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Manga / Yakitate!! Japan

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"There is English bread, German bread, and French bread, but Japan's bread — Ja-pan— does not exist. In that case, there is no choice but to create it. This story is a serious, biographical ballad of a boy who possesses Solar Hands, Kazuma Azuma, who will create a Japanese bread made by and for the Japanese people, which can be presented to the world proudly."
Opening Narration

In the world of Yakitate!! Japan, bread is Serious Business. And no one takes it more seriously than Kazuma Azuma, a teenaged baker whose dream it is to create a national bread for his native country of Japan. It's an uphill battle however, as Japan is a land where rice has always ruled and where bread has never been held in very high regard. But all that is about to change thanks to the efforts of our gastronomically savant hero, who, with his "solar hands" and ten years of self-study, has become a master of his craft.

The story begins with Kazuma heading to The Big City to apply for a position at Pantasia, one of Japan's biggest bakery franchises. Unfortunately, once he gets there he finds himself having to compete for the job with about thirty other applicants, most of whom have had some sort of formal training and education. Will a young, naive boy with pluck and determination be able to measure up in a Cooking Duel against Japan's finest up-and-coming bread makers?


...Well duh. This is a shonen series, after all...

During the course of the show, Kazuma gets to strut his stuff in several baking tournament arcs, as well as meet a cast of wacky characters, including:

  • Kyousuke Kawachi - The idiot from Osaka. Kazuma's co-worker and one of his more lighthearted rivals.
  • Kai Suwabara - A grim-faced master swordsman who took up bread making for philosophical reasons. Rival to both Kazuma and Kyosuke and the series' AntiHero.
  • Shigeru Kanmuri - Harvard-trained Teen Genius who looks to the cold hand of Science to create the world's next Big Bread Breakthrough.
  • Tsukino Azusagawa - The Chick. Outcast granddaughter of the Pantasia chain owner. Is vying to become his heir along with her stepsisters, the annoying Mizuno and the psychotic devil in plain sight, Yukino.
  • Kageto Kinoshita - (aka the "Mushroom-head" guy). Another of Kazuma's co-workers who usually gets stuck doing all of the work while everyone is off competing in tournaments. The series' butt monkey.
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  • Ken Matsushiro - Kazuma's boss and mentor. Wears a funny Afro and has a thing for horses. (No, not that sort of a thing...) Is a MASSIVE Ham.
  • Ryo Kuroyanagi - Hard-assed tournament judge with a talent for making overblown and very elaborate pun-based reactions to anything he tastes. A running gag has Kazuma frequently calling him an "old man" even though he's only 22.
  • Spencer Henry Hokō - An Italian-American dude all the way from California and worked at the Nagoya branch of Pantasia. Thinks he is a true-blue Nagoya guy. He shows up during the first Tournament Arc and loses to Kazuma Azuma. He returns in the second Tournament Arc as a member of Team America.
  • Yuuichi Kirisaki- owner and Manipulative Bastard of St. Pierre's, rival of Pantasia. He looks like Gendō Ikari from Neon Genesis Evangelion and is voiced by the guy who did the voice of Gendō too. He tries sabotaging Team Japan during the Monaco Cup and hires the members of Team America to defeat them. He starts Yakitate 25!(9 in anime) as an attempt to humiliate Kazuma.

Yakitate!! Japan is notable for being a parody of the shonen fighting anime genre, skewering many of the traditional shonen character archetypes, and the overblown way in which even the most mundane turns of the plot are depicted. It's a fun—and at times, educational—action series. Watch it, and you'll never again think bread is boring. A follow-up sequel, Yakitate!! Japan Super Real started in 2019, 12 years after the series ended.

This series provides examples of:

  • AB Negative: Pierrot Bolnez has the Bombay bloodtype. So does the king of Monaco.
  • Aborted Arc: The Yakitate 25 contest is ended abruptly by Kirisaki partway through after he turns into a hupan, and the manga moves on to the final battle instead. The fact that the arc had quickly succumbed to being Strictly Formula probably had something to do with it.
  • Absolute Cleavage: Tsukino sports some as an elf during an omake.
  • Accidental Proposal: Downplayed. Azuma gives his Monaco Cup MVP ring to Tsukino to cheer her up...but he doesn't realize he just put it on her left ring finger, or at least is even aware of what putting a ring on that finger means. In fact, neither Kawaguchi or even Kanmuri realize what Azuma just did either. Only she does, and, though embarrassed, she doesn't bring it up, just takes the gesture as how Azuma sees it, and ultimately accepts the gift regardless.
