Definitions

Yakitate!! Japan!

Yakitate!! Japan

is a manga, authored by Takashi Hashiguchi, serialised in Shogakukan's Shōnen Sunday, which has been adapted into a television anime series by Sunrise. The manga has spanned 25 tankōbon volumes, as of January, 2007, while the weekly serialization of the manga has ended as of January 10, 2007. The anime series, broadcast on TV Tokyo and other local stations from October 2004 to March 2006, spanned a total of 69 episodes. The series won the 2004 Shogakukan Manga Award for best shōnen manga. The manga series was later licensed by VIZ Media for North American distribution.

Plot

The story focuses on Kazuma Azuma, a boy on his quest to create "Ja-pan", a national bread for Japan itself. He initially heads to Tokyo to expand his bread-making horizons at the bread-making chain Pantasia; the story continues with Azuma's exploits with his other coworkers.

The title of this series itself is a play on words; Yakitate translates to "freshly baked", but Japan has a double meaning. Besides referring to the country of Japan, pan is the Japanese word for "bread" (stemming from Portuguese pão). Ja-pan is a pun for this series. This mimics the style of the names of other varieties of bread in Japanese, such as "furansupan" (French Bread), "doitsupan" (German rye-based bread), "itariapan" (Italian bread), etc.

Besides the desire to create his Ja-pan, Azuma also possesses the legendary . These hands are warmer than normal human hand temperature, and allow the dough to ferment faster. This gives him some advantage at the beginning of the series, but his innovation and many Ja-pans are his greater talents.

Although the story has baking as its main theme, the parts that generate the most interest are the outrageous puns in the story. Especially notable are the "reaction" based puns made by the judges, who go to great lengths to prove a single point about the bread that they had tasted. The series in general also pokes fun at the shōnen genre's tendency to be melodramatic over mundane tasks.

Manga version

Originally only a 5 week series, the manga version of Yakitate!! Japan was formally serialized due the positive fan response. Yakitate!! Japan received comparatively wide-spread support across various age-groups with notable popularity among members in the bakery industry. The series was also highly popular with the generation who grew up reading and watching the series . Yakitate!! Japan also managed to carry its popularity over to the anime version. A characteristic of the series is the usage and explanations of various technical terms employed in baking, thus providing the series with additional educational value. Another feature of the series is found in the reactions where some popular anime and manga series are parodied. What began as a pure cooking-themed manga, Yakitate!! Japan eventually took on heavy "gag elements" by the end of its run.

Story arcs

Childhood

The story starts with Azuma's childhood ten years ago when he learned how to create a bread that tastes better than rice in order to prove his grandfather wrong.

The Pantasia Entrance Examination arc

This is the initial arc where Azuma goes to the Pantasia Main Branch Store expecting to get a job only to discover that he has to compete for it in a series of exams. Azuma also starts at a disadvantage as he loses almost all of the ten points he needs to avoid being disqualified (5 points for being late, 2 points for messy hair and 2 points for calling Kuroyanagi an occhan). It is in this arc that Azuma meets Kyosuke Kawachi, Kuroyanagi Ryo, Tsukino Azusagawa and Kai Suwabara. Shortly after the competition, Azuma and Kawachi get jobs at Pantasia's Southern Tokyo Branch store. A few stories take place there as they meet Ken Matsushiro and Azuma competes against a skilled but pampered baker named Mokoyama.

The Pantasia Newcomers Battle arc

This story arc features a fierce tournament between all of the bakers that were hired by Pantasia that year. When Azuma and Kawachi learn about it, Kawachi declares Azuma his rival and begins intense physical training to gain artificial Solar Hands known as 'Solar Gauntlets'. This arc introduces Tsukino's sisters and reveals that there is a secret animosity between them. Several rivals return and new ones are introduced as Azuma and Kawachi enter the competition. The story climaxes in a bread battle between Harvard Graduate Kanmuri and Azuma.

The Monaco Cup arc

Azuma, Kawachi and Suwabara travel to Monaco to take part in an international bread competition which will determine the fate of the Pantasia franchise. There they meet Pierrot Bolneze, the clown judge, as well as the lion-headed King of Monaco who is holding the competition. However, Yuuchi Kirisaki, owner of Pantasia's rival bakery chain St. Pierre, is bribing judges and pulling out all the stops to win, including trying to kill Team Japan (Azuma, Kawachi and Suwabara) on more than one occasion. There is also a subplot about Pierrot, who is an orphan looking for his true family.

