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Manga / Bambino!

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Shogo Ban is a college student who loves to cook and works as a part-time chef in a small Italian restaurant in his hometown of Fukuoka, with the hopes of being able to open his own restaurant one day. But when his boss sent him to work in Trattoria Baccanale, a top-class restaurant in Tokyo, Ban soon discovers that being a professional chef is not as easy as he thought. Even so, Ban is determined to survive the harsh work environment of Baccanale and eventually decided to drop out of college and work there full time to pursue his dreams.

Bambino! is a seinen cooking manga written and illustrated by Sekiya Tetsuji. The manga was serialized in Big Comic Spirits from 2004 to 2009; it was followed up by a sequel, Bambino! Secondo, which takes place after the opening of Trattoria Legare (Baccanale's second store) and ran from 2009 to 2012. It also has a Live-Action Drama series in 2007 starring Jun Matsumoto as Shogo Ban (his group also made the opening for the series).

This series provides examples of:

  • A Day in the Limelight: The manga gives plenty focus on some of the side characters. Chapters 87-88 reveals more of Katori's back story, while chapters 90-91 gives us more insight of Kuwahara's life.
  • Amicable Exes: Miyuki and Yonamine used to be married, but even though they've divorced, they still work together very well. So much so that Ban, who doesn't know of their history, thinks they make a good couple.
  • Becoming the Mask: During the dolce arc Ban reluctantly has to greet the diners for the desserts that Oda made, the dolce arc ends with Ban winning a pastry competition of the dessert a assiete category, and diners also going to Baccanale for the desserts that Ban made
  • Covert Pervert: Despite usually being quite reserved, Miyuki apparently likes to play erotic roleplays using stuffed animals during her free time.
  • Determinator: Once Ban sets his mind on something, nothing will stop him from pursuing it. For example, when Ban wanted to try participating in the pastry competition, and Oda refused help him train unless he managed to master sugar crafting, Ban managed to accomplish it in a day by practising overnight, even though Oda said that most people would need a couple of weeks to master it.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Just before the first series end, Hayama is hit by a car and is killed almost instantly. The event is even more surprising considering how he had just proposed to Asuka, and they are in the middle of planning their wedding.
  • Gratuitous Italian: The Baccanale staff uses Italian phrases for briefing and taking food orders. They are also apparently required to respond in Italian during such events.
  • Hate Sink: Tsuchimiya from the second season is a terrible chef with no sense of taste, but thinks himself as a good cook. While he himself is actually a decent cook, he is immensely proud of his own skills to the point of not being able to take criticism from other staff (while being so passive-aggressive about it). Furthermore, his willingness to play dirty to maintain his position as Legare's chef makes him a hated character, disliked by both his coworkers and the audience.
  • Hot-Blooded: Deconstructed. Ban's rash attitude and tendency to rise up against provocations frequently cause trouble for himself and others (at one time, he got angry over Miyuki calling him "Bambi", but since he was driving during this outburst, he caused the wine bottles that Miyuki just procured for the restaurant to break), and he would usually only move forward when he calms down and starts to behave more rationally.
  • In-Series Nickname: No matter where he works and what his position is, Ban is always considered a Bambino (infant/child) due to his lack of "real world" experience, even when one of the place is in New York, America.
  • I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Ban doesn't have a very good luck in his pursuit for romance. Even so, he tries to cope with his situation as best as he could.
    • After learning that his ex-girlfriend Eri is going to get married to someone else, Ban decided to organize a party for them, with him as the chef, to show his support.
    • Happens again later when Asuka and Hayama gets engaged. Ban kept on thinking how happy he is for them, even though he's shown to have romantic feelings for Asuka several times at that point.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Coyote Blades. In his first appearance, he was violently beating someone else, and threatened to do the same to Ban when the latter tried to intervene. When Ban was assigned to be his assistant, he tasked him with menial labour, and later threw away the food that Ban cooked. Ban's (unofficial) interpreter, Shinji, had also warned how dangerous Coyote is. He later acknowledges Ban's skills, and even tried to kill the people who have brutalized Ban and Shinji.
  • Lethal Chef: Miyuki, despite being the head chef's daughter, is completely unable to operate in the kitchen — not even knowing how to turn on the stove or use the cooking utensils without Ban's help.
  • Mean Boss: When working in Baccanale, Ban was assigned to assist Katori, who never misses his chance to insult or beat up Ban.
  • Mistaken for Gay: When Kozue notices Ban hanging out together with Oda to practice for an upcoming pastry competition, she was convinced that they are an item - even seeing romance bubbles around them when it happens.
  • Naked First Impression: The first time Ban noticed Asuka was when he saw her changing her clothes right in front of him.
  • No Social Skills: The pastry chef, Oda, is a former Hikkikomori who, despite finding his place in Baccanale, still couldn't communicate well with others and completely ignored Ban when the latter was sent to assist him. His cold attitude almost drove Ban to finally quit Baccanale, even though Ban was able to handle insults and physical abuse from Katori just fine.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Ban is very close to Asuka, and had a couple of She's Not My Girlfriend moments when he visited his family and friends with her, but Asuka is going out with Hayama, while Ban is hoping to get back to his ex-girlfriend Eri one day.
  • Parental Neglect: Katori's parents, as shown in his Back Story. His father is a very hardworking factory CEO who is almost never at home due to his job, while his mother - resenting her husband's lack of attention to her - would go out all day to hang out with other men.
  • Passion Is Evil: Main/Averted big time during Ban waitering arc, Ban's first competent service got scolded harshly by Nogami (a fashion mogul whose motto is passion) because he acted like a robot, and another service for Nogami & her old acquaintances, he showed his passion to them by explaining their menu like a chef would, which received a standing ovation from everybody,
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Shishido Tekkan, the head chef of Baccanale. For example, he harshly reprimanded Katori instead of Ban when the latter screwed up due to Katori, since Katori should be at least supportive when the newbie is falling behind
  • Shipper on Deck: Ban sees Miyuki chatting with Yonamine and remarks how they almost look made for each other, and spends the entire chapter picking up at their similarities and wonders why Miyuki is dating someone else who, in his opinion, is inferior to Yonamine.
  • Shipping Goggles: In-Universe. Kozue interprets Ban and Oda's interactions during their training for an upcoming pastry competition as something a lot more intimate than they really are, leading to the Mistaken for Gay moment mentioned previously.
  • Those Two Guys: Averted with the two senior waiters Inoue and Takanashi. At first, they appear to be a part of Ban's Social Circle Filler while he's assigned in the waitering section, but they are later given more depth in Secondo.
  • Wham Line:
    • Just as Chef Shishido was about to announce Katori as the new sotto chef of Baccanale, Katori suddenly declares that he's quitting work, much to the shock of all his coworkers.
    • Ban visits his old friends during a day off and asks for news about his ex-girlfriend Eri. They later reveal that she's getting married.
  • What Does She See in Him?:
    • Ban wonders why Asuka is dating Hayama, who is an unemployed drunk who continuously mooches off Asuka for drinking money. Hayama later cleans up his act, but Ban's concerns were initially justified.
    • He later wonders the same thing about Miyuki's current boyfriend, whom he thinks looks like a rat, and compares him unfavorably with Yonamine.