  • Affably Evil: Yuichi Kirisaki, who needs to keep up a polite profile in public. Evil, but very smart. He wasn't always this way though.
  • Anime Accent Absence: Heck, Spencer lives in Nagoya so long, he ends up talking in Nagoya-ben.
  • Art Shift: The Flashback sequence where Kuroyanagi recalls being an exchange student in America. He's drawn in an anime style, yet his American classmates are all drawn in a more realistic "Western" style. The recurring character named "Kid" is also drawn in this style whenever he appears.
  • Assimilation Plot Kirisaki's ultimate goal is to control the entire world with his go-pan.
  • Badass Normal: Kawachi doesn't have unusually warm hands like Azuma; he doesn't have Kanmuri's savant-level intelligence; and he doesn't have Suwabara's talent. What he does have is a solid grasp of the fundamentals of baking and unmatched determination. While it might not earn him any respect, it does make him one of the best bakers in the world outside of Kazuma.
  • Bald Women: In manga only, Tsukino Azusagawa, after becoming head of the company shaves her head. It's not noticed until her wig falls off...
  • Baleful Polymorph: As the series progresses, the "reactions" to eating delicious foods becomes more and more ridiculous, sometimes resulting in outright transformations. Kuroyanagi gets transformed into a bird twice during the Pizza round, Katsuo starts to transform into an actual pig after eating a pig he befriended (at the pig's own request—it's...complicated), and Kawachi gets repeatedly transformed into various things after tasting food ingredients and test breads.
  • Battle Aura: Although in this series, it should be called, "Baking Aura"
  • Bedmate Reveal: For Kawachi, why she's naked has no explanation.
  • Bishōnen: Tsubozuka and Kanmuri. Kanmuri was featured in an omake where it was revealed that you can't tell him from Tsukino if you zoom in enough.
  • Biting the Handkerchief
  • Blank White Eyes:
    • One of Kazuma's more "dramatic" breads can bring about this effect, with an accompanying Near-Death Experience.
    • And Shadow White.
  • Body Motifs: Hands.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Kawachi and Azuma when they do the "What the hell?" routine a la Tomo.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Kawachi - it's even specifically noted that he'll typically act lackadaisical if he's not expected to do the brunt of the work in a given task. However, when he's under the gun, he'll willingly undertake grueling measures and show off some inspired creations, some of which can even rival what Azuma does.
  • But Not Too Foreign:
    • Meister Silvan and Sophie Balzac Kirisaki.
    • S.H. Hokou is an example of an American based in Japan but not too American.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Kageto Kinoshita. The sad thing is that, with his talents and abilities, he could easily become cool and popular—if it wasn't for his generic looks.
    • Kawachi becomes this later on. His entire role in the manga essentially becomes to be less cool, less respected, and less fantastic than Azuma, Kai, and the others. Even his family starts insulting and looking down on him... that's just cruel. The final panel of the manga is even of him being beaten up.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Calling out the name of one's bread while conjuring up dramatic backgrounds is a favorite tactic amongst tournament competitors.
  • Can't Catch Up: Kawachi is actually pretty good at baking bread overall: he did pull his own weight at various Pantasia branches, and he manages to win several matches on his own - in fact, his only outright loss to anyone other than Azuma was a result of sabotage. He's just not nearly as good as Azuma, who starts better and quickly surpasses pretty much the entire world of baking.
  • Catchphrase: Kawachi's "What the heck?!" He's routinely mocked for it by the others.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Though he doesn't have any special innate abilities like Azuma has, Kawachi is eventually able to gain his own version of the Solar Hands (called Solar Gauntlets) as well as superhuman finger dexterity, though grueling physical training.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Pierrot Bolnez's ring.
  • Chekhov's Skill: A meta example. Some of the early Omake include the author discussing some of his early work, which included a manga based on Street Fighter II. Years later, in the final volume, it turns out Kawachii saves the world from global warming by having a reaction that transforms him into Dhalsim and he levitates every land mass in the world to prevent flooding.
  • Combat Commentator: Many characters in Yakitate! Japan, usually the Manager Ken Matsushiro and Ryo Kuroyanagi. Their explanations are usually triggered by Kawachi, the idiot from Osaka, saying that he doesn't understand what's going on.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The Yakitate 25 arc was reduced to Yakitate 9 in the Anime version.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: The Kaiser brothers are usually stacked on top of one another and covered by a wrap-around cloak. Normally more than one head protrudes from the cloak, but the cloak hides the actual way in which they're stacked (including their legs and feet), so when it finally gets revealed, it creates a great shock.
