Completed View: Yakitate!! Japan (4)

27Dec07

Yakitate Japan

Media format: 69 Episodes of fansubs

Last viewed: 2 month ago

Well, this anime is about bread. That’s right…bread. It’s mostly making and eating bread. With a seemingly ridiculous subject, this anime would have totally sucked if it was super serious. Luckily, Yakitate!! Japan is all tongue-in-cheek and a pure comedy.

Plot and Storytelling:

This anime is about baking bread and the plot doesn’t deviate too far from it. The heroes are either in a bread baking contest or preparing for a bread baking contest. The main character, Azuma Kazuma, is on a quest to create the ultimate bread to represent Japan. In suit of this anime’s use of puns, his wonder bread will be called Ja-pan (pan means bread in Japanese). A large part of the humor for Yakitate!! Japan is the reactions of the people tasting the bread. Upon consuming the many imaginative bread creations, the judge and other characters usually partake n an exaggerated reaction often using either a play on words of the bread’s name or a long and involved parody. While the backstory of many choristers are explored, the meat of the story is about an out-of-this-world bread that like changes events in time and equally insane reactions like a twenty-five minute parody of the Lord of the Rings.

Surprisingly, with a cast of mostly young males, Yakitate!! Japan is very clean with its humor. There aren’t any cases of blatantly obvious fanservice in any of the 69 episodes. To the best of my memory, all of the puns and other forms of humor are all harmless and wholesome. The most skin shown is probably the episode when Monica, an American baker/pastry chef, tried to distract Kai, a Japanese baker/samurai, in a contest by baking in a bikini (much to her horror, Kai decided that to be fair, he would have to bake in his underwear).

Characters:

Many of the characters are pretty cookie cutter with the exception that they bake bread. Azuma Kazuma is a super naive little kid with a heart of gold (and really warm hands). Kai is a Japanese samurai focused on honor and defeating his enemies. The manager is a bad-ass with sunglasses and an Afro who happens to also be an amazing baker. The baker from China is also an expert martial artists wearing traditional Chinese clothing and a braided ponytail. Despite generally simple characters, all the characters were fun to watch and, most importantly, made sense in what they said and how they acted.

Animation and Audio:

The animation isn’t mind-blowing beautiful or anything, but it wasn’t dull and lazy looking either. There is little if any animation reuse except for the occasional flashback sequence which fortunately isn’t as annoyingly frequent as some other anime (coughNarutocough). The audio is very much the same as the animation. Nothing groundbreaking, but all-in-all, very appropriate.

Afterglow:

For my attention span, sixty-nine episodes is pretty long. But when it ended, I still wanted more. This is mostly due to the fact that they story isn’t fully over. While Yakitate!! Japan‘s ending isn’t like Berserk or His and Her Circumstance‘s stopping-in-the-middle-of-the-action ending, there are still several major issues that need to be resolved, like will Saint Pierre’s owner ever stop being an evil son of a bitch. However, Yakitate!! Japan atleast had a decent conclusion, so I felt more disappointed than furiously pissed at the ending.

Conclusion:

Overall, Yakitate!! Japan is a good, clean comedy. More unusual than freaky, this is a good anime to start someone out on before showing more disturbing fare like Elfen Lied and End of Eva. At the same time, this anime is solid and funny enough that I would recommend it to more seasoned viewers. Multitasking (and lazy) viewers be warned though, this anime is subbed only. Most of the humor would make no sense dubbed anyway.

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