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Girl of the Bakehouse

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Girl of the BakeHouse.jpg

Girl of the Bakehouse (面包房少女 ~ Withered) is a Chinese short kinetic visual novel (without branching story) made by MICA Team and sold at doujin conventions in 2009. It doesn't use sprites and instead relies on full background illustrations with the text displayed on the bottom. It received a separate release for its soundtrack titled Withered.

MICA made plans to release a sequel and HD version of Bakehouse, but eventually released Codename: Bakery Girl in 2013, an evolved version of Bakehouse with gameplay and a more involved lore and story.


The game opens with a bombardment sequence viewed from an aircraft camera.

From 2079 to 2083, humanity was engulfed in the largest conflict in its history: the First Antarctic War fought between the Coalition and their technology superior enemies of the Antarctic. Various other events are mentioned in the story, like the New Berlin Airlift Operation, the use of experimental weather weaponry by the Coalition during the Suppression of the British Isles making temperatures in Northern Europe comparable to the Antarctic, and the Chemgate incident revealed by journalists.

Inspired by the career of war reporter Kumik Fadis, who became famous for his photograph “Gazing by the Bridge” in 2059, featuring a woman named Miss Estee that Fadis later married, photo reporter Mendo is authorized by the Antarctic military to leave the Fort Ladisberg HQ and follow their troops during the war of attrition in Europe. He finds his own fated model in a small captured town in Northern Europe during Christmas celebrations, a girl called Jefuty.

Soon after, Mendo becomes severely ill and is left by the army in the care of Jefuty's family, who work as bakers. When he recovers his senses again, he learns that Jefuty's parents have been killed, leaving her and her brother Kamon to live their aunt Vena. Mendo also lost his parents, who were civilian technicians working in Coalition territory, and were beaten to death by rioters near the start of the war while Mendo watched from an evacuation boat. When Mendo shares their story with Jefuty, she asks if Mendo wants to take revenge like her.

Jefuty mentions that her parents were killed with their refugees convoy when Antarctican attack helicopters dropped bombq while she was away two months prior, and Mendo realizes he was responsible for the attack. Shaken in his conviction that he should remain uninvolved as a battlefield reporter, he decides to repent by getting Jefuty to Antarctica and calls a favor from his sister Susan. A few days later, Jefuty tells Mendo that she stole a gun and bullets from the Antarctican army to take revenge. Mendo first considers dissuading her like his foster father Colonel Mitas did to him after the death of his parents, but empathizes with her rage and instead decides to help her.

Jefuty and Mendo plan the assault on the local garrison and enter the Antarctican camp two weeks later, hiding the dismantled gun in Jefuty's bread basket. Despite being deathly afraid, Jefuty refuses to back down and they use a wooded hill and the sounds of the nearby airstrip as a concealed position. Jefuty shoots and kills one of the soldiers from a distance, and they slip away in the chaos as the camp tries to respond to the unknown attackers. The incident is chalked up as an isolated guerilla attack. After her first kill, Jefuty cuts her hair and kills three other soldiers and wounds another one over the next two months. The attacks are interrupted by the arrival of Major Charles, tasked with tracking down the guerilla. Charles is held as a war hero but also put on the backline due to his mistreatment of populations in occupied territory. With only one week left before the trip to Antarctica, Jefuty refuses to leave before she used her last bullet, despite the increased military security.

Mendo confesses that he was the one who asked the attack helicopter to strike at random to take pictures, accidentally hitting the refugees hidden by fog and killing Jefuty's parents. He asks Jefuty to use the last bullet on him so she can complete her vengeance, but she refuses to. Shortly after, Mendo is informed that a high-ranking officer will be visiting the town two days before they leave for Antarctica, and they decide to make him their last target. Intending to strike during the officer's speech to the town, Jefuty and Mendo take position in the bell tower, realizing too late that they won't have an escape route. After taking the shot, Jefuty hides the rifle in a crack in a wall and kisses Mendo when the soldiers enter, convincing them that they were only two lovers who had hidden away for a private moment.

That night, Charles orders the soldiers to pull the town people out of bed and assemble them at the town square, before killing them one by one until the murderers come forward. Mendo tries to confront the Major, who reveals that he knows about the refugees incident Mendo caused, and Jefuty understands that he was also involved in the death of her parents. When Charles is about to kill Kamon, Jefuty confesses and is taken away by Charles' soldiers. Charles later explains to Mendo that he was in command of the attack helicopter and accessed to Mendo's request to open fire the day they accidentally killed the refugees. Charles offers that by sacrificing Jefuty, they will eliminate the last survivor and won't be found culprits of the incident. Mendo then reveals he has recorded and transmitted their conversation to his agency, and threatens to leak the incident and ruin the Major's career unless he releases Jefuty.

The next day, Mendo and Jefuty are about to enter the Red Cross helicopter that will take them to Berlin when Jefuty steals a gun from a guard and kills the Major before the guards retaliate, killing her. With her last breath, she kisses Mendo and says she's glad to have finally avenged her parents. Five years later, Mendo visits Jefuty's grave and wonders if she would still have gone on a rampage without his help.

Development history[edit]

MICA's director and scenarist Yuzhong first shared his work on a visual novel project in April 2008 in a series of posts on Sina Blog (archived here).

