Morning had just risen in Anpanland. Everyone was starting their day. The children got ready for school. The adults got ready for their jobs. The bakery was up and running as well. Uncle Jam and Batako had gotten up a bit earlier to make today's batch of delicious breads. Cheese too had gotten up a bit earlier than later, because he was really excited: today the Donburiman Trio were coming to the bakery!
"The Donburiman Trio are coming?" Anpanman asked, adjusting his cape clasp, as Cheese hopped around in excitement.
"Arf!" Cheese barked in excitement, still twirling around the bakery floor.
"You love the Donburiman Trio's donburi, don't you, Cheese?" Batako happily said, smiling at the dog's antics. "Which one do you think you'll have first today?"
This question made Cheese stop dancing around and think for a bit. Which one WOULD he have?
"You'll have plenty of time to decide, Cheese. " Uncle Jam calmly said to reassure him.
"Well, I'm going on patrol now." Anpanman said.
"Go get them, Anpanman!" Uncle Jam and Batako called out, with Cheese barking, as Anpanman flew out of the bakery through the chimney, ready to protect the town he loves.
Meanwhile, at the foot of a cliff in the forest, Baikinman had dragged out his power-up machine, and was working on it once again.
"I think I've finally got this to work in my favor!" Baikinman said to himself, as he worked on modifying the power levels. The machine was open, and ready for use. "You won't know what hit you, Anpanman. I'm going to multiply the best qualities of my amazing self, and you'll be left in the dust!"
As soon as he finished the final few adjustments, as if on cue, Dokinchan flew next to Baikinman in her UFO, watching him for a few seconds, and then popping the top up.
"Baikinman," She half-spoke, half-whined. "I'm hungry!"
"Yeah, yeah." He nonchalantly said, waving one of his hands in her direction, not bothering to look at her. "I'm sorta hungry, too. I'll see to it in a second."
"…DO IT NOW!" She screamed in an explosion of rage.
"…Right, right!" Baikinman nervously said, jumping up in shock and running towards his own UFO, piloting it up into the forest above.
Meanwhile, inside the forest, it was very tranquil. The birds were chirping every so often, the grass and leaves rustling in the wind. Nothing could break the peacefulness, until…
"TEN TEN DON DON A TEN DON DON…"
"KUROBUTO O NIKU O PANKO DE TSUTSUMI…"
"KAMA KAMA DON DON A KAMA DON DON…"
…As if on cue, the Donburiman Trio arrived, each singing their own song, each bringing cacophony to the once calm forest.
"It's a perfect day!" Tendonman happily said, lifting up his lid. "The perfect day to sing of the joys of tendon!"
"No!" Katsudonman said, shoving Tendonman away, and then lifting his own lid. "Everyone knows that katsudon's the best!"
"IDIOT!" Kamameshidon yelled, pushing Katsudonman, and lifting his lid. "Kamameshi is OBVIOUSLY the best donburi!"
"I know who'd love to decided which one the best is…" A voice said behind the squabbling trio. Of course, it was Baikinman.
"Oka-"The trio said, turning around, only to reel back in shock when they saw who it was. "B-BAIKINMAN!"
"Ha hi hu he ho!" The alien germ cackled, pulling out a gigantic pair of chopsticks from his UFO's arsenal of weapons. "Time for brunch! I'll be sure to doggy-bag some of this for Dokinchan!"
Reacting automatically, the trio ran for their lives, with Baikinman in hot pursuit. All was going well…until they hit where the cliff edge began. Tendonman and Katsudonman were able to stop quickly, but Kamameshidon unfortunately tripped over his own sandal, knocking himself into the other two, as the three went careening down the cliff.
"HELP US!" The three bowlheads yelled, bringing the attention of Anpanman, who was a few miles away, but heard them thanks to his super hearing.
"D-darn it!" Baikinman said in shock, as he noticed where they were falling: straight into his power-up machine! As soon as the three of them all landed into the machine, the locking mechanism activated, and the machine started up, surging with electricity, as the Donburiman Trio screamed in writhing pain. At this time, Anpanman had just gotten to the machine, only to witness the horrors going on.
