Kitchen Princess Omnibus Volume One is a manga written by Miyuki Kobayashi and illustrated by Natsumi Ando. This volume was published in North America by Kodansha Comics in 2013. The series is rated “T” for teens 13 year of age and older; after reading this omnibus, I would agree with this rating.
The main character of the series is Najika Kazami, After her famous pastry chef parents died when Najika was a little girl, she went to live at Lavender House in Hokkaido. One day when she was little, she slipped in and fell into some water; she was rescued by a little boy. To help her stop crying, the boy gave her some flan to eat. When he had to go, he told her to keep the snack, which included a silver spoon, She never forgot that boy’s kindness and wants to find him. In addition, she learned how to cook so she could cook for him one day if they ever met. Najika also has the ability to remember foods she’s eaten and can cook them exactly the same from memory.
Najika discovers the spoon shares the same emblem as Seika Academy and she decides she wants to go there in the hopes of finding her prince. She is accepted to the school and is even placed into the first-year A class, which is a class for students with special talents. Najika doesn’t think of her special cooking ability, so the other kids in the class shun her, thinking that she shouldn’t be there.
At the school, she meets Sora and Daichi, two popular brothers, and it looks like either one of them could potentially be her prince that she’s looking for. Unfortunately, Najika also ends up making an enemy of Akane, a popular girl in her class who is also a model. And practically every chapter sees Najika using her cooking skills to cook something as part of the story.
Overall, Kitchen Princess seems to have a rather typical shojo setup going on: a girl meets two guys who become potential love interests, and also gains a rival for the affection of one of the potential love interests. The two potential love interests also tend to bail the main character out of various situations.
One thing I have to give credit for is a storyline near the end of the omnibus, which is a storyline that focuses on Akane having an eating disorder. Considering how the majority of the volume reads like a typical shojo story, it was a nice change of pace to have a storyline that touches on a topical issue, and it’s an issue that would realistically be faced by the character who is facing it.
For the most part, there’s not much to make the art in Kitchen Princess stand out from other shojo manga series. However, I will say that when Najika’s hair is in braids, the detail for the braids look really nice and catch the reader’s attention.
When I finished this omnibus, I found myself thinking that Kitchen Princess is kind of a sweet story, but that I’m really not in the target market for it. The Kitchen Princess series will hold a stronger appeal to teenage female readers who enjoy shojo manga stories than it will to any other demographic. It’s not that Kitchen Princess is bad series, but it’s just not really appealing to me, and it’s not a title that I’m going to go out of my way to read more of. It’s one of those titles where, if I happen to run across the next volume at the library, I would check it out and read it.
I wrote this review after reading a copy of Kitchen Princess Omnibus Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.