  • Contemptible Cover: Many, many of the manga's covers.
  • Crossdressing Voices: Yumiko Kobayashi voicing Kazuma Azuma and Marina Inoue voicing Shigeru Kanmuri.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: They even mention this trope in the Yakitate 25 arc by name after Azuma defeats, "God's Child" in a pizza duel.
  • Determinator: Kawachi - it's even noted that, when he's confronted by an obstacle, he redoubles his efforts and refuses to give in.
  • Devil in Plain Sight: Yukino.
  • Doppelgänger Spin:
    • A variation, in that Kageto Kinoshita doesn't use it to attack, but rather to make "clones" of himself so he can get his and everybody else's work done. Tournament Judge Pierrot Bolnez also has this talent used to taste all of the submissions at once. Both characters learned this technique while working in the circus, surprisingly.
    • The characters catch on to this, saying "Maybe all clowns can create clones of themselves these days." Or words to that effect.
  • Double Entendre:
    • Tsukino subverts this. When Ken convinces Suwabara not to commit seppuku by telling him that Monica was pregnant, Ken says "when a man and a woman are living in the same house alone, there is nothing for them to do except—" She completes the sentence saying "play cards, right, Manager?"
    • Later played straight during the Yakitate 25 arc when Azuma and the gang are making a soft bread and their opponent is making a hard bread. Tsukino turns to the manager and says, "Between a hard and soft bread its obvious that hard is better, right?" To which Ken replies, "That's your preferment as a woman..." Mind you he is shirtless and she is wearing a bikini at the time to make it more suggestive.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Examiner Kuroyanagi.
  • Enemy Mime: Shadow White, even though he doesn't dress the part, can imitate people just as well as Marcel Marceau.
  • Enemy Without: In the final arc of the series, Kirisaki's agony in his quest to create his own Ja-pan, combined with the power of the devil bread, eventually rejects his body and leaves to become it's own entity.
  • Eureka Moment:
    • Has inspired Kazuma more than a few times.
    • Kawachi gets a few as well.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: In an Omake, Tsukino Azusagawa is shown to be receiving a lot of love letters in her shoe box. She's in an all-girls school.
  • Exploding Calendar: Lampshaded when the cast notes their month-long Training Montage only took one page.
  • Eye Beams: Of bread.
  • Fanservice: Monica Adenauer invokes this during her match of the Monaco Cup against Suwabara, wearing only a Flag Bikini in an attempt to distract him. To counter it, Suwabara (who didn't slack on his samurai training even after becoming a baker) strips down to a Loincloth, because some readers like the male body, too. Neither is distracted, but the two do get together afterwards.
  • Fighting from the Inside:
    • Kirisaki's original personality manages to surface just long enough to reveal himself as the man who inspired Azuma to make bread in the first place and thank him to allowing him to be his true self again before the Devil Bread takes him over entirely.
    • Also, Kawaichi manages to temporarily fight back the effects of Kirisaki's mind-control go-pan before he can force feed the bread to Azuma.
  • Flag Bikini: Monica wears one to distract Kai during their match.
  • Flanderization: Kawachi, quickly morphing from Jerk with a Heart of Gold to The Idiot from Osaka to the point that it seems like they're two completely different characters.
  • Flash Back:
    • Nearly every single time someone tastes bread.
    • ESPECIALLY with Pierrot Bolneze, who divulges practically all of his life whenever he tastes the Japan representatives' bread.
  • Foreshadowing: Exaggerated: There are plenty of hints that the baker with a beard but no mustache that taught Azuma about bread-making and Ja-pan is Yuichi Kirisaki, ruthless owner of Pantasia's rival St. Pierre well before The Reveal is officially made near the end of the series. Azuma not piecing this together despite his flashbacks showing that his teacher's bakery was ALSO called St. Pierre is practically a running gag.
  • Four Is Death: Azuma's 44th variety of bread has the power to send people to heaven. Unless the person was at the end of their lifespan, however, they get better.
  • Freakiness Shame: Monica Adenauer, as a master confectioner, has heavily scarred hands due to cutting herself many times on her sugar creations, and is embarrassed to let Suwabara see them. When he does, he finds them to be the hands of a dedicated craftswoman and calls them beautiful.
  • Funny Afro: Ken—and Kawachi, at one point.
  • Generation Xerox: A background gag in the final chapter: Monica is carrying a baby that looks like a miniature Kai.
  • Genius Ditz: Azuma's math skills and rice knowledge, anyone?
    • Suwabara isn't much better, seemingly knowing only two things - bread and swordsmanship.
