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Bakery Merchant

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Wow, what a hungry little dog you have. Don't tell me he eats all that by himself.

the Baker, kindly pretending she's unaware of Mayu's secret

The Bakery Merchant is an unnamed woman who ran a bakery along Kamakura's seaside.

Manga

The presumed owner of the bakery, this woman was the source of food for Mayu and Wanta during Mayu's period of homelessness. With no money, Mayu relied upon the Baker to give her leftover bread scraps to avoid starvation. The merchant never asked if she was homeless and gave her the scraps without much hassle, and the two were close enough that the Baker referred to Mayu as "Mayu-chan."

Not long after Mayu first met Kouta and Yuka, the bakery woman was forced to close her bakery. It's hard to determine whether the reasons for the closure are financial or personal, as she only says "It was just as bad as I thought" when Mayu inquires. With her shop closing soon, she could only give Mayu her apologies, and the young girl realized she'd have to find another source of food. By this point, Mayu was struggling with the decision to stay at the Maple House, and she was concerned about both trusting Kouta and Yuka, as well as not wanting to be a burden to them.

The merchant appears later when Kouta and Yuka ask what she knows about Mayu, to which she replies she knows little. On the day her shop would close, she appears to be annoyed by Mayu interrupting her while she was busy, presumably with closing up shop, and told her she has no more scraps to give her if that was why she came. Before Mayu left, the merchant told her the residents of the Maple House wanted to see her. When she arrived at the Maple House, Mayu found a birthday party held in her honor by Yuka, Kouta, and Nyu. They even had a birthday cake for her, a final gift from the merchant she'd depended on for so long, and the sight of the cake brought Mayu to tears. According to Kouta, the Baker didn't say goodbye, and the conversation he and Yuka had with her was awkward, but her last words for Mayu were for her to take care of herself.

In a series where so many are cruel, even minor characters, the kindness of the Baker stands out. Because of her giving what she could at the end of the day, a little girl could survive long enough on her own in a cruel world until she found her true family. Just as in real life, it's the little acts of kindness that make all the difference in someone's world.

Anime

The Baker remains largely the same in the anime. However, she appears older than in the manga and wears a different haircut. She is more openly concerned for Mayu's well-being as well. The anime also doesn't show the merchant telling Mayu of the bakery's imminent closure. Instead, she only tells Yuka about Mayu coming to get bread scraps from her every day under the ruse of the food being for Wanta, Mayu's unchanging wardrobe, and how the other shop owners think the girl is homeless. In the anime, the merchant giving Kouta and Yuka Mayu's birthday cake is more apparent. When the pair, along with Nyu, come to ask if she's seen Mayu after the girl runs away from the Maple House, the merchant says she has something she'd like them to give Mayu. In the English version, the Baker adds on "from me" when she says so, making her already warm disposition even kinder. In the Japanese version, Yuka later clarifies the woman said the cake was "a leftover," a nod to her manga self's more aloof gift-giving and her having given Mayu leftovers for the entire time they've known each other.

Gallery

The nicest supporting character?
 
6
 
116
 
4
 
30
 

The poll was created at 19:38 on July 2, 2012, and so far 156 people voted.

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