"What the…?" He said, shielding his eyes from the bright light coming from the machine. Finally, the machine stopped, the locked unlocked, and smoke poured out as the machine creaked open. What was in it was a shock to both Anpanman and Baikinman. Instead of the Donburiman Trio was…a single Donburiman!
He had Tendonman's creamy off-white bowl for a head, yet wore Kamameshidon's wooden lid, which was stained green and light blue…just like Katsudonman's lid. His face had Tendonman's blushed cheeks, Katsudonman's curly moustache, and Kamameshidon's toothy grin, which was turned into a frown and wincing with pain. He wore a Nehru jacket just like Katsudonman, and wore Kamameshidon's karusan-bakama pants…yet the jacket had a light blue collar and buttons, a pink body, and brown sleeves, while the pants were brown with pink stripes and a light blue tie around them, just like the colors of Tendonman's outfit. He had Kamameshidon's tanned farmer skin, and wore white tabi socks that looked like Katsudonman's shoes with Tendonman's zori sandals. One hand held a bamboo rice paddle while the other held a hand-carved wooden chopstick.
"Are…you okay…?" Anpanman cautiously asked, as both he and Baikinman nervously floated near the newly-formed Donburiman hybrid.
"I…think so." The Donburiman said, only to recoil in shock. Instead of a single voice came three voices talking in unison: a Tohoku accent, a forced English accent, and an archaic Edo accent. "Is…that…me?!"
In a panic, he stared at the nearest reflective surface, which happened to be the metal on Baikinman's UFO. In trembling shock, he slowly touched the reflection to see if it was real. When it turned out it was, he nervously lifted his lid. Inside was kamameshi…with an egg-coated tonkatsu cutlet and tempura-ebi with sauce on top of it.
"What…are…we…?" The hybrid nervously asked, looking slowly at his utensils.
"Please stop talking!" Baikinman said, covering where his ears would be. "You're freaking me out!"
The Donburiman sulked down, as Anpanman put a reassuring hand on his shoulder, though his nervous smile remained.
"It's going to be okay…Donburiman." He assured, hesitating on the nickname, but then decided to keep it. "We're going to fight through this. Right, Baikinman?"
"Yeah, yeah, whatever." Baikinman huffily said, a bit miffed that his plan went in a completely different direction. "I'll go fix my stupid power-up machine that seems to fail ALWAYS on me. Give me…a few hours."
"HOURS?!" Donburiman said in shock. "But…what are we…er…I…supposed to do until then?!"
"I…guess you do whatever you did when there were three of you…" Anpanman suggested. "You…sell you donburi to the people…"
At this suggestion, Donburiman jumped up in excitement. This was something he KNEW how to do!
"Okay!" He happily said, and prepared to walk off, singing a song…only to pause. "I…don't know how my song's supposed to go…"
He then walked off to the town, sulking a tiny bit, as Anpanman giggled a tiny bit, while Baikinman just sighed. This wasn't how he wanted to spend his day.
Meanwhile in the town, a few of the children were sitting down on one of the benches, clutching their stomachs in hunger.
"I'm so hungry…" Kabao-kun complained, his stomach growling.
"It feels like breakfast was so long ago…" Chibizou-kun said, sliding further and further onto the bench, risking falling off.
"Won't someone come to stop these hunger pains…?" Usako-chan asked, on the verge of tears.
As if on cue, Donburiman walked into town, and noticed the kids.
"Are you guys alright?" He asked, as the three of them looked up, and then recoiled a tiny bit in shock.
"Who…are you…?" Chibizou-kun nervously asked.
"I'm…Donburiman!" He replied, making sure to use his nickname given to him.
"I've never seen you around here." Kabao-kun said. "But you sorta look familiar…"
"That…doesn't matter!" He nervously and quickly said, waving his hands in defense. "I'm just here to make sure you guys don't go hungry! How would you guys like some donburi?"
"Okay!" The three of them said, happy at the thought.
"Great!" Donburiman happily said, as he accessed his hammer space kitchen set…and then froze. How was he supposed to go through with this seamlessly to not freak them out? He wracked his brain for a while.
"Are you okay…?" Usako-chan asked, as Donburiman was currently crouching down with his back towards the children and his hands on the side of his head.
"Never better!" He happily said, but it was obvious that he was masking his fear. "Just…give me a moment, okay?"