  • Genki Girl: Mizuno Azusagawa.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The "doll" that Air!Yukino is put into after the Reverse Tart arc is a sex doll.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Tsubozuka. The language differs depending on what country the manga's published in.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Hu-pan are half-human, half-bread.
  • Hate Sink: Yukino Azusagawa, period. Yuuichi Kirisaki is also just as hateable, but then it's revealed that his actions were merely because of the Maou Go-Pan, which he ended up becoming so addicted to, the evil spirit from making that bread possessed him, and eventually makes a Heel–Face Turn once he's freed. Indeed, only Yukino is the most hated character in the series ever, which makes her Laser Guided Karmic Transformation all the more satisfying, as she can no longer act on her own, losing all her power over Pantasia, St. Pierre, and everything else.
  • Hopeless Boss Fight: The match against Norihei essentially boils down into this, and it got mercilessly lampshaded.
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl:
    • (Leonhart XIV and Maetal)
    • Duh! Mokoyama and Mizuno.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Barely a chapter goes by without some horrendous pun, many of which are lost entirely in the English translations. Even the series title is a pun: "pan" is Japanese for "bread", so "Ja-pan" can be read as "Japanese bread", which plays on the names of other varieties of bread like "furansu pan" (lit. "French bread"), etc.
  • The Idiot from Osaka: After his early Heel–Face Turn, this becomes the prime focus of Kawachi's characterization, apparently unable to understand any of the higher-end techniques or rare ingredients any of the other bakers use. In fairness, many of the techniques and ingredients in question are ones uncommon even to most bakers.
  • Idiot Hair: Kazuma and Monica Adenauer.
  • I'm a Humanitarian:
    • Azuma takes a bite out of Kawachi when he turns into a monaka, some sort of wafer cake, thanks to the reaction. Then Kanmuri takes a bite too. Then Kawachi eats himself, and finds himself delicious.
    • Kuroyanagi does this to the hupan when he becomes one himself.
  • Important Haircut: Kawachi, from dyed blonde hair, to Afro (which, in reality, is a crewcut with an Afro wig on top), to shiny bald and back to dyed blonde hair again.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: Chefs bake bread so good that anything can happen. One bite, and you'll literally...
  • Informed Ability: Kai Suwabara is mentioned from the get-go as being one of the greatest young bread makers in a generation, having already won a major competition before even applying to work at Pantasia. He's then widely seen as the competitor to beat in the Pantasia rookie tournament. His actual victory count in-series? One. He only gets the job at the main Pantasia branch because both Kawachi and Azuma drop out. He gets to the semifinals of the rookie tournament because his opponents withdraw; he then loses to Azuma and ties Kawachi in the runner-up match. His bread in the Monaco Cup semifinals isn't tasted, and he loses to Monica in the finals. His final match, against Azuma in 'Yakitate! 25', is once again a loss. The only battle he wins is in the Monaco Cup second preliminary, where he's at a disadvantage due to having to use a huge number of ingredients, but he manages to produce a bread better than the French team's.
  • Insane Troll Logic:
    • After marrying and divorcing a woman for the sake of a reaction, Kuroyanagi defends his actions by claiming that since the prefecture they're in has the lowest divorce rate in the country, people should get divorced more to get closer to the national average.
      Kuroyanagi: You only have one life to live, but you can get divorced as many times as you want. Oh how wonderful, divorces!
    • He also argues that compared to the number of times Kawaichi says "What do you mean!?" in a single day, his divorce means nothing.
  • Invincible Hero: Azuma, by far. There are only two times he "loses" - the first was in the Monaco Cup, when his bread to help a Formula One racer was not considered the best by said racer (however, the bread that was considered best was in a different bracket, so this had no bearing on Azuma's advancement in the tournament). The second was during the Yakitate 25 arc, when Miki Norihei (based on the Real Life comedian who also is the mascot for a brand of seaweed), which comes off more like parodied Product Placement more than anything else.
  • It's Been Done: A running gag in the series is that Azuma has very little knowledge of the breads of the world, and yet once a bread has been described to him, he will have a Ja-Pan prototype of it, meaning in his quest to create a bread for Japan, Azuma has independently "invented" most of the breads of the world on his own.
  • Karmic Transformation: Yukino is repeatedly shown to be a shallow, vain, and evil person that uses sex appeal and the power from her dad's money to get what she wants. She's eventually changed into a wisp of air that's inhabiting a sex doll - the manga sure isn't saying that's what she really was all along, but it's sure implying it. As for what happens when she no longer has power over anyone, see below.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: In the manga, Yukino gets turned into a wisp of air, which is then forced to inhabit a sex doll and thus can no longer move under her own power, and she gets abandoned during the climax of the Hu-Pan confrontation. The last chapter even makes a point of averting What Happened to the Mouse? to show that she's still stuck there after three years have passed.