The project began as an animation class assignment that Yuzhong kept expanding on, eventually producing an initial 42-pages storyboard and choosing NScripter as a game engine. Finding his original script too ordinary, he heavily revised it, making the story increasingly darker.[1] Though Yuzhong does not mention it in his blog, one can note that the anime Gunslinger Girl -Il Teatrino-, which Yuzhong later cited as an inspiration for Girls' Frontline's story,[2] aired in the same time frame. The posts showed in-progress artworks and revealed the name of the protagonist, 云 (Yún, “Cloud”).[3] Yuzhong also talked about his compulsion to not make the ending entirely sad, but to leave some hope for the main character.[4][5]

On 21 April 2008, Yuzhong announced the title “Epiphyllum~昙花”, with the tagline “A girl who performs Siting[sic] Quartet No.14 in D Minor, D.810 “Death and the Maiden” ,but[sic] only by herself forever”, and an expected completion date of February 2009, along with a synopsis:[6]

From blooming to withering.

So the Epiphyllum begins, and so she ends.

Her time is unbearably short.

And yet her time is unbearably long.

Such is the Epiphyllum.

Her beauty lasts but a moment…

At my spot on the shore, I listen intently. My skin is terribly dry from the cold sea breeze. The sun has yet to emerge from the sea, and there isn’t a sound except for the waves crashing on the bank, and her music.

She’s playing her violin as if conveying her worries. Dawn filters through the clouds and shines on her silhouette, casting her in a foggy halo.

Ever since I met her, I come back everyday to listen to her music. I am her only audience, this sea-sprayed embankment is her only stage. The sound of the crashing waves echoes endlessly along the coast, drowning the sound of her performance.

“I’ve always loved the sound of the violin…”

This is what she said the first time we met.

Then she looked in my direction, like she wanted me to respond.

I pretended I didn’t hear her.

She looked disappointed, and my heart ached. But I don’t know how I could have answered.

I’m powerless. I can’t share the joy of music with her, I can’t even save her.

Sadness overcomes me every time I think back.

The lone island and its single bridge sit between two continents. Years ago, it was consumed by a cruel war and swept by a plague, and remains officially off-limits. The inhabitants have been called monsters, and a heavily armed force occupies the main city.

“This can’t be…”

I’m a member of this armed force, and while patrolling I suddenly found a girl playing the violin. I couldn’t find it in me to obey my orders and shoot this girl who shouldn’t be here. I talked and sympathized with her, and this is why I go to the seaside every day to listen to her music. Though we enjoy our arrangement, I don’t know who she is and what her future holds.

So the Epiphyllum begins, and so she ends. Through truths and lies, the blooming Epihyllum disappears in a flash…

The work was credited to MICA Team, a doujin group founded by Yuzhong during his freshman year of college.[7] The cover of the CD soundtrack was shown in a 19 June 2008 post, announcing credits for MICA Team and OTAKU FOUND.[8] In August, Yuzhong announced that the game would be presented in black and white to speed up production,[9] but later clarified that he would in fact only tone down the use of colors.[10] Promotional material for the game was included in the pamphlet for the Chinese Doujin Game Makers Alliance (中国同人游戏制作联盟) at ComicDive 1 in Beijing on 5 October, at YACA in Guangzhou on 12 October, and ComiCup 3 in Shanghai on 1st November 2008.[11][12][13]

A 22 December 2008 post jokingly announced PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game with a cover art closer to the final release.[14] A 14 May 2009 post revealed the final title and cover as well as the soundtrack, titled Withered. Mail reservations were opened and 400 copies of each were made for ComiCup 4 on 28 May 2009 and ComiCon 4 on 7 June 2009 (despite the copyright on the cover stating 2008), selling for 35RMB for the game, 28RMB for the soundtrack and 60RMB for both.[15][16] While no concrete figures are known, Yuzhong said he was satisfied with the sales in a 10 June 2009 post,[17] though he also said the game was rushed.[18]

In a 2 June 2009 post, Yuzhong explained that someone at ComiCup 4 motivated him to create a fully fledged strategy game.[18] In the following years, MICA and Yuzhong would produce the Guns&Girls doujin series and work on a sequel and an HD remaster for Bakehouse, which eventually led to the release of Codename: Bakery Girl in 2013. The new game reuses Mendo and Jefuty's names as well as details such as Jefuty using a bolt-action rifle, Mendo's foster father being a Colonel, a Major as an antagonist and a sniping sequence from a bell tower, but the two stories are otherwise completely different.

A scene inspired by the infiltration of the Antarctican camp plays in Act 8-4E of Girls' Frontline. A scene in Reverse Collapse: Code Name Bakery is inspired by the soundtrack cover of the “Epiphyllum” prototype: Cloud makes an appearance as Jefuty and Mendo's daughter in a doomed future.[19]


The names of some of the staff are provided in English in the opening credits.

  • Producer: Yuzhong (羽中)
  • Story: Hannibal
  • Key Illustration: Yuzhong
  • Animation: Hannibal, spend6A
  • Programming: Congyun ((幽蓝) 从云)
  • Music: 乐痕, volcksonia, 大葱, komine
  • Voice acting: 水树碎, Michael.bao, Yuzhong
  • Theme Song: 久远~Withered
    • Composer/Arrangement: 乐痕
    • Lyrics: komine
    • Vocals: 水树碎
  • Insert Song: 赞美诗
    • Composer & Vocals: 水树碎
    • Arrangement: 乐痕
  • Contributing artists: 噶哦, 霊の影, xxzshlg, ideolo, 静默の風鈴, 傲雪银弓, jefuty, 黑猫的亡灵
  • Post Production: 东吴流水, 静默の風鈴, Michael.bao
  • Special Thanks: 澄空工房, 同人游戏制作联盟 (CAC), VIVA-TEAM, RG制作组, 幽蓝Blue Serene


External links[edit]