Komomo Confiserie, Vols 4 and 5 by Maki Minami
This series was five volumes long, and it feels like exactly the right length to wrap everything up and not leave the readers hanging. It was pleasant enough, but I don’t see myself rereading it anytime soon. Still, this is the first Minami series that I’ve stuck with all the way to the end, so there’s something about cranky pasty chefs that I must find appealing! The last two volumes of the series work through a few barriers to Komomo and Natsu getting together.
This volume shows how Komomo deals with a psychotic girl who has decided to stalk Natsu in a dramatic fashion. Natsu starts ignoring Komomo for her own protection, because he doesn’t want Komomo to become a focus for Noelle’s wrath. Komomo doesn’t deal well with being ignored though, and since Natsu doesn’t openly discuss this problem with her at all (which is standard practice for shoujo heroes) the situation drags on far too long. While Komomo manages to fly under the radar for a little bit, Noelle becomes suspicious of Komomo and Natsu’s relationship and decides to take out her revenge on the Meli-Melo pastry shop. Here, Komomo’s sheer force of will and commanding nature comes out when she decides that she will not stand for Natsu’s livelihood being threatened, and she takes charge in a spectacular fashion, exhibiting some emotional maturity that she wouldn’t have been capable of at the start of the series.
Mitsuru, an old friend of Natsu starts to move in on the story. He’s fascinated with Komomo and figures out that Natsu must be in love with her. However, he has his own secret motivation for becoming involved with the odd pastry-obsessed couple, which is explored more fully in the next volume.
While Komomo starts to realize her feelings for Natsu when she begins to feel jealous of Noelle in the previous volume, the dynamic in the final volume is reversed as Natsu is forced to confront just how precious Komomo is to him once Mitsuru comes charging on the scene. Komomo has a choice to go back to her old life or stay devoted to Meli-Melo, and while her feelings aren’t in question, it takes a bit of time for Natsu to actually acknowledge what the reader has known has been going on since the very first volume.
Komomo Confiserie isn’t the most innovative shoujo manga, but I enjoyed the pastry-themed setting and Komomo’s imperious manner, expressive eyebrows, and occasional fits of rage. I While I don’t see myself rereading this manga anytime soon, it was the first Maki Minami series that I actually read from start to finish. Even though I had a very clear idea where the story would conclude after reading the first volume, I still enjoyed reading the whole series.