  • Large Ham: MISTER KEN MATSUSHIRO! Kurouyanagi also becomes rather dramatic when judging bread - while he tries his best to downplay it at first, he eventually comes to embrace it and even outdo himself.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: One of the enemies in the Yakitate!! 25 arc is the mascot for a certain brand of seaweed.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: After Suwabara loses to Monica in the Monaco Cup arc, Kawachi is informed that the matches in the Monaco Cup are best two-of-three, and that the US will defeat Japan without Azuma even getting a chance to bake if Kawachi loses. Kawachi doubles down on his preparations and experimentation for his match (to the extent that Suwabara tries to warn Kawachi to take it serious and is shocked that Kawachi already has taken it more seriously than Suwabara thought possible), and Kawachi even tones down his usual reaction antics because he's that focused on winning. He only goes back to his Catchphrase when it's pointed out that Pierrot is deliberately basing his reaction on said Catch Phrase. It's also, by far, Kawachi's most dominant win in the entire series.
  • Lighter and Softer: While the manga's subject is rather tame, much of the contents from it deserved the Teens rating. However, the anime is clean enough to put on your typical Saturday morning slot.
  • Looming Silhouette of Rage
  • Made of Evil: The Devil Bread was made from Kirisaki's frustration and stress from his difficult baking career. While it's powerful, especially when it goes One-Winged Angel, it's ultimately defeated by the power of Azuma's bread, which is powered by hopes and dreams.
  • Made of Iron: Played for laughs when Ken Matsushiro becomes head of a Yakuza clan - he'll show up to offer commentary at Kazuma's matches, blithely oblivious to damage he's taken from the Yakuza dealings that he just left, just as large bleeding cuts or shuriken stuck in him.
  • Mask Power: Meister Kirisaki, whose mask apparently contains Hammerspace where he keeps his "rating birds".
  • Meaningful Name: Kawachi is named after the Kawachi province, which is now part of the modern-day Osaka prefecture. Sure enough, he's The Idiot from Osaka.
  • Medium Awareness:
    • (When the manga shifts to color in the middle of a page,they wonder how they can suddenly see colours now).
    • Then there's volume 17. Azuma reacted so strongly to a competitor's bread that the manga changed its name to It's Yakitate!! Japan. Azuma even hands Kawachi a copy of the manga to prove it.
    • This happens in the anime too, and they rewind back to the opening credits to see it.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: A very subtle version: When Kawaichi is put under the influence of Kirisaki's mind control go-pan, he gains a mild case of Creepy Shadowed Undereyes to make him look more evil.
  • Mirror Match: The battle against the ninja in the Yakitate!! 25 arc: Both sides made bread with the same ingredients and preparation techniques. The only difference was the way the bread was kneaded.
  • Miss Conception:
    • Suwabara is convinced that Monica is pregnant, despite them having only "embraced a number of times". It's clear from the context that he doesn't mean "had sex" when he thinks it, either.
    • It's revealed in the finale, though, that Suwabara did eventually catch on. In time to actually conceive a child with Monica.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Kanmuri was mostly a Punch-Clock Villain upon his first appearance anyhow, but Yukino's cruel treatment of him (including destroying his lab and all his research) is all he needs to permanently ditch her for Azuma and friends.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Monica Adenauer, who tries to intimidate Suwabara using this. It fails.
    • Tsukino and her sisters get fanservice shot son every cover.
    • Azuma's sister is this on occasion.
    • For some bizarre reason Tsukino is wearing a shirt that says "hooker" on one page.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • It's safe to say that if most people reacted to tasting bread the way the people in this series do, bread would be immediately classified as a Schedule I Controlled Substance.
    • It's not just bread. In this series, any type of food can produce astounding reactions as long as the chef is good enough. Let's put it like this; one of the first reactions we saw was a guy bending himself to look like a crescent moon. Fast-forward a few arcs and we have a guy travelling through time. Fast-forward some more and we have people actually entering "reaction worlds" and Shapeshifting.
  • The Muse: Kawachi inspires the majority of Azuma's awesome bread ideas. Almost all the other ones come from him already having made it before.
  • Naughty Nuns: Mako Graham, the nun who taught Kawachi to go afro (sort of), is far from the nice nuns you see around everyday. She even hand-signals as if she was smoking.