The Yakitate!! 25 /Yakitate!! 9 arc

Yuuchi Kirisaki has challenged Pantasia to a final bread-making competition in the form of an Othello-like game for the fate of Pantasia. The Pantasia gang comprising of Azuma, Kawachi and Kanmuri meet new opponents called the CMAP (a spoof of popular J-pop band SMAP) and well as a rematch with an old rival. There are ups and downs in the matches, and the Southern Tokyo Branch face a number of matches, including CMAP's other members, Suwabara and Monica, Meister Kirisaki and Yukino Azusagawa.

Characters

Main characters

The 16-year-old male protagonist, a bread artisan who dreams of making the perfect Japan. Initially, he doesn't seem very bright, but when it comes to bread, he's a genius. (He is knowledgeable about rice because of his grandfather, and Japanese food in general, due to further learning and dealing with Japanese restaurants.) Azuma also has "Solar Hands": exceptionally warm hands that allow the yeast to ferment faster and better when he is making his bread. Eternally optimistic and cheerful, he never gets upset from challenges faced in baking competitions, but rather from emotional tragedies that occur to characters around him. He gets his inspirations for his Japan from seemingly random sources, like other Japanese foods and stories from his experienced but over-talkative grandfather, who is a rice farmer.
Coworker and sidekick to Azuma, from the Kansai area. Initially, Kawachi's knowledge is superior to Azuma's, but as the story develops, he becomes the fall guy and comedic relief. He considers Azuma to be his rival, but the two develop a dynamic that is more like that of a pair of siblings. With Tsukino's help, he has obtained "Solar Gauntlets": Solar Hands developed through physical training. He is somewhat lazy, but at desperate times, he focuses his effort to create exceptional bread. An interesting note about Kawachi is his hairstyle - he is the character with the most hairstyle changes throughout the entire series. Another running gag with Kawachi in the early volumes is his tendency to exclaim "What do you mean?!", which both Manager Ken and others have noted upon, with Suwabara even breaking the fourth wall in the 8th volume by denouncing Kawachi for saying the phrase four times in the starting pages of the chapter.
Kuroyanagi's understudy, a serious bread artisan. A master of the katana who claims to have left the swordsman path of destruction to follow the path of life-giving bread. Despite that, he often becomes very warrior-like and fearsome during baking competitions, which occasionally makes other characters wonder if he is truly focused on the 'life-giving' aspect of his bread. Like Kawachi, he has the "Solar Gauntlets" and considers Azuma to be a rival. During the first appearances, he seems cold-hearted and tough, but in the Monaco Cup Finals, he falls in love with a rival German baker working for the American team, Monica Adenauer, and shows a more tender side of himself. After his loss in the Newcomer's Battle, he understands that all techniques are actually "stolen" from all existing food, and thus he begins to "steal" techniques from other food, bakers, etc, to create "Lupan". The name Lu-pan is possibly derived from the anime/manga series Lupin ("Rupan" in Japanese) who is a famous "thief".
An extremely talented Pantasia baker, first encountered during the Pantasia Newcomers' Tournament and discovered to possess the "Solar Hands" as well. A Harvard graduate like Kuroyanagi, he looks up to Kuroyanagi as a mentor, calling him 'Senpai' (which means Senior). He is considered to be a "Harvard Junior Genius", having graduated the prestigious school at a very young age of sixteen. Originally working for Tsukino's evil sister, Yukino Azusagawa, Kanmuri defected to the Pantasia's Southern Tokyo store to work with Azuma. He remained to maintain the store throughout the Monaco Cup, but rejoined the team for the Yakitate!! 25/Yakitate!! 9 challenge. Late in the series, he is revealed to be one out of the last two possible heirs to the Hashiguchi Company, the biggest gangster organization in Japan. Although he firmly states that he'd never join the Yakuza, a problem sets as the other heir, Masanobu Tsutsumi, Shigeru's half-brother, shares the same sentiments. He is probably named after a Shogakukan editor of the same name.
Granddaughter to the owner of the Pantasia chain, and understudy to Ken Matsushiro. She seems to have a crush on Azuma, though it is never explicitly stated. Has difficulty getting along with the rest of the Pantasia-involved Azusagawa family because she is an illegitimate child. She is still very dedicated to the Pantasia chain, seeking out talented new bakers (like Azuma and Kawachi) and has garnered the support of many other characters. While she stays behind the scene most of the time, she is implied to be talented, as she managed to make it to the third place of a past newcomer's battle.
Manager of Pantasia Southern Tokyo branch. A burly man with an afro and sunglasses. Renowned as the best French-bread artisan in Japan, he seems to have a predilection with horses and betting on horse-racing. He is Kuroyanagi's former teacher, but early on recognized his outstanding talent as a food critic, and from that point on discouraged his baking, ultimately driving him away. He also likes to tease Kawachi, to whom he was apparently very similar in his youth, occasionally to give him ideas on bread, but mostly just for the hell of it. He also can make Kawachi hallucinate at times. Due to a series of mishaps, he became the next heir to the Hashiguchi company, much to his displeasure.

