Antique Bakery is an anime series about a newly opened bakery shop. The protagonist hires a talented and openly gay pastry chef, despite sharing a troubled history together. They are joined by other employees with colourful personalities, as the characters work together to help this business flourish.
Adapted from a manga, Antique Bakery will keep you entertained with its endearing characters and charming storylines. Admittedly, the BL content is minimal and won't satisfy those expecting a full-fledged gay romance. Nonetheless, this anime mixes lighthearted comedy with bittersweet melancholy to create a consistently enjoyable series.
Antique Bakery Anime Summary
Around 5 hours
Slice of life
Deep and thoughtful
Yes, written by Fumi Yoshinaga
No, but there is a gay character.
Tachibana is the son of a wealthy family. He used to work for the family business, but recently quit his cushy job to open a pastry shop instead. The bakery is called "Antique", decorated elegantly with a vintage aesthetic. Despite not liking sweets very much, Tachibana claims to have opened this bakery to meet and charm many women. Indeed, he has a magnetic personality and a beguiling charm over the opposite sex.
Tachibana hires Ono, a famous pastry chef known for his excellent culinary skills. They were high school classmates many years ago. Ono had given a love confession to Tachibana, who rejected his classmate harshly with homophobic slurs. Tachibana still remembers this incident, although Ono doesn't recognize his former crush anymore. Despite their thorny past, the two of them begin working together at the Antique bakery.
Since coming out in high school, Ono has lived freely as an openly gay man. He studied in France for a while, learning from a talented patisserie and developing his culinary skills. Ono has a seductive allure over men and engages in many casual hookups. However, his complicated romantic history often brings unpleasant drama in the workplace. His past relationships caused Ono to get fired from other bakeries across town, until he started working at Antique.
The bakery has two additional employees. Eiji is a former boxer who switched careers after an injury, even though he has no culinary background. Eiji loves sweets and begs to work at the bakery after tasting Ono's delicious foods. Ono accepts Eiji as an apprentice, and the two of them begin a teacher-student mentorship. The other bakery employee is Chikage, Tachibana's childhood friend. Despite his big, burly appearance, Chikage is clumsy and hilariously incompetent at everything he does.
After the bakery opens, the four coworkers learn to adapt to each other's quirks and eccentricities. There are often disagreements between Tachibana and Eiji, who clash over their personality differences. In addition, Eiji and Chikage develop a romantic attraction immediately upon meeting each other. Despite their occasionally chaotic relationship dynamics, all four characters are invested in this bakery's livelihood. They will work together to turn this small business into a success.
Antique Bakery Anime Cast
Tachibana Keiji Fujiwara (藤原 啓治)
Tachibana is the owner of the Antique bakery. He comes from a wealthy family, who owns one of the largest conglomerates in the country. Tachibana quit his job recently and pursued his dream of opening a pastry shop instead. Despite not liking sweets very much, Tachibana's charismatic personality and sales experience make him popular among the bakery's female patrons.
Ono Shin-ichiro Miki (三木眞一郎)
Ono is a talented pastry chef who works at Tachibana's bakery. He used to be high school classmates with Tachibana. Ono studied in France, where he picked up his culinary expertise. He is openly gay and has seduced many men, although his dramatic relationship history got him fired from other bakeries. Ono is typically confident and self-assured, but feels fearful and timid around young women.
Eiji Mamoru Miyano (宮野真守)
Eiji is a former boxer who started working at Tachibana's bakery. He quit his boxing career after incurring an eye injury. Although Eiji has no culinary experience, he loves sweets and admires Ono's talent. Hardworking and passionate, he aspires to be a great pastry chef like his mentor. However, Eiji is less respectful around Tachibana, constantly clashes with the bakery owner, and calls him "Gramps".
Chikage Eiji Hanawa (花輪英司)
Chikage is Tachibana's childhood best friend who works at the bakery. His mother used to be employed for Tachibana's family, who took care of the young Chikage after her passing. Despite his burly appearance, Chikage is hilariously clumsy and has a goofy personality. He is devoted to Tachibana and they live in the same flat together as roommates. Chikage wears sunglasses all the time because of his weak vision.