Donburiman racked his brain and tried to separate it into the thoughts of the three separate members of the Donburiman Trio. How was he supposed to make each specific parts of this donburi? Finally, after a few moments of thinking, he felt like he understood what to do and how that even as one, he would be able to follow the dream of the separate Donburiman Trio: make their donburi become number one!
"All right!" Donburiman said; standing up, his voice full of confidence. "I'm ready now!"
First, he started to prepare the ingredients for the kamameshi portion. He hastily chopped up mushrooms, carrots, chicken, and bamboo shoots, mixed them with the washed rice and sauce base in the kettle, and started to stoke up the fire, making sure to check on it every so often. While the base was cooking, he quickly dredged some pork cutlets and pan fried them. When those finished up, he cooked the onion base, and placed the pork and sauce in, and then beat an egg, pouring it on and putting the lid on it. Finally, he mixed up some tempura batter and dipped shrimp in it, then placed them into the boiling oil. When they finished frying, the katsudon topping and the kamameshi were complete. He took the rice kettle off of the fire, and placed some into each bowl. He then dropped the tonkatsu mixture onto them, and placed a fried shrimp on top of that, and poured the tendon sauce on top of it. He covered them with a lid, set out a pair of disposable chopsticks on them, and put them on a tray to present them to the kids.
"Here you guys go!" Donburiman happily said. "Enjoy!"
"Time to eat!" The three of them happily said, as they opened the lids, and started to eat…only to grimace a bit with the first bite.
"So…?" Donburiman asked, his eyes glistening with eagerness.
"I…don't really like it." Kabao-kun admitted.
"There's too much going on in it at once!" Chibizou-kun said, a bit embarrassed.
"It's too tricky to tell what flavors I'm experiencing!" Usako-chan said, as she and the others pushed their bowls away.
"Thanks for trying." Chibizou-kun said. "But I think we'll try something else to eat."
The three then jumped off the bench, and walked over to a different food stand as Donburiman just stood there, his ego bruised…all three of them.
"What good is a chef if his food isn't any good?" Donburiman said to himself, sitting down and sounding like he's on the verge of tears. He had hid himself away from the town and walked back into the forest, sitting next to the lake, and looking into it, talking to himself through the reflection. In anger, he threw a small rock at it, as the reflection rippled away. He was stressing himself out to the point of tiring himself out, so he leaned up against a tree, falling asleep, as his three separate identities created one dream from one remembered memory…
It was the first day of the preschool class to start. All the little kids were in their uniforms: the long blue jackets with yellow bucket hats, the girls wearing pink skirts with the boys wearing light blue shorts. Each student had a pair of white tennis shoes with white socks and their nametag placed on their jacket, all wearing a small yellow messenger bag with a personalized zipper tag. A few of the children were running towards the classroom, while a few lingered behind to give final goodbyes to their parents. Three women walked up to the front of the schoolhouse, each with their children in hand.
The children were all the same age, yet born in different months. The youngest one was also the most eager. He had an off-white porcelain bowl for a face with blushed cheeks and shining eager eyes. His zipper tag was a shrimp. The second oldest was the most nervous, hiding behind his mom as much as he could. He had a light green porcelain bowl for a face, he also had blush cheeks, but much smaller than his friend. His eyes were shining from his crying. On his zipper tag was a small black piglet. The oldest had a traditional kama kettle for a face. His skin was also slightly tanned from being outside more. His teeth were exposed more compared to his friends, and he also had very small blushed cheeks. His zipper tag was a brown spiral that almost looked like a dried zenmai frond.
Ever so cautiously, their mothers let go of their hands, letting them free for the first time in their lives. They were best friends since they were born, but they never really understood what being best friends were. This was their first day on their journey of friendship. This was the first day they truly became the Donburiman Trio.
Donburiman's collective identities and thoughts gave him different memories of being three separate entities. There was the time they got chicken pox at the same time as each other from playing together. The senior class trip to the beach. The arguments about whose donburi was the greatest. Every time they walked away from each other, vowing to never be friends again…only to apologize and stay together, because they were the Donburiman Trio, and nothing could truly break them apart.
