Yakitate!! Japan – episode 69

June 12, 2006 on 11:30 pm | In Yakitate!! Japan | 2 Comments

“Who is it that you will give truly delicious bread to!? The Japan, forever!”

It’s a strange final episode for Yakitate!! Japan: no build up whatsoever, and no character arcs resolved. It’s a clear cut case of running out of manga, so maybe Yakitate!! Japan will return some day?


The final match of “Yakitate!! 9” is Meister Kirisaki versus Azuma in Niigata, Azuma’s home town.

Kirisaki devises the perfect omanta bread that compels its consumers to swim freely through the seven seas. Azuma’s bread, however, is noumiso: it can transformers its consumers, if only temporarily, into their true face.

Long, long ago, Yakitate!! Japan forgot its character arcs. The original, and the best, Pantasia newcomers’ cup had backstories for more or less every major challenger faced by Azuma and Kawachi. There was also an expertly woven tale of the Mizusawa sisters, divided by only half shared blood and recrimination. The Monaco Cup saw the loss of any semblance of reality with the introduction of the super judge Pierrot. Here is where Kawachi began to take his hits and, despite the brief exploration of the history of Owner Kirisaki and his estranged children, the story ultimately belonged to Pierrot.
Yakitate!! 9 was just about baking bread, with very few embellishments on the theme. The beloved characters of Tenchou and Tsukino became window-dressing to a greater degree than ever before.

After they got over the Kawachi bashing again, the series regained its sense of fun but ran out of time. This final episode could have had a huge amount of theatricality to its build up, as the series has revelled in in the past. The introduction of Meister Kirisaki as the opponent could well have been an episode cliff hanger. Yet, strangely, we’re given the “Road of the Loquat” episode instead. An entire episode dedicated to Azuma’s love of a much maligned fruit.

The finale attempted to get back to the first episode, an episode that many had decried as dull, the episode that enchanted me into the world of bread. Seeing young Azuma hanging onto the idealistic young Kirisaki before he went bad (yes, surprise, Owner Kirisaki is the man who inspired Azuma to travel the Road of Bread) had a tenderness to it, and the series could have gone an easy route and made Owner Kirisaki good forever.
An idealogue rests within him, but it is his ultimate destiny to revert to the hard hearted capitalist. Who can say what made Kirisaki this way? Certainly not this anime, and it’s for the best that way.

The fact that the ending is too much of a climax all at once can only be forgiven if one is to accept that this is not the end of the Road of Azuma. We get a conclusion in the fact that Pantasia rests in the hands of Tsukino once and for all – I’m assuming that she’ll hire a talented staff to help her run the corporation, considering that one school girl is probably not quite enough to run a bread empire – but Azuma is going to keep on going, to challenge everyone, everywhere.

I would say, in all seriousness, that the first arc of Yakitate!! Japan is some of the best shounen that you can get your hands on. It had genuine drama and comedy. Over the course of 69 episodes, it diluted itself somewhat and I really can’t say I know what to think of this conclusion. It elicits a deep sense of nostalgia in me for what once was. You were once great, Yakitate!! Japan. You go out okay, which is certainly better than some.
Ask not for whom the bread is baked: the bread is baked for thee.


  1. Any manga reader can enlighten us anime watchers on the current status of the plot. As said in the blog, the lack of plot arc resolution made this anime ending a hugely disappointing one.

    Still, Pierot managed to come back!!!

    Comment by Chris — June 13, 2006 #

  2. Apparently Yakitate!! 25 is still going over there.

    Comment by Alex — June 13, 2006 #

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