Norio Wakamoto (若本規夫)
Kazuhiko Inoue (井上和彦)
Tomomi Kasai (河西智美)
Takako Honda (本田貴子)
Kazue Ikura (伊倉一恵)
Mie Sonozaki (園崎未恵)
Naoki Tatsuta (龍田 直樹)
Shouto Kashii (樫井笙人)
Yoshiko Takemura (竹村叔子)
Misa Watanabe (渡辺美佐)
Akihiko Ishizumi (石住昭彦)
Kazuya Nakai (中井和哉)
Antique Bakery Anime Review
Anime Review Score: 7.8
Antique Bakery has an impressive legacy. It started out as a manga that was published decades ago. Since then, it was retold as a Japanese drama, an anime series, a Korean movie, and recently a Thai remake. Over the past twenty years, there have been five different versions of the same story. The phenomenon of the Antique Bakery franchise reminds me of SKAM, spanning across multiple countries with various adaptations.
The Antique Bakery anime is an enjoyable remake that brings the source material to life vividly and elegantly. In the beginning, the series leans on its lighthearted slice-of-life comedy, inducing chuckles with silly over-the-top antics. As we get to know the characters better, the drama becomes more mature and emphasizes on intimate topics. While Antique Bakery never loses its sense of humour, the narrative is enriched with a bittersweet melancholy during the later episodes.
You'll be charmed by the four main characters, who are the highlight of the series. Although they are introduced as caricatures at first, the endearing quirks are only part of their distinctive identities. Each character has his time in the spotlight, as the series explores their backstories, personalities, and relationship dynamics. They evolve with the story, gaining new ambitions while letting go of past memories. I also love watching their hilarious interactions with each other, and there's a lively energy buzzing among the ensemble cast.
Unfortunately, the art is on the weaker side. Only the desserts are drawn well, while the other visual details look too plain and flat. The character designs have a dated appearance, even by 2008 anime standards. After a while, I got used to the style and it didn't bother me as much. However, I expected a more elevated aesthetic from a series about four handsome men in a gourmet bakery setting. Antique Bakery should have been brimming with luxury, ambiance, and exuberance instead of this low-budget appearance.
Antique Bakery is not officially a BL series, but there's gay romantic content in a limited capacity. Ono is the only main character attracted to men, while his love interest Chikage is…confused in many ways. At first, they share an amorous connection, which drops off midway through the series and doesn't get addressed again. Ono and Tachibana have a complex dynamic, but the latter likes reminding everyone he's staunchly straight and forbids any possibility for fantasy. Overall, you'd be disappointed watching Antique Bakery from a BL perspective.
The series highlights LGBT themes and portrays gay sexuality candidly, which is rare in anime. Yet, I'm iffy about the promiscuity, toxic relationships, and irrational fear of women in Ono's characterization. It takes one step forward with some inclusiveness, but then two steps back by perpetuating cliched stereotypes. Nonetheless, Antique Bakery is still a worthwhile watch, even if its primary focus isn't on BL. The intriguing story, memorable characters, and amusing humour create a delightfully fun experience!
Antique Bakery Anime Explained
There's a good reason why Antique Bakery had so many adaptations over the years. The original story is excellent, building a rich fictional universe with memorable characters. I love the setting of a gourmet bakery, which feels casual, cozy, and intimate. Plus, cute guys and lovely cakes are a winning combination.
However, the most impressive part of Antique Bakery is the character dynamics. I absolutely love how these four characters interact with each other. The relationship Tachibana has with Ono is remarkably different than what he has with Eiji or Chikage. The same goes for Ono as well. Ono serves as the wise mentor when he's with Eiji, but becomes a lovestruck flirt when he's with Chikage. And when he's with Tachibana, they are each other's confidantes.
Each relationship dynamic reveals different facets of the characters, allowing us to see the strengths and flaws in their personalities. There's so much complexity to these characters, all of whom get fleshed out during the series. Long after finishing the anime, these lovable characters and their endearing quirks still leave an impression on me. The cast shines, helping to propel an already fantastic story.
