yakitate and onizuka

It’s been a while since I recommended any manga… the last time would be almost a year ago when I pushed Nagasarete Airantou and a few familiar titles. This time around, it’s two vasty different titles… both in content, genre, and popularity. The first contains no fanservice, no action, no mecha, no goddesses, and very importantly, no onsen. So why the hell am I recommending it?

Yakitate Japan

Looking beyond the fact it lacks a lot of what I enjoy in manga, this manga about bread is Iron Chef meets Initial D. Yes… baking bread… I’m recommending a manga about baking bread. The style is very similar to both, as in there are a lot of Iron Chef-style bread baking competitions, and the “action” flows as it would in a race through Akina. I was surprised as how similar it was to Initial D in how matches are built-up beforehand and how they are resolved. Fans of that hachiroku should definitely check this title out. I’m also impressed with the breadth of knowledge the mangaka has about bread and yeast and wheat.


The majority of the story focuses a dilapidated bread shop in Lower Tokyo trying to bake the best bread in the country. The main protagonist, Kazuma, is trying to create a bread fit for Japan, a country notorious for eating rice for its carb intake, and he has a wacky habit of naming his bread ja-pan (pan as in bread… get it?). While baking is at the forefront, there is a tight understory that weaves everything together. Besides a competing bakery, there’s shadowy dealings going on in Kazuma’s own bakery to add further intrigue to the plotline.

Yakitate Japan is pretty much a title for everyone, as it lacks violence, fanservice, etc, and is educational. Despite that, I still enjoy it. For translations, check out #snoopycool @ irchighway. The title is not licensed, but last I checked, they recently received a cease-and-desist letter from the publisher.

The next title is licensed and available from good ole Tokyopop (up to volume 17 of 25 is available as of now), and it has a cornucopia of violence, comedy, and fanservice…

Great Teacher Onizuka

It’s rare for a manga to be more than one-dimensional. For example, Love Hina is pretty much all romantic comedy and Yakitate is pretty much all bread. GTO manages to bridge many genres– romantic comedy, action, drama, horror, racing, and more– into a finely cohesive and enjoyable story. Foremost, GTO is a school drama, set in the terribly troubled Holy Forest academy, where all the students seem to hate their teachers. I don’t blame them– they’re all corrupt, spineless wusses– until Eikichi Onizuka, a former biker, shows up and kicks all their asses into shape. Really. It’s that simple. Actually, it’s not, and the manga goes through how Onizuka manages to change everyone around him for the better.


The stories are long and extremely well-developed. Arcs span volumes of the manga, and they usually encompass some student or faculty member causing problems for Onizuka, and then resolution using unique teaching methods by him. In the end, his willpower and Keitaro-like indestructability saves the day.

The manga itself is already extremely successful and probably doesn’t need any help from little ole me. The live action drama based off this manga is one of the highest rated programs in Japanese TV history, with the last episode being the most watched episode of all Japanese dramas. The story is extremely well-written, and the art is very good if you can get past the occasional male nudity. The content, though, is not for everyone: there’s a lot of explicit violence, both male and female nudity, and adult themes/foul language.

I started out as pretty much a harem comedy reader, and with titles like Yakitate and GTO I’m branching out in the manga world. There’s huge variety in manga that won’t be found in western literature… can you imagine Marvel publishing a comic about bread? And I’ve never read any book, comic, newpaper, milk carton quite like GTO. Unfortunately, the world of manga is huge, and some great titles might get lost in the shuffle… if you have any suggestions to add, please feel free to leave a comment.

4 Responses to “yakitate and onizuka”

  1. Cool. I’ll keep a lookout for the “bread-manga”, still you gotta tell me which vol. that pic of Urumi is in. It’ll refresh my memory a bit. Anyways catch ya on the SBA forums jason.

    Manga-hungry as always,

  2. “The title is not licensed, but last I checked, they recently received a cease-and-desist letter from the publisher.”

    >> All that Shogakukan thing was supposed to be an April fools joke, all the Yakitate/SC files are back..

  3. […] yakitate and inu yasha

    fanboy — jason @ 10:24:19 PM

    If you like Yakitate Japan, I found a commerical peddling the manga. Oddly enough, it’s Inu Yasha doing the pe […]

  4. ^^ check out the GTO live action television series.
    the series finale was the most watched television program in japan, ever. (or so i’ve been told)