Written by Takashi Yanase
Published by Froebel-kan
Demographic Kodomo
Original run 19732013
Anime television series
Soreike! Anpanman
Directed by Akinori Nagaoka
Shunji Ôga
Music by Hiroaki Kondo
Taku Izumi
Studio TMS Entertainment
Network NTV
Original run October 3, 1988 – present
Episodes 1320

Anpanman (アンパンマン) is a Japanese picture book series written by Takashi Yanase, running from 1973 until 2013 following his death. The series has been adapted into an anime series entitled Soreike! Anpanman (それいけ!アンパンマン, Let's Go! Anpanman), which is one of the most popular anime series among young children in Japan. The series follows the adventures of Anpanman, a superhero with an anpan (a bean-jam filled pastry) for a head, who protects the world from an evil anthropomorphic germ named Baikinman.

Heavily merchandised, the Anpanman characters appear on virtually every imaginable children's product in Japan, ranging from clothes[1] to video games to toys[2] to snack foods.[3]


Many times during the Second World War, Takashi Yanase became faced with the prospect of starvation, which made him dream about eating anpan. This inspired the creation of Anpanman.


In each episode, Anpanman fights with Baikinman and helps the people of the town. He always goes on patrol in the area around the house of Uncle Jam. He is a symbol of justice, fighting for the cause of justice every day. Anpanman has a long history and new characters are frequently introduced, keeping the series fresh. In 2009, Anpanman was verified as a Guinness World Record Holder for the highest number of characters in an animated franchise with a total of 1,768 characters appearing in the first 980 episodes of the TV series and the first 20 Anpanman films.[4]