Antique Bakery has done the impossible, making me like a homophobic character. I thought Tachibana was a charming and complex protagonist who carried the series based on his likability. Despite his homophobic response to Ono's love confession, the series redeems Tachibana enough that I forgive him. Although Tachibana and Ono still tease each other sometimes, it's clear they don't have hostility towards each other. In fact, Ono becomes one of Tachibana's closest friends.
Tachibana is a compelling character. He's introduced to us as a walking paradox. Here's a pastry shop owner with an atypical aversion to sweets. His family runs a large business conglomerate, but he opens a dainty little store instead. Tachibana goes against the norm of what is expected from him. "We do things differently around here," Tachibana says when Eiji questions him about his scruffy beard. The moment sums up Tachibana, a highly individualistic character who marches to the beat of his own drum.
Despite his prideful, volatile, and overeager personality, Tachibana balances his negative traits with tons of charisma. Beneath his extroverted exterior, Tachibana hides a darkness within him. He remains scarred from his childhood abduction, which haunts him decades later. When you discover Tachibana was fed cakes every day during his kidnapping, you realize how deep his trauma must go by opening a bakery. The anime does a fantastic job exploring his tragedy, and I end up sympathizing with his experiences so much.
As a BL watcher, you won't be surprised to learn Ono is my favourite character in Antique Bakery. What a fun, engaging personality. At first, he might seem like a cartoonish caricature. After all, he is THE DEVILISH GAY WITH THE DEMONIC CHARM~, which is an awesome reputation to have. 😎 The only part that irks me about Ono is his irrational fear of women. However, the trait doesn't define his character and it never leads to any offensive situations in the anime.
Other than that one quirk, I love Ono wholeheartedly. His boy-crazy tendencies are just one aspect of a well-rounded character. The more we learn about him, the more I come to respect his other positive attributes. He's charismatic, empathetic, and sensitive to other people's feelings. I also think he has incredibly high emotional intelligence. We never see him lose his temper with anyone. Whether he's faced with a homophobic high school crush or an abusive ex-boyfriend, Ono is easily forgiving of others and doesn't hold a grudge.
Contrary to his infamous reputation, Ono is actually an angelic sweetheart. He fills the series with so much joy, humour, and positivity. If Tachibana is the brains behind the bakery, then Ono must be the heart and soul of the place. Antique Bakery wouldn't be half as enjoyable without Ono's presence, and I'm so glad this amazing character was introduced to my life. 💛
Is Antique Bakery BL?
No, the Antique Bakery anime wouldn't be considered a BL by conventional standards. However, it contains an openly gay character and explores his same-sex romances to some extent. The series has more BL content than the average anime, making it friendly to those who love the BL genre.
In fact, Antique Bakery is not a predominantly romantic series, which also has a mix of comedy, drama, and mystery. We never see Tachibana or Eiji get involved in any romances during the twelve episodes. By comparison, Ono's love life gets way more focus than his heterosexual coworkers. He has a fun flirtation with Chikage, which spans multiple episodes. There's also a whole episode dedicated to Ono's ex-boyfriend Jean-Baptiste, albeit their abusive relationship doesn't end prettily.
Ono and Chikage
I was excited about the potential romance between Ono and Chikage. They develop an immediate attraction upon meeting each other, with a hilarious take on the concept of love at first sight. The scene where Ono seduces Chikage in the rain is a HOOT. Both characters had such a fun dynamic with each other and I loved how their relationship progressed at the start.
Unfortunately, the romance never takes off after a promising start. The early episodes highlight their attraction and they even come close to kissing on one occasion. Despite having reciprocal feelings for each other, both characters never act upon their desires. Ono wants to maintain a respectful relationship with his coworker, while Chikage has a memory of a goldfish and forgets about his attraction.
The Ono and Chikage relationship is hardly addressed again in the second half of the anime. Even if you hold out hope, any BL fantasy would be squashed once Chikage's daughter and ex-wife are introduced. It's actually a bit annoying how Antique Bakery teased us with the possibility of a same-sex relationship, but then made Chikage's character straight. It feels like, what some might call, gaybaiting.