  • Negated Moment of Awesome: Preparing for a match against Azuma, Kawaichi undergoes physical training under Meister Kirisaki to gain superhuman finger dexterity on top of his Solar Gauntlets, possibly giving him a chance to finally compete on equal terms with Azuma. Unfortunately, Azuma's bread transforms the judge into a giant butterfly, rendering him unable to eat bread, and since the entire goal of the competition (to convince the judge, Azuma's grand-uncle, to hand over his special wheat,) was accomplished, Kawaichi didn't even get to do anything.
  • No Fourth Wall
    • Especially prevalent in the Omake (unless that is to what the above poster referred), Takitate! Gohan, such as when Shiroyagani excuses the taking of all ten points from almost every entry in the employment competition with it being an Omake.
  • Noblewoman's Laugh:
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Michael Schumacher doing an Initial D before going to Formula One? Azuma mistaking Lake Iglesia with Julio Iglesias? Kaiser's fans behaving like the Detroit Tigers fans? They're all here.
  • Non-Standard Character Design:
    • Brad Kidd
    • Norihei Miki, being a corporate mascot and all.
  • No Respect Guy: Kawachi is an excellent baker (his only losses in competition are either due to outside interference or to Azuma) and he's more than willing to do whatever it takes to ensure his victories, and even his worst moments have sympathetic motives (namely, to help support his family). He's even instrumental in Azuma and friends' victories in many of the arcs. The way everyone treats him, however, you'd think he was an incompetent bum that should count himself lucky to be tolerated by everyone else.
  • One-Note Cook: Azuma can make bread and only bread. Luckily, he rarely has to make anything else.
  • Out of Focus: Kageto was never really focused on all that much, but by the Yakitate 25 arc he just sort of quietly disappears from the manga, even when the characters are hanging out at the store.
  • Painting the Medium: Once, when Azuma reacts after tasting an opponent's bread,he pulls out the manga to show Kawachi that his reaction was so profound it changed the title. Note that Volume 17 does technically have a different title (even on the spine) from the rest of the series. It's not uncommon to miss this until it's brought up in the series itself.
  • Paper Fan of Doom: A Mecha version of Yukino wields one of these during a bread-reaction hallucination.
  • Peek-a-Bangs: Takumi Tsubozuka.
  • Perpetual Expression: Brad Kidd's face is exactly the same every time he appears.
  • Power Perversion Potential: An omake shows Kai Suwabara's German bread giving Mizuno Azusagawa some....large tracks of land
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Kanmuri is introduced as this during the Pantasia rookie tournament arc. Yes, he is working for Yukino, but only because she's funding his scientific research into making the perfect bread. He doesn't get along with her at all, and the second she cuts him off (by destroying his research facility for failing to beat Azuma), he very quickly joins forces with Azuma and Tsukino.
  • Quirky Miniboss Squad: CMAP is an invocation, as they were actually trained to become quirky because they were celebrities.
  • Reality Warper:
    • Ryo Kuroyanagi
    • High-quality bread can rewrite the fabric of reality when sufficiently awesome.
  • Scary Shiny Glasses: Hiroshi Kaname and Yuuichi Kirisaki.
  • Scenery Censor: In a manga omake, a cat nicks Tsukino's bra while she's changing and she chases after it into the main shop. Cue Beat Panel of the boys' beaten in faces.
  • Serious Business:
    • Apparently it's serious enough that a cooking duel between breadmakers from two competing bakery chains can warrant a stadium-sized audience and "Death of Anna Nicole Smith"-level media coverage.
    • However, even more serious is the art of reacting to bread:
      • Kuroyanagi has made it clear that he's willing to risk bodily harm and even death for the sake of a reaction. Most evident in the jam match between Kanmuri and Tsutsumi, where his reactions consist of shoving his face into a bowl of boiling hot, flaming jam and suffering serious burns, and then trying to climb into a large pot in order to smoke himself to death.
      • Another reaction has him run off and marry a random Gonk woman with the last name Shima just so he can change his surname (he ends up divorcing her just in time to taste the competition's bread.)
  • Self-Parody: One extra in the collected manga volumes is a parody of the series, centering around an American kid who wants to become an expert at making rice. It does a quick parody of the first story arc, complete with "Shiroyanagi" (whose name starts with "white", to contrast Kuroyanagi whose name starts with "black") eliminating Azuma and Kai from competition because they smell too much like bread.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Tsukino licks her lips while baking an Azuma shaped bread. She also licks her hand where Azuma touched her in the 3rd episode. The two are often seen together in manga and video covers.
