Anpanman (アンパンマン), by Japanese writer/illustrator Takashi Yanase, is one of the most popular series for young children in Japan. Yanase published the first Anpanman story in 1973, and kept cranking them out for 40 years until his untimely death in 2013 finally forced him to retire. (At last count, he had well over 100, translating to three or four books per year during that span — and that's not counting his other works.) He also penned a monthly manga (1976-1982) and a Sunday newspaper comic strip (1990-1994, partially reproduced in 3 volumes with parallel English translation). The television series, called Soreike! Anpanman (それいけ！アンパンマン, "Go! Anpanman"), has been on the air in Japan since 1988 and has no sign of slowing down, with over 1,000 episodes, 25 theatrical films, and numerous EdutainmentOVAs (as of 2013). The show has well over 1,500 characters and has an entry in the Guinness Book of Records. Heavily merchandised, the Anpanman characters appear on virtually every imaginable children's product, including clothes, video games, toys and snack foods. Though famous in its country of origin and even having a museum (or several) of its own, the series is not well-known outside Asia.Characters: (Only the major ones, otherwise the list will be too long for most hardbound books.)
Anpanman (アンパンマン) The main character of the anime, whose head is a bun made by Uncle Jam. His name comes from the fact that he is a man with a head made of bread (Japanese: pan, a loanword from the Portuguese word meaning "bread") that is filled with bean jam (Japanese: an) called an anpan.
Uncle Jam (ジャムおじさん/Jamu-ojisan) The father of Anpanman, and a very kind baker. A skilled cook with knowledge of nearly everything in the world.
Butterko (バタコさん/Batako-san) Assistant to Uncle Jam. She's dedicated and hard working, but sometimes forgetful. Her Japanese name means "Butter Girl". She makes and mends the capes Anpanman and the other heroes use to fly with.
Currypanman (カレーパンマン): The third member of the main trio, whose head is a curry bun. True to his filling, he tends to be the hothead of the three.
Baikinman (ばいきんまん) The villain from "Germ World" is the leader of the Kabirunruns (little creatures which cause mold to grow). His Japanese name means "Germ Man". His ambition is to destroy Anpanman and turn the planet into another "Germ World", yet he is perfectly content to play tricks, steal and bully those weaker than him.
Melonpanna (メロンパンナ): The lone female among the main heroes, whose head is melonpan. Her powers are not offensive like the males; instead, her "Mero-Mero Punch"note "mero-mero" is an onomatopoeia meaning to swoon with love for something causes her opponents to be filled (temporarily) with feelings of love.
Rollpanna (ロールパンナ): Created by Uncle Jam to fulfill Melonpanna's desire for an "older sister", she came out wrong due to Baikinman's meddling. As a result, she has an evil heart along with her good one, that is triggered by proximity to the heroes (especially Anpanman) and expressing kindness. As a result, she keeps to herself, saying little, and only intervening to help the heroes indirectly or from a distance.
Dokinchan (ドキンちゃん) Baikinman's henchwoman. She is selfish, demanding, childish and greedy, but sometimes shows kindness. She has a crush on Shokupanman.
Horrorman (ホラーマン/Horaaman) A friendly skeleton with a crush on Dokinchan, Horrorman does housework around Baikinman's castle and occasionally helps with evil schemes. However, he is still well-received among the other characters, and often apprentices himself to various people in an attempt to win Dokinchan's love.
Kokinchan (コキンちゃん): Dokinchan's little sister, an Annoying Younger Sibling who drops in on occasion to inconvenience the heroes and villains alike. She drives Dokinchan out of her skull, mostly because she has the same personality defects, yet manages to get on the good side of Shokupanman thanks to being an actual child (rather than merely childish) with relatively innocent intentions. She mostly wants to have fun, and is friends with the children of Anpanman's neighborhood, but nevertheless manages to cause or get into some kind of trouble. Her tears, genuine or otherwise, cause other people to cry as well.
Soreike! Anpanman provides examples of the following tropes:
Melonpanna can be counted as one for being one of the main superheroes. Yet her punch doesn't inflict damage, but causes the victim to get in a trance of affection and is thus invulnerable for a short time. This means she also can't 'finish' the fight herself, since her punch can't blow anyone away. She still is a superhero and flies around as much as the rest of the other superheroes, so she still is an action girl.
The minor but recurring character Tekka no Maki-chan is a more mature example.