Cultural Significance

General

The theme of a bread maker in a society that lacks a long tradition of eating bread on a frequent basis is unusual. Bread consumption in Japan saw appreciable figures within roughly the fifty years leading up to 2003. Lack of bread eating food culture, in fact, serves as the protagonist’s, Azuma Kazuma, motive throughout the entire series: to create a bread that would reflect Japan and that the Japanese could be proud of. This concept further reflects the Japanese propensity to borrow from other cultures and make it their own. In this instance, Azuma is trying to make a bread that will fit the Japanese palette. Real world examples of this exist as well such as the introduction of from Portugal and ramen from China. The Japanese assimilate these foods altering them in the process to make them what eventually becomes something Japanese.

Attitude towards food

The entire series demonstrates the Japanese celebratory attitude towards food. The reactions of the characters after tasting the newly created breads are comical, but at the same time they reflect the importance of freshness, preparation, etc that is integral to Japanese food culture. The various devices and methods that Azuma and his companions develop to create breads that could be considered works of art throughout the series holds truth to this. Emphasis on accentuating the natural flavors of the ingredients to make the bread, while still having something that can truly be called bread is constant struggle for Azuma and his companions. Keeping food in its natural state is a major point of Japanese food culture. Although Azuma and his companions will often go through great lengths to prepare their ingredients for use, this is perfectly acceptable in Japanese food culture. Quite often extensive preparation of ingredients is required before they are even edible such as neutralizing irritants, bitterness, astringency, etc.

Seasonality

Seasonality is an important feature of Japanese food culture. Like the characters in the anime, most respectable Japanese chefs and their customers will go out of their way to ensure the freshness and seasonality of the food they are serving or eating. In the match in Ōma (episodes. 54-56) for example, Azuma decides to use sea urchins (uni) that is both fresher and in season instead of the city’s main specialty, fatty tuna, which is out of season and can only be obtained in its frozen form.

Localness

Furthermore, the Yakitate!! 9 story arc illustrates a peculiar feature of Japanese culture in its treatment of local ingredients. The fact that the competitors are judged according to how many and how well they incorporate local specialties into their breads demonstrates how important this is in Japanese food culture. Paul H. Noguchi succinctly summarizes this when he writes that "foods strongly suggest the areas that produce them. This is especially true in a country like Japan where nearly every locality is famous for producing some specialty dish or ingredient. Thus, the characters are able to emphasize local culture by employing local ingredients into their breads. This fact is further enhanced by the often lengthy quests that Azuma, Kanmuri, and Kawachi undergo to find the perfect ingredient or the perfect method of incorporating that ingredient to emphasize its natural flavor and the care that the locals went through to produce it. The outcome of the CMAP rematch battle (episodes. 57-58) illustrates this point perfectly. During the match in Saito, the doctor who examines Kuroyanagi and pronounces Azuma’s Team Pantasia the winner explains to CMAP that the reason they lost the match was because their bread lacked love like the love that locals put into raising their mangos. This emphasis on locality is not unique to Yakitate!! Japan, and is, in fact, a very common feature of many popular Japanese television programs, particularly those found on NHK such as . Millie Creighton attributes this feature to a Japanese fascination with furusato (hometown) appeal. Thus, the entire concept of displaying local specialties and ingredients behind the Yakitate!! 9 story arc is nothing new in Japanese television.

Power of food

The reactions that the characters display during the judging are humorous and illustrate an aspect in Japanese food culture; in the culture food can have a powerful effect upon the body and psyche. Coupled with this is the importance of presentation. The presentation of food in Japanese cuisine is an integral part of the experience that can sometimes make or break the dish. The way food is arranged and prepared is, in fact, sometimes more important than the taste of the food itself. Presentation for the characters is important such as getting the bread to the judge as quickly as possible to avoid it from cooling significantly. At times, presentation alone can significantly affect how the food will taste and the outcome of the judging.

