WARNING: Reading this article may give away things in the story ranging from unimportant to plot turners.
Kitchen Princess by Natsumi Ando and Miyuki Kobayashi (This covers volumes 5-6 and the bonus stories at the end of each.)
Type: Cooking, School Life, Shoujo,
Basic Plot: Najika thinks she has found her true love and is now in a baking contest to prove she is good enough for him. It turns out there are a lot of secrets that are going to come out though about the contest, her parents, and her “flan prince.”
Plot: 4/5 Well Done: The plot has now had a big twist in it. I am disappointed to say that I did not get a shock because I had it spoiled for me, but I think if you have not been told it will get you. I also think that there were a lot more of creative and fascinating things about cooking now that Najika had to explain it in a contest instead of food just showing up when a chapter could use it. The last thing I lastly thought that at the end of volume six that what was used to move the plot was also good.
Graphics: 5/5 Excellent Quality: The graphics are still amazing, but they have gone through a change now. It started in book four actually, but now it is clear that the drawings are a lot rounder than they were before, especially the faces. I did not like this at first, but now I think it is still really good either way. I think that she also started eporamenting with the girls hair styles a lot more than she used to.
Moral: 2/5 Not To Great: Unfortunately the moral could be used as good or bad depending on how it is looked at. Najika’s friend decides to stop doing what his father tells him to a small degree because he believes it is wrong. Though we should not follow certain authorities so much we sin, I do not like seeing parents in the “bad guy” light. Also some of the things they say may encourage children to be more rebellious. It is not as rebellious as some American entertainment encourages children to be, though.
Overall: 4/5 Well Done: I think the plot is better than it was earlier and that the drawings are good, even though they are different. Sadly the moral that could be drawn from these volumes puts parents down a bit. I think the manga would be interesting to teenage girls and preteen girls.
Official Rating: T
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Slightly Suggestive: The artist describes some outfits she once saw as “sexy.” Najika sees to people kissing in public and she visually remembers being kissed, but neither is the weird, provocative type.
Violence: 2 ½/5 A Little Bloody Violence: A boy hurts his fingers while making a dessert. Najika gets shoved to the ground by someone. A boy gets hit by a truck and there is blood. Naika collapses and gets bruises. In the side story a man is described as “violent” even though no violence is shown from him. There is talk about a car accident that the manga does not show.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 A Little Misuse: “Gosh” and “geez” are used once each.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 3/5 Quite Emotional: A major character gets hit by a truck and dies. You also see him in the hospital, and there is a little blood. There is a lot of crying, and Najika goes through some extremely emotional trauma. She also gets blamed for the death, and has to again deal with some bullying from others.
Religious Issues: 2½/5 Suggestive and Slightly Contradictory: Heaven and God are mentioned, but they are probably not the same as what the Christians would consider heaven and God. A funeral is given with incense and appears to be either Buddhist or Shinto. Najika talks to her dead family and friend in a dream and what her friend says in the dream came true. The makers talk about how more than half of Japanese children “believed that people who die will somehow come back.”
Magic: 0/5 None
Others: It talks about how “mirin” a Japanese wine was used in cooking. In one picture it looks like a man has beer. In the character intros a man is smoking, and Smoking is done in four chapters and a side story.
Overall: 2½/5 Almost Child Appropriate: The death of a major character is why the series is rated 13+. (Well, and something else coming later.) Though the death could have been shown much more dramatically, it is very emotional after he dies. I think that children older than twelve or thirteen can handle it.