Alien Among Us: Baikinman, Dokinchan and her sister Kokinchan are aliens, yet we have no clue how life is at their home planet. We have seen the planet from a distance though, and it is a red planet with craters and such, so it doesn't look livable at all. They travel with retro-looking UFOs (they call it a UFO themselves) or with some type of spotted egg, which only Dokinchan, Kokinchan, and baby Baikinman are seen using.
All Love Is Unrequited: Dokinchan likes Shokupanman, and Horrorman (and others, too, but not so obvious as him) likes Dokinchan.
Also included are any crushes on Butterko (especially Tanuki-Oni's, his entire motive is based on trying to get her to like him) and on Tekka no Maki-chan (especially Katsubushiman's, this dominates his personality when they get any episodes together).
Art Evolution: Well, the show has been airing since 1988, so of course the show looks somewhat more dynamic and the animation smoother. Anpanman's nose got somewhat smaller, and his eyes became round dots instead of ellipses. Dokinchan's eyes were first elliptical, but quickly evolved into half circles. And of course, the lines and colors become much clearer.
Book of the Film: Takashi Yanase drew a storybook version of the latest movie every year. This was a welcome departure from the more traditional tie-in full of actual movie frames cut-and-pasted into book form, but it remains to be seen what will become of this practice after his death.
AN-PUNCH!! MERO-MERO-PUNCH!! SHOKU-Yeah, yeah, we get the idea.
Doesn't count for the Baddies though....On the other hand, Baikinman did seem to perform a "Baikin Punch" in one episode, but was struck by lighting before we could see how powerfull it would be. They probably want to keep that in the plot-box for potential movies.
Baikinman's laugh or introduction sound: HAHIHUHEHO!
Baikinman uses the shortened version "Hahi" very frequently too. Usually as a replacement for certain words, such a "Hello", "Huh?" and "OK".
Baikinman's "BAI BAIKIIIN!", which is also used by Dokinchan or any other person Baikinman is with when leaving the scene willingly or unwillingly
Horrorman's 'Hora', which he uses so often that you know he'll use it everytime he says something...which can be 'hora' itself too. Also any emotion is attached to it, since he uses when being happy, shocked, confused or any other way possible.
The Chew Toy: Baikinman. He gets An Punched at least once an episode. And if the episode is about Dokinchan demanding him to get something for her, she either kicks his butt if her request is being ignored, or at the end of the episode where he fails to get the item for him.
Comic Trio: Tendonman, Katsudonman and Kamameshidon. Those guys also had episodes for every individual, thus making them less dependant to eachother to appear on screen. But they are usually together, singing their personal songs, and often are arguing about 'who is better'. They are the more main characters who, despite the little roll the play, always will appear in the movies.
Cool Car: Jam Ojisan's ride, which has his face on it, has an inside bakery. It also can turn into a boat or a zeppelin and can be used as a weapon. (The 'nose' can be launched back and forth)
Cool Old Guy: Uncle Jam probably qualifies, being the backbone of the main cast and constantly baking new heads (among other things) for the heroes. But an even better example was probably Takashi Yanase himself: Even at 94 years old, he continued to make public appearances and crank out book after book, right up until his death. This man was a colleague of Osamu Tezuka (nine years Yanase's junior) when both were still relatively unknown.
In the very earliest story (published in The Sixties), "Anpanman" is actually just a regular human with a normal head who delivers anpan to people in need. Even in the first canonical installment in 1973, Anpanman's sole mission is to rescue starving people and give them a bite to eat (out of his head), with Uncle Jam in a support role (to bake new heads). The second book (from 1975) refines the premise and adds the notion of Anpanman rescuing people from danger and not necessarily hunger. Most of the core cast is introduced in the monthly manga (particularly around 1978-'80 or so), but the Loads and Loads of Characters, along with the kind of adventures that make up the bread-and-butter of the anime, weren't really part of the picture until the 25-volume "Anpanman Mini-Books" series from 1983-'84. Since then, though, the juggernaut has been unstoppable.
In Dokinchan's first appearance in the books (Anpanman and Dokin, March 1988), she was much taller and thinner◊ than Baikinman, had no tail, and carried a spear that would immobilize the people she used it on. The anime adjusted her appearance, and later stories in both books and anime dropped the weapon gimmick, giving her the characterization she's known for.
The monthly manga from the '70s showed Baikinman as the leader of a race of individuals that looked like him, only smaller. This was dropped with the introduction of the Kabirunruns in mid-1983, and they fill essentially the same role.
Speaking of Baikinman, many of the early episodes have him being defeated by washing him with soap or brushing him with toothpaste. This is later replaced with him being punched at the end. Mushibakinman later gets the weakness of being brushed with toothpaste, which makes sense.