Anpanman (アンパンマン Anpanman)
Voiced by: Keiko Toda
The main character of the anime, whose head is a bun made by Uncle Jam. His name comes from the fact that he is a man with a head made of bread (Japanese: pan) that is filled with red bean paste (Japanese: anko) called an anpan. The rhythm of the rhyming name might be loosely idiomatically translated in English as "Bean Bun Boy". He doesn't need to eat or drink to sustain himself and has never been seen eating, as it is believed the bean jam in his head allows him to sustain himself in this manner. His weaknesses are water and anything else that makes his head dirty (In order to prevent his head getting wet when underwater or in wet weather, he is usually seen with his head concealed inside a protective bubble in such situations). He regains his health and strength when Jam Ojisan bakes him a new head and it is placed on his shoulders. Anpanman's damaged head, with Xs in his eyes, flies off his shoulders once a new baked head is made for him by Uncle Jam. Anpanman came to life when a shooting star landed in Uncle Jam's oven while he was baking. He has two special attacks: An-punch and An-kick (with stronger variations of both). When Anpanman comes across a starving creature or person, he lets the unfortunate creature or person eat part of his head. He also has super hearing in that he can respond to anyone that calls his name out in distress from anywhere in the world.
Uncle Jam (ジャムおじさん Jam Ojisan)
Voiced by: Hiroshi Masuoka
The creator of Anpanman, and a very kind baker. A skilled cook with knowledge of nearly everything in the world.
Batako-san (バタコさん Batako-san)
Voiced by: Rei Sakuma
Assistant to Uncle Jam. She's dedicated and hard working, but is prone to forgetting things. Her Japanese name means "Butter Girl". She makes and mends the capes Anpanman and the other heroes use to fly with.
Cheese (チーズ Chīzu)
Voiced by: Kōichi Yamadera
A dog that lives in Uncle Jam's bakery. He became a loyal friend after Anpanman saved his life in the manga. In the anime, a young Anpanman feeds Cheese, who is starving, a part of his head as a part of his very first patrol and became inseparable afterwards. Cheese tends to be an effective sidekick when he's around.
Currypanman (カレーパンマン Karēpanman)
Voiced by: Michiyo Yanagisawa
Another of Anpanman's friends. His head is made from currypan, a pastry filled with red-hot curry. He is quick tempered and hot-headed on the surface, but gives way to a kind and sentimental interior. Tends to be the strongman of the trio. Wields the Curry-punch and Curry-kick, which are similar to the fighting techniques of Anpanman's other sidekicks. However, he can also use the hot curry concealed in his head as a weapon, using it to burn villains. He first appeared in episode 2b.
Shokupanman (しょくぱんまん Shokupanman)
Voiced by: Sumi Shimamoto
A friend of Anpanman. His head is made from sliced white bread (Japanese: shoku pan). He is handsome and level-headed and kind, but narcissistic. Tends to be the thinker of the trio. His job when not helping Anpanman is serving lunch to the schoolchildren. Dokin-chan has a crush on him. Wields the Shoku-punch and Shoku-kick, which are similar to Anpanman's fighting techniques. He also has a multi-functional delivery van known as the Shokupanman-go with many implements to help avoid trouble. He first appeared in episode 3b.
Melonpanna (メロンパンナ Meronpan'na)
Voiced by: Mika Kanai
Anpanman's friend. Her head is made from melon bread. She is extremely softhearted, being caring and sensitive, and is sometimes clever. When she's in trouble, she usually needs Anpanman or somebody else to save her, or if there is no one available, she calls out for her sister, Rollpanna. Sometimes she likes hanging out with Cheese. Her special attack, the Melo-Melo Punch, makes bad guys woozy with affection or awakens others from deep sleep. She first appeared in episode 200.
Rollpanna (ロールパンナ Rōrupan'na)
Voiced by: Miina Tominaga
Melonpanna's older sister who has two hearts: A red one of goodness, and thanks to Baikinman, a blue one of evil. The sight of Anpanman can trigger her evil heart while the sight of Melonpanna can trigger her good one. She started out in the series as a loner at Baikinman's beck and call, but she broke from his power and wanders the world doing good deeds, but stays away from others for fear of what she would do if her black heart is triggered. Her nickname is "The tragic heroine". Uses a gymnastics ribbon as her main weapon. She can use it to wrap up her enemies or cause tornadoes. She first appeared in episode 300.
Creampanda (クリームパンダ Kurīmupanda)
Voiced by: Miki Nagasawa
The youngest of Anpanman's friends and the foster brother of Melonpanna and Rollpanna. He is 6 years old. His head is made from a cream bun and his eyes look like those of a panda's. Despite his immaturity and relative weakness as compared to Anpanman and his hero friends, he is courageous, protective of his friends, and has a "never give up" attitude. He has an immature character causes him to sometimes get into petty squabbles and competitions of one-upsmanship with the other younger characters on the show. Because his head resembles a hand, he has a special headbutt attack called the "Guu-Choki-Punch" (Guu-Choki-Pa means Rock, Scissors, Paper in Japanese). Relatively powerful when it connects, it fails to connect more often than not. He first appeared in episode 469.


Baikinman (ばいきんまん Baikinman)
Voiced by: Ryūsei Nakao
The villain from the "Germ Planet" and is the leader of the Viruses. His Japanese name means "Bacteria Man". His ambition is to destroy Anpanman and spread bacteria all over the latter's world, yet he is perfectly content to play tricks, steal, and bully those weaker than him. He and Anpanman were born at the same time, making them physical representations of moral dualism. He has a weakness to soap, which shrinks him to the size of a fly. He constructs machines and thinks of intricate plans to counteract Anpanman's strength. His two famous phrases are his battle-cry, "Ha-hi-hu-he-ho!" (based on the h-row of Japanese kana); and "Bye-baikiiin!", which he utters out whenever he's sent flying by Anpanman or another character.
Moldyrunrun (かびるんるん Kabirunrun)
Baikinman's henchmen. They have the ability to rot Anpanman's head with mildew/mold (Japanese: kabi). They first appeared in episode 2a.
Dokin-chan (ドキンちゃん)
Voiced by: Hiromi Tsuru
Baikinman's female partner in crime. She is selfish, demanding, childish, and greedy, but sometimes shows kindness, as demonstrated by her crush on Shokupanman. Her Japanese name is a combination of "Doki", the Japanese onomatopoeia for a quickly beating heart, "baikin" (meaning "germ", also the case for Baikinman), and the diminutive/affectionate suffix "-chan". She first appeared in episode 13a.
Horrorman (ホラーマン Horāman)
Voiced by: Kaneta Kimotsuki
A skeleton who often works with Baikinman and Dokin-chan. Although he seems scary on the outside, he is very weak and often falls to pieces, and can magically put the pieces back. He is neither a hero nor a villain. His special attack is the Bone Boomerang, where he takes off one of his bones and throws it. He is also in love with Dokin-chan and often stalks her. He first appeared in Fly! Fly! Chibigon.


