NB: Some of my earliest blogs no longer have their accompanying images but enjoy the copy!
If you’re familiar with your anime, you may already have heard of ‘Antique Bakery’ a manga series by Fumi Yoshinaga which spawned an anime series and, more recently, Korean live-action film. I watched the anime a few years ago and really enjoyed it, so when I realised Terracotta Distribution had licensed the Korean film, I bought it immediately! So, if you were wondering “why on earth are you reviewing a Korean film on a Japan blog?”, there’s your answer.
In a nutshell, ‘Antique Bakery’ is about… well, cakes. And fabulous men. It falls firmly in the shonen-ai (aka ‘boy love’) category. I watched this with two girlfriends, and I think it’s safe to say this is more of a girly film. Of course, there’s no reason why guys can’t enjoy it too, as it is absolutely hilarious. Definitely not macho, however!
Anyway, on to the plot! I’ll be using the Korean names as opposed to the original Japanese ones to avoid confusion. Jin-hyuk is the handsome heir to a family fortune, and seemingly has everything except for the love of his life. So, he sets up a fancy cake shop where women are sure to come. He hires Sun-woo, a talented and sought-after young pâtissier who had a crush on Jin-hyuk back in high school. Along with an ex-boxing champion Gi-beom and a clueless bodyguard Su-young, the four unique and handsome young men stir up the quiet neighbourhood at their cake shop, Antique. Although seemingly careless and happy, each of the four men have unforgettable pasts that they are afraid to face. But their secrets slowly begin to unravel.
Your gaydars are probably going off right now, but ‘Antique Bakery’ is actually quite tame and it’s really the characters, slapstick scenes and giggle-inducing script that leads the way. Case in point: Sun-woo is “the gay of demonic charm” and pretty much every man, gay or straight, falls head over heels for him. That is, except for the staff of Antique Bakery, who are hired on the basis that Sun-woo isn’t attracted to them.
Without giving too much away, the whole film isn’t just about how sexy Sun-woo is and how “I’m-totally-straight-but-obviously-the-writer-had-other-plans” Jin-hyuk is. It takes a surprisingly dark turn, involving abduction, the return of an abusive ex, detective work… and nightmares about being force-fed cake. OK, so maybe it’s not all that serious!
‘Antique Bakery’ is the perfect film to watch with some girlfriends (and any guy friends who will tolerate the fabulousness), complete with cakes and other confectionary. There’s also a drinking game you can play: drink every time you see a cake or Sun-woo makes a move on someone. All-in-all, this film is hilarious and easy-going. I recommend checking out the anime too, as that’s also very good. 9 out of 10!