After that OWLS post earlier this week it should have been obvious what this weeks review would be and why would it not be Antique Bakery? After all, even though I had to re-watch only one episode for that post, I ended up pulling out the full DVD box set from my anime collection and ended up marathoning the series over three nights. It had been years since I had sat down and watched this series in all honesty and I loved it just as much as I use to love these men and their story drew me in once again.
Premiering in 2008 and based on the manga by the same name by Fumi Yoshinaga the author herself has summed up her work in interviews with the following quote; ‘I want my readers to understand the happiness that people can get from trying hard, going through the process and getting frustrated.’ and that one statement is what can be found in the heart of the story that is Antique Bakery.
The anime tells the tale of the four handsome men that work within the bakery named Antique. The wannabe ladies man owner Keiichirou Tachibana, the genius pastry chef Yuusuke Ono and his new sweet-toothed apprentice Eiji Kanda and the bumbling klutz of a waiter Chikage Kobayakawa. The bakery becomes a sanctuary from the outside world to each of the men within. They find a place to belong, a place to feel safe and a place to feel useful and this is where the biggest appeal of this series comes from for me.
It is most definitely a character driven story and it is hard not to get attached to one or all of the men within, though their personal hangups are each there own there is something very relatable with them coming to terms with themselves and their pasts that draws you in. When they succeed you cheer them on which makes for a very fun watch. Even when the series delves into darker themes later on it does not lose it’s comfy and warm feeling.
The one downside for the series is sadly the visuals and animation. The series does use a lot of CG and it does not blend very well with the animation and can at times pull you out of a scene when it cuts to a scene that uses heavy CG. That being said I have to say this, the OP for this series is my all time favorite OP visually.
The use of a miniature version of the bakery, that looks like pieces from a dollhouse and then to use cardboard cutouts of the characters throughout in different poses is really quite amazing. The opening is a perfect introduction to each of the characters showing off their personalities with each pose and interaction with each other and the customers within. It’s like a warm welcome every time you sit down to watch an episode and is an OP I never skip. Another intriguing thing about the opening is that the song used in the OP and ED for the series is actually the same song just different versions. Where are the version used for the OP is very warm and welcoming the version used for the ending is very wistful and nostalgic.
Antique Bakery is also a good gateway anime to someone interested in the boys love genre, as there are some very sweet elements from the genre in the series but they are not the main focus of the series. This series is a definite must watch for any fujoshi but also a must watch for those who like to enjoy anime that have a slower pace and just want to sit down and relax with a series that will leave you with a good feeling, just the kind of thing you might want to watch at this time of the year!