Anime isn’t just about ninjas, monsters, wizard kings, and large breasts. There are some anime out there that tailor to different tastes. Did you know there’s an anime film dedicated to describing the different levels of Heaven? Or how about Jesus Christ and Gautama Buddha taking a year-long vacation in Japan? My favorite “weird” anime genre has recently been cooking/food anime. These animes focus on characters creating amazing cartoon dishes and then delving deep into why the said dish is absolutely delicious. Some segments will even show the character making and narrating the recipe at the same time. To add some drama, these animes will also use cooking competitions to showcase delightful dishes that can be reproduced in real life.
My current obsession is Yakitate!! Japan, a comedy/cooking anime. Originally a manga series, it was adapted into an anime in 2004 and ended with 69 episodes by 2006. The plot is centered around a young baker hoping to create Ja-pan, a national bread for Japan itself. Blessed with solar hands and a deep passion for bread, our hero Kazuma Azuma works extremely hard to create over 50 prototypes of Ja-pan before the anime really gets started. With most Japanese anime, the protagonist is blessed with some special ability that allows them to be a step above the competition. Kazuma has “solar hands”. His hands are unusually warm and can keep yeast at the perfect temperature for fermentation while kneading dough.
The anime delves way deeper than breaking down yeast and its love for hot, humid environments. As Kazuma learns new recipes and experiments with his Ja-pan, the characters learn all about the benefits of using butter in French bread, how low-quality bread can be improved with the smack of a hot wok, going so far as to learn how to retain bright colors in colored dough. I’m a big nerd and love learning the science behind seemingly simple tasks like baking bread. I’ll also admit I love food in general, so anything food porn gets my attention. While it is cartoon bread, just imagining how delicious Kazuma’s bread could be makes my mouth water. The kid makes a roll that sends you to heaven for Kami-sama’s sake.
I read about half of the manga before switching over to the anime. You might have already guessed it but this anime makes me super hungry for bread. However, I’ve recently come to loathe purchasing bread. I’ve always hated sandwich bread because it tasted super sour and bitter to me. We can blame additives or recipes all day but I guess I just really like home-made bread. The buttery, crispy crusts or super soft interiors make my mouth water just thinking about it. I recall I went to a local farmer’s market and asked for a sample of freshly baked breakfast bread. I was handed the heel of some sourdough and well…
I really haven’t eaten store-bought bread since. It’s been about three months since I bought a bag of sliced bread and I honestly don’t miss it. What I miss is that sourdough at the farmer’s market. Today, inspired by this anime, I went ahead and attempted my fourth loaf of bread ever. Hopefully it turns out okay!
As always, be kind and tender to one another.