First Impressions – Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan

Prepare your bodies for a show about bread.

Okay I lied … it’s not JUST about bread. Am I the only one who decided to watch it for that reason though? There’s also action, a fantasy setting, and a plethora of girls for our main character Rick to befriend. (Yes, his name is Rick.)

“I’m sorry ladies, I know you really want my bread, but I’m sleeping.”

This is totally not bread-related forced slavery.

Rick is a baker, a baker who is so uncaring that he lives in an abandoned pirate ship, a baker who is so charming that he has a harem for an alarm clock, a baker who is so talented at his trade that everyone wants his goods (*winkwink*) … this is the story of Rick. Together with his friends Airy, Neris, and Amil, Rick runs a bakery on Wyndaria Island, home to neko-chans, elves, monsters, and other fantasy oddities. Airy works on deliveries, Neris on finances, Amil on management, and Rick takes care of the most important factor of a bakery, the bread!

I can’t. Please stop.

Short on supplies the group decides they’ll head out to the farm. They borrow a carriage from a sweetly suspicious obachan and ride off into the forest. They stop at a church to give bread to young orphans and are greeted by the minister. After leaving Rick notices a neko-chan named Shaomei who runs an antique store. (She loves Rick’s bread too.) They leave town through a guarded gate and are warned of monsters. Afterwards they visit a waterfall, play a little, and have some lunch.

A wild neko-chan appears!

Amil realizes that they haven’t retrieved enough sugar dew grass they promised for the obachan, so they travel into Elf’s Forest where they find an entire patch of the ingredient. Soon after gathering the grass Amil notices a hurt Sylph, a creature of the forest, and heals it with none other than Rick’s bread! They carry the Sylph back into the forest, but are stopped by an unfriendly elf who takes the Sylph, tells the group to not come back, and leaves.

Alvin – “I don’t want your bread.”                                          Rick – “… B-But everyone wants my bread.”

The people of this island definitely have a bread complex.

Back at the sugar dew patch the group is met by another elf named Elwyn, who apologizes for her brother (the leader of the elves) and asks for some of Rick’s bread. She asks them if they could bring more again some time for her and the Sylphs and Rick agrees. That night Elwyn’s brother, Alvin, tells her to go to bed early for a large storm is on its way. She instead visits the obachan, who tells her the moon has never lied.

Baked Goods:

Wyndaria Island, surprisingly not shaped like a loaf of bread.

Sleepyheads.

Preview: … I’m assuming more bread?

“THESE BREAD JOKES ARE GETTING OUT OF HAND.”

Before I say anything I should say that I’m not familiar with the game, which from what I’ve heard is pretty fun. Unfortunately, something might have gotten lost in the translation to an anime, because this version lacks anything that I’d call “fun”. That’s not to say it wasn’t an enjoyable watch, thanks to the fantasy setting and endearing characters, but overall it felt underwhelming. I love Japanese originated games, but typically the openings of such games are SLOW. For a game that can be a good thing, it gives the player time to adjust to the controls and familiarize themselves with the setting, but the opening of an anime should draw the viewer in and convince them that they should WANT to watch the next episode … I honestly didn’t feel that way after finishing this. (I will say that the OP has me addicted though!)

As I said though, the characters were the highlight of my experience watching Shining Hearts. The three main girls of Rick’s “harem” are all far from cliches. They’re likable and hopefully in the coming weeks they’ll get more unique characterization to make them stand out from each other. Honestly, at the moment it’d be somewhat hard to tell them apart if it weren’t for the different hair colors! Amil is the most outspoken of the three, while Neris seems like the most mature, and then there’s Airy who I’d describe as the bubbly one of the trio. None of the three girls stand out as the “main girl” which I love, because if this does turn into a more romance driven story then it’ll be less predictable. Rick’s character was definitely saved by Hiroshi Kamiya, who put his unique voice to good work giving the guy some personality that otherwise he lacked.

I’m lost on where the story could possibly go! The “storm” brought up at the end of the episode might bring some plot with it, but otherwise it felt like it might be setting itself up for an episodic-like story. Cat-girl was obviously not thrown into that one scene on accident. This is an “action” series, so at the very least I hope we get some actual action next week. Monsters were hinted at heavily, so we’ll see where that leads. Lastly, there’s the unknown voice from beginning and ending, I’m not sure who that was but I’m sure they’ll be important later.

On production, it felt VERY game-like, especially with the abundance of still shots in like every scene! There’s nothing really to complain about with the animation, again nothing out-of-this-world amazing, but not horrible either, it felt typical of a Production IG show to say the least. I love, love, love the seiyuu cast, excellent choices for the main cast (as I said before about Rick, EVERYONE WANTS HIS BREAD!!). I’m going to continue watching though, fans of the game have said that it gets a lot better so I’m putting my trust in them!

Let’s all admire Rick’s fabulous bread together.