All these thoughts…they seemed more like made up dreams than things that really happened to Donburiman. All three minds were merged into one, and they were only selecting things that they remembered doing together, with it nearly impossible to divide thoughts into their separate forms. Tears streaming down his cheeks finally forced him to wake up. He wanted to be back to the way he was.
"Baikinman never got me anything to eat…" Dokinchan said, flying around in her UFO. She had abandoned being near the power-up machine when she got bored (this…was about a few minutes after keeping guard of it). The boredom made her even hungrier, as she continued to fly around. She ended up at the lake, and something…or someone…caught her eye. It was Donburiman, sulking even more than he normally has been.
"I've never seen him before…" Dokinchan said to herself. "I wonder if his donburi's good."
Dokinchan piloted her UFO down to his level. He paid little attention to her, only slightly turning his head in her direction.
"Hey, Dokinchan." He dryly said, looking away from her. Then suddenly, it clicked. "D-DOKINCHAN?!"
"How do you know my name?" Dokinchan asked, confused, but she shook the thought away. "Never mind that. I'm hungry!"
Before Donburiman could react, Dokinchan grabbed him with one of her UFO's robotic hands, and reeled him in close to her.
"Stop! Don't!" Donburiman pleaded. "You won't like how I taste!"
"Time to eat!" She happily said, opening up his lid and taking a bite…only to recoil in discomfort and disgust. "What…is this stuff?!"
"…Donburi…?" Donburiman quietly said, a nervous grin plastered onto his face.
"This is disgusting!" Dokinchan angrily said, flailing around a bit in her ship. "I can't even tell what I'm eating!"
In her flailing panic, she accidentally pressed the release button for the mechanical hand (which was already moving around a lot thanks to her rocking around). This caused Donburiman to fly out of the hand into the air, screaming all the way.
Luckily, Anpanman heard the screaming, and flew to the rescue.
"Look out!" The caped crust-sader called out, as he quickly scooped up the now-falling bowlhead. "Are you okay?"
"I…think so." He nervously said, breathing very heavily. "Is…Baikinman done with that machine? I'm sick of being one!"
"He should be." Anpanman said, adjusting Donburiman so he was now sitting on his back. "Let's go."
Meanwhile, at the cliff, Baikinman had just done a few final adjustments to the power-up machine's controls. At this time, Anpanman had just flown down. Donburiman crawled off of Anpanman and walked towards the control panel.
"Is it done?" He asked the alien germ, who flinched at the combined voice.
"…Yeah. Should be." He said, hesitating at first to look at the controls, but confirming it with a quick glance. "Just step inside and let's get this over with."
"I don't like the idea of 'should'." Donburiman muttered, but stepped into the machine anyways. Baikinman pushed a couple buttons, turned a dial, and pulled the lever. The machine surged with electricity again, as Donburiman screamed with pain in his combined voice. Finally, the machine switched off, and the door hissed open again…
...And the Donburiman Trio were back! Well, almost back. They had their normal outfits, their normal outfits, everything seemed normal.
…Except for the fact their colors were swapped. Tendonman now had Katsudonman's colors, Kamameshidon had Tendonman's colors, and Katsudonman had Kamameshidon's.
"O…kay…" Baikinman said, a bit of a loss at words. "This…is a bit of a problem."
"Change us back!" Tendonman screamed. "We're still not normal!"
"Okay, okay!" Baikinman angrily said, as he adjusted a few more controls. "Go in again!"
The trio obliged, shoving themselves back into the machine. Baikinman switched the lever, and the machine started up again. The door opened, and they were back to their right colors!
…Except they were babies.
"Oh, not this again!" Baikinman moaned, slamming his face onto the console, trying to not think of the memory he had of citizens being turned into babies. "J-just…put them back in."
Every so carefully, Anpanman set the trio into the machine…again. Baikinman adjusted the controls again, and pulled the lever ONE more time, and the machine started up again…
"Do you think it worked this time?"
"It better have!"
The door hissed open…and out came the Donburiman Trio, completely back to normal! Except, something…seemed off…
"Y-you're not the Donburichan Trio!" A noticeably female voice said, shock in her voice.
"CRAP!" A second (and very frustrated) female voice yelled.
