Pan de Peace!: A Wholesome Loaf of Friendship and Bread by Keana Águila Labra

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Pan de Peace, or Peace through Bread, is an anime adaptation by Asahi Production that began as a yon-koma, or a four-panel manga strip by Emily, which was serialized in the magazine Comic Cune in August 2014. The anime was serialized in the spring of 2016, and it follows the adventures of Minami and her friends: Yuu, Fuyumi, and Noa, as they navigate high school and their love and knowledge of bread. Each episode is about three minutes long, and it allows the audience to follow their generic yet wholesome inner monologues, interactions, and encounters. 

The first episode begins with Minami cheerfully greeting her mother and thanking her for breakfast before she departs for school. She enters her classroom and is afraid, as she does not recognize anyone in her class. Bread catches her eye, and she introduces herself to Fuyumi, and they befriend each other through their mutual appreciation of bread. A mysterious girl then enters the room. There is an endearing exchange of affection between Yuu and this girl, upon which Minami questions, “Are you two in a relationship?” and the audience isn’t met with the usual outright, adamant “No.” The girl introduces herself as Fuyumi, and she offers a gift to Minami. With the presentation of bread, Minami then exclaims, “Please go out with me.” and LGBTQIA+ viewers can hope (and safely ship) these characters (for now.) Surprisingly, there is no explicitly lewd or sexual pandering of the characters. It’s refreshing to see potential representation with Mimani’s easy acceptance of the possibility of Fuyumi and Yuu being lovers and the lack of denial between Fuyumi and Yuu themselves. Fuyumi even goes to say, “My heart’s already decided who I want to be with.” as she clings to Yuu’s arm, confessing, “I think I want three kids.” As the credits roll on the side, Minami happily eats her gift from Fuyumi as Fuyumi promises to teach Minami how to bake bread. As the episode comes to a close, the camera tilts toward an unknown pink-haired girl holding a baguette before a gasp and a transition to the last frame, which is Minami’s mother’s egg sandwich. 

The intro is quick and upbeat with the cuts to match the music. It takes up only thirty seconds of the episode; however, the audience is efficiently introduced to the main characters and object of their unification: bread. While the animation isn’t fantastic, it isn’t poor: effects are still in place, interesting angles are used from time to time (e.g. the overhead shot of Minami and her mother in the kitchen, Minami eyeing Yuu’s bread keychains as the camera pans over each slice), the colors are adequate, and movement is fluid. The character designs are similar. The characters suffer from same face syndrome; but, the different hair and eye colors, outfits, and accessories help the viewer distinguish each character from each other. 

This is a show to watch if you’re seeking something short and cute. While it doesn’t seek to break any records or explore revolutionary animation techniques or storylines, Pan de Peace! is an adorable treat about high school, friends, and bread. And, who wouldn’t want to take a bite out of that?

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