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Romance with a delectable twist.
After a car crash leaves her orphaned, Najika Kazami is left to her own grief and unanswerable questions. After wondering too far from Lavender House, she trips and falls into a pond. She's rescued from almost drowning by a kind-hearted young boy about her age. Giving her words of encouragement and compassion, he hands over a spoon and a cup of flan that he had been saving for a snack. When he disappears thereafter, that flan and spoon are the only clues as to his identity. The spoon's insignia is that of one Seika Academy, a prestigious school for students that show incredible talents. Armed with only her amazing taste buds and cooking skills, Najika enters Seika Academy in the hopes of finding her Flan Prince.
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Kitchen Princess is a Shoujo manga by Miyuki Kobayashi with art by Natsumi Andō (most well known for penning Arisa). The manga ran from September 2004 to October 2008 in Nakayoshi and was compiled into ten volumes. Del Rey Manga originally released the series in English. After they disbanded, Kondansha took over their catalogue and re-released the series as a four omnibus set in 2013.

A light novel called Kitchen Princess: Search for the Angel Cake was published in March 2008. Najika is tasked with replicating a white cake recipe for the grandmother of one her classmates. The story is split into four arcs, named after each season. Del Rey translated this as well, releasing it in November 2009. It is currently out of print.


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This series contains examples of:

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    General 
  • Big Eater: Najika. When her classmates asked her about the competitions she had won (a prerequisite for being a member of the special class), she listed down a number of eating competitions, much to her classmates' disgust.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy:
    • Fujita. He may look and act like a complete slacker, but he is actually a very talented chef. At one point, he helped Najika figure out the secret to the peach pie that Akane's grandmother used to make after Najika made several pies by herself.
    • As a Time Skip shows, Daichi can be just as smart and studious as his brother, he mostly chooses not too.
  • Cool Old Lady: Hagio-sensei could count.
  • Cry Cute: Just try to find a chapter where Najika doesn't burst into tears. Some chapters are more justified than others.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Najika has blonde hair and gold eyes as does Sora. Daichi subverts this by having brown hair and gold eyes.
  • Food Porn: The main focus of this series revolves around the main character's cooking abilities and, as a result, shows off each dish in exquisite detail.
  • Girlish Pigtails: Najika, some of the time.
  • Hair-Contrast Duo: Daichi and Sora. Daichi and Najika but later switched with the blonde, yet moody Seiya and the dark-haired Akane who softens up considerably thanks to Character Development.
  • Identical Stranger:
    • Seiya looks very similar to Sora. Daichi- his brother- mistook him for Sora the first time they met.
    • Fujita apparently resembles Fujiko's (deceased) husband when he was younger.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All the manga chapters and the light novel's arcs are titled "Recipe #: Najika and [food]." The food named is usually just a dish that Najika cooks, though dishes that are an important part of the chapter are also named. The manga's bonus chapter changes it up slightly, being named "Akane and Black Sesame Pudding".
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: Many of the chefs make these.
  • Inconsistent Dub: Occording to the omnibus print of the manga, Najika's parents died in a car crash. In the Del Rey print of the light novel, her parents (and both sets of grandparents) died in a boating accident. While neither is completely accurate, the accident involving a boat is more true to the original text.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold:
    • Daichi.
    • Seiya too, eventually when he gets over himself.
  • Kids Are Cruel: Najika receives a huge bout of bullying for being an outsider and Country Mouse in a rich and cosmopolitan school.
  • Lazy Bum: Fujita, the owner of the on-campus Fujita Diner. Prior to Najika's arrival, he used to be a better chef and took care of his restaurant. By the time she gets there, he had let the place go to ruin. He apparently didn't wash the dishes he had left in the sink. One side story has him use this excuse as to why he wouldn't go grocery shopping during a hot day and instead made Najika go instead. He's even referred to as one by the characters.
  • Lethal Chef: Akane can't cook to save her life, and all of her attempts to make a dish would invariably end up as a disaster in the kitchen.
