Azuma Kazuma isn't terribly clever, but he's got a good heart and great skill—at baking. Since childhood, he's been on a quest to create the perfect bread to represent Japan internationally. Now, he seeks to enter the famous bakery Pantasia, in hopes of reaching his goal. But plots abound...
What we have here is truly a manga of a different "flavor"; If you're looking for a story that "rises" to the occasion, you "knead" not look further! (okay, I'll stop... for now.) Obviously, this is a manga about cooking; more specifically, the art of bread-making. How can you make a story centered around making bread, you might ask? Just follow the simple recipe the Japanese use for making "Instant anime material!" (entertaining characters + special "powers" revolving around the subject of the story + drama. Lots and lots of drama.) The result is Yakitate!! Japan.
My rating for the story is a high/low average. The high point is that Yakitate takes such a seemingly-random concept and turns it into an enjoyable and endearing read; besides Addicted to Curry, the field of cooking series remains desolate. (As long as you don't count Fighting Foodons. I sure don't.) You might scoff at first, but a few chapters in and you'll most likely be hooked. It gets even better with the natural shonen style of characters having special powers when it comes to bread-making; The main character, Kazuma Azuma, is blessed with "Solar Gauntlets", unnaturally-warm hands that are a great benefit in his trade. Later on, you see different abilities that rivals bring into play, probably the funniest (and creepiest) being the Goddess Hands. As for the other side of the story; this is a popular shonen. Meaning it drags on for AWHILE. Like, longer than the Naruto manga, minus Shippuden? And, unfortunately, it can't really keep up the pace for the whole thing. Later on, the story gets into a bit of a rut, with the characters participating in enormous tournaments, with not much plot development at all; just one match after another, which also get tiring because the focus shifts to the obscure Japanese pun that results from the "scoring" of either team's culinary creation. Not that these "reactions" aren't entertaining; it's just that you should get used to them...
The art style was great at its best, and satisfactory at its lowest. This guy does know how to draw his chicks smokin' hot (and that goes for the guys too, when he feels like giving a rare nod to the ladies), so a bit of fanservice every now and then is greatly appreciated. His style also holds out well when illustrating the increasingly-bizarre "reactions" of the judges, and anyone who unwittingly eats food so good, they bend over backwards, try to strip, or even turn into various animals...
The characters were all fairly memorable and endearing. I normally don't feel very attached to the main character of any given series, but Azuma clicked with me fairly well. He had the same ceaseless-motivation-bordering-on-arrogance that's common in protagonists, but pretty much none of the machoism; you might even mistake him for a girl at first, along with almost-androgynous, pink-haired Kanmuri. Fangirls, take note. The minor characters were also great; many make return appearances, or get connected to the main cast in various ways. They're also pretty well-developed; Azuma does have a couple break-downs, despite his optimism, and everyone has their various trials or problems to overcome. Oh, and I can pretty much guarantee you'll hate the main villain's guts. Like, really, really hate her.
I've pretty much covered enjoyment in the story section; you'll get hooked at first, but might loose interest farther in. Nevertheless, I still soldiered through it all, and enjoyed 95% of it. It's really just that good. Early on, you'll get a kick out of the reactions, and drama that arises from a simple contest. Oh, and this is one of those manga that *gasp* you might actually learn something about food chemistry! (Or you can just blow past it. Never been into science, myself.) But you'll definitely come away feeling more knowledgeable about different foods than you ever thought.
Overall, I'm giving this series a 9, despite it's drawbacks. This manga pretty much took up two weeks of my life, sitting in front of my laptop, blowing through almost 200 chapters. And I plan to invest in the tangible English editions once I get a windfall. Looking for a longer, less-known series to which to sink your teeth into? Something fresh and hot, that sticks together under it's strange crust? (alright, these are getting pretty bad...) Anyhoo, pick this up. It reminds me of Hikaru no Go in alot of ways; unconventional concept, excellent results! Bon appetit~read more
It's a great manga at least until the end of world competition in monaco. what next? regression is not an option, so he ventured outside of the premise. It's no longer about bread, but about all food and the heroes will travel to entire part of japan. while the idea is good and refreshing, it's proved to be too overwhelming for the manga. He constantly has keep looking for a new theme and new setting. So he endep using a template and rushed the story.
