Yakitate!! JaPan Vol. #17 (Mania.com)

By:Sakura Eries
Review Date: Wednesday, June 03, 2009
Release Date: Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Yakitate!! 25 gets even more personal as Kazuma and friends face off against Suwabara and then Kanmuri’s half-brother!

Creative Staff
Writer/Artist: Takashi Hashiguchi
Translation: Noritaka Minami
Adaptation: Noritaka Minami

What They Say
England. France. Germany. What common thread binds these three nations together? Answer: each is famous for producing unique, distinctive, delicious bread. But what of the island nation of Japan, home to rice and delicacies of the sea? Is there not a doughy, gastronomic delight they can claim as their own? The answer is no...until now! Kazuma Azuma, a 16-year-old-boy blessed with otherworldly baking powers, has taken it upon himself to create Ja-pan, the national bread of the land of the rising sun!

In the third round of their latest competition, Azuma's team squares off against a couple in ninja costumes, but this pair of stealthy bakers turns out to be Suwabara and Monica in disguise. Vowing to finally defeat Azuma head-on, Suwabara uses a legendary bread technique that literally twists the judge's body into knots...but will it be enough? And later, it is revealed that young baking genius Shigeru Kanmuri is actually the scion of a famous yakuza family. Will Kanmuri be forced out of the kitchen and into a life of organized crime?!

The Review!
Team Pantasia has won the first two rounds of Yakitate!! 25, but how will they perform against a former teammate? Their Omagari opponent is none other than Suwabara, who vows to commit harakiri if he loses! And in the fourth round, things get really personal for Kanmuri when they face off against genius chef Masanobu Tsutsumi, Kanmuri's half-brother. But in this brother versus brother match, there is more at stake than pride. If Team Pantasia loses the round, Kanmuri will be forced back into his family's business -- organized crime!

While Suwabara fans will get a chance to see what the samurai baker has been up to since the Monaco Cup and how things have (or haven't) progressed between him and former rival Monica, the third round felt a bit lacking as a competition. Although Suwabara's reaction to Kazuma's bread innovation was tremendous, it didn't strike me as clever or flashy as prior ideas. Plus, we get cheated out of a reaction as poor Kuroyanagi only gets to eat one of the Omagari breads.

However, things get interesting both from a food and a character standpoint with Round 4. In addition to learning about Kanmuri's hitherto unknown family background, the teams are asked to produce something other than bread. Kanmuri for the most part has been depicted as extremely confident, but as this arc starts, we get to see a Kanmuri who is insecure, both about his skills and his future. It is still fun despite the pressure though, especially when the manager uses his muscles against yakuza thugs.

Volume 17 extras include a story thus far summary, recipe for the Yakitate!! Frying Pan (Bread)!! featuring the mangaka, 10-page Hashiguchi-Style Wildlife Manga, Freshly Baked!! Mini Information on one of the key ingredients in this volume, and ads for other Viz titles.



Mania Grade: B
Art Rating: A
Packaging Rating: B+
Text/Translation Rating: B
Age Rating: 13 and Up
Released By: Viz Media
MSRP: 9.99
Pages: 192
ISBN: 978-1421522340
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Yakitate!! JaPan