Sunday, November 7, 2010

(Belated) Graphic Friday: Yakitate!! Japan

Author:  Hashiguchi, Takashi

The Dish:  Battling...brawling...baking?  At the tender age of 6, Azuma Kazuma was introduced to the art of bread-making by a local baker with a dream to create a signature bread associated with Japan.  The French have a bread, the Germans have a bread, many countries have a bread associated in their country of origin.  And thus, Azuma's dream of creating such a bread for Japan, or Ja-Pan, was born.  

Why should people read this manga series?  Because it's a manga about a bread competition.  How many shonen series can boast this type of competition?  In most action manga, the competition is a battle royale in the sparring ring between two (or more) brutal warriors, as with Dragonball Z, YuYu Hakusho, and so forth.  With Yakitate!! Japan, it's still a battle...the ring just happens to be in the kitchen using an oven.  

This is one crazy manga starting off with Azuma competing for a position at Pantasia, the most prestigious of breadmaking brands in Japan.  While in the competition, Azuma meets formidable opponants in Ken Suwabara, a breadmaker with the heart of a samurai, and Kyousuke Kawachi, a young breadmaker with a secret past.  But Azuma has one advantage on his side in this bread competition...his "hands-of-the-sun", or palms that are warmer than normal temperature.  Azuma fairs well in the competition, but due to some scheming in part of some of the competition, he does not win the position at Pantasia's main branch.  Instead, he and Kawachi have both caught the eyes of Tsukino Azusagawa, owner of the the smaller south Pantasia branch.  How will Azuma fair working in a bakery that is in competition not only with other local bakeries but also with Pantasia's major rival, St. Pierre?  

Overall, I have enjoyed this manga simply because of the unique theme even if it does revolve around a competition.  It has the heart of the hero's journey as Azuma strives to achieve the perfect Ja-pan, or Japanese bread.  The side characters involved in the manga are what really make the story great, although I believe we dwell too much on Kawachi's "hair issues" later in the series.  Although I haven't been able to finish the manga yet, I'm looking forward to seeing the outcome of the final bread competition. 

What competition-based manga series capture your attention?


  1. Do you have this one or did you get from the library?

  2. I got it from the library, though I wish we would continue it already. We only have volumes 1-14.


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