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 9-10 and the bonus stories at the end of each.)
Type: Cooking, School Life, Shoujo,
Basic Plot: Najika’s love life is now really confusing. Her rival is now in love with her and is as determined to win her over as much he once was to defeat her. She is almost 100% certain who her “flan prince” is. She also is now getting really close to a friend that was once just a friend, but now she may be in love with. Najika’s not sure who she does or should love, but the events that are happening will probably help her choose.
Plot: 3½/5 Above Average: The story had another dramatic change, and of course in the end reveals who the lover Najika has been searching for is. The second plot twist got me a lot more than the first, but probably because I was told that the first one was going to happen while the second was a complete surprise. The conclusion was nice and smooth, but I think it would have been more interesting if the “flan prince” had been someone else.
Graphics: 5/5 Excellent Quality: I loved the graphics until the end. Her drawing has become more detailed and well drawn since she started, though I think that she has been a wonderful artist since volume one. There was one art mistake in the volumes though. Najika and her friend are sitting on a subway or bus and get smashed really close together because of the crowded seating, but the next page shows that no one is on the bench except for them. Otherwise it was done properly. (If you see any art mistakes in the series I missed, you can mention them in the comments if you want!)
Moral: 3/5 A Good Moral: The moral I saw the most in these volumes was one I can approve of. It is the moral of understanding other people and fixing your relationship with them. I didn’t really care for the way they made the father character look earlier in the manga, as he was at first this controlling, all the kids and teenagers hate type of parent. In the last volumes though, his reasoning for his anger and seemingly evil side are shown to come from the good phrase “Hurting people hurt people.” The reason for his “evil side” doesn’t come from this “I hate my kid and want to see them suffer” or “Parents just don’t understand kids” perspective that American entertainment sometimes has, but from a relatable fear and concern for his child and his welfare. The conclusion of the issues was when the father and son both apologize for hurting and mistreating the other person, and they decide to start over. I like this better than those stories where the parent just let’s the kid do whatever they wanted and accepts a rebellious or sinful choice, but both the parent and child realize what they did wrong and decide to work together to fix their problems. It wasn’t a one sided the parent is wrong the kid is right conclusion, and I liked that.
Overall: 4/5 Well Done: I think the series concluded well in story, art, and moral. I can recommend it to girls twelve or thirteen and older as I think they would like it best.
Official Rating: T
Sexual and Inappropriate Content: ½/5 Slightly Suggestive There is small amount of non-sexual physical content between a boy and a girl, like kissing on the mouth and hugging. A cocktail with no alcohol is described as a “virgin” cocktail.
Violence: 2½/5 A Little Bloody Violence: A boy hits his head. A woman is crushed by some giant wooden boards and dies. There is blood on her head and around her as well as on a little boy.
Swearing and Using the Lord’s Name in Vain: ½/5 A Little Misuse:” Gosh” is said once.
Emotional, Intense, and Disturbing Content: 3½/5 Quite Emotional and Some Blood: A boy goes through emotional guilt and trauma for being responsible for a person’s death and watching that person die. There is some blood around a woman that is crushed by construction site material, especially her head, and a little boy has blood on him probably from the woman. Some people think a woman killed herself.
Religious Issues: 0/5 None
Magic: 0/5 None
Others: Twice there are boys wearing necklaces. In the character intros a man is smoking. In the side story a girl mentions a rumor that a man used to accompany woman to bars before he got his job. In the side story a man shows up in very feminine clothes and it is suggested that he is gay from his mannerism. His overly friendly behavior made some teenagers suspect that a man was gay when he wasn’t. Najika wishes she could drink because she’s stressed and a boy makes her a cocktail with no alcohol. He says he learned how to make it from a bartender. There are also recipes for it and several in the back, but none of them have any alcohol, though one does say what type of alcohol would have been used.
Overall: 2/5 Child Appropriate: The biggest problems in these volumes where the emotional issues and the appearance of a character that is strongly suggested to be a homosexual. Because it only showed him once in the entire series and did not get into his romantic life in any way whatsoever I personally let it slide. If it had gotten into his lifestyle though or if he had been a key character to the plot, the manga would have been unrecommendable. Readers, of course, are free to each make the personal choice that makes them comfortable. The other problem is the emotional issues that a boy goes through, as he feels responsible for killing a very important person in his life, and goes into a short term depression. It is tear jerking and emotional, but it it isn’t this gory and ultra depressing thing that will traumatize a child. Overall the manga is clean. I think that children twelve and older will be mature enough to handle the content in the manga.