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I enjoy watching anime, when I'm not burning toast or sleeping through college.
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29 Responses to “First Impressions – Shining Hearts: Shiawase no Pan”

  1. Anonomyous says:

    I really wanted to like this series but it has problems.

    First, the number of still shots and minimal animation seemed to hint either the budget is low or the money is being used elsewhere (dunno where though).

    Then there’s the bread (the biggest problem for a show with a bakery). It doesn’t look nice. Its between realistic and looking like a painting, which makes it worse. They should have gone for anime food style like Acchi Kocchi’s 2nd episode. Now that would have convinced me that Rick’s bread was good. As it was, i only found the picnic mix appetising.

    Finally it would not have killed them to show how the bread is made in the vein of a simplified form of Yakitate Japan. From the wiki of the game, its obvious there’s a secret ingredient.

    Hopefully it gets better or something.

    A few things that was not a real problem but a WTF moment was that Alvin looked like a girl… until he spoke. Then there was the “everyone is happy” scenes. Some anime can do it well, but this episode just felt too forced. Not sure it it was from the VAs, animation or just the dialogue though

    • Gecko says:

      I think you’re right about the bread. I didn’t watch this, but from that last screenshot, I don’t want to eat it. They should have given it more of its own style rather than this odd mix between realistic and painting.

    • Hawthorne says:

      Ahaha true, true … The bread didn’t look all that appetizing! (I thought some of the pastries looked really nice, but the bread …) Hopefully some of that budget you mentioned will be put into making the bread look delicious as it should!

      I originally assumed he was a girl too, something about the long hair and his face, I guess he’s just feminine in appearance is all, not that there’s anything wrong with that. ^^ I have to wonder if the “everyone is happy scenes” could be just a prelude to destruction … hmmm.

  2. Foshizzel says:

    Best thing about Bread: The Animation was a fun mini game of replacing the word “bread” with something else! I was using drug related jokes so everyone in my episode was addicted to Ricks cocaine…kukukuku fun times all around <3

    Worst part? THE FEMALE CHARACTERS ALL LOOK THE SAME! At least the eyes were all the same…I do love Tony Taya artwork but seriously the whole town must be related. And then we have that creepy ED? The girls never ever blink ahahha I swear it made me laugh so much <3

    I wanted more “fantasy” as in dragons and monsters with magic, but noooooooopeeeee maybe with episode two? However I am not going to watch…maybe…if I get bored xDDD

    • Hawthorne says:

      LOL so true Fosh, all the possible innuendos are endless. I didn’t even think of the drug related jokes! -_-

      They really do! xD But I feel like that’s kind of typical of Japanese games, at least from the ones I’ve played. More emphasis seems to be put on the relationships/personalities rather then the appearance.

      That would have been nice, it felt like a fantasy without much creativity. ALL I WANT IS A DRAGON OR TWO …

  3. Rakuen says:

    …what did I just watch? I remember something about bread and well-endowed girls…

  4. BlackBriar says:

    Hmm, this was nice. I could probably watch this as a way to kill some time on slow days. The Japanese sure can create stories with the most unusual of things. First, one about fights over half priced Ben-To, one with a strange girl who sleeps in class and drools and now one where bread is the center of the story. They made good use employing the word “La Coeur” which is French for “The Heart”.

    I love the fantasy world element of the anime. I really felt like I watching an animation adaption of the early Final Fantasy and Golden Sun games that I grew up with. We’ve seen the Sylphs now we need to see the monsters and characters using their weapons (I wonder if they’ll have Psynergy powers). Even the elf village in forest reminded me of the Kolima forest village down to the very design of the houses. If you’ve played Golden Sun, Golden Sun: The Lost Age for GBA or Golden Sun: Dark Dawn for Nintendo DS, you’ll see what I mean.

    What saved this were the characters. So far, I don’t dislike any of them and would have to know more to pass judgement. For the three girls in Rick’s life, Amil, Neris and Airy, if it weren’t for the different hair and eye colors, they could’ve taken for triplets. Right now, Rick is a solid lead that I don’t have a problem with (Maybe it’s because of his seiyuu). As for the story, the storm should obviously be the start of the plot. And since it’s a storm that is worse than the ones before, it’s safe to say it is because of a disruption that is happening in the world otherwise I don’t think they would’ve put scenes of a boat traveling from place to place in the PV.

    • Hawthorne says:

      At least Ben-to had some action! xD I think a little of that needs to be injected into Shining Hearts, since the game apparently has a lot of it. French? Woah, I didn’t even realize they were using it, I should pay closer attention. o.o

      I agree, it feels really game-like!~ I never got around to trying a Golden Sun game, but I could probably find the DS version pretty cheap, I’d like to see what you’re referencing (and I need a new game to get into). ^^

      I’ve read somewhere that they’re sisters … I don’t know if there’s any truth behind that, but like you mentioned, they’re very similar so it wouldn’t be surprising! I’m looking forward to seeing what affect that storm will have.

