365 Days of Manga, Day 132: Kitchen Princess


KITCHEN PRINCESS (Kitchen no Ohimesama, “Kitchen Princess”) ????????????• Miyuki Kobayashi (story), Natsumi Ando (art) • Del Rey (2007-ongoing) • Kodansha (Nakayoshi, 2004-ongoing) • 8+ volumes (ongoing) • Shôjo Cooking Romantic Drama • 13+ (brief mild violence)
Flan, french onion soup, carrot cake, tiramisu, omrice–this shojo manga should come bundled with an Easy-Bake Oven. Najika, a cheerful orphan blessed with great taste buds and cooking abilities, leaves the orphanage and goes to school in the big city, where she is tormented by backstabbing girls but makes friends with two handsome brothers, Daichi and Sora. Could one of them be the half-forgotten dream boy from her childhood, whom she promised to serve “the most delicious dessert in the world”? With desserts and comfort food worked into every chapter, and recipes in the back so you can make it yourself, Kitchen Princess is a delightful mix of drama and cooking. The art is plain and the English rewrite is fairly rudimentary, but the storytelling is clear, not flashy and confusing like so many shojo for young readers. (Despite the 13+ age rating, there’s nothing here unsuitable for elementary school students, except possibly for a tastefully handled subplot about bulimia.) A quick, delightful read.
Today’s winner is Jennifer S. of Pennsylvania. Congratulations, Jennifer! I’m moving this week, so there’s going to be a small gap in manga shipments — please hang in there and I’ll send you your goods as soon as everything is unpacked. And once you get your manga, please send me your photo for the website so I can send you more!

  • J. Thomason

    I, J. Thomason, have finally finished reading Rumiko Takahashi’s “Maison Ikkoku”, and Hayao Miyazaki’s “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind”, and I have to say that they are the finest comics I have ever read. To me, they epitomize the two ends of the storytelling spectrum: the epic story (Nausicaa), and the personal story (Maison).
    I love “Nausicaa”‘s epic plot, beautiful artwork and relevant message, but my favorite aspect of the series is Nausicaa, herself. She is one of the best characters I have ever seen. I like that she’s kind, feeling, thoughtful and intelligent; I like that she loves nature and people, even when they are largely responsible for the death and destruction around her; I like that she strives for peace, but also has a violent, frightening side to her.
    While “Nausicaa” is one of the greatest and deepest epics I have ever read, “Maison” is one of the most touching stories I have ever read. I love most of Takahashi’s other works as well, but “Maison” is her greatest accomplishment. I love how she takes a basic, timeworn premise, and infuses it with believable main characters, a great supporting cast, a strong narrative, and a strong sense of elegy and pure emotion. I love how the artwork develops over the course of the series, and how the story develops from a kind of sitcom-y story to a strong, touching romance. In most romantic series modeled after this, the stories are mostly comedic, and save the emotion for the final act. Here, however, the overarching drama grows over time. Also, in my opinion, “Maison” could not have had a better ending. (On a side note, I have read the whole series, but I do not own the second editions of volumes 4 and 8, because they are out of print, and only availible from Amazon sellers for steep prices. The first editions are more easily availible, but I don’t want them, because I like reading them right-to-left more, and the stories are collected differently in the first edition, so I wouldn’t be getting the same stories.)
    While these series are fairly well-known in the manga and anime community, they are still mostly overlooked by the mainstream American comic community. Some of Osamu Tezuka’s manga have won major American comic awards, but these two series have (sadly) not. I just want to say thank you, Mr. Thompson. Thank you for recommending these series in “Manga: TCG”, and I commend you for seeking out the hidden gems in manga. These may not be hidden in manga fandom, they are in American fandom, I’ve noticed. Even though they haven’t won any major American comic awarads and even if I find other great manga, these two series will always be in a very special place in my heart.

  • I’m so glad that you liked Maison Ikokku and Nausicaa — they’re two of my favorite manga too. Nausicaa is a great science-fiction series, and I remember in the ’90s it was agonizingly frustrating waiting for Miyazaki to finish the series — and when he did finish it, how totally different and surprising the ending was compared to the anime. But Maison Ikkoku may be even more important to me. I’ve watched something like 3/4 of the 100+ episode anime series, and I’ve read the manga, and it’s just a charming series. Frankly, Maison Ikkoku’s rich writing and believability spoiled me when I compare it to most other romantic comedies for guys, which tend to focus on short-term cheesecake (Suzuka, Love Hina, etc.).
    Yes, they’re two wonderful manga!

  • Sharon Tat

    How do you read this? Are there similar mangas?

  • I love Kitchen Princess I have read the numbers 1-8 I’m wishing to read the rest of the books. They are so full of love,pasion,and great drawings! I truly love this manga. I’m going to the bookstore and wishing to get the rest of the books. I feel very sad when Daichi hears Seiya Mizuno say Nijika should go out with him. Dacha has strong feelings for Nijika! I think they are a great couple but sometimes I feel very sorry for him…

    ~Love Kitchen Princess

    P.S Sometimes I feel like me and my boyfriend are Nijika and Dachi. <3

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  • charlotte ko

    i <3 kitchen princess 4 life! 🙂

  • Jay

    I love kitchen princess but I think it should also be an anime in my opinion

  • Jay

    I also real sad that Sora died but I love the manga <3

  • irenewongyahui

    i luv reading kitchen princess its so nice!i love manga!

  • Amanda

    I absolutely LOVE Kitchen Princess and i honestly believe that if it became an ANIME it would be HIGHLY successful!!

  • where can you look for a website to see the manga ?

  • Tess

    Hello! I have just finished the manga series 1 – 10 of Kitchen Princess, plus one novel “Search for the Angel Cake.” Do you know, will Del Rey be publishing any of the other novels? While reading the author and illustrator’s notes they indicated that several short stories will be written in Japan. Thank you so much!

  • Karis

    I’ve read all the Kitchen Princess’ + the search of the angel cake too. Especially LOVE the recipes that come with it.