  • Memento MacGuffin: The spoon the Flan Prince gave Najika. Also functions as an Orphan's Plot Trinket.
  • Photographic Memory: Najika can remember the taste of any food.
  • Orphanage of Love: Lavender House was a very happy place.
  • The Pollyanna: Najika. Full stop.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Najika, again.
  • Supreme Chef: Najika, of course. Later comes Seiya, and Fujita even used to work at a three-star Parisian restaurant.
  • Teen Idol: Akane, who is a professional teenage model.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Sora and Daichi both have shades of this.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Seems like a pretty typical shoujo manga, until one of the love interests DIES.
    • Search for the Angel Cake has one towards the end when Fujita informs Najika about Fujiko's death.
    Kitchen Princess 
  • All of the Other Reindeer: A lot of Najika's classmates shuns her after she describes her special talent (the reason she needs to be selected in a special class) as being a big eater.
  • Alpha Bitch: Popular model Akane constantly frames Najika for things that weren't her fault. The Wounded Gazelle Gambit is one of her favorite cards to play, and her posse falls for it every time.
  • Becoming the Mask: Sora.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Akane and Seiya. Najika and Daichi too at the beginning but they simmer down over time.
  • Betty and Veronica: Several. Najika is the Betty to Akane's Veronica in the love triangle between Daichi. Daichi himself is a Veronica to Sora's Betty in regards to Najika being Archie. Then it's Daichi who becomes the Betty as Seiya takes over his space in the love triangle as the Veronica.
  • Big Bad: The school's director
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Akane starts out like this towards Najika. She acts like her friend and is supposedly on her side with other students want her out. However, there are various points in the series where she tries to sabotage Najika's relationship with Daichi and tries to make her leave the school. She also pulls a few Wounded Gazelle Gambits on her classmates to make Najika look like this herself. By the end of the first volume, Akane stops acting like a nice person and tells Najika to her face that she actually hates her.
  • Break the Cutie: Najika gets hit with quite a bit.
  • Break the Haughty: Akane, Seiya, and the director get hit with this.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: Akane for Daichi. She developed a crush on him when they were little and those feelings transferred over to their teen years. She was hopeful that she and Daichi would get together, but then Najika showed up at the school. When she feared that Daichi would get with a girl who wasn't her, she joined forces with a group of bullies who wanted Najika out. She even stole a present that Daichi got for Najika because she suspected a more serious relationship forming. She eventually drops this behavior and accepts the relationship.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: The story becomes much more serious after Sora's death
  • Contrived Clumsiness: Akane seems nice, but she's actually a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing. While they're eating lunch together, she purposely knocks her own lunch onto her dress, then gets upset and causes her friends to turn on the girl. She also "accidentally" spills Najika's beaten eggs during a cooking competition.
  • Cooking Duel: The literal version, multiple times.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Najika falls onto Daichi while trying to get down from a tree.
  • Deadly Deferred Conversation: Combined with So Happy Together for a double whammy. Najika confesses her love to Sora who delays telling her how he feels and as well as something else ( possibly about his mother's death) because he doesn't want to distract her before a big competition. He gets hit by a car not soon after
  • Deconstructed Trope: Sora is this to the Satellite Love Interest. He's supportive of Najika no matter what, and knows just what to say to help cheer her up... and then it's revealed he was told to get close to her to further the director's goals. However, he reveals that he really did fall for Najika, showing his Hidden Depths and Becoming the Mask.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: In a sense with Akane and Seiya.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Sora's death leaves Najika so traumatized that she loses her sense of taste. Thankfully, she got better.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • The reason why Akane antagonizes Najika is because she believed that Najika was trying to take Daichi away from her.
    • The bullies that Najika has to deal with torment her just because they think she doesn't deserve to be there, even when she's shown off her culinary skills. They went as far as to attempt to get Fujita Diner closed because one of them saw her with Sora and they thought she was flirting with him.
