| Spoiler Alert: This page contains major spoilers from the events of the games. |
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|“||It's more than just lacking siege experience; that guy lacks common sense.||”|
—Minerva Margaret, on Kechak Bangor.
|Age / Birth||31 / GI0990|
|Skill levels||- (?)|
|Appeared in||Rance IX|
Kechak Bangor was the supreme commander of the Helman Army throughout the Helmanian Revolution. An incompetent and unqualified individual elevated to great stature solely through family connections, he is a prime example of the great northern nation's decay and corruption under the despotic leadership of Prime Minister Stessel Romanov.
Kechak was given his position sometime after the coronation of Empress Sheila Helman in LP0002. Raised for the purpose of being a submissive figurehead, Sheila's becoming empress allowed Stessel to act more freely in shaping the country to achieve his desires than he had under the previous emperor, effectively appointing him as its true leader. Fearing the possibility of having his newfound power threatened, Stessel removed several influential people from office and filled their vacancies with replacements who were entirely deferential to him. Kechak, a relative of Stessel's, was one such substitute, and was granted command over the nation's entire armed forces on the condition that he obediently do everything that the prime minister asked of him.
As its new leader, Kechak quickly developed an extremely poor relationship with several high-ranking members of the Helman Army, who expressed frequent frustration with his ignorance in military management and abrasive personality. In recognition of his insufferable character and transparent status as a puppet for Stessel, he was given the nickname of "Piss Kechak" by his subordinates, which steadily spread in popularity across all of the army's branches.
In the year LP0003, rumors of a growing resistance movement against the government began to spread across Helman, causing several disillusioned soldiers to desert in the hope of joining it. Kechak received numerous reports relating to these incidents, but chose to pay them no mind due to believing concerning himself with the actions of individual soldiers to be beneath someone in his station.
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During the events of Rance IX, Kechak received a report that the resistance movement, now titled the Helman Revolutionary Army, had seized control of the city of Laborie on the nation's southernmost edge. Fearing the punishment he would receive for allowing this newfound threat to emerge, he attempted to eliminate the Revolutionary Army before Stessel was made aware of it by commissioning a siege unit composed of 2,000 knights of the 1st and 5th armies, the country's most elite fighting forces, to attack it. These orders were challenged by Lelyukov Berkov and Rolex Gadras, the respective generals of the two armies, who considered it impractical to rely entirely on defensively-oriented knights for siege combat. Kechak disregarded these concerns and went through with launching the attack regardless, only for the generals’ concerns to be proven correct when the squad reached Laborie, where it was quickly forced to retreat due to the heavily-armored knights being incapable of scaling the large wall that surrounded the city.
Following the failed operation, Kechak was forced to reveal the existence of the Revolutionary Army to Stessel during a meeting between the Council of Eight. In an attempt to deflect the furious Stessel’s blame away from himself, Kechak claimed that the siege unit he had commissioned was intended to simply scout the enemy's numbers in preparation for a more concerted attack. While Stessel doubted this excuse, he nonetheless composed himself and told Kechak to call for the 2nd and 4th armies, whose respective territories bordered the western and eastern sides of Laborie, to launch a pincer attack on the Revolutionary Army.
A mere few days after the order to assault Laborie was given, the council received a message from Nero Chapet VII, the general of the 4th Army, informing them that he had been attacked by a mysterious group of warriors known as the Outlaws and was unable to take command of the soldiers he had sent in the direction of Laborie. While Kechak was outraged by Nero’s inability to subdue such a small number of enemies, Stessel maintained a cool head and recalled a report they had been given earlier about the Outlaws outmaneuvering the division of the City Guard stationed in the city of Volgo Z. Recognizing the potential risk that the Outlaws posed, Stessel instructed Kechak to send the 5th Army, which specialized in guerilla warfare and maneuverability, to intercept them.
Almost immediately after the 5th Army was sent out, a second report was presented to the council stating that the 2nd Army had become preoccupied by a sudden attack from a large swarm of Monsters along the border between Helman and the Monster Realm and could not move toward Laborie as a result. Frustrated, Stessel had Kechak call for Minerva Margaret, general of the 3rd Army, and commanded her to have half of her soldiers reinforce the city of Semitap, which stood on the most direct path from Laborie to the capital city of Lang Bau, intending to defensively stall the enemy until the 2nd Army was free to take action.
