The main character of Yakitate!! Japan is a 16-year-old boy named Kazuma Azuma. His goal in life is to create "Ja-pan," a national bread for the country of Japan. He also possesses the legendary "Solar Hands" (his hands are warmer than normal human hand temperature, and this allows the dough he kneads to ferment faster). Azuma learned how to make bread 10 years prior to the start of the series, thanks to a local man who had gone to France to learn how to bake bread and opened a shop in their town. Azuma created a bread that tastes better than rice, to prove his grandfather wrong about bread.
The anime begins with Azuma going to Tokyo in order to expand his bread-making skills. Azuma gets involved in a competition to become an employee at the bread-making chain Pantasia. During his time at Pantasia, he meets several people who either become his friends or his rivals. Ken Matsuhiro, a burly man with an afro and sunglasses, is the manager of Pantasia's Southern Tokyo branch. Tsukino Azusagawa is the granddaughter of the owner of the Pantasia chain, and is an understudy to Ken Matsuhiro. Tsukino also seems to have a crush on Azuma.
Kyousuke Kawachi starts out with more knowledge than Azuma, but over the course of the series, Kyousuke becomes the source of comedic relief. Kai Suwabara is a serious bread artisan who is a master of the katana. Kai can become warrior-like during baking competitions. Shigeru Kanmuri, who graduated from Harvard at 16 years of age, also possesses the "Solar Hands," and becomes a kind of rival for Azuma.
It's been stated that the intent of the manga and the anime is to poke fun at similar shows where the characters make a big deal over very minor actions. However, it felt like Yakitate!! Japan ended up going more "over the top" than was necessary.
Honestly, I'm not entirely sure who the intended audience for this anime is. While there are competitions and rivalries found in such shows as Pokemon, I think the subject of bread making would be a turn off to a male audience. While the bread baking might appeal to a female audience, I'm not sure the tone of the series would appeal to that audience. Personally, I would recommend this anime to viewers who are nine or 10 years of age and older... that is, if they have an interest in baking bread.
|Yakitate!! Japan||69||2004-2006||Yasunao Aoki||Sunrise||N/A|
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