Ono and Tachibana
Ono and Tachibana do not have a romantic relationship. On many occasions, Antique Bakery emphasizes the impossibility of them hooking up. Tachibana is 100% straight, ogles at breasts, and shows zero inclination towards the same sex. The series almost goes overboard in draining any fantasy out of this pairing to ensure they are as platonic as possible. Tachibana should wear a big ~NO HOMO~ sign in case his heterosexuality isn't clear enough. 😑
Despite eliminating any possibility of romance, the most complex relationship dynamic in Antique Bakery is between Ono and Tachibana. They become close friends over the series, an astonishing feat given their shared history together. Tachibana was the homophobic straight guy who rejected Ono's love confession in high school. You wouldn't think these two characters could coexist, yet their characters cleared away any animosity and remained platonic friends.
Of course, my inner BL fan wanted to see a romance materialize between Ono and Tachibana. The more this series tries to repress their sexual tension, THE MORE I CRAVE IT!!! 😛 With that said, I respect the decision to keep them as friends. Not every close male bond needs to be a romance. Plus, there's an encouraging message where the former homophobe apologizes, redeems himself, and becomes buddies with the gay guy he rejected.
The Antique Bakery anime looks plain and lacks aesthetic polish. Clearly, the scenes aren't drawn with as many vivid details as a modern series. It's disappointing because I wanted way more atmosphere and ambiance from the visuals. You'd expect an anime about handsome guys in a gourmet bakery to exude style, luxury, and extravagance. Yet, Antique Bakery looks a little cheap. The budget constraints show through the basic art and animation.
With that said, the art style grew on me after a while. There are also a few scenes drawn exceptionally well, showing a glimpse of its potential. For example, I loved the aesthetics in the scene where Ono and Eiji chatted at the end of Episode 9. If only that calibre of art was applied to the rest of the series, I would've been satisfied.
Antique Bakery has a sad ending where Tachibana's abductor never gets caught. The last few episodes build up a mystery of a serial kidnapper and Tachibana gets involved in the police investigation. However, the culprit is a young man instead of the person who abducted him decades ago. Although Tachibana is relieved to have saved a boy's life, he also feels despondent that his own abduction goes unresolved.
Nonetheless, life goes on for the characters. The bakery continues its day-to-day operations successfully without any more mysteries or drama. In the ending, Eiji travels to France to continue his culinary studies. Meanwhile, Chikage moves out of Tachibana's apartment and learns to be more independent. Ono also agrees to attend his sister's wedding, finally meeting his parents for the first time in a while. We see that all the characters make various small and significant progresses with their lives.
Antique Bakery reveals Tachibana's abductor in the last three episodes. We never learn his name, but this old man with glasses, beard, and beady eyes is the one who kidnapped Tachibana years ago. The abductor is a mentally unstable man who lives with his wife and sometimes gets violent with her. They used to have a son together, but he died as a child. The traumatized old man keeps daydreaming his son is still alive.
The anime implies the abductor is driven mad over the loss of his child. As a result, he kidnapped Tachibana to replace his dead son. A flashback reveals Tachibana stabbed the kidnapper in the leg during his escape. The knife attack brought the man to his senses, making him realize this abducted child isn't his son. He let Tachibana go free, telling the young boy to forget everything.
In the final scene of the Antique Bakery anime, Tachibana comes face-to-face with his abductor unknowingly. The old man visits the bakery to buy a cake and Tachibana serves him like any ordinary customer. Their interactions are pleasant and they don't recognize each other. After his purchase, the old man walks away with a slight waddle in his steps. The anime uses this visual cue to confirm the man is the kidnapper, even if Tachibana doesn't realize it.
In the ending, Tachibana doesn't confront the man who kidnapped him. Despite their shocking face-to-face encounter, the two characters don't recognize each other all these years later. If you wanted a dramatic showdown between Tachibana and his abductor, you'd be disappointed. After the abductor leaves, Tachibana wears an ambiguous smile on his face and makes a casual remark about the pleasant weather.
Antique Bakery seems like it has a sad ending because the criminal is never brought to justice. However, let's look at the events from a different perspective. Instead of obsessing over his childhood abduction, Tachibana's mind drifts to something as mundane as the weather. It highlights his positive mental state, showing that he doesn't feel stressed or mentally burdened.