    • When the gang are sulking at the beach upon hearing the news that St. Pierre has successfully taken over Pantasia despite their victory at the Monaco Cup, rendering their victory pointless, Azuma goes up to Tsukino, [[who naturally takes the news the hardest]], and he gives her the ring he won as MVP of the Monaco Cup to both cheer her up and as payback for the headband she gave him. The catch? He puts it on her left ring finger and not only is he oblivious to what he just did, but she's the only one who even notices at all. Not even Kanmuri noticed. She decides not to point out he just made an Accidental Proposal, and happily accept the gift as is. In the manga, when the quartet leave the beach, she's happily got her hands on Azuma's shoulders.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of Kuroyanagi's overblown pun-based reactions to tasting a turtle-shaped dessert has him turning into Gamera, the giant, flying, fire-breathing turtle kaiju.
    • Episode 68 appears to be a The Lord of the Rings parody... with cooking.
    • One of the earlier episodes has the manager Matsushiro pulling a Kenshiro (Fist of the North Star) on Kawachi. Matsushiro Ken -> Kenshiro? It makes sense! 'Omae mo hatsuga suru' note 
    • When Monica is recalling what she used to imagine Japan was like when she lived in Germany, a samurai in the picture appears to be wielding the Dragon Slayer from Berserk.
    • The Black Tri-Stars from Mobile Suit Gundam show up as three expert bakers from St. Pierre's Kyūshū branch. They tasted Kazuma's Black Ja-pan and had a reaction where they fought the Nobel Gundam from Mobile Fighter G Gundam which was piloted by Yukino (and had a caption reminding people they were still watching Yakitate!! Japan. ) They quit after the reaction.
    • In one episode, Pierrot eats "Alexandria" Egyptian Bread, with Kodaimai Miso flavoring and turns into Detective Conan.
    • In another episode, Kuroyanagi turns into Super Kuroyanagi (a parody of Super Sayain) by eating Takumi Tsubodzuka's Super Toro Aburi. He fights Kawachi in a DBZ-style fight. He turns into Super Kuroyanagi 2 (a parody of Super Sayain 2) and Super Kuroyanagi 3 (a parody of Super Sayain 3) as a result of eating Urchin-roe Chawanmushi bread.
    • In another episode, Kuroynagi turns into a parody of Monkey D. Luffy by eating Kazuma Azuma's Ōkuchi Wafuu (Japanese-style) Ja-pan Man.
    • Kawachi Kyousuke tries some kelp marinated in soda and turns into Pepmiman, a parody of Pepsiman. He rescues a girl from drowning at sea. He also beats two sharks that tried to eat the girl.
    • And there was yet another sequence involving Kawachi as a blond ninja in bright orange clothes.
  • Pierrot's way of showing his hatred for microwaves? By rapid punching it followed by a battle cry that is not uncommon in said series.
  • Only in the anime, a 2 in 1 Shout-Out by the Egyptian representatives who introduced themselves as Blue Sphinx, Cleopatra Pink and Pyramid Red.
    • One is a way of naming stands in the early parts of Stardust Crusaders, (e.g. Magician's Red, Hierophant Green)
    • The other is a tribute to Chouriki Sentai Ohranger, with the blue and red rangers are associated with the sphinx and the pyramid respectively.
  • In the episode where Tsukino visits her late mother's grave, Yukino is dressed like Lisa Lisa from Battle Tendency; complete with the sunglasses, cigarette, scarf, mini black dress, dark red lipstick and long black hair.
  • When Meister Kirisaki decides to train Kawachi, he talks about making him an iron man, complete with images of Kawaichi dressed as Gigantor note 
  • When Kawachi, Suwabara, and Azuma pass out from heatstroke after being on a deserted island for a week, a certain doctor with the initials B.J takes care of them. He even has the scars and piercing gaze.
  • Shown Their Work:
    • They have a bakery consultant; nearly all of the facts, and the out-there ingredients and techniques used to make the breads are real. There's even a recipe in one of the manga volumes for Kazuma's rice-cooker bread.
    • The anime has a little segment at the end of each episode dedicated to showing off the research they did.
  • Skilled, but Naïve: Kazuma Azuma, who is a superb baker but starts off not even knowing what nan bread is.
  • Strictly Formula: The middle part of the Yakitate 25 arc starts falling into a strict formula after a while: Pantasia competes against someone who's the best in their field at a particular type of food, and both are tasked to make that exact type of food (because St. Pierre is cheating and manipulating the matches behind the scenes,) the Pantasia team ends up staying at a bizarre hotel, Azuma suddenly gets an inspiration for the match thanks to Kawachi, the story cuts to the competition, where Ken shows up late because of Yakuza business, Pantasia wins, and in later chapters their opponent is polymorphed, possibly permanently, while Azuma declares it a happy ending. There's an occasional variation in the formula, but it happens far and few between.
