Yakitate!! Japan Vol. #21 (Mania.com)

By:Sakura Eries
Review Date: Friday, February 12, 2010
Release Date: Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Azuma finds inspiration for the ultimate Ja-Pancake -- in a toilet!

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

What They Say
Are you ready for the Iron Chef of bread?! Manga shall not live by bread alone. R to L (Japanese Style). It's full-on pancake combat in the seventh round of the Yakitate!! 25 baking competition!! A master pastry chef with an unpronounceable name threatens to flush Pantasia's chances down the toilet with his fancy European moisture-retaining techniques. Can Team Pantasia pull together to deliver a Ja-pancake worthy of the name? The flatbread battle rages on when it turns out that a pizza cook-off is in the works for the next match--and the competition hails from Italy! 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!

The Review!

Oh man ... I thought it was bad for Kawachi with that bread sculpture incident in the Monaco arc, but this is worse. Not only does he suffer an unthinkable accident (I didn't think toilet openings were THAT big), but he spews a constant flow of crap references during the actual pancake showdown. The juxtaposition of food preparation with those jokes made my stomach turn, but if you're a fan of second grade level poop humor, you'll probably get a kick out of it.
Moving on to the second half, it's becoming more apparent that the contest is rigged as the next assignment is pizza and their challenger an Italian pizza making prodigy, who also happens to be Shachihoko's cousin. Hashiguchi-sensei kicks things off with several puns and an extreme reaction at Kawachi's expense, but even without that silliness, the showdown between the two prodigy artisans is shaping up to be an interesting one. This challenge should also be easier for Western readers to follow, since most are familiar with this particular food item and its ingredients.
In summary:
If you like poop humor, you'll get it in spades in this installment. If not, you'll have to endure until the pizza arc begins. Hashiguchi-sensei continues to subject Kawachi to another demeaning reaction, but craziness aside, the challenge posed by their next opponent, Shachihoko's child prodigy cousin, is shaping up to be a good one.

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: 200
ISBN: 978-1421529035
Size: B6
Orientation: Right to Left
Series: Yakitate!! JaPan