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segua
March 08, 2009, 10:51 PM
Title: Chocolat
Genres: Seinen, Romance, Drama, Comedy, Slice of Life
Author:KUBONOUCHI Eisaku
Artist:KUBONOUCHI Eisaku
Publication:Shogakukan (Big Comic Spirits)
Start Date:2000
End Date: N/A
Number of chapters at review: 38
Number of chapters read by reviewer: 38

General Overview:
A mafia member, Katou Ichigo, recently gets released and returns to the street only to find out that his gang has been disbanded. Returning to his mob headquarters, he finds there instead is a cute little European style cake shop. Going in, he is greeted by his former boss turned cake baker, Omugi Matsukichi, and is stunned to realize what happened to his once glorious gang. In the middle of his daze, a young woman, Tatsumi Chiyoko, walks in claiming to be the daughter of the deceased wife of the mafia boss and demanded that she be given a room. Who could've thought this could happen to a mob?

Category Ratings: (1-10 scale)

http://mangahelpers.com/images/reviews/art.jpg
Art: 9

I'm debating whether this score should be a 9 or a 10. The art is just superb. The realism is very very good. How the artist draws the backgrounds to the characters are just impressive. Though one of the most striking ability of the artist is that he is able to draw well proportioned feet and toes. That's like a big win for me. I suppose I prefer more realistic looking toes then elongated and deformed ones.

Continuing onward, KUBONOUCHI Eisaku's attention to detail is very keen. I suppose the only thing that I dislike would be the facial expressions. I just don't know whether or not his style prevents him from having good facial exaggeration, but it scares me.

I have to note though that the drawings of the characters really do look Asian. GASP! I know. That's so cool. Thought it might be something of interest. Clearly was for me. I suppose that's the realism skills of KUBONOUCHI Eisaku.

http://mangahelpers.com/images/reviews/plot.jpg
Plot: 8

I don't think I've ever chanced upon a cake house, mafia or in this case ex-mafia members and a deserted young woman in a story. This is like a first, and the story is just fantastic. The pace is smooth. There's no worry of something big, I think, occurring out of the blue that changes the entire direction of the plot. There doesn't seem to be any chance of it really. It's realistic personally.

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Characters: 8

At first, the characters seems bland or uninteresting. Similar to when a person meets stranger. After getting acquainted, the characters starts growing on the reader, or I hope so. I'm even starting to like the bad guys. It sheds some light on people who were suspected of being what they were portrayed to be on say TV or in the films. Prejudice right? Yes, I was a bit prejudice about some of the characters.

The cast makes a delightful and heartwarming story. Not something I want to live through of course, but nonetheless, good story.

At the moment, I'm having difficulty deciding who the main character is. It might be Tatsumi Chiyoko but it doesn't look like it. It could be Katou Ichigo but I don't know. The story seems to circle around these two.

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Theme: 10

The whole theme of the story hits home. Life is precious and it must be regarded highly. Once a life is taken or gone, there is nothing that could be done to recover it. Time cannot be reversed. It's truly painful to lose a loved one.

Life should be lived to it's fullest if not at the very least enjoyed with the people a person loves. Those are precious times and it turns into precious memories. So, don't let those memories haunt you. Don't have any regrets. Of course there will be some.

Family is also important. A person doesn't even have to be blood related yet they could be as close as a real blood related brother. At times, even best friends are much better than blood related family. Point it, family is something that transcends blood ties which this manga beautifully illustrates.

Love by far is crucial. There is nothing greater than love. Yes, not even the gar of Kamina is greater than love! Without love, there is nothing and everything is vain. The most important thing about love is that it grows.

In the story, we see how the preciousness of life involves itself into the story. The importance of family and the power of love. Sounds lame but bear with me here. All those serve to build up precious memories, feelings and bonds. I think how this manga explore this is interesting.

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Originality: 10

Original? Very much so. How many other types of "cake house, ex-mafia members and a deserted young woman" mangas are out there? I don't really know, but this is sure my first of every reading one that is. It might be my last also, but I'm enjoying it.

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Overall: 10

It's a good read for those that aren't looking for any epic fight scenes, wild adventures or something out of this world. Nothing fancy. It's realistic. The pace set out for this manga is laid back I say. A good read for those looking for some realism and slice of life.

One thing I do have to wonder about is how good the cakes at the bakery taste like. Well, it's safer not to know in this instance.


http://img6.imageshack.us/img6/162/chocolat1d.th.jpg (http://img6.imageshack.us/my.php?image=chocolat1d.jpg)

(Wow, the hand looks so real when the picture is this small. I suppose from the elbow up to the left hand.)
http://img6.imageshack.us/img6/5269/chocolat2.th.jpg (http://img6.imageshack.us/my.php?image=chocolat2.jpg)

http://img6.imageshack.us/img6/1539/chocolat3.th.jpg (http://img6.imageshack.us/my.php?image=chocolat3.jpg)

http://img6.imageshack.us/img6/8408/chocolat4.th.jpg (http://img6.imageshack.us/my.php?image=chocolat4.jpg)