Antique Bakery Showcases Boy-to-Boy Romance Without the Bad Stereotypes


Boys’ Love, or BL, is often portrayed as being full of problematic stereotyping and romanticizing unhealthy relationships and behaviors. Such a reductive approach to the shojo subgenre, however, only serves to reinforce the “good” and “bad” representational binomial, limiting the representations of the queer experience that can be told. While there may be negative portrayals present in BL – non-consensual relationships, predatory behaviors, abusive partners – these are not exclusive to BL or the queer experience and are often present in romance and other genres.

While toxic behaviors and relationships should not be reinforced and glorified, neither should they be replaced with a “healthy” counterpart in the name of representation, as this oversimplifies the complicated nature of things like romance, sex and homosexuality. BL is a diverse genre encompassing stories that blend other genres and explore a wide range of stories and characters. One of these series is the Eisner Award winner and Kodansha Manga antique bakery.

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antique bakery is a clever mix of slice-of-life, comedy, food and drama set in a Tokyo patisserie nestled in a former antique shop. The story centers on the manager and owner of the pastry shop, Keiichiro Tachibana, and his three friends and colleagues: the pastry chef, Yusuke Ono, his apprentice, Eiji Kanda, and the waiter Chikage Kobayakawa. antique bakery strikes a charming balance of levity and drama with its focus on workplace comedy and the interpersonal interactions of friends in business with each other. The series was so well received that in addition to its 2008 anime, it sparked a television drama, an audio drama, and two international adaptations.

The 12-episode anime is incredibly character-driven, with the bakery setting serving as a catalyst for everyone’s relationship development, in addition to the various artful depictions of delicious desserts. Between daily antics in the workplace, the story allows Ono and Chikage to explore their attraction to each other, Eiji and Ono their father-son relationship, and the past that got them all to this point. .

An underlying scenario in antique bakery is Tachibana’s past trauma from being kidnapped as a child and how it shaped his behaviors. The incident is gradually pieced together and it is clear how important it is to Tachibana that his captor is finally arrested. This eventually leads to a slight change in the overall story, where Tachibana gets involved with the police to help find another child kidnapper – who he suspects was the one who took him all those years ago. years.

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Part of what makes antique bakery so engaging is that it features characters in their own right who can explore both their professional and personal lives. Although it’s a shorter series – spanning just four manga volumes and 12 episodes – each of the main characters gets an expanded backstory and experiences growth throughout the story.

antique bakery may not explicitly focus on sex or sexuality, but its portrayals of the nuances of romance don’t come at the expense of other BLs that do. Rather, it’s another facet of queer, relationship-focused storytelling for anime and manga fans to consume, especially if they prefer series that are generally more light-hearted.

Any relationship, platonic or otherwise, is made up of many elements. Likewise, BL encompasses more than its negative perceptions. antique bakery is one of many BL series that explores the breadth of interpersonal relationships, and not just through its lack of gender inclusion. It succeeds best in its skillful depiction of the complexity of relationships in a relatively straightforward narrative that is both grounded and refreshing.

The antique bakery is configured to stream on RetroCrush.


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