When their eyes finally adjusted from the darkness of the machine, the Donburiman Trio were able to make sense of what was going on. Everything looked like Anpanland, except for two glaring difference: noticeably, Anpanman and Baikinman. Or, whoever was replacing them!
Both were girls that looked nearly like the bread-headed hero and extraterrestrial bacterium! The most noticeable differences were the fact that Anpanman's counterpart's costume tapered into a skirt, her nose and blush marks were much smaller, and she had what seemed to be a zigzag of anko piped on her face that looked similar to a hair part. Baikinman's counterpart, on the other hand, had a huge difference to her. In fact, she looked a lot like a black and purple, two-antennae, winged Dokinchan! She still kept Baikinman's mouthful of oddly shaped teeth, though hers wasn't as intruding as the original's.
"Where are we?!" Katsudonman panicked.
"I-I'm terribly sorry, sirs!" The female Anpanman said, obviously embarrassed. "Baikinchan, do something! This is worse than we started with!"
"I'm doing something! I'm doing something!" The so-called 'Baikinchan' said, scrambling with her own power-up machine's controls.
"If they're here…" The female Anpanman said to herself, though the others could slightly hear her. "…Then what happened to the Donburichan Trio…?"
Meanwhile, back in the known Anpanland, Anpanman and Baikinman were having the same exact problem…with the Donburichan Trio.
"I'm really, really sorry, girls!" Anpanman said, very flustered and blushing even more than he normally does. In front of him were three bowlheaded girls…that happened to look just like the Donburiman Trio!
Tendonman's counterpart wore her shrimp on the opposite side of her bowl, had a three-quarter length light blue shirt, a short brown skirt, tabi socks that went to her knees, more subtle blush cheeks, and raspberry-color stained chopsticks. Katsudonman's counterpart wore a short sleeved Nehru jacket with heart-shaped buttons and black edging around the sleeves. She also wore dark purple eye shadow and pink blush, with a long white skirt instead of pants. Kamameshidon's counterpart wore a traditional miko outfit, only in lilac, navy, and red, with the sash much smaller and tied in the front. She also had a small decoration on her lid that was made out of lilacs. All three of them had thick eyelashes instead of the Donburiman Trio's thick eyebrows.
"Please fix this!" Kamameshidon's counterpart begged, her Tohoku accent just as thick as the original.
"W-working on it!" Baikinman said, fairly flustered as well, yet still focusing on the controls. "I-I think I finally got it!"
"Please tell me you did…" The Donburichan Trio all said at once, as they squeezed back into the machine, the door shut, and the lever was pulled, while the machine surged with electricity, but this time also smoked and sputtered. Instead of creaking open with steam, the door swung open with tons of smoke. Coming out, coughing, was the true Donburiman Trio, this time completely back to normal!
"We're back!" Katsudonman happily said, looking around. "That was really weird!"
"It was!" Tendonman said, and then stopped in thought. "Hey, Anpanman? Has anyone ever told you that you sort of sound like a woman?"
"I was actually thinking the same about you." Anpanman admitted.
"Great!" Baikinman angrily said, cutting off the conversation, stomping towards the main area of the machine. "The stupid machine broke. Again!"
He then hopped into his UFO, extended its mechanical arms, and grabbed the machine with them.
"Bye-baikin!" He yelled back huffily, as he flew away with the machine, while all Anpanman and the Donburiman Trio could do is watch.
"One, two, three! Ta-da!"
The Donburiman Trio were finally at the bakery, making sure everyone had plenty of donburi to choose from.
"Time to eat!" Uncle Jam and Batako happily said (with Cheese barking in tune to it), as the three started to enjoy their meals.
"Delicious!" Batako happily said.
"Really?!" The Donburiman Trio all said at the same time, their eyes gleaming with pride. It was such a relief to hear those words again!
"You've been through quite a day, haven't you?" Uncle Jam happily asked.
"You don't even know the half of it!" Tendonman said.
"Though, I wonder…" Katsudonman said, deep in thought. "That one universe we went to…what is it…?"
This same thought was said by someone known as Katsudonchan in another world at the exact same time, making everyone in that world ponder the idea just as much as the other one. But, I guess you could just level it down to three heads are better than one…especially three heads outside of a single one.