List of Ja-pan

  • Ja-pan #1: Soy-milk toast Ja-pan ※
  • Ja-pan #2: Suihan ja-pan (a Suihan is any automatic rice-cooker)recipe in chapter 13
  • Ja-pan #3: Microwave Sesame bread
  • Ja-pan #8: Colored, candied, slow-baked Turtle Ja-pan (with starch syrup)
  • Ja-pan #9: Taiyaki bread
  • Ja-pan #10: Soaked Millet Ja-pan (Low-carb Diet Ja-pan)
  • Ja-pan #12: Choco-coronette ※
  • Ja-pan #15: Autodigested Japanese barnyard millet
  • Ja-pan #15 (variant): Autodigested Nanshõkasei wheat flour (a bread targeting high school girls)
  • Ja-pan #16: Mt.Fuji Curry Ja-pan (actually Indian "Naan")
  • Ja-pan #21: Budding Wheat Flour Castella Ja-pan (Castella is a type of sponge cake popular in Japan) ※
  • Ja-pan #22: Kamaboko Ja-pan
  • Ja-pan #24: (presumed to be Hanako-milk (goat's milk) Butter Ja-pan)
  • Ja-pan #24 (variant): Hanako-milk (goat's milk) Butter French-Ja-pan
  • Ja-pan #32: Wasabi Dinner Bread Ja-pan (it doesn't spoil easily)
  • Ja-pan #43: 324-Layer Croissant Ja-pan ※
  • Ja-pan #44: Heavenly Petalite Ja-pan
  • Ja-pan #51: Garlic Sports bread
  • Ja-pan #51 Kai (variant): Eel, Nori , Silk powder and Black-soybeans Sports bread for F-1 Racers
  • Ja-pan #54: Anpan
  • Ja-pan #55: "Anpan" (filled with Grandmother’s homemade an)
  • Ja-pan #56: Black Ja-pan (originally a bread with rice bran, but replaced with a special ash from bamboo charcoal in episode 29) ※
  • Ja-pan #57: Kabukiage Leftover Ja-pan
  • Ja-pan #58: Sushi-style Melon Ja-pan ※
  • Ja-pan #59: Okonomiyaki-sandwich with Yakisoba filling
  • Ja-pan #60: "Sticky and Stretchy" Vital Gluten Ja-pan
  • Ja-pan #61: Taima Bread Donut (Taima is cannabis, but also sounds like "time machine") ※

※ Indicates it was produced in Japan by the Yamazaki Pan Company.

After the Monaco Cup Arc, Azuma ceases to attach numbers to his Ja-pan (Ken stated that it's because all those before are mere trial products). The breads he makes in the Yakitate 25/9 Arc are tied to various areas of Japan, and are named accordingly.

  • Ōma Ja-pan: Urchin-roe Chawanmushi bread
  • Saito Ja-pan: Mango Waffle Haniwa (Haniwaffle)
  • Ōmagari Ja-pan: Bent-leek "Double Fondue" Blanchir (not Fondue; here it indicates "folded")
  • Uppurui Ja-pan: Remixed Nori Spring Roll Bread
  • Gero Ja-pan: Triple Bamboo Leaf manju
  • Higashi Japan: Kawachi's poor cutlet sandwich; soft bread made by Azuma, tonkatsu by Kawachi.
  • Mount Fuji Japan: Mashed yam Ultimate Sandwich Japan; resembles flag on Japan when cut into slice.

Yakitate 25 Non-bread:

  • Iyo Ja-pancake: Pancake that is easily made and retains moisture, theoretically enabling it to be sold in shops. It uses glutenous rice flour in the batter to absorb excess water, and is topped with loquat "honey" (which is a honey like syrup) and buckwheat flakes to increase the crispiness for a longer time.
  • Chitose Takoyaki Pizza: Pizza that is made with "Inka's Awakening" potatoes to be suitable for selling in shops. It is made with a "base" that has potato mixed into the dough to absorb water, and a "balloon" lined with potato chips placed over the base, to prevent it from becoming flat again after the hot air inside cooled down (the potato chips are supposed to form a kind of petticoat).

Anime only:

  • Ōkuchi Wafuu (Japanese-style) Ja-pan Man: Tenobe Man ("Man" is "dumpling" in Japanese, and probably refers to typical Nikuman). Tenobe is a type of noodle created by manually stretching the dough multiple times, and also refers to the process of making the noodles. Not in manga; Only shown in episode 56 of the anime series
  • Tomiura Ja-pan: Preserved Loquat Tart; first appear as a side story in the manga.

