Even though I was definitely not within the target demographic, the first volume of Komomo Confiserie was a pleasant surprise; the Shojo series was very pleasant, funny, and charming with its naïve and silly former rich girl protagonist. With the second volume out, let’s see if the series can keep the quality going. Is it good?
Komomo Confiserie Vol. 2 (Viz Media)
Written and Drawn By: Maki Minami
Translated By: Christine Dashiell
After Rise Kaname makes peace with Komomo, she invites her over to her home. There Komomo learns more about her friend and grows closer with her, finding out about a person Rise has a crush on as well. It’s time for our protagonist to learn something about love… that isn’t from a movie or fairy tale.
While the first volume was primarily about setting things up and building the characters, the second volume of Komomo Confiserie puts the focus more on love and romance (there’s still character development, but it’s sharing the spotlight with those themes now); first crushes, dates, idealized concepts of what love is like, and how love may come about (as cheesy as that sounds). Like stated in the last review, these are concepts more often seen in a lot of Shojo series, but what makes them work is Minami’s execution. Romance is never shown as something easily obtained, something one can wish to happen, or something that instantly happens — but more as something you have to work for to understand and that conversely, a lot of hardship comes from falling for someone you really shouldn’t. There are decent lessons here for a young audience to learn, with the added bonus that it’s also covered with a rather delightful coating of comedy to keep things from being too serious or dramatic.
Komomo herself is still a well-written, enjoyable protagonist. In Vol. 2 we get a usual dose of the character’s naivete but also a look at her serious side as well. Komomo really does not understand love all that well given her background, the idea instilled in her that she would be married off when her family used to have money, and the idea of love built in her head from the media she consumed. So, throughout the volume, you see Komomo’s “journey” of sorts as she learns more about how love is supposed to work — either through supporting her friend in her pursuit of love or trying to recreate it from the movies she’s watched. While her naivete and cluelessness may annoy some, it’s balanced enough with enough humor (like how she dresses for a double date or attempts sharing a drink with someone), moments where she stands up for the people around her and actually learns from her mistakes. She’s still growing and developing like in the last volume and it’s great to see that aspect remain in this book.
The writing all around is still pretty solid. The characterization for the other characters is strong and the newest character introduced, while a bit on the bland side, has good chemistry with Komomo given his background. The pacing and storytelling are excellent, the translation of the dialogue is fine and there’s nothing that sounds off about it. The humor is also impressive with its great timing, wacky visuals, and many of the situations playing out in amusing ways (like Komomo commandeering a horse from a carriage to deliver a message to someone).
Minami’s artwork looks as good as the first volume. The characters are drawn well (though I think the creator changed Komomo’s appearance a bit) and are very expressive with their facial expressions that range from normal/sweet looking to over exaggerated and wild to capture the mood the manga is going for. The layouts are put together well and are easy to read, while the filters and stylization of the panels and backgrounds work to help set the right mood or tone for each scene. While there’s not a lot to say about it overall, the artwork still works very well for the manga.
There aren’t any huge problems with Komomo Confiserie Vol. 2. There are however some minor things that could use more work. The male lead’s behavior may still rub some people the wrong way (he’s getting better and easing up though), a lot of familiar story beats and ideas are used throughout the manga (though the sense of humor does genuinely keep things from feeling tired), one of the bigger characters introduced the first volume fades into the background, there’s not much in the way of actual baking or sweets like the title may suggest, and some of Komomo’s ignorance could get tiresome. Plus, the whole dramatic situation in the karaoke room felt unneeded and didn’t fit the tone of the manga all that well. However, these are just small issues and they don’t really hurt the overall package that much.
Is It Good?
Komomo Confiserie Vol. 2 is a sweet and cutesy follow up to first volume that puts a bigger focus on romance. The main character is such a wonderful and enjoyable protagonist despite all of her problems and it’s a lot of fun to watch the story unfold as you see she and others deal with love and heartbreak. The writing is solid and the artwork isn’t too bad either, making for a really terrific package, especially for fans of this sort of series.