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January 27, 2010

Bento Bako Lite: Ciao Ciao Bambino

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Written by: Kristin
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ciaociaobambinoTitle: Ciao Ciao Bambino
Author: Momoko Tenzen
Publisher: Digital Manga Publishing, on their Juné imprint
Volumes: A oneshot, with two separate stories.  $12.95
Vintage: 2005 in Japan, fall 2009 from Digital Manga Publishing
Genre: Yaoi, mild (16+), teacher (tutor)/student pairings

Ciao Ciao Bambino contains two stories in a single volume, with each story taking up about half of the book.  Both tales involve a teacher/tutor and student relationship, which isn’t an uncommon pairing in any genre of manga.  It can be found in Love Hina, Fruits Basket, Please Teacher, Negima, Gokusen, and plenty others.

“Ciao Ciao Bambino” is the first story, and consists of four chapters and a bonus page.  I believe the title means “goodbye, little boy,” which I think is a reference to the young male character growing up into a young man.  It’s unfortunate that this story only takes up half the book, and not the entire book.  It needs some more development for the feel of the piece to really be what it should be.  The point of the story is that college student and cram school teacher Kaname slowly falls in love with his student Yuuta as Yuuta grows up.  Which is kind of sweet, when it’s not uncomfortable.  Kaname is 7 years older than Yuuta, and when they first meet, Yuuta is in his first year of jr. high.  That’s what the book says but…he looks closer to 14 instead of the 12 he should be.  I’m not real certain about the ages of the characters in this story.  There’s a cute, childlike innocence to their feelings then, but the relationship kicks into gear in Yuuta’s 2nd and 3rd years of high school.  It’s an awkward, sweet little thing, but Kaname isn’t a very strong character.  He gets swept along by Yuuta’s energy most of the time (although Yuuta being the initiator is the only thing that keeps this story from being incredibly uncomfortable).  Yuuta’s close friends Kei and Mako get a chapter to themselves, where their own adorable and awkward relationship develops.  Had the relationship between Kaname and Yuuta been allowed to grow on the pages, instead of jumping from point to point, it would have been a better story.  Focusing more on Kaname’s view of Yuuta would have been helpful as well.  The story just needed some more time to develop.


Cover page for "Brand New Wednesday" in Ciao Ciao Bambino.

“Brand New Wednesday” is the second story and takes up the other half of the book.  This time a high schooler named Kana is being tutored by the older Nakahara.  This one’s a little less obvious, and progresses quite differently.  Nakahara has been tutoring Kana for about half a year now.  They’ve since become friends, though Nakahara tends to treat Kana like a younger brother.  When Kana asks for some dating advice after being confessed to by a female classmate, Nakahara tells him to consider if he wants to be with this girl, hold her, kiss her, touch her, always…or if he would rather do something else.  Kana answers that he would rather talk to Nakahara more, and quickly realizes that he’d really rather hold and kiss Nakahara than anyone else.  But it takes three chapters of Kana’s earnest and honest feelings to get Nakahara to finally open up about his own.  The characters are a bit stronger in this one (as are the character designs).  Nakahara has much more presence than Kaname in “Bambino.”  Kana is older than Yuuta, but he’s more awkward and innocent (Yuuta’s a bit of a horn dog, to be honest).

The second story is definitely better than the first.  It flows a little better, and despite covering a shorter time span, has a bit more depth (or maybe, because of it).  I’m always a bit bothered by these teacher(tutor)/student pairings, so the fact that the age gap is closer in the second set of stories also makes it a better story to me.  They’re both cute little, awkward adolescent coming of age kind of stories.


Review copy provided by Digital Manga Publishing.



  1. billy

    Kris, how in the world do you know how to and remember how to pronounce all these titles? lol

  2. Kristin

    Hmm? I’m afraid I don’t understand what you mean.
    But…that’s Italian. Which I know some basic words from, from my years studying singing.
    “Ciao” and “bambino” are also pretty commonly used…everywhere.

  3. “Which is kind of sweet, when it’s not uncomfortable.”

    Well said!

    …but I suppose everyone had a crush on their teacher at some point.

  4. Kristin

    I had a crush on my Spanish teacher in college (he was pretty young, and oh so cute), but that’s the only one I can remember.

    Like I said though, that sort of relationship is pretty common in Japanese manga.

  5. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ComicAttack.net, Kristin Bomba. Kristin Bomba said: New Bento Bako: Ciao Ciao Bambino (DMP) review https://comicattack.net/2010/01/bblciaociaobambino/ […]

  6. billy

    The Asian words are the ones I was referring to. Sorry I wasn’t more specific.

  7. Kristin

    Oh, in that case…. I watch a lot of anime in Japanese, plus live action dramas and films. So I hear the language all the time. I still have a hard time with some of the vowels, because there are some weird rules about the way they’re supposed to sound (much like in English!), or where the emphasis is supposed to be placed. And it’s not always the way you’d think. Though it doesn’t help when you listen to English voice overs, and 5 different actors are pronouncing a character’s (or a place’s) name 5 different ways.
    I really ought to look it up and really learn it, but I’m too lazy.

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