Edible Theme Naming: The entire show seems to be based on this trope. Anpanman, the hero, is a jambreadhead. They live in bread world, and thus all the superheroes are types of bread. And most of the rest of the cast is food too. Like an Apple face with a body, who is called Ringochan. (Apple-chan) Though there are item-people, animals and humans, and thus it's one whole world of Theme Naming, there are mostly food-people. The baddies on the other hand do have a Meaningful Name but have nothing to do with bread or any type of food.
Baikinman's Catch Phrase 'HAHIHUHEHO' can count as an evil laugh, since he actually uses it as a victory sound somewhat. But he laughed a far better example of this trope in an episode when he created something dressed as a mad scientist. (He dresses like that when doing lab stuff) He really made a 'MUHAHAHA' laugh that time.
Frankenstein's Monster: Frankenrobo-kun, who is a mix between this trope and a robot. It's created by Baikinman and it sees him as his daddy, much to Baikinman's dislike. His hug or touch is electrifying and thus Baikinman tries to avoid him.
"Freaky Friday" Flip: The plot of the episode "Anpanman and the Kind Baikinman" (1993, episode 221B).
Freudian Trio: The three main heroes, with Anpanman as the Ego, Shokupanman the Superego, and Currypanman the Id.
Harmless Villain: Baikinman can somewhat relate to this trope, although he uses violence. He never seems to really want to kill anyone, though situations make it look like he wants too, so that someone can be saved by the heroes. He also never becomes the REAL Bigbad since the monster or robot he controls usually becomes independable and also hurts Baikinman. Since Anpanman will probably kill the monster/robot, they try to make it as blank as can be. The monster/robot has no feelings nor personality, so you won't feel bad about it. He would probably kick Cheese. Or at least poke Rare Cheese.
I Was Just Passing Through: Baikinman did save Anpanman once or twice. One episode he actually really seemed to save him since he was very worried about Dokinchan, though the end of the episode kinda treats him like he also did it for Anpanman, which is confusing since he really seems to do it only for her. Maybe he's that good?
Jerk Ass: Though Dokinchan is a really nice person to everyone else, her behaviour to Baikinman is really mean. Ofcourse, 3/5 of the episodes she's just a nice companion to him and they act as Those Two Bad Guys. She is happy and says 'thank you' when he obtained or did something for her, but when he doesn't, she doesn't even want to hear why or what happened. And he really get's in a lot of trouble for trying to do or get what she wants. She should just thank him anyway for trying so hard. And besides, she should actually be told HER OWN mistakes far more often.
Loads and Loads of Characters: This show is the Guinness world record holder for the highest number of characters in an animated franchise. It has over 2,000 characters. And don't think it has one-timer nobodies. Every character has a personality, has different relationships, and appears in the show more than twice. They all have their own jobs, hobbies and characteristics. That makes the world really lively. Here is a small list to give you an idea.◊
Mad Scientist: Dr Hiyari, his daughter Hiyariko, and Baikinman on some occasions too.
Meaningful Name: Most of the characters have themed naming, yet the baddies have naming that isn't much listed as a theme:
Baikinman means "Germ-man".
Dokinchan comes from the sound of the pounding heart (dokidoki). When she first appears, her pressence made people have a strong heartbeat out of nowhere. This seemed to becme a character trait, but it seemed to be forgotten throw the episode and was never mentioned again. That way it isn't explained what made her cause people to 'Doki'. Perhaps to be known that her pressence isn't a good sign.
Horrorman is a skeleton... "HORROR"-man.. Y'know... People sometimes are scared when seeing him. He kinda seems to have fun with that, though being a very nice guy, but he has to have some trait of villainy.
Merchandise-Driven: Taken to the extreme. There has been Anpanman merchandise about on every children products imagined.
No Hugging, No Kissing: While characters develop infatuations with surprising regularity, the only two who actually get to have a stable relationship are the dogs, Cheese and Rare Cheese. Even there, the chance of them having a litter of puppies together is practically nil.
Power Trio: Anpanman, Shokupanman and Currypanman.
Recycled Script: Happens from time to time, given the length of the series and its adherence to Strictly Formula. It also affects the movies, which are generally based on existing books, which may or may not have previously been made into TV episodes.
The 2012 adapts the book Anpanman and the Banana Dance (2012), with generous amounts of original material. As always, this will also get a picture-book treatment from the original author, which will be a book based on a movie based on another book of his.