Whether he remembers his abductor or not, Tachibana is happy at the moment. He feels relaxed, runs a thriving bakery, and enjoys his leisurely time in the nice weather. In some ways, is this not a better ending for Tachibana? He's free from his tragic past and focused on living in the present moment. Even meeting his kidnapper cannot faze him or ruin his good mood. Just like how Ono, Eiji & Chikage made progress with their lives, the ending shows that Tachibana has successfully moved on from his trauma.
Antique Bakery Anime Episodes
Antique Bakery has a total of 12 episodes. Each episode is around 22 minutes long. It's a long BL anime, and you can finish the entire series in under 5 hours. The Antique Bakery anime first aired on July 3, 2008 and finished on September 18, 2008.
⭐ Best episode
Episode 3 was my favourite episode in Antique Bakery. It introduces Chikage's character, who is hilarious and immediately stirs up the workplace with lots of wacky hijinks. The contrast between Chikage's stoic appearance and his goofy personality amplifies his comedic effect.
Episode 3 also ramps up the BL content as it focuses on Ono and Chikage's attraction to each other. The scene where he seduces Chikage in the rain might be the best scene in Antique Bakery. That moment cracks me up every time I watch it. Although I don't think we're meant to take the Ono and Chikage relationship that seriously, I still ship them together! They make a cute and compatible couple.
💕 Most romantic episode
Episode 4 might be the closest that Antique Bakery comes to BL. The whole episode focuses on Ono and Chikage's attraction towards each other. Despite sharing reciprocated feelings, they still go through many ups and downs. Ono is reluctant to initiate a romance with a coworker, fearing that it'll cause him to lose a job he really loves. Meanwhile, Chikage is being his usual self, endearingly awkward and clumsy with expressing his affections.
This episode culminates in a passionate encounter between Ono and Chikage in bed. They almost share a kiss, but it never happens. Chikage pulls away, fearful that he's taking advantage of a drunken Ono. While I admire his respect for boundaries, the series never presents another scenario where they kiss for real. How disappointing.
💋 Episodes with kissing
Antique Bakery contains one kissing scene in the series, which happens in Episode 6. The kiss takes place between Ono and his ex-boyfriend Jean-Baptiste. Unfortunately, it's hard to get excited about the kiss considering what happens between them afterwards. Jean-Baptiste is an abusive asshole who beats up Ono into a pulp. It's a scary and menacing moment, but fortunately Ono's coworkers come to the rescue and stop Jean-Baptiste in time.
Sadly, we don't get any other kisses in Antique Bakery. We come close on two other occasions: Episode 1 where Ono and Tachibana confront their past, and Episode 4 where Ono and Chikage get steamy in bed. However, both situations do not result in a kiss. The series has an unfortunate scarcity of BL content, which is a shame.
Antique Bakery Movie
Antique 2008 live-action movie Movie review
Antique is a Korean movie remake of the Antique Bakery manga, released a few months after the anime series. They share very similar stories with the same characters. The movie is shorter with a slightly darker tone and a more surreal approach to the plot. It also contains a few campy musical numbers.
The film has a pretty positive reception among BL fans, but I'm personally not a fan of it. Although Antique has several Korean celebrities that you might recognize, the storytelling is dire and the homophobia feels rampant. I found the Antique Bakery anime far more enjoyable, whereas the film is a disastrous alternative.
There's also a Japanese drama called Antique in 2001. A notable trivia is that it changed the gay character into a heterosexual man instead. Based on that fact alone, I can tell it's already the worst remake out of the five versions available. I have no intention of actually watching the series to confirm my suspicions.
Baker Boys 2021 live-action series Drama review
Baker Boys is a 2021 Thai remake of Antique Bakery. This twelve-episode series is nine hours long, making it the lengthiest adaptation of the story. This Thai drama features the same characters and begins similarly. However, it also makes various changes to modernize the plot and includes additional storylines to fill the time.
Unfortunately, Baker Boys isn't a satisfying adaptation of Antique Bakery. Despite a promising start, the plot takes a nosedive in quality and many of the new changes are awful. The biggest problem is the inane storylines, which are so absurd and nonsensical that the stupidity will leave you dumbfounded. Nonetheless, this drama features charming actors and a delightful atmosphere. While I don't think Baker Boys is totally awful, it's a massive disappointment considering the immense potential.