The Manga Taishou executive committee announced 13 nominees for the 4th annual Manga Taishou awards, and while every entry in the list interested me in some way, none of them made me perk up like Un Chocolatier de L’amour Perdu (also known as Shitsuren Chocolatier or Heartbroken Chocolatier). Un Chocolatier de L’amour Perdu initially started print in 2008, and is currently at 3 printed volumes.
Un Chocolatier de L’amour Perdu is a series by Setona Mizushiro, an author known best in the U.S. for two series, X-Day, published by TokyoPop back in 2003, and After School Nightmare, published by the now defunct Go!Comi. After School Nightmare was nominated for the Eisner award for “Best U.S. Edition of International Material – Japan” in 2007, and was named one of the best 10 graphic novels for teens in 2008 by the Young Adult Library Services Association. She is a fairly accomplished writer, and recently has been writing comics almost exclusively for Shueisha and Shogakukan. She seems to be simultaneously working on a two different series; Shitsuren Chocolatier which I will explain later, and Nounai Poison Berry, a piece being published currently in Shueisha‘s Chorus josei anthology.
EDIT: I have also been informed that Setona Mizushiro is also writing a third series called Kuro Bara Alice. It is currently at its fifth volume, and is published in Akita Shoten‘s Princess anthology. Thanks to Arya for pointing this out!
Un Chocolatier de L’amour Perdu is written for Shogakukan‘s Flowers anthology, which is a monthly josei publication that has been home to a few other award nominees, such as Umimachi Diary by Akimi Yoshida, which was nominated for the 3rd Manga Taishou awards, as well as the 12th and 13th Osama Tezuka Cultural Awards. Flowers is also the home of Kaze Hikaru, a series I’m desperately trying to find and read thanks to some well written praise from Kate Dacey, and an ongoing piece by Moto Hagio, Anywhere But Here. Clearly this anthology isn’t fooling around.
What I find most interesting about Un Chocolatier de L’amour Perdu is its natural bilingual state. The main character, Souta, trying to impress a girl he likes, travels to Paris to learn the better points of becoming a pâtissier. On this journey, he must speak French in order to communicate with some characters, and there are multiple panels where we find Souta and another character speaking in French (along with Japanese subtitles, which was something I thought wonderfully bizarre, coming from a culture that’s used to English subtitles). In the panel above, Souta enters a pâtisserie in France, and essentially says that he wants to work at the pâtisserie. I love the startled look on the shop manager’s face.
Un Chocolatier de L’amour Perdu seems to be a tale of unrequited love. Souta desires to impress this girl he loves by making her lovely cakes and chocolate, but after returning from France, she has already become engaged to another man. Naturally, since he is now an accomplished pâtissier, and they are still friends, she asks him to make her wedding cake. Whammy!
I think that the combination of heartbreak, chocolate, and unrequited love would make for an excellent bit of reading, and so, for my first license request of 2011, I’m asking for Un Chocolatier de L’amour Perdu. It seems like it would be an excellent addition to either Viz Media‘s Signature line, or their Shojo Beat lineup, which is stealthily adding more josei to its rosters.