Shonen-ai


      This episode begins with school’s holiday starting and we watch Sawako pass her day by feeding the birds, going for a jog, picking up trash, and so forth. But, today is a special day because Ayane and Chizu are stopping by to hangout, so Sawako works on a homemade cake.

      When the doorbell rings, Sawako’s father answers the door and is a little put off by Chizu’s size and casual nature. He thinks Ayane is OK but she wears too much makeup, and has quite a few ear piercings. A few seconds later, Sawako gives Ayane and Chizu a proper introduction to her parents. After the introductions, Ayane gives Sawako’s parents some cake they brought with them and they head up to Sawako’s room.

      In Sawako’s room they share cake and coffee, and look over the pictures Ayane took at the party including some of Sawako’s and Kazehaya’s staircase moment. Ayane, not being one to beat around the bush tells Sawako to just confess her love to Kazehaya. Sawako is caught off guard and says she’s happy with things the way they are. But, Ayane tells Sawako that if she does that then they can go out as a couple. Sawako is still not convinced, and Chizu says another girl might step in and steal Kazehaya from Sawako. Eventually, the girls end up watching some horror flicks that Sawako rented.

      We switch scenes and see Kazehaya walking Maru when he runs into Ryuu near the river. As Maru and Ryuu are bonding, Kazehaya mentions all the messages Pin has been leaving on his phone. Kazehaya finally answers his phone and Pin says he needs to see Kazehaya and Sawako right now. It seems that Pin ran into Sawako at the video store, and Sawako warned Pin to take care of himself but he just ignored the advice and spent the night drinking and watching porno, and now he’s in bad shape. I think he wants Sawako to lift a curse that might have been placed on him. Ryuu tells Kazehaya that Chizu and Ayane are visiting Sawako, and doesn’t he want to see Sawako anyways.

      Back at Sawako’s place, Chizu comes downstairs and cleans up the plates and cups while talking with Sawako’s mom. She makes the observation about how Sawako inherited her features from both of her parents, and Sawako’s mom is now convinced that Ayane and Chizu are nice girls.

       Back in Sawako’s room, Ayane gets a phone call from Kazehaya about Pin, and Ayane hands the phone to Sawako. Well, everyone agrees to pay Pin a visit and see what’s up. Once they arrive at Pin’s apartment they find Pin looking like shit, and his apartment looking even worse.

       Well, Pin thinks that Sawako is going to use spiritual powers on him, but he’s just coming down with a bad cold. As Sawako begins to nurse Pin, Kazehaya gets jealous and nurses Pin. After Ayane puts Pin to sleep with a bedtime horror story, the kids clean up the Pin’s garbage dump apartment. While all this is going on Sawako admits to herself that she’s good at this and she likes to clean (hell, I wish my GF liked to clean my condo). As darkness falls, Pin wakes up feeling a lot better and sends the kids off. Before Sawako walks off, Pin pulls her aside and tells her that he knows Kazehaya’s and Ryuu’s weak spots, and he also whispers something into Sawako’s ear about Kazehaya.

       Once they reach the point where Sawako has to split off Chizu tells Kazehaya it’s dangerous so he should walk Sawako home even though Sawako’s says she won’t scare anyone. As Kazehaya, Maru, and Sawako walk quietly down the road, Sawako wants to thank him but can’t find the words. So, Sawako does what Pin told her to do, she grabs Kazehaya’s arm stopping him and she stands there with her eyes closed. Kazehaya slowly decides to take this as an invitation and moves in for a kiss, and just as he has her lips in range Sawako opens her eyes and jumps back. When Kazehaya finds out that Pin set this up, he gets angry and tells Sawako that if she does that again, he doesn’t know what will happen.

       As Sawako and Kazehaya continue their walk in silence, Sawako thinks to herself that she wants to be by his side, and Kazehaya asks Sawako to not look at him for awhile. The episode closes with Sawako thinking that that someday the day will come when she’ll want to tell Kazehaya her feelings. Well, that’s all folks.

      Well, basically we have another hanging with the friends’ episode with the only difference being that the girls hung out at Sawako’s house. At least we learned a few things about Sawako’s parents, number one being that Sawako’s father is much more traditional about how he expects girls to behave, and the second being that Sawako’s mom is more easy going and doesn’t judge on appearances.

      It was very funny watching Chizu unravel the secret of Sawako’s looks; it’s all about the genes, baby. I think the most interesting development of the whole episode is how everyone is working hard towards hooking up/advancing Sawako’s and Kazehaya’s budding relationship. Ayane tells Sawako to confess so they can start dating, Chizu tells Sawako to confess or maybe lose to another girl, Ryuu knows that Kazehaya wants to see Sawako, and even Pin in his own silly way almost got Kazehaya a taste of that sweet fruit.