  • Sweet Baker: Azuma, a young man devoted to creating a national bread of Japan. Cheerful and kind-hearted, but a bit of a dunce, he approaches his craft with gusto, using his bread to do things like give people so much joy that they drop dead and come back to life or help people go back in time to meet their dead parents.
  • Taking the Bullet: Kirisaki does this for Azuma when the Devil Bread tries to kill him. Luckily, he survives because an earlier reaction turned his chest into a mountain range.
  • Taking You with Me: The Devil Bread attempts this on Azuma by shooting a copy of Azuma's turtle bread from his crotch.
  • Talking Animal: Mokoyama turns into a talking panda as a reaction to smelling Kazuma's Triple Bamboo Leaf manju.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Kanmuri works for Yukino in order to secure research funds, but disapproves of her constant foul play and lack of appreciation for his science. Not to mention how she blows up his lab when he fails to beat Kazuma. It culminates in him joining Kazuma's Pantasia branch.
  • Thinker Pose: In episode 31, Kawachi Kyousuke was stripped of his clothes except for his underwear, and he was covered in bread and made to look like "The Thinker" by Rodin after he broke the bread "The Thinker" statue made by the rest of the group.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: After transforming into several pathetic forms due to reactions, Kawachi eventually became so good at reactions that he transformed into a muscular Chopin from eating Kazuma's bread. This allowed him to win a brawl with the devil bread. In the last chapters, his reaction even manages to save the world from flooding.
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential: Kyousuke Kawachi's visit to the "Afro Church", then his later apprenticeship under Meister Kirisaki. He doesn't win in either case - he ends up tied with Suwabara in the former, and the latter ends up a "Shaggy Dog" Story.
  • Time Travel: One of Azuma's bread can invoke this of all things as a reaction, nullifying Pierrot's mother's and father's tragic fate into seemingly not happening in the first place. Considering one has already sent you to near-afterlife, this should come as no surprise.
  • Training from Hell: Kyosuke's attempts to give himself "solar gauntlets".
  • Tuckerization: Kanmuri is named after the author's editor and a minor character (Kanmuri's father) is named after the author himself (and even looks strongly like Hashiguchi).
  • Unusual Ears: Mokoyama's pointed ears give him a devilish appearance.
  • The Virus: [[spoiler:In the manga,it's revealed that Yuuichi Kirisaki was slowly being corrupted by the go-pan he had eaten. Eventually,the bread takes over his body,replacing his eyes with bread,then announces its plans to Take Over the World. In the next chapter,Bread!Yuuichi tries to make Azuma eat some by... shooting Eye Beams of bread.
  • Wearing a Flag on Your Head: Monica Adenauer wears a two-piece bikini with American Flag Print in episodes 45-46.
  • Wham Episode: The reveal that Kirisaki has turned into a half-human, half-bread monster who plans to control the entire world. From there, the entire tournament arc is dropped in favor of an incredibly bizarre save-the-world plot.
  • Who's on First?: One dialogue sequence involves naan bread, which just happens to sound like the Japanese for "what"; another involves "croissant" being mistaken for a name ending in the honorific -san.
  • The Worf Effect: Kai Suwabara is given a profile right off the bat that declares him one of the rising stars of the baking world, and his bread is shown to be so well-made that the first one he makes can take a punch and not lose its shape. His skill is repeatedly talked up for the first third of the manga, to make it seem all the more impressive when he gets taken down. And get taken down frequently, he does - see his record under Informed Ability.
  • World of Pun: The various reactions to the dish are based on puns. For example, in one of the earlier chapters someone tests their bread by offering it to a horse. The horse sniffs and blissfully goes ばく ("baku" a common eating onomatopoeia), written as 馬食 ("horse eats"). Guess it's a male horse.
  • Yakuza: Ken is eventually elected as the new leader of the yakuza group formerly headed by Kanmuri's father. Though he's reluctant at first, he eventually takes to it.
  • You Are Too Late: The goal of Azuma and Kawachi was to win the Monaco Cup and allow Tsukino to win over 10 billion yen, thereby allowing her to secure enough Pantasia stock to prevent a hostile takeover by St. Pierre. They win the cup and get the gambling winnings... only to discover that Kirisaki was already able to complete the takeover before the Monaco Cup ended.
  • Zettai Ryouiki: Tsukino, at school and at work.

Alternative Title(s): Yakitate Japan, Its Yakitate Japan


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