Sometime later, Kechak learned that the Outlaws had been in contact with the Kingdom of Leazas, which had served as a major rival to Helman throughout history. From this information, he immediately jumped to the assumption that the Outlaws had been sent by Leazas as a means of occupying Helman while it was in a state of civil unrest and hastily attempted a countermeasure. Going against Stessel’s previous instructions, he ordered the 5th Army to change its course from attacking the Outlaws to invading Leazas from its border along the Barao Mountains. Though Rolex was irritated by the abruptness of this command, he chose to consent to it and proceeded to lead his troops into the mountain range. Once at the borderline, the 5th Army was greeted by the Leazas Red Corps, the enemy country's strongest army, and engaged it in a brief skirmish. As he opposed the dangers of entering into a war so suddenly, Rolex elected to have his army retreat back into Helman after defeating Leila Grecni, who had been acting in the place of Rick Addison as general of the Red Corps while he covertly fought alongside the Outlaws, preventing either party from invading the other's nation.
After readjusting the 5th Army's orders, Kechak directed the 1st Army to destroy the Outlaws in its place. As he feared that Lelyukov, who had opposed him many times in the past, would choose to defect to the Revolutionary Army, he restricted the veteran general to using only 300 of his soldiers, planning to have the remaining thousands assist the 3rd Army in defending the capital. Lelyukov was conscious of this distrust, but loyally complied with the command regardless. Despite this, however, he chose to go against Kechak's instruction to station his men in the city of Pawn in preparation for the Outlaws, instead predicting that they would move toward Yankutsk after exiting the 4th Army's base in Cossack.
Shortly after Lelyukov made his exit from Lang Bau, Kechak was approached by Stessel, who revealed that he had received a report confirming Nero’s death at the hands of the Outlaws. When questioned about how such a small group could defeat an army in a fortified city like Cossack, Stessel stated that the Outlaws had utilized a mysterious floating fortress to pass through its defenses with ease. Additionally, Stessel confirmed that the section of the 4th Army sent in the direction of Laborie had gone against orders and moved into Sudori 13 to serve under Lieutenant-General Cream Ganoblade, who had declared her loyalty to the Revolutionary Army. Infuriated, Kechak hastily commanded a section of the 1st Army that had remained at the capital to charge toward Sudori 13 and crush this new branch of the rebellion, only for it to have the opposite effect and result in thousands of the dispirited soldiers deciding to ally themselves with it.
Kechak later traveled to Yankutsk to confront Lelyukov after his soldiers had succeeded in outmaneuvering the Outlaws by trapping them inside of the city and forcing them to temporarily retreat to safety. Completely ignoring that he had incorrectly guessed that they would attack Pawn, Kechak exploded at Lelyukov for allowing the Outlaws to enter the city and letting them escape rather than destroy them as he had been ordered. Lelyukov admitted that he had intended to capture the Outlaws, but justified having them move inside of Yankutsk as a means of passively evaluating the capabilities of the floating fortress they had used to take Cossack. Kechak brushed this reasoning off as an excuse and commanded the general to only fight outside of the city, threatening to have him discharged if he did otherwise. Lelyukov surmised that Kechak had only asked him to do this out of spite for disobeying his previous instructions, but agreed to follow the new orders regardless.
The unreasonableness of Kechak's command resulted in Lelyukov’s division almost getting wiped out during its next encounter with the Outlaws. Out of disgust for Kechak's ineptitude, nearly half of the unit's 300 soldiers chose to desert to the Revolutionary Army rather than continue fighting in vain. For his part, Lelyukov chose to not join the revolution himself, instead resolving to give his life acting as a final wall for the revolution to overcome to prove that it had what it took to bring a new dawn onto Helman. After launching a final stand against the Outlaws at Twin Fort, a fortress neighboring Yankutsk, he was killed in battle, dying with the satisfaction of getting to see the strength of the country's future firsthand.
