||Freshly Baked!! Ja-pan!, Yakitate Japan, 焼きたて!! ジャぱん
The story focuses on Kazuma Azuma, a boy on his quest to create "Ja-pan"
, a national bread for Japan itself. He initially heads to Tokyo to expand his horizons at the bread-making chain Pantasia; the story continues with Azuma's exploits with his other coworkers.
The title of this series itself is a play on words; Yakitate
translates to "freshly baked", but Ja-pan
has a double meaning. Besides referring to the country of Japan, pan
is the Japanese word for "bread" (stemming from Portuguese pão
is a pun for this series. This mimics the style of the names of other varieties of bread in Japanese, such as "furansu
pan" (French Bread), "doitsu
pan" (German rye-based bread), "itaria
pan" (Italian bread), etc.
Besides the desire to create his Ja-pan, Azuma also possesses the legendary Solar Hands
(太陽の手 taiyō no te?
). These hands are warmer than normal human hand temperature, and allow the doughto ferment faster. This gives him some advantage at the beginning of the series, but his innovation is his greater talent.
Although the story has baking as its main theme, the parts that generate the most interest are the outrageous puns in the story. Especially notable are the "reaction" based puns made by the judges, who go to great lengths to prove a single point about the bread that they had tasted. The series in general also pokes fun at the shōnen genre's tendency to be melodramatic over mundane tasks.