    • akagami says:

      I’m playing through Dark Dawn atm and just reached the Kolima forest. Unfortunately I can’t help anyone until I find that old man so he can *guide* us. But… but… I want to cure that tree!

      You know, the tree village reminded me of Kelethin from EQ. Omg, those were fun times. Every 5 seconds during the first week you’d hear *splat* because someone walked off the edge of the platforms in the trees. I made my mark a couple of times (those damn lifts were so hard to operate, I ended up walking over the edge trying to trigger the lift mechanism. Or run to catch the lift and realize too late someone on it triggered the mechanism and it was already halfway down … *splat*). Good times, good times.

      Elf > human. Remember that, you puny humans that were born without the long lifespan and superior intelligence. Elf elitism ftw!

      • BlackBriar says:

        Golden Sun is an awesome franchise that shares some similarities with Final Fantasy. I have all three installments, even the two GBA games. It was like bringing back my childhood when they said a third game was coming. Based on what you said, I know exactly where you are in the game. I’d tell you where to go but since I completed it a while back and have been busy, my memory is fuzzy. I’ll start a new file for a refresher course. What I do remember is that you have to start by defeating a lizard sleeping inside one of the trees in the village. It is what is responsible for the bad dream problem.

        In the meantime, I found some walkthroughs and put them in order to help out:
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oWTKC83vmJY&feature=relmfu
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25klUPnNQoQ&feature=relmfu
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jvJ-kwb8L0Y

        Good luck.

        • akagami says:

          Thanks for the thought – I usually prefer to play through without wlkthroughs. The game info says to find Kraden in some B-named village, but instead I took a detour and went exploring East.

          I can’t do anything in the dream beyond run in a circle with that lizard staring at me. I assume I’m lacking some type of psynergy. And I want to blow up those big rocks… my move synergy is too weak to move large mass-ball-shapes (also known as boulders).

  5. Liza says:

    This anime should be about bread and only bread!

    Well, besides the awesome amounts of bread, I really loved the character designs of everyone. I could easily tell all of the girls apart. Although I do agree about the slowness. Nothing really happened except for the end with the coming of the storm. I’m guessing it will get faster and more plot driven(don’t forget the bread though, very important) as the series goes along and I’m hoping it will get better then too..

    • Hawthorne says:

      BREAD TYRANNY FTW!

      Some more details on the plot would be greatly appreciated! Next week will probably give us what we want. ^^ (And by want I also mean lots of bread …)

  6. Karakuri says:

    Bitches love bread xD

    • BlackBriar says:

      If it shows anymore bread on the next episode, I’m going to get some bread myself. DANG. LOL.

    • Moni Chan says:

      HAHAHAHA it’s funny cause it’s true.

    • Hawthorne says:

      LMAO! I was going to use that as a caption but I was like … maybe I’m going too far with these bread jokes. XD

  7. akagami says:

    I’ve never played the Shining games (Tears & Wind) but I’ve really enjoyed T2’s artwork of the characters. But I never realized the third game in the series was a game about baking. My hopes just died a little.

    An anime about bread is just… odd, though I’ve seen weirder anime. It took me a bit of convincing to try Yakitate!! Japan, which actually was pretty good.

    Rick’s… bread. You know, after thinking on it, I’ve never met anyone in my life named Rick. Apparently it means “One who is kind and loved; of the spectacular bounty.” Still…

    I think I’ll wait for a couple of more episode reviews before I decide if I should take that leap of faith or not. In the meantime, carry-on! (and thanks!) ^^

    • Hawthorne says:

      Wait, so this is the only series in the game with a focus on baking? What a strange direction to take a game … XD

      I’m almost positive it won’t solely be about bread, so if that’s what’s keeping you from watching please don’t take my foolishness seriously! D: The slow pacing is a completely different matter though.

      I’m assuming the “bounty” means bread!

      • akagami says:

        Haha, no, I probably exaggerated a little. The first two games were action rpgs, and the third is a rpg (Shining Hearts). There is baking in the game, but it’s not the main plotline, though the MC works in a bakery. I guess the anime takes the bread angle a little further (I’m assuming since I’ve never actually played the third game – I just read up a little because I like to know a bit more about the characters in my art collection)).

  8. Kyokai says:

    Sorry for leaving you alone for the first impressions. ><
    You have done a good job of it though~ <3

    • Hawthorne says:

      No problem Kyo!
      And thank you! Writing for a show about bread was surprisingly easy … ´▽`

  9. tatsuya says:

    TVT ~~ can’t say anything

  10. Joojoobees says:

    I thought I would check this one out to see what all the hate was about. Turns out it’s just boring.

    • Hawthorne says:

      I think I’m sort of in the middle of the haters and the fans. Just an incredibly slow, and as you said, boring start! Hopefully it picks up …

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