He is a burnt piece of bread, regularly depressed, unhappy with his lot. The series runs through different situations Kogepan finds himself in and documents his response to aspects of his life that are out of his control. He bemoans his hard, burnt crust, his miserable state, and the injustice of being condemned to a life of being unwanted by the baker who left him in the oven for just that little bit too long. He turns to milk as a source of comfort – in one episode he actually bathes in the elixir, hoping to be softened and become more like the other bread.
For a show aimed at young children, Kogepan explores some morbid areas of the psyche. His fat head is hardly ever without stressed squiggles. Yet it is a beautiful depiction of how wallowing in self-centred melancholy day after day (episode after episode) does nothing to alleviate depression. From time to time Kogepan’s hard crust is softened (metaphorically) by the kindness of others and the realisation that he is not the only bread in the shop experiencing feelings of hardship and woe.
What a wonderful cartoon.
It is also very helpful to watch if – like me – you are just starting out in your Nihongo studies!