Other:

  • Nou (Niigata) Ja-pan/Gopan: Ultimate Nou-Miso Japan/Gopan; Made by Azuma in anime finale to win Yakitate!9, and made by Kirishaki in the manga as a brain-control Gopan

Other Breads of Note

(ordered by baker, then appearance)

Azuma's Non-Ja-pan

  • Super Vapor Action Margarine Roll
  • Average Temperature Nikuman (A special version of steamed meat bun that's eaten after it's cooled down; normally nikuman is to be eaten when freshly steamed)

Kawachi's Bread

  • Baked Hua-Chuan
  • Oat-based French Bread
  • Osaka-style "O-sake" Table Bread
  • "Super Sunrise Crush" Melonpan (made with Pie dough instead of cookie dough)
  • Yakisoba-dog (Yakisoba ground into the shape of a hotdog, then placed in a bun)
  • Moving crab bread
  • Singing French Bread "Double-crust"
  • Ultimate White Bread "Victory" (with Croissant-layered crust, abnormally wide shape, and antioxidant-high sobayu)

Suwabara's Bread

  • Ultimate 648 layer Super Vapor Action Croissant
  • "Dancing" super-long French Bread
  • Lu-pan #3: "Mixed Juice with Almonds and Nuts, Giving it a Crisp Consistency, Spicy Bread" (Pain d'épices)
  • Lu-pan #6: Red Turtle Sports bread (with Snapper Turtle blood and red wine)
  • Lu-pan #1: Golden D'loro Crown with Shining Fruit-jewels
  • Ōmagari "Spiral" Lu-Pan: Bent-leek "Tourner" Blanchir

Gopan

  • [Yuuichi Kirisaki]Gopan #1: Devil's Gopan.
  • [Shadow White/Yuuichi Kirisaki] Go-pan #97: Paella bread with rice-flour, seafood, and nutrient extracts
  • [Shadow White/Yuuichi Kirisaki] Go-pan #???: Ultimate "Milky Way" Bagel
  • [Yuuichi Kirisaki] Go-pan #104: The "Anime Rewriter" (only shown in anime episode #53 that caused Yakitate! Japan to turn into Takitate! Gohan)
  • [Meister Kirisaki] Omanta Go-pan

Other Bakers

  • [Tsuyoshi Mokoyama] Kouign Pudding Amann, a super-sweet "butter cake" with low-sugar pudding inside
  • [Mizuno Azusagawa] Suuuuuuper-sweet Melonpan
  • [Spencer Henry Hokou "Shachihoko"] Nagoya-style "Kouchinmi" Yakisobapan. First episode appearance: #14 and "Alexandria" in Monaco Cup (a dinner bread that is baked with a special charcoal and put in a bamboo stick)
  • ["Koala" (Mokoyama)] "Woven Dragon Bread" with Orange Marmalade Coating and Chocolate Chips
  • [Shigeru Kanmuri] "Pan au algue" with Kaiyou yeast and "Pan au rustique" with Kaiyou yeast RAS (Resilience Against Salt)
  • [Edward Kayser] Kouglof au Miel
  • [American Team] "Balloon Bread" made with a Dragon Hook mixer
  • [French Team] "Irish Soda Bread" made with yeast instead of baking powder.
  • [Gran Kayser] "Blue Lagoon" Sports bread with Blueberry Yogurt, Amacha Hydrangea, and "Kan Kyuu Mo" Pearl powder
  • [Monica Adenauer] "Mother's" Rye Bread, with candy rose and 5 different rye flours
  • [Shachihoko] "Alexandria" Egyptian Bread, with Kodaimai Miso flavoring
  • [Takumi Tsubodzuka] Ōma bread: "Super Toro Aburi" (Toro is fatty tuna sushi, Aburi is "broiled") on the Beehive Pastry
  • [CMAP w/o Tsubodzuka] Saito bread: CMAP special Mango Curry Bread
  • ["Panda" (Mokoyama)] "Triple Alpine Buns"
  • [Yukino Azusagawa]

Techniques and Special Terms

Normally, extremities such as the hands are lower in temperature than the rest of the body, but if one can increase blood flow to the hands, that difference decreases. In France, those that possess this ability are said to have Solar Hands. Note: Grand Kayser can outfit himself with a twice as warm as normal gauntlet known as the "Solar Gauntlet, Gigants."

By training the body, particularly the arm muscles, one can promote blood flow to the hands and subsequently increase their temperature to an extent as to be near in skill to the Solar Hands. Note: Kai Suwabara is able to use the body’s natural defenses to increase his blood flow by holding dry ice to cool his hands in what he calls, "Solar Gauntlet, Overcoat."

  • Le Main de Deesse (女神の手 megami no te)

Also known as Goddess Hands, the term used to describe the possessor of flexible knuckles and feminine hands. A benefit of possessing this skill is the ability to knead out a bread’s hardness. Note: Grand Kayser uses both his feet and hands to further knead bread in what is dubbed, "Le Main de Deesse, Ultima."

