Genre(s): Food, Comedy, Shonen, Parody
Age-Appropriateness: 11+ (Mild language, occasional crude humor)
Platforms: Crunchyroll, Funimation
TheAwersome Rating: 7.9 / 10 (Great Gag Anime)
Premise: The young Kazuma Azuma is determined to create “Ja-pan,” a national bread for Japan. This quest leads him to join up with the esteemed bakery chain Pantasia. It is there that he, armed with only his ingenuity, the legendary “Hands of the Sun,” (his hands are warmer which helps dough ferment faster) and the support of his co-workers, competes to better hone his baking skills and fulfill his dream.
TheAwersome’s Thoughts: This started about how I expected, typical Shonen flavoring of fulfilling a dream and going through several tournament arcs to get there. But there’s a distinct and delightful flavor to the humor of this show that is simultaneously genius and absolutely stupid in the best way possible. As likely a huge part of the inspiration for Food Wars, Yakitate Japan is actually very educational regarding the science of baking and the history of certain types, locales, and historical figures. It also features ridiculous reactions to the food.
Where Food Wars would have an ecchi orgasmic reaction, Yakitate Japan uses puns and references. As the show goes on, they get even more farfetched and ridiculous. The show itself shatters the fourth wall, with certain reaction references to other anime, characters, or movies and the characters saying things like “Whoa wait, did we check the copyright on this?” “Hey, if nobody got mad at the Gamera reaction last season, we’ll be fine.”
Yet it never loses its charm and lasts only as long as it needs to without feeling like it drags anything out. It channels a similar vibe to the great “Abridged” series of the early 2010s where there’s quality humor and the cast doesn’t really take the show seriously.
TLDR: A goofy, wholesome, funny good time.
The name Yakitate Japan is (you guessed it) a pun! Yakitate means freshly baked, and the word for bread in Japanese is “Pan.” Azuma names all his attempts at making a truly Japanese Bread “Ja-Pan” to accentuate that it’s a Japanese Bread. Note: Similar to how the German word for Germany is nothing close, but rather “Deutschland,” the Japanese word for Japan is “Nihon.”
Side note: Crunchyroll had an error in their synopsis of the first episode: “When his sister Inaho asks to have bread for bread for breakfast…” so this show earned the nickname for us “Bread for Bread for Breakfast,” or “Bread for Bread.”
While not really a compelling watch that you’ll want to binge, it’s a great one to have on hand for when you need some dumb yet very well executed humor.