When word of Lelyukov's death reached the ears of the Council of Eight, a heavy air ran through their meeting chamber as they grappled with losing their most esteemed general. This shock and uncertainty soon transformed into anger directed at Kechak for his culpability in the incident. In an effort to curb Stessel’s rage, Kechak tried to spin the situation into a positive by reminding his fellow council members of Lelyukov’s past antagonism toward them and drawing attention to the fact that the vast majority of the 1st Army had remained unharmed, but was met with a tepid response. Stessel, anticipating that the loss of Lelyukov would galvanize many individuals throughout the military into joining the Revolutionary Army, elected to integrate the remaining 1st Army soldiers into the 3rd Army and have their combined numbers serve as a singular capital defense force, contacting Minerva to return to Lang Bau from Semitap.
With the Outlaws having now killed two of the Helman Army’s generals, Stessel assigned the entirety of the 5th Army the duty of eliminating them. In a preemptive attempt at motivating the unruly and insubordinate group, he also had Kechak outsource the aid of several high profile mercenary brigades from around the country to fight alongside them, hoping that the threat of competition would push them into carrying out their orders as they were told. The gambit proved to have the opposite effect, with Rolex finding having to rely on mercenaries to be cowardly and refusing to deploy any of his soldiers to defend Fort Solotoy, the location the Outlaws were expected to approach next, in protest, which allowed it to be captured with relative ease.
Thrown into a fit of panic and frustration at the 5th Army’s flagrant disobedience, Kechak was at a loss for finding a reliable means of subjugating the Outlaws, who had steadily begun to move toward Lang Bau. To his surprise, Stessel presented a drastic solution that involved sending someone impersonating Empress Sheila to Kulov, the final fortress standing between the Outlaws and the capital, with the aim of pressuring the 5th Army into fighting with every ounce of its strength to protect her. After this manipulative operation was agreed on, a second report arrived announcing that the section of the Revolutionary Army stationed in Sudori 13 had begun moving in the direction of Lang Bau, heightening the tension within the capital even further. With an all-out war now looking inevitable, Stessel instructed Kechak to have all of the 3rd Army reinforce Micrograd, the most defensively-oriented location on the Revolutionary Army’s warpath, and begin preparing for the enemy.
As the battle for Kulov commenced, Kechak summoned Minerva to Lang Bau and demanded that she think of a way to defend the Great Northern Bridge, the only structure standing between Kulov and the capital, as a measure against the Outlaws. Minerva first proposed to simply detonate the bridge before the Outlaws were given the chance to cross it, but was immediately rejected by Gorbuff, the captain of the Helman Engineer Corps, who stated that the plans used to construct the bridge had been lost to time and that there would be no way to repair it once it had been destroyed.
A ways into the debate, a soldier rushed into the war room with the news that the 5th Army had abandoned Kulov before the fighting had started, allowing the Outlaws to capture the city with relative ease. Now terrified, Kechak instantly agreed with Minerva’s second suggestion to line the Great Northern Bridge with high stone walls to prevent the Outlaws’ floating fortress from being able to move across it. The plan was again rebuffed by Gorbuff, who explained that it would take several days just to prepare the stones necessary to construct a wall of such a height, only for Minerva to suggest using the gravestones of the Great Imperial Cemetery, which were already properly carved and close to the bridge’s location. Gorbuff, a proud member of a prolific military family, was intensely offended by the idea, declaring it to be blasphemous to the people and history of Helman, and refused to allow it to happen. To cease his protests, Minerva ended his life with a swing of her axe, intimidating both Kechak and the vice captain of the Engineer Corps into obediently following through with the plan.