Picture books

The Anpanman picture book series debuted in October 1973.[5] Frobel-kan has published over 150 picture books under different series labels consisting of a varying amount of picture books. Takashi Yanase wrote and illustrated the picture books until 2013, following his retirement from his career and eventual death.


The first anime adaptation of Anpanman, consisting of a single episode, aired during Spring Break Children's Hiroba - Picture Book on NHK General TV on March 13, 1979. Like the early picture books, Anpanman's name in the title was written in hiragana (あんぱんまん) instead of katakana. The anime was narrated by Meiko Nakamura. Although the character designs were closer to the picture books released under the Kinder Picture Books label, the story and the world view were almost the same as the second anime adaptation.

The second anime adaptation of Anpanman, entitled Soreike! Anpanman, is produced by TMS Entertainment. Over 1300 episodes have aired on NTV since October 3, 1988.


There are currently a total of 27 full-length films and 26 short films based on the Soreike! Anpanman anime series. The films are also produced by TMS Entertainment and have been released in Japanese theaters ever year since 1989. Since at least 1995, the films have been released concurrently with storybook versions written and illustrated by Takashi Yanase himself.

Video games

There are currently a total of 42 video games based on the Soreike! Anpanman anime series, ranging from adventure games to educational games. With the exception of Soreike! Anpanman Eigo to Nakayoshi 2 Tanoshii Carnival, the video games were released only in Japan.


In 2011, research by Bandai found Anpanman to be the most popular fictional character among people ages 0 to 12 in Japan in 10 consecutive years.[6]

The Anpanman books have collectively sold over 50 million copies in Japan.[7]


Episode 3 of Mr. Osomatsu featured regular series character Dekapan as "Dekapan-Man", a parody of Anpanman. However, the parody was considered "disrespectful" and shortly removed from the episode and all releases of it due to Japan's lack of parody exception in its copyright law that makes parodies of copyrighted works illegal. TV Tokyo head Yūichi Takahashi apologized for the episode and explained that "Anpanman [was] an important anime for children. This was disrespectful to it."[8][9]


Anpanman characters on a JR Shikoku 2000 train.

There are 5 museums across Japan that are dedicated to Anpanman, such as the Yokohama Anpanman Children's Museum & Mall. There is also the Yanase Takashi Memorial Hall, a museum dedicated to Takashi Yanase himself.

The Anpanman Official Shop Taipei, the first overseas Anpanman shop specializing in products related to the series, opened at the Shin Kong Mitsukoshi shopping mall in Taipei on September 10, 2015.[10]

See also


  1. "アンパンマンキッズコレクション" (in Japanese). Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  2. "アンパンマン 知育玩具" (in Japanese). Toys R Us. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  3. "フジパン アンパンマンシリーズ" (in Japanese). Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  4. "Anpanman Gets Guinness World Record for Most Characters (Updated)". Anime News Network. July 15, 2009. Retrieved August 11, 2009.
  5. "あんぱんまんとアンパンマン" (in Japanese). Frobel-kan. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  6. "Bandai Kodomo Enquête Report Vol.190" (PDF) (in Japanese). June 2011.
  7. "新文化 - 出版業界紙 - 過去のニュースフラッシュ". Retrieved 2012-05-25.
  8. "TV Tokyo Censors Recent Mr. Osomatsu Episode". Anime News Network. October 29, 2015. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  9. "Mr. Osomatsu's Anime's 3 Episode to be Partially Altered for Home Video, Streaming". Anime News Network. November 20, 2015. Retrieved November 11, 2016.
  10. "First overseas Anpanman shop to open in Taiwan in September". The Japan Times. July 30, 2015. Retrieved November 11, 2016.

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