Ability opposite that of the “Solar Hands.” This ability is least suited for making bread due to the unusually cold hand temperatures. However, this ability is best suited to for use in unfermented breads, such as tarts (which use large quantities of butter), because low hand temperature will not melt the butter. So far, Yukino Azusagawa is the only person in the show who possesses this skill.

Process whereby bread is baked at 300°C or above for 3 minutes, instead of the normal 200°C for 15 minutes. Steam from inside the dough explodes causing the dough to puff out. The greater the difference in temperature between the dough and the oven, the better; however, in the case of dough that is not mixed with chocolate, etc., it is more difficult to get the temperature high enough, quickly enough.

Process whereby bread is baked at a very low temperature of 150°C for an extended period of time in order to avoid coloring the outside of the bread. However, as flavor and texture are determined by the way moisture leaves the bread, these features can be lost during the process. This defect can be overcome by coating the bread in mizuame during preparation.

Food additive produced from refined vegetable (wheat) protein. Used in breads made from ingredients which do not normally form gluten, but can be used when making bread to create a sticky texture.

Method of twisting bread dough in one direction whereby difficult to heat portions of dough are created. During the baking process, these areas continue to ferment, thus producing fluffier, plumper bread in the folds. However, over-twisting the bread can cause the gas produced during fermentation to escape, thus creating a poor tasting end product.

Process whereby whisking butter, thus incorporating air into it, causes bread to become fluffy and plump. Method used mostly in cakes.

After the first leavening, the dough is re-kneaded to produce new gluten and a fluffy, plump bread. This causes the gluten structure to re-form, preventing the possibility of creating an extremely hard bread.

Process where old dough is mixed with new dough as a substitute for yeast. Mixing in mature dough with new dough creates a flavorful bread.

Music

Opening

  1. Hōki Gumo by Rythem (episodes 1-29)
  2. Promise by TiA (episodes 30-53)
  3. Chīsana Uta by Maria (episodes 54-69)

Ending

  1. Sunday by The Babystars (episodes 1-12)
  2. To All Tha Dreamers by Soul'd Out (episodes 13-29)
  3. Hummingbird by Little by Little (episodes 30-42)
  4. Re: START by surface (episodes 43-53)
  5. Merry Go Round by Mai Hoshimura (episodes 54-62)
  6. Kokoro Bīdama by Rythem (episodes 63-68)
  7. Hōki Gumo by Rythem (episode 69)

The background music used throughout the series are composed and arranged by Taku Iwasaki.

Episode list

The anime version of Yakitate!! Japan, by Yasunao Aoki, consists of 69 episodes. It is divided into three arcs. Episodes 1 to 26 form the first arc Pantasia Newcomers Battle. The second arc, Monaco Cup Arc, runs from episode 27 to 52. The remaining seventeen episodes are from the third arc, Yakitate! 9 Arc.

