25 years ago today Anpanman began its original run on Nippon Television and is still going strong. Japan’s favorite breaded superhero, and his other anthropomorphized food friends, have been adored by generations of kids even beyond the borders of his home country. In a short homage to the caped sweet bean-paste bread, we bring you a list of things you probably never knew about Anpanman.
1. When Anpanman was first born he looked like this. He also announced his own name, effectively naming himself.
2. Sometimes the characters don’t use earmuffs correctly
3. Anpanman’s Arch nemesis Baikinman, literally, germ man, washes his hands (why doesn’t this kill him??)
4. On several occasions Baikinman has tried to destroy Anpanman by tinkering with his ingredients. But his baker Jam-Ojisan foils his plans by using different ingredients, which results in a different head.
5. Speaking of Jam-Ojisan, his resemblance to Anpanman is uncanny
6. Anpanman’s nose is detachable
7. Anpanman airs in the Middle East. But during Ramadan all characters based on foods are censored.
8. Currypanman’s cooking techniques are a little revolting
9. Logarithmic spirals: the secret to Batako-san’s unrelentingly perfect throws
10. An interview with Takashi Yanase, the 94-year old creator of the show, revealed that the concept for the character – a superhero who helps hungry kids by letting them eat his face – came about from Yanase’s experience in post-war Japan when there major food shortages. He struggled with the contradictions of good/evil but there was one thing he knew for sure: if there was a superhero it would be someone who would save starving children from hunger.