you could say (LOL). Yumeiro Patissiere is what I would call your little sister’s shoujo manga. Depending on your mileage with this kind of thing, I think it can be enjoyed by adults, but it’s really not the most substantive thing in the world. Despite this, I do find it fun to read just because I want to see how Ichigo will improve; and if the author has a reader emotionally invested in the character’s journey, that’s an achievement!

I personally like both almost equally, although I lean slightly towards Kitchen Princess because the plot really grabbed me.

One final point I’d like to make is to not write off Yumeiro Patissiere just because it looks like it’s for ten year olds! It’s actually quite decent, so if you’re into the cutesy fairy stuff I do think you should give it a try!

Final, final note: If you really want substantive commentary on the human condition, don’t read either of these. LOL