Trivia

  • While the characters might create the most extreme breads, most of them are actually real, or are at least based on real bread. Hashiguchi employed a bakery consultant, . Uchimura creates bread similar to the bread in the manga, and some of the bread in the manga are actually his inventions. Uchimura runs a bakery called Pan no Mimi in Kyoto.
  • The name of Kanmuri's father is actually another way to write out "Takashi Hashiguchi". In this case, Takashi is written in Kanji as "noble death".
  • Yuichi Kirisaki, one of the series' main antagonists, bears a striking resemblance to Gendou Ikari of Neon Genesis Evangelion. The two happen to have the same voice actor, Fumihiko Tachiki.
  • In one chapter, Ryo Kuroyanagi comments on the use of yellowtail, which then triggers a memory of the manga Konjiki No Gash Bell, where Kuroyanagi then takes a hose to “wash” the yellowtail before Zatch eats it. Takashi Hashiguchi then through the manga congratulates Konjiki No Gash Bell’s becoming of an anime.
  • Along with the Zatch Bell! manga, the series includes references to Hunter X Hunter (Pierrot personage comes after Hisoka), Saiyuki (one of Kawachi's competitors in early series using Hakkai's ball of light techniques in illusionary fight), among others.
  • In the episode 13, at the Pantasia's Newcomer Battle Azuma was making Japan 58, Melon Sushi Pan. The bread was made by baking the cookie dough and the bread dough separately and later combined together with melon juice in the middle acting like wasabi in sushi. Azuma combined them together in front of Kuroyanagi before he judged the bread. After he put some melon juice on the bread, he held the bread in his left hand then dramatically combined it with the cookie in his right hand while shouting, "Gattai" (combined). This is probably a reference to "Hyōi Gattai" or "Oversoul" in Shaman King, The move was done very similarly to Yoh Asakura's "Oversoul".
  • Japan #44, which is the best Japan made prior to the story, will make anyone who eat it goes to heaven. 44 was read Yonju yon in Japanese, but if we read it number by number as in 4-4, it will read as shi-shi. Shi is a homophone to a same word meaning "death" in Japanese. That's also why number 4 in Japan is considered as a bad luck number, similar to Western number 13. With that taken into account, Japan #44 can be loosely described as "Bread of death that sends people to heaven". (See tetraphobia)
  • In Episode 17, there is a parody of Gamera where Ryo ate Kazuma's turtle bread and began spinning in midair furiously along with breathing out fire from his mouth, much like how Gamera does when flying. When Ken made mention of this, Kyosuke asked if it is legal to show Gamera without getting sued.
  • In Episode 25, during Kawachi's afro training, there's a parody of the famous novel, drama and movie Sekachu, where Kawachi has a reaction and appears on top of a bread whose crust looks a bit like the Ayers Rock (this reasoning is backed up by the fact that there are kangaroos on the crust), shouting "Afro no chushin de ai wo sakebi" ("Crying out love in the center of the afro").
  • Also, in episode 25 there is a scene of Kawachi watching Yakitate!! Japan on television, to which he says "This anime is really good". In another episode, Kazuma claims that Japan #2 is so simple that the show's seiyū can bake it to which Tsukino comments that the producers were very useless in cooking.
  • Episode 29 includes a Gundam parody, featuring the Black Tri-Stars and their traditional MS-09 Dom mobile suits, as well as the Nobel Gundam from G-Gundam, piloted by Yukino, who appears to be wearing the uniform of Sayla Mass. The parody was so elaborate that a disclaimer was displayed assuring the viewer that the show was still, in fact, Yakitate!! Japan.
  • Suwabara's LuPan refers to Arsène Lupin, for he is "stealing" techniques from other techniques and style.
  • Episode 44 contains both parodies of Initial D and Michael Schumacher, and also of Doraemon.
  • The surgeon that appears in Chapter 78 is a parody of Osamu Tezuka's Black Jack, completed with scars and scrubs. In episode 26, in a flashback, Ryuo claimed that his old friend once donated his lungs to him when he had pneumonia. His friend entered the room dressed as Black Jack, claiming that Ryo's lying.
  • In episode 48/chapter 108, there is a parody of Detective Conan where Pierrot disguises himself as Conan for his reaction. In the manga, Kawachi (standing in for the mangaka) also used said opportunity to bash Conan, by saying Conan (his mangaka) has a huge ego.
  • In chapter 118, there is a parody of Galaxy Express 999 when Pierrot goes to outer space for his reaction. In this reaction, Pierrot became a child, possibly taking on the role of Giovanni from Night on the Galactic Railroad.
    • Possibly due to licensing issues, in anime episode 51, they instead refer to Night on the Galactic Railroad by Miyazawa Kenji; in fact, they explicitly stated it is not the world of 999.
  • The theme song for the "Yakitate!! 9" competition in the last arc of the anime sounds surprisingly similar to a mix of the chorus of O-Zone's Dragostea din tei and Dschinghis Khan's Moskau, both very popular songs at the time of the episodes thanks to the Internet and Internet memes.