While initial construction of the barricade along the Great Northern Bridge went smoothly, news that the 3rd Army had desecrated the Imperial Cemetery, the burial place of his beloved wife, caused Rolex to fully renounce the government and begin preparing to lead his troops in a revolt from within Micrograd. As Micrograd connected directly to Lang Bau through the Great Eastern Bridge, the impromptu rebellion posed an immediate threat to the empire, pressing Kechak into commanding Minerva to stop them. Additionally, the Outlaws unexpectedly chose to advance toward the Great Northern Bridge immediately after seizing Kulov, preventing the Engineer Corps from having sufficient time to complete the barrier. Through crafty tactics and the wanton sacrifice of the lives of several of her own soldiers, Minerva managed to effectively defend both fronts and near-totally wipe out the 5th Army at the Eastern Bridge while forcing the Outlaws to temporarily retreat at the Northern Bridge. By the time the Outlaws returned to the bridge for a second attack, the Engineer Corps had finished building a small fortress out of grave stones, which was able to keep all but three of the group’s members from passing through into the capital.
Later at Lang Bau, Kechak received a letter from Convert Tax, the lieutenant-general of the 2nd Army, and presented its contents before the rest of the council. Convert revealed that the unceasing monster attacks the 2nd Army had been distracted with had actually been caused by its general, Aristoles Calm, who had secretly been cooperating with the Revolutionary Army. After attempting to execute Aristoles for his treachery, Convert seized control over the 2nd Army and began moving it in the direction of the two major sites of the Revolutionary Army. News also arrived confirming the positive results of Minerva’s strategy for intercepting the Outlaws, further bolstering the council's confidence. With the only remaining means of entry into Lang Bau being the deadly tundras to its north, Stessel believed the Outlaws to have effectively been destroyed, and instructed Kechak to focus on defending Micrograd until the 2nd Army arrived to bring about a decisive victory against the rebels.
In a surprising turn of events, Cream, the leader of the division of the Revolutionary Army stationed in Sudori 13, maneuvered her troops toward the Great Southern Bridge to evade the approaching 2nd Army. As Kechak had called for all of the 3rd Army to station itself in Micrograd, there were no soldiers present in Semitap to defend against Cream’s army, allowing it to close in on Lang Bau with minimal difficulty. His relief turned to terror once again, Kechak hastily commanded Minerva to destroy the invading rebels, only for her to inform him that it would take several hours to redeploy her army from Micrograd. In another shocking turn, the Great Gate, the last bastion that protected Lang Bau from intruders, was seized by the Outlaws, who braved the harrowing tundras to covertly enter the capital from the north, and raised to allow the Revolutionary Army entrance into the city. Once inside Lang Bau, the Revolutionary Army immediately moved to block the eastern entrance, preventing all but a small fraction of the 3rd Army from entering from Micrograd. In an instant, the war situation had been turned around completely, with Lang Bau now effectively serving as a cage that entrapped the nation’s leaders.
With defeat now seeming inevitable, the council convened for a final strategy meeting. When asked to summarize the war situation, Kechak, facing the brunt of the blame for their circumstances, sheepishly revealed that the 2nd Army’s march had been delayed by the appearance of a decoy squad at Fort Pawn and would arrive at Lang Bau later than anticipated. In a hollow effort to remedy his associates’ fury, he assured them that the 2nd Army would defeat the Revolutionary Army in an instant and claimed that they would only have to wait a short while longer to be rescued. His claims were rejected by Stessel, who believed that the rebels would be able to reinforce the entrance to Lang Bau from Micrograd enough to bottleneck the 2nd Army and prevent it from effectively utilizing its size advantage. Unable to cope with the idea of losing, Stessel fell into a fit of rage, grief, and insanity and resolved to destroy all of Helman before it could be taken from him, storming out of the council chamber cackling hysterically. Kechak, completely oblivious to Stessel's intentions, was left dumbfounded and alone in seeking a means of defending the capital.
Without Stessel to direct him, the panicking Kechak summoned Minerva and a few of her subordinates to the war room for the ostensible purpose of planning a counterattack against the Revolutionary Army. Rather than offer any kind of constructive input, however, he instead chose to rant at them like a frustrated child, claiming that it was their inability to effectively follow his orders that caused them to reach such a dire state, and screamed at Minerva to think of a way to stop the rebels. Minerva responded to Kechak with cold indifference, stating bluntly that the ineffectual leadership of the likes of him and Stessel had placed them in a position where defending Lang Bau was impossible. Kechak attempted to reprimand Minerva for her rudeness, only for her to tell him that she would save him from a death at the hands of the Revolutionary Army by ending his life herself and begin walking toward him with murderous intent, killing the other knights in the room when they moved in to stop her. Terrified for his life, Kechak hid in a corner and tried to bargain with Minerva by claiming that he would serve as her most loyal servant. When this did not work, he weakly asked if she was making a joke, which she answered by driving one of her axes through his skull, killing him in an instant.