The opponents are far more interesting and colourful than before, but they always vanish into thin air, they don't reappear, save have an impact onthe story.
Eventhough the opponents are the best in the world in their field, Azuma magically always find a recipe to defeat them,. The manga start to make no sense at all, The author seems to make fun no disrespect culinary experts.
The gag is repetitive and boring, our heroes always stay at a sstrange inn that seems to be a pun of the place's specialty.read more
The manga was great at the beginning. The ideas for different kinds of bread were fresh and interesting. The characters seemed alright. The reactions to the bread were also unique to this manga and provided some comic relief.
After a while, you will notice that the characters have absolutely no development. Most of the characters are in fact reduced to observers, and the MC is an undefeated champion with absolutely no personality.
The bread ideas became more and more ridiculous and unreal, to the point of being completely disjointed from reality. And as the funny reactions became more and more ridiculous, they started to seem forced and unnecessary.
Near the final chapters, it's apparent that the manga was axed and had to be brought to a sudden and unsatisfactory end.
The manga would have greatly benefited from proper planning: it should have been much shorter, the side characters should have been much less passive, and the reactions should have not become the center point of the manga.read more
Yakitate Japan is manga about making bread. For me, this was my first experience with cooking related manga right after Cooking Master Boy. What is different is that Yakitate Japan is solely about making bread rather than cooking in general. It does expand a little to cover other things that are related to bread making, but bread is the focus.
The story is about a young boy named Azuma Kazuma who gets into making bread because of the nearby bakery. He really enjoys it and attempts to make bread on his own. His first goal is to get his grandpa to enjoy his bread. He eventually expands his goal to making the first true bread that can be associated with Japan. To do this, he must obtain work at Pantasia by passing their exam. From there, Azuma can start building the one true Japanese bread. It starts off as a local competition, but it eventually turns into a global competition and the creation of a bread focused TV show. Towards the end it also decreases the emphasis on bread and begins to focus on what can go into bread. However, the story ends a bit abruptly.
The artwork for the series is surprisingly good. The character art improves over the course of the series, but it is by no means bad in the beginning. Lots of diverse environments and characters are featured in the series and it really does showcase the author's talents. The backgrounds are detailed and included in many frames unlike some people who try to get away with drawing as little of the environment as possible. This carries over to the extras that the author does including making special pages for some of the real bread recipes that are included in the volume release.
The main problems that I have with this series is the characters. While Azuma is someone who is heavily focused on his dream of creating a Japanese bread, at no point does it ever feel like he is moving closer. He creates a lot of new breads using different methods, but we almost never see his inspiration or thought process. His relationship with Tsukino does not make significant progress during the course of the series. His co-workers are eventually downgraded to commentators when they can no longer keep up with the development of new bread.
If you enjoy cooking anime or manga, Yakitate Japan is a good series. There are a good number of jokes and a huge cast of characters that react to the food as they eat it. It has all the standard surprising cooking technique twists and strange ingredients placed into food. The main character is dedicated to his craft and gifted at it. There are a few surprising twists though the main character almost always wins.
Overall, Yakitate Japan is one of the better manga that has been made about cooking. The problem is that the characters never really develop and if they do, it is quickly ignored because the supporting cast simply cannot keep up with Azuma. If you are in it for the strange and wild foods along with over the top reactions to them, then Yakitate Japan might be what you are looking for.read more
There’s just something about anime food that makes us drool with desire, and food has been the main theme of various anime series. If you’re looking to satisfy your food and anime cravings all in one go, get a taste of these fun and interesting cooking anime series.