  • In episode 53, as a reaction to one of Yūichi's Go-pans, the show produces a parody of itself, whereupon the opening introduction to Yakitate!! Japan is replayed with all the major plot devices changed: Azuma turns into an American boy with blonde hair and glasses that wants to create an American rice dish called "Gohan." His name is changed to Tom Crusoe (an obvious reference to Tom Cruise), and, instead of Solar Hands, he possesses the legendary "North Pole Hands." They even go so far as to show the first couple of scenes of the "episode", complete with the introductory title screen read by "Tom", and even a "Seed of Knowledge" section at the end. The sequence is an almost exact replica of episode 1 of the series, only with many skipped scenes, and different character names and appearances. The end of the sequence reveals that the name of this obviously made up series is "Takitate!! Gohan", meaning "Freshly Boiled!! Gohan", with Gohan referring to boiled rice. It was based on omake 2 of the manga. Also, in a later addition of Takitate!! Gohan, the test examiner for Tom Crusoe’s test, just as Kuroyanagi does in the second chapter, eliminates 3 students. However in Takitate!! Gohan, these students happen to be Azuma, Suwabara, and Kawachi. In later chapters of Yakitate!! Japan, Kinoshita makes references to Takitate!! Gohan out loud.
  • In episode 55, there is a parody of Dragonball Z where Kuroyanagi and Kawachi became Super Kuroyanagi (Super Saiyan) and Freezer, respectively, as a reaction from trying Takumi Tsubozuka's Super Toro Aburi bread. Kuroyanagi then later turns into Super Kuroyanagi Two and Super Kuroyanagi Three after trying Azuma's Urchin-roe Chawanmushi bread. Later when Takumi ate Azuma bread, he transform into Kitaro from GeGeGe no Kitaro including needle for hairs which injures Kawachi and Kuroyanagi.
  • In episode 56, there is a parody of One Piece where Kuroyanagi turns into a "Tenobi Man" as a reaction from trying Azuma's Japanese-Style Ja-pan dumpling. To this effect, he dons a straw hat and starts stretching his arms like rubber to unbelievable lengths a la Monkey D. Luffy.
  • Tesshō Iwashiro and Dog, from the manga Wild Life, make a minor appearance in episode 38 (replacing Dr. Blackjack) and a longer appearance in episode 58. He also appeared in Chapter 208.
  • In episode 59, there is a parody of Naruto where Kawachi (imitating Naruto) and Suwabara (imitating Sasuke) are fighting using various parodied techniques.
  • In episode 63, there's a parody of Pepsiman where Kawachi becomes Pepmiman as a reaction.
  • In episode 63, Miki Norihei is dressed to resemble Freddie Mercury.
  • In episode 64, a look-alike of the famous video game character Karnov can be seen amongst the people in the crowd, calling himself "Shimaki".
  • Also in episode 64, when Kuroyanagi's reaction produces 16 Shima's, a silhouette of Joe Shimamura from Cyborg 009 can be seen.
  • Lastly, in episode 64 there were parodies of many famous paintings including Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and Edvard Munch's The Scream during Kuroyanagi's reaction to Norihei's bread.
  • In another episode, Kuroyanagi refers to the series Zatch Bell! as a reaction.
  • Episode 68 is a Lord of the Rings parody, with some elements taken from The Chronicles of Narnia as well.
  • In Episode 68, the final battle between Azuma and Yukino (Inside Kuroyanagi's Reaction), Azuma and the Magical Loquat take on an appearance very similar to Kazuma's final alter from s-CRY-ed. The similarity is most noticeable from the chest and facial armor that appears on Azuma. There is also obviously a connection since they share the name Kazuma.
  • In the last episode, episode 69, there is a boy in the crowd who bears a slight resemblance to Red of Pokémon fame (or perhaps Ash Ketchum from series one of the anime), complete with a white-on-red trucker hat.
  • Also, in the last episode, where Pierrot comes, his scene entrance is similar to Ultraman's transformation.
  • Chapter 178 is a Journey to the West parody, with Kuroyanagi as Xuanzang, Azuma as Sun Wukong, Kawachi as Sha Wujing, Kanmuri as Xuanzang's horse, and Katsuo as Zhu Bajie. The plotline is based on when Zhu Bajie first appeared. During the battle that occurs in chapter 179, Dragonball Z is also parodied, with Kawachi going into Super Saiyan mode and using the Spirit Bomb ("Trust Ball" in this case) against Katsuo.
  • In chapter 235, Kawachi transformed into Chopin.
  • In chapter 242 (Finale), Kawachi transformed into Dhalsim.
  • In the anime, the event in the Monaco cup arc where all the contestants are left in an island is similar to Survivor.
  • In the anime, at the Monaco Cup arc, Kawachi and Suwabara were left to die in a burning forest. The pyramid guy came spinning towards them. They evade the pyramid guy , like in bullet time, imitating Neo in The Matrix.
  • During the Monaco cup, Pierot responds to the Japanese's teach's disbelief that they will be graded extremely hard due to their use of a microwave oven by attacking the oven with super-fast punchs while saying "pero pero pero pero" rapidly, much in the same style Kujo Jotaro uses in the anime and manga "Jojo's Bizarre Adventure", although Jojo sais "Ora" rather than "Pero".
  • In episode 43 of the anime, after Pierrot puts nori on Kawachi's head, he remakes Kawachi's head again, this time making him look like Isono Namihei in the anime/manga Sazae-san, and the rock-paper-scissors thing he does is what Isono does at the end of each episode of Sazae-san

See also

  • Reiki, which also uses the concept of energy flowing through hands

Notes and references

Additional references

  • Ashkenazi, Michael and Jeanne Jacob. Food Culture in Japan. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003.
  • Creighton, Millie. "Consuming Rural Japan: The marketing of Tradition and Nostalgia in the Japanese Travel Industry." Ethnology 36 no. 3 (Summer 1997): pp. 239-254.
  • Paul H. Noguchi, "Savor Slowly: Ekiben—The Fast Food of High Speed Japan," Ethnology 33, no. 4 (Fall 1994): pp. 317-30.

External links

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