Antique Bakery is a manga by Fumi Yoshinaga depicting the lives of four men who work in a small bakery. It was published in Japan by Shinshokan and in English by Digital Manga Publishing. The series won the 2002 Kodansha Manga Award for shōjo manga. The manga was adapted as a Japanese TV drama, with the title Antique or Antique Cake Store, that was broadcast on Fuji TV in 2001, an anime television series, airing on July 3, 2008 on Noitamina, and a Korean live-action film.
Yoshinaga’s spinoff dōjinshi
Fumi Yoshinaga has published spinoff dōjinshi of Antique Bakery, showing both “slash” stories involving characters shown to be straight in the manga series, but also showing stories which were only alluded to in the manga. Yoshinaga feels that these stories are too explicit for the shōjo manga demographic, and Akiko Mizoguchi points out that they are in the boys love genre and it would be “unheard of” for these stories to be published by another publisher, despite their popularity in the dōjinshi world. The existence of these stories has never been announced in Wings or in the books collecting Antique Bakery. There were seven available as of August 2003, increasing to fourteen dōjinshi as of 2011.
Live-action TV drama
The television series differs perceptibly from the story of the manga. While the four main male characters remain the same in many of their relationship dynamics, the BL/homosexual aspect of the original manga is significantly reduced to almost nothing. There is the notable addition of Momoko Itsuki, a female sports journalist who appears in the first episode of the series.
Korean live-action movie
Animated by Nippon Animation, it features opening and ending themes by popular band Chemistry. A subtitled US release by Nozomi Entertainment has been announced for April 2011.
Comic Book Bin’s Avi Weinrib enjoyed DMP’s scratch-and-sniff covers. Al Kratina found Antique Bakery “fluffy, light, and disposable”. Chris the 4th Pip thought the characters showed “surprising depth”.
Janet Houck, writing for Mania Entertainment, felt that the story of the first volume was choppy, using many flashbacks, and that the volume should have been given a higher rating due to its depiction of Ono’s backstory. David Welsh enjoyed the character-driven story, especially the Christmas story, which was rooted in a business perspective. Jessica Brooks of Anime Jump enjoyed that although food-themed manga is usually about food preparation, instead Antique Bakery is about customer satisfaction. She also noted that Ono’s homosexuality was essentially “played for laughs”, although she did not feel this was a negative. Tom Rosin, for MangaLife, felt that the first volume was “about cakes more than anything else”, and that he felt hungry after reading Tachibana’s sales pitches. Katherine Dacey, writing for Pop Culture Shock, felt that the main theme of the series was a “slice of life friendship story”. Johanna Carlson noted that the series is faux-yaoi. Robin Brenner, writing for TeenReads, noted that the series’ plot is not “the point” about this manga – the funny character interactions and elegant character artwork are.
The series won the 2002 Kodansha Manga Award for shōjo manga. The English edition of Antique Bakery was nominated for an Eisner Award in 2007, in the category “Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Japan”.