Manga Review: Mixed Vegetables Volume One

Article first published as Manga Review: Mixed Vegetables Volume One by Ayumi Komura on Blogcritics.

Mixed Vegetables Volume One is a manga written and illustrated by Ayumi Komura. It was published in North America by Viz Media’s Shojo Beat imprint in 2008. Mixed Vegetables is rated “T” for teens; after reading this volume, I would agree with this rating.

Mixed Vegetables Volume 1
Written by: Ayumi Komura
Publisher: Shueisha
English Publisher: VIZ Media
Release Date: September 2, 2008

Hanayu Ashitaba comes from a family that owns a pastry shop, but her dream is to become a sushi chef. She’s in the cooking department at Oikawa High School, and it is there that she meets Hayato Hyuga, the son of a family that owns a prestigious sushi restaurant. It turns out that Hayato really wants to be a pastry chef.

Hanayu has a plot to make Hayato fall in love with her, so she can marry into a sushi family. Hayato is a popular boy in the cooking department, so it almost seems to be an impossible dream. Hanayu decides she will try to impress him with her cooking skills, but things don’t entirely turn out as she expects. A lot of the first volume focuses on the relationship that develops between Hanayu and Hayato.

By the time I finished reading the first volume of Mixed Vegetables, it basically felt like a “typical” shojo story that happens to have a cooking element in it. And to be honest, I’m not entirely convinced that the pastry shop/sushi restaurant angle really adds a whole lot to this story. While it does provide the motivation for Hanayu to pursue Hayato in the first place, that motivation could have easily been changed and the story could have still come to the same place that it does at the end of the volume. It’s a relatively straightforward shojo romance story.

When it comes to the art in Mixed Vegetables, it relies heavily on the look and tropes that are associated with “typical” shojo manga series. In other words, there’s really not a lot in the art of this series to make it stand out from a lot of the other shojo manga titles that I’ve read.

In the end, Mixed Vegetables will hold the strongest appeal to the teenage girls that are in the series’ target market. This series may also hold some appeal to readers who just want a quick read that is relatively mindless and light-hearted. However, for readers who want a little more substance to their shojo manga probably wouldn’t find a lot of enjoyment in Mixed Vegetables.

I wrote this review after reading a copy of Mixed Vegetables Volume One that I checked out through the King County Library System.

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