Following Kechak's death, Minerva staged a coup within Lang Bau as the Revolutionary Army closed in on it, killing Stessel and all who supported him and declaring herself the new empress of Helman. Minerva was soon fought and defeated by the Outlaws before the 2nd Army was able to arrive. Raising the flag of the revolution from the top of Lang Bau, the hard-fought battle against Stessel's regime had been won at last, allowing the nation to begin the slow and steady process of reforming itself from ruin. Kechak's position as supreme commander of the armed forces was succeeded by Hubert Lipton, one of the leading members of the Revolutionary Army and the son of the legendary general Thoma Lipton. Completely opposite to Kechak's antagonistic impotence, Hubert won the respect and loyalty of soldiers from all standings through his relaxed, relatable, and reliable personality, and continued to command the army unwaveringly until the end of his long life.
Kechak's fate differs slightly in Tokugawa Sen's non-canonical ending route, where he elects to follow the maddened Stessel out of the council chamber before the siege of Lang Bau rather than remain within it. This action causes him to be present when Stessel is killed by Minerva, and fall silent with fear and shock as she proceeds to slaughter the remaining members of the council. As the last of the group standing, Kechak is offered by Minerva to serve under her while she coordinates a strategy to defend against the surrounding army, which he agrees to without hesitation. Due to his lack of strength or skill, Kechak is made to act as little more than an errand boy, relaying orders from Minerva to members of the 3rd Army when she cannot speak to them herself.
During the Outlaws' final attack on Lang Bau, Kechak encounters Rance, the leader of the group, just as he charges into the capital from its main entrance. Surprised to see another person so suddenly, Rance swings his sword at Kechak on reflex and kills him immediately. After his death, Rance asks Patton Misnarge, the leader of the Revolutionary Army, who Kechak was, expressing excitement after learning he was the leader of the enemy army followed by disappointment after being told that he was merely a figurehead with no real power of his own. Kechak's body is promptly abandoned by the group as they proceed further into Lang Bau to defeat Minerva and truly end the war.
Personality and Appearance
Kechak was a lean man with a long, angular face, short dark blue hair styled into a permed pompadour, and a thin mustache of matching color. His clothing consisted of a a white-colored tunic with green and gold lining and khaki-colored sleeves, matching khaki pants, black boots with gold accents, a red cape, and a black and gold collar denoting him as the head of his nation's military. Kechak was never seen without a riding crop in his hands, which he would occasionally lash across nearby surfaces to emphasize points and intimidate others.
Short-tempered and simple-minded, Kechak was poorly suited for handling the duties of a military leader, which require a person who is equal parts calm and adaptable. In particular, he was noted to have absolutely no understanding of strategic combat, overlooking crucial details such as the location and timing of battles in favor of relying entirely on the Helman Army's size to overcome enemies through sheer force of numbers. This ignorance led him to make numerous simplistic mistakes with major negative consequences, such as when he deployed a large squad of heavily-armored knights to siege the protected city of Laborie, in the process managing only to waste a significant amount of time, money, and manpower when it proved to be incapable of scaling the large wall that surrounded it.
Kechak was tremendously thin-skinned and standoffish, and would react with anger and annoyance whenever someone of lower standing from himself questioned his decisions, deliberately ignoring their input afterwards as a way of slighting them. Similarly, he was also averse to having to accept blame for his mistakes, and would attempt to accuse others of being at fault whenever his plans went awry. For these reasons, he was given the mocking nickname of "Piss Kechak" by his subordinates, which frustrated him to no end.