Spoiled Brat: Dokinchan, although she is not rich or anything. She is demanding, inpatient and goes on rampage for not getting what she wants. But she knows she can get Baikinman to get her anything, though he usually fails or she iis not happy with what he got eventually. She has never been punished for this behaviour and also haven't changed for the 20 years she's on screen. So why doesn't Baikinman kick her out?
Superheroes Wear Capes: Anpanman, Currypanman, Shokupanman, Melonpanna and Creampanda. All Superheroes, all wearing a cape. Also, they lose the ability the fly when the cape is cut or sliced.
Supervillain Lair: The hide-out in the shape of Baikinman's head were ofcourse the main baddies live. The sceming is motly done outside their house though.
Temporary Love Interest: Baikinman has them quite a lot, and even if the character returns, he kinda seem to forgot what happened the last episode. Or it was a very quick crush he got over. Of course, in a show like this which can still exist for 20 more years, they want to leave the possibilities for romance open to any character. It is plausible no one will get together eventually and one has tofigure out alone.
Baikinman, Dokinchan and Horrorman. Although the formula isn't quite correct. Baikinman is the main villain, and Dokinchan and Horrorman are 'helping hands'. But Baikinman and Horrorman do whatever Dokinchan asksdemands them to do. Still, Dokinchan totally doesn't count as the leader simply because she isn't. She'll gladly help Baikinman in his evil deeds, but only if she wants to help him.
Also Horrorman isn't usually involved in Baikinman and Dokinchan evil deeds. He usually hangs around with them and usually cleans the house and cooks. So this trope only works for the rare occasions, like in the movies, where he joins the villainy. Which usually fails...like they also do without him..or just Baikinman alone.HILARITY ENSUES!!
In the movie Baikinman and the 3-Times Punch, his brother Aokinman and Akakinman join Baikinman, making it a terrible trio.
Tohoku Regional Accent: Kamameshidon, complementing Tendonman's archaic Edo speech and Katsudonman's frequent Anglicisms.
Took a Level in Badass: Baikinman... though he actually isn't badass at all, he still gained at it. For example, in one of the Anpanman movies, shit just got real when Baikinman turned in a dark knight! Not that Baikinman was really himself much anymore....
Both Baikinman and Dokinchan have their Tsundere moments.
Baikinman has the-'shut up, I'm not nice!/ I don't like this/that at all!'-one.
Dokinchan is a bit more complex since she clearly has a tsuntsun and deredere side, but she uses both personalities for different people. The problem with this is that usually you use both sides for a person on occasions, yet she seems to change personality with her surroundings. She is Tsuntsun towards Baikinman (and Horrorman) though these people really do a lot for her and seem to care for her. She beats them up frequently, and also calls Baikinman an Idiot often. To Shokupanman, her love interest, she is very deredere. Weird thing is, to other people she is just really nice, but she changes into a demanding greedy bastard when she is around Baikinman. That is, if she wants him to bring her something. (Like honey she needs for a cake) She does seem to care for Baikinman on occasions, but it's totally unclear what she means by it, since she doesn't seem to care for him in a romantic way. He on the other hand does seem to have feelings for her, but aren't shown that regulary.
A Twinkle in the Sky: It happens with Baikinman almost every episode. And with "almost" we mean those 20 out of 1500++ episodes where Baikinman leave willingly. Yet even if he (with or without Dokinchan) leaves willingly, he still become a twinkle occasionally.
Villain Episode: There are several of them, even villian movies. But it was impossible in such a show as this to not have them, since the villain are not completly evil.
Weak, but Skilled: Baikinman trains A LOT, but physically he's nothing compared to Anpanman. He kinda finds this out himself after they switched bodies and Anpaman (in Baikinman's body) tries to punch Baikinman (in Anpanman's body). 'Gee, Is this all I can do? I can't feel anything.' He also get his but kicked by Dokinchan, but he probably doesn't want to hurt her, so he doesn't fight back. (It can also be seen as a type of sexism) Baikinman does know his opponents weakness, and will use that every time. (Water or mold will cause Anpanman being unable to fight. Having a bit out of his head will him make weaker and no match for Baikinman.) Since Baikinman knows he's no match in a hand to hand fight, he uses his UFO or sometimes a robot mecha. But when Anpanman has a new fresh head, it doesn't matter that Baikinman still tries to attack him. "ANPANPUNSH!!" *boom* "BAI BAIKIIIN".
What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Every movie has one. An out of control big bad who wants to do nothing but destroy you and thus it is the only thing allowed to be killed or die within Anpanman.