This is the manga for the chocolate lovers. This is also not the manga for chocolate lovers.
This manga excites me because it’s written by Est Em. It also makes me feel distraught because it’s by Est Em.
This conflicted feeling lies on the fact that this is perhaps one of the most beautiful manga I’ve seen published and at the same time it’s the most troublesome manga when you’re devoid of chocolate. Rarely do I bother with such titles, but if it’s Est Em, I don’t mind this bittersweet affair.
Unboxing like a box of chocolates
I actually read Sono Otoko Amatou ni Tsuki online via Ohta Shuppan’s Web Comic portal: Poco-poco. This was earlier published in a now discontinued magazine and Poco-poco rescued it from possible oblivion.
The story takes us to Paris where we meet Jean Louis, a man who has nothing but love and admiration for chocolates so much so that he lives his life driven by chocolates. Like everything in his life relates to those things and it’s quite amazing how he doesn’t seem to gain weight.
To add, Jean Louis has the sexiest way of eating chocolates. Seeing him slip a truffle in his mouth makes you want to bite and lick the aftertaste of the chocolate from his finger or his lower lip. IT’S THAT HORRIBLE! Never have I thought of falling in love with a man just by how he eats his chocolate. But damn, Jean Louis is such a sexy beast that it’s not hard not to pay attention at how he eats his chocolate.
But more than its delectable theme, the book itself was quite troublesome. The book is like a box of chocolates. It’s wrapped in gold obi. The cover paper is printed in parchment-like wrapper. The cover of the book itself is reminiscent of patterns in chocolate boxes. And rather than having the stark black of sumi ink, the pages are lined in rich chocolate brown that it’s almost oozing out of the pages. Never did I imagine a manga packaged as a chocolate, but here is a title that embodied it.
I have owned this book for a while and to be honest I have dropped and read this book so many times because I just can’t stand reading it without eating some chocolates. Hence, I visited our neighbourhood chocolate place to enjoy this book along with a chocolatey treat. It was worth it since this book was steeped in chocolate that it demands the attention of your senses, particularly your sweet tooth. There is a chapter where Jean Louis agonises over his dentist’s ban of his sweet treats and to be honest, by that point in the story, it was long over due.
This manga is nothing like a food manga that tackles different chocolate recipes. Perhaps it’s best to say that it’s not a cooking manga but closer to a food manga that solicits appreciation and fond memories of chocolate. Each chapter, we discover more and more about Jean Louis’ obsession with chocolates and the memories it solicits.
Like most Est Em tales, she tells this in elegant vignettes, like little servings of assorted truffles that comes in the most simple bites and at times, particularly towards the last chapters, complex and bold flavours. Through Jean Louis, Est Em shows us the power food has on people’s lives and memories. This title is particularly successful in drawing such memories because to be honest, who doesn’t have fond memories of chocolates?
That said, this title is no milk chocolate bar. By the packaging alone, along with the finesse of Jean Louis’ tastes and the emotions chocolates evoke, this title is quite complex. It’s a serving for adults and perhaps for fans of Est Em. A wonderful treat for readers who love their manga bittersweet.
Sono Otoko Amatou Nitsuki (その男、甘党につき, That man has a sweet tooth) by Est Em
Serialized in Pocopoco
Published by Ohta Shuppan
Available in: Amazon Japan.