A Paulownia is a type of tree. The title Like a Paulownia is very apt here because the main character, Starburst, acts like a fucking tree. He's dull, moody, prone to not doing his job and generally fucking blows. We're introduced to the story and the character through a hazy dream sequence. I suppose this section isn't particularly offensive, but the entirety of it being in italics is irritating to read.
The temperature in this story is confusing. It's cold enough to wear a jacket and for Starburst to comment it's cold. But he's got his ceiling fan on? Wouldn't that make it colder? What a confusing main character. One who's bones get irked when people don't fret over their future, but then struggles with figuring out his own. He slips in and out of consciousness during work hours. If I was Mrs. or Mr. Cake I would have fired this fuckhead months ago. Fortunately for him, they pay him to stare at clocks and slack off.
Speaking of Mrs. Cake, she's got mind reading powers. At one point in the story she responds to something Starburst hasn't said. Spooky, eh? What's more is she is a complete dullard that doesn't know how a bakery functions. She has an exchange with Starburst about filling orders. She finds Starburst with his thumb up his ass staring at a clock. She tells him there are major orders to fill, but this is a lie. So she has him prepare something, but there is nothing to prepare. There are no orders. There are no-walk orders, or call-in orders.
This bakery has no orders, has enough time for its staff to prepare fucking nothing, and apparently doesn't need to restock. If Mrs. Cake wanted Starburst to work on restocking why didn't she say that? Is she too stupid to realize that the stock they have now will be stale soon because THEY'RE A FUCKING BAKERY. Shouldn't they be out of business if they're mismanaged this hard? How can it be that they have enough money to hire two employees, pay for their shop's expenses and the expenses of a family of four off the profits of a bakery that gets next to no business. Starburst is just a money sink for this shop, a hole in the boat.
There is a portion where Starburst has an internal dialogue. He reminds himself of who he is. This comes in about 3,500 words into the story. Right at the end of "chapter 1" in volume 1. We're told he's 17, lives alone and was once a pro-shogi player. Are you for fucking real? This is the stupidest way to give us a glance at a character's description and interests. The author shoves it down our throat because he either couldn't come up with a way to naturally plant it into the story or dialogue, or didn't care enough to do so.
The interactions between the main character and the Flim Flam brothers are awful. They're drooling retards in the show, and they act as such here, but the back and forth they have with Starburst is asinine. They burst into the shop saying they're going to take it over. Responding quick like the witty genius he is, Starburst tells the two men he's going to call the police on them for being idiots. They say he's a riot, and vow to return again. And they do return later, with a shogi board and a challenge.
I glanced at the next chapter. The Flim Flam Bros, like vultures, want to pluck up the shop and turn it into another branch of their own establishment. So they challenge Starburst using a fake law to a game of shogi. They want to take over the shop, know Starburst is a professional shogi player that could have became a professional player, and that is who they decide to challenge. Completely, utterly moronic. If, by some twist, the pair of them simply wanted to goad Starburst into playing again because they were fans or something I simply don't care.
Someone in the comments is confused about why the story is cut into "volumes" and in those volumes are chapters. I believe this is just another link to its anime/manga origins. As this is based on a story called March Comes in Like a Lion, which was a manga and then later an anime.
This story fucking sucks. The main character is dull, the only thing that moves the story forward is two fucking retards and comes in 5,000 words in. Instead of smartly developing the character in those 5,000 words, the author dumps a fat shit of information on our head between streams of piss poor, uninteresting drivel.
I have no fucking idea why this story upset me so much, but I can safely say this is a 1/10 with little to no redeeming qualities.