In stark contrast to his abusive attitude toward his subordinates, Kechak acted astoundingly obsequious when around those who held power over him, revealing an inherent cowardice beneath his bluster. He was especially groveling toward Stessel Romanov, his relative and the person responsible for bestowing him with his rank as supreme commander, and blindly agreed with everything he said with manufactured fawning and enthusiasm. Kechak was deeply afraid of the consequences of angering Stessel, and would occasionally go against his orders or hide important information from him in an effort to avoid drawing his ire, inevitably only managing to worsen the situation in doing so.
Stessel possessed no more affection for Kechak than he did any other person, merely employing him to act as a pawn to maintain his position as the absolute ruler of Helman without opposition, and showed no concern for his life or safety. After it became apparent that the Helmanian Revolution would become a major national incident, Stessel intended to place the entirety of the blame for the emergence of the Revolutionary Army on Kechak after its defeat, and planned to remove him from office and sentence him to execution as a means of suppressing any lingering discontent within the country.
Out of all of the Helman Army, Kechak nursed an exceptional grudge against General Lelyukov Berkov of the 1st Army. As the country's longest-standing general, Lelyukov held a kind of seniority over Kechak that caused the other man to constantly feel as though his authority was being challenged, with his colleague Bashou Matio going so far as to claim that he was always angry whenever it came to dealing with the veteran general. When administering orders to Lelyukov, Kechak would make a conscious effort to oppose any and all decisions he made and force him to work under difficult circumstances as a way of asserting dominance over him, prioritizing his own pride over efficiency. While Lelyukov was distrustful of Kechak, as he was toward all people associated with Stessel, he loyally agreed to amend his own strategies to fit his unreasonable demands out of a sense of allegiance to his country. Kechak expressed shock after Lelyukov lost his life as a direct result of his own machinations, suggesting that he took the ways in which he hindered the legendary general for granted.
An astonishingly untalented individual, Kechak was remarkable more for his complete lack of useful skills than any kind of genuine ability he may have possessed. While his position as supreme commander of the Helman military gave him total control over one of the most formidable armies to ever walk The Continent, he earned the title exclusively through family connections and had no qualities that would make him a desirable fit for it. He was hopelessly incompetent as a strategist, overlooking all nuances of warfare beyond simply throwing as many soldiers as possible at the most immediate threat in front of him, and was described as always failing whenever he took direct command of an army. These failures were evident throughout the Helmanian Revolution, where he made several critical errs in judgement that resulted in major losses for the Helman Army, including the death of the legendary general Lelyukov Berkov and the defection of thousands of jaded soldiers to the Revolutionary Army.
Kechak was no less pitiful as a combatant than he was as a leader. With a Level Cap of only 6 and no Skill Levels to speak of, he had even less potential for growth than the average civilian. Despite carrying a sword on his person, he seemingly had no fighting ability, and admitted to being a weakling when asked to directly participate on the frontlines himself. Kechak was also physically frail, to the point of instantly dying after getting hit by Rance on reflex; a feat of such impressive weakness that he devoted his last moments to expressing exasperated resignation at his own patheticness.
As a relative of Stessel Romanov, a blood descendant of the Holy Magic Sect, it is possible that Kechak possessed the ability to activate and control the technologies of the lost civilization. However, as no mention is ever made of Kechak's connection to the group, it is unlikely that he was aware of his heritage even if this were the case.
- Kechak has a semi-ironic fan following that claims him to have been the true hero of the Helmanian Revolution due to his blundering allowing the Revolutionary Army to score several key victories against the empire. This resulted in him placing 15th in the "Males and Others" category of the Rance IX Popularity Poll, tying with M.M Rune. His unusual popularity was acknowledged by the poll's commentator Peruelé Kalette, who described him as being "weirdly popular" and expressed confusion over why people were acting "like he did anything".
- Kechak is identified as Stessel's nephew in his Rance World Notes profile. This is notably the only source that states his exact relation to Stessel, with the Rance IX website and Rance IX itself exclusively describing their connection using the more ambiguous "relative". As such, it is unclear how accurate this information is.
- The Rance IX manual includes a piece of concept art depicting Kechak as a cyborg, ostensibly having been resurrected after dying in an explosion using the technology of the Holy Magic Sect. While the exact purpose