       My only frustration with the progression thus far is Sawako’s inability to communicate her feelings to Kazehaya. Sawako’s come to the internal understanding that she loves Kazehaya, and wants to be near him, but she’s unable to even reach over and take his hand. I can understand Kazehaya frustration towards the end of the episode; he’s asked her out and basically confessed to her, and her response has been vague at best. Hell that young man needed to taste those lips or he’ll end up at Pin’s apartment with the two of them drowning their frustrations in booze and tissue paper.

       This episode begins two days before the opening of the sweets shop, while Ono is prepping the kitchen Tachibana comes in sporting a sexy, refined waiter look, and he also shows Ono a cute maid outfit for a girl he wants to hire. Ono breaks the bad news to Tachibana, he has extreme problems working around young girls (my only problem with that is I become too distracted).

     Just then Eiji Kanda (the injured boxer from the first episode) is jogging down the street when he’s sees the help wanted sign in the sweets shop’s window, he ignores the “female” part of the flier and barges in and demands a job. Tachibana takes him before Ono and asks him if he’s his type, and when Ono says no Tachibana hires him, when Eiji asks what that was all about, he tells Eiji that Ono is epically gay. After eating one of Ono’s confections Eiji is instantly smitten with the taste of Ono’s baking calling him a God and saying that everything that’s been called cake before is a lie. Soon, Eiji is begging to be hired as a trainee, while Tachibana is against this he has to give into his genius baker.

     That night Ono is busy teaching Eiji some of the basics of pastry prepping when Tachibana asks him what he did before this, and Eiji tells them he was a boxer. Later we see at a boxing gym a coach trying to get one of his boxers (Thunder) to retire. Later that night a female customer (Thunder’s girlfriend) walks in to the shop but Tachibana tells her the shops not open yet, but he gives her a gift of cake for stopping by, and as she’s leaving she tells them she’s never seen a shop with so many hot guys. As she’s about to leave Thunder shows up and recognizes Eiji asking him what is a world champion boxer doing working at a cake shop, he kind of puts down Eiji for not boxing. 

      later the three guys discuss why they are at a sweets shop, Tachibana doesn’t like sweets, but he knows that cute girls love them, Ono followed a lover to France where he learned to bake, and Eiji doesn’t tell them why he quit boxing but he does loves sweets. The next day Ono and Eiji are busy making lots of yummy looking lies, and later the woman from last night stops back in and asks to talk with Eiji about boxing. She wants to know about boxing so she can better understand her boyfriend, and he tells her the truth about his injury and how he would go back to boxing if he could.

       Later after his losing fight Thunder meets up with his girlfriend and she tells him good job even though he lost, she asks him if he’s willing to quit for her, and he tells her no. But, he asks her to have their baby anyway and he’ll watch it when she’s not around. Later, she stops back at the bakery to talk with Eiji, and asks him for a cake he made, but he tells her that he’s just a trainee and can’t make one yet. But, Tachibana gives her a cake to take home, and then Thunder shows up and tells Eiji that he’ll buy one of his cakes when he wins a fight. Later as the couple is walking home happy Eiji tells them that he’ll bake them a great wedding cake someday. Well, that’s all for this episode.

Cake is a lie, cake is a lie, cake is a lie, noooooooooooooo I want some cake!

Feed me some cake!

Cake for guys!

Cake for girls!

      Well, I really enjoyed this episode of Antique Bakery, I thought it was very funny how gg Fansubs replaced the word cake with the word lie throughout this episode, cake is a lie. Normally I’m not a fan of Bishounen type anime for reasons stated in my episode one review but I’m enjoying this series. I can understand Tachibana’s reasons for opening a sweet shop, girls love sweets, in real life sometimes things can seem strange, do you ever wonder why so many girls’ gymnastic coaches are men?

      Now to Ono, a gay guy who followed a lover to France where he learned to be a master pastry baker, how very stereotypical but very funny. Now Eiji, I can best understand his reasons for wanting to be a pastry baker, while his first love is boxing he really loves cake, so if you can’t be boxer why not be a baker? I think that this series has a pretty good mix of funny and interesting characters to keep the story moving in a very humorous direction. Everyone remember, cake is a lie, hell nooooo, we all want some cake!

 

      This episode begins with a man (Keisuke Tachibana) having a vivid dream about being held prisoner as a child, while being held his abductor tries to feed him cake but he refuses. Then when the man awakens he tells his parents that he is quitting his job at a top company to start up a sweets shop, and his parents even vow to invest in the venture. Then we fast forward to the present day where a pastry baker (Yusuke Ono) is showing off his skills to Tachibana to try and win the bakers job.

 

        When the two guys were in high school together Ono once confessed his love to Tachibana, and Tachibana rejected him in a very brutal manner, now Tachibana wonders if Ono has forgotten the incident. Later, Keisuke asks Ono why there are always fights over him at his past places of employment and if that is the reason he always get fired, and Ono replies it’s because he’s devilishly gay. Tachibana laughs when Ono says this, but Ono changes his clothes and asks Tachibana to follow him somewhere. Upon hearing this Tachibana is curious so he agrees to follow him. Then we move to a scene inside a boxing gym where a young fighter (Eiji Kanda) is told by his coach that he must quit boxing because of an eye injury, the coach tries to help break the news by offering him some yummy cake.

       As the night draws near, Ono leads Tachibana to the gay section of town and takes him to his favorite gay bar where Tachibana sees the power that Ono has over other gay men and he also finds out that every straight man that Ono is around is also drawn to his power. Later Ono tells Tachibana about his coming out to a guy in high school and being rejected, and that he even thought about killing himself after the rejection, but that rejection led him to be able to admit and accept his lifestyle, and now he doesn’t even rem amber that guy’s name or face anymore, and soon Ono leaves the bar for a while with one of the young guys.

         Later when Tachibana and Ono are walking home Ono refuses the Job saying that since he has taken an interest in Tachibana it will end up like all the rest, and he tries to kiss Tachibana. But, Tachibana refuses the embrace telling Ono that it was him that refused his advances in high school. At first Ono doesn’t believe him, but eventually he is convinced and Ono agrees to work for the only man who ever refused his charms, and Ono tells him that he has no hard feelings about high school saying that because of his rejection he was able to live freely. After their talk, the younger guy who Ono was with earlier shows up again and Ono leaves with him. But while they are walking away we see a flashback where Ono clearly hasn’t forgotten the trauma of Tachibana’s rejection. Well, that’s all for this episode.

      Before I review the episode content I’d like to make mention of the opening and the ending animations, they are both different from the way a normal anime would be done. The opening sequence features drawn cutouts of characters moving around the digital background of the Antique Bakery, and the ending sequence features the characters and backgrounds done in a jigsaw puzzle fashion with pieces falling into water, I don’t know what to make of it but it’s different.

The opening.

The ending.

       Well, here goes my first blog review of a boy’s love/ shonen-ai anime, I’ve viewed this genre of anime before but with never much enjoyment. Let me explain, I’ll watch almost any type of anime as long as the character development and storyline is good. Years ago, when I was involved in a local anime club, every time a boy’s love/ shonen-ai/ yaoi movie or series was shown, I could never follow or let alone try to enjoy the viewing because of the squealing and howling of the fangirls, it would get so loud that it would drown out the audio system (I’m not lying about this).

       If I had ever shouted out some of the very same comments about the female characters in a harem anime series that I’d heard during those boy’s love/ shonen-ai/ yaoi showings, I would have probably have been banned for making sexually inappropriate comments. Oh well, that’s life.

      First of all, I found the initial plot and character development to be interesting, but a little slow for my liking. Also I found the story to be a little dark for my liking, all of the featured characters seem to harbor a dark cloud circling around their hearts, they try to keep this locked inside but every now and then it shows itself.

      Tachibana is an interesting contradiction between experience and actions, he clearly still harbors a almost post traumatic stress disorder like reaction to his childhood kidnapping but he chooses to quit his job and open a sweets shop. Maybe his attempts to run a sweets shop is an attempt to conquer his fear of sweets that he incurred during his kidnapping.

      Ono’s character is also interesting, the gay boy who mustered the courage to confess his love for one of the most popular heterosexual males in his school, then who was brutally rejected, manages to bounce back and become one of the most desirable gay male around. Ono is now working for the only male who ever rejected his love, this plot-line is typically used in shojo style storytelling where a cute, nice, normal girl rejects or is rejected by the most popular guy around only to have him either change his ways, or see her better qualities, then they hookup to find true love.

      The mood and the feel of this series is almost Gothic in nature, a vast majority of the episode occurred in darkness or dimly lit environments, and the background music was also in a Gothic style. The feeling I got when watching this series is that it could have easily been set in a Victorian time period. Overall, I find this series to be moderately interesting, and I will continue to watch it as long as they pickup the pace a little bit.