  • Driven to Suicide: This is initially believed what caused Daichi and Sora's mother's death, taking her own life because her husband worked too much and wasn't home enough. Turns out this was a rumor made up by the nurses in the hospital that Daichi overheard, having forgotten that his mother sacrificed her life to save Daichi at a construction site.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Sora. Knowing that this was planned from the very beginning is of little condolence.
  • Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: Subverted with Seiya who appears after Sora's death looking exactly like Sora and later tries to romance Najika. However Seiya is a complete Jerkass and Najika is understandably traumatized.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After having to deal with cruel bullies and her first crush dying, Najika does finally find her Flan Prince.
  • First Guy Wins: The Flan Prince, who turns out to be Daichi.
  • Gang of Bullies: Najika has to deal with a group of snobbish girls on a regular basis. They gossip about her, insult her, physically lash out at her a few times, and even attempt to shut down the on-campus diner she works at just to drive her away.
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: Fujita certainly does in some of the ImagineSpots and for real when the PTA tries to shut the diner down.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Akane, as well as Seiya to some extent.
  • Heroic BSoD: Najika after Sora dies, not only blaming herself considering he was out shopping for her at his time of death but that he actually was lying when he said he was her Flan Prince. Daichi manages to snap her out of it eventually. He himself gets one later in the series when he found out that he indirectly caused his mother's death and that he had been blaming Sora and their father when he remarried.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Daichi and Sora's mother.
  • Love Redeems: Between Daichi and his father.
  • Love Triangle: Najika, Sora, Daichi, and Akane make more of a Love Quadrangle. Later Sora is replaced with Seiya.
  • Nice Guy: Sora is unfailingly nice and kind to Najika. Turns out to be invoked.
  • Omake:
    • In the form of recipes for some of the various dishes Najika cooks.
    • There's the occasional four panel comic between chapters.
  • Pair the Spares: Akane and Seiya as of the bonus chapter of the last volume.
  • Sacred First Kiss: Daichi kisses Najika, but later denies that it meant anything and claims he was only trying to one-up his brother. Which is a lie. Najika then runs off crying because it was her first kiss.
  • Satellite Love Interest: Sora seems to be this, but he has Hidden Depths.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Daichi (a Black Sheep Brilliant, but Lazy brutally honest Tsundere athlete) and Sora (The Dutiful Son Nice Guy Elegant Classical Musician). Invoked as Daichi deliberately cultivated his personality to distance himself from Sora and his dad.
  • Title Drop: In volume 10.
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: Daichi suffered this after his mother's death, forgetting what happened and about going to Hokkaido entirely.
  • Tsundere: Akane, Daichi and Seiya towards Najika. (Maybe she has a type?) They all have moments when Najika would be nice to them and then they'd blush and start shouting.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Akane has known Sora and Daichi when all of them were young, and had developed a crush on the latter for the main parts of the story. She ultimately lost him to Najika, though she still manages to keep a good relationship with both of them.
  • Was It All a Lie?: Najika asks this of Sora after finding out she was being used by him and the director.
  • Weight Woe: Subverted with Akane. She's the thinnest girl at the school, but she fears that if she gains one pound, it'll be the end of her supermodel career. For a few chapters, she resorted to anorexia, which caused her friends, family, staff members and even Najika to worry. She even believed that the food she ate in one chapter would turn to fat so she forced herself to regurgitate it.
    Kitchen Princess: Search for the Angel Cake 
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Fujiko- Anju's grandmother- shows signs of having a mild form of Alzheimer's disease; forgetting what she just said, mistaking Anju for a stranger, mistaking Fujita (a stranger) for her dead husband, among other examples.
  • Beige Prose: The prose is pretty basic; descriptions tend to air on the side of short and simple.
  • Informed Attribute: Anju's repeatedly said to be very shy and introverted, but the way she made her request to Najika was rather bold. She also doesn't seem to have any problems becoming friends with Najika, Daichi, or Akane.
  • Interquel: References to Sora's death and the fact that Najika and Daichi aren't a couple yet, mean that the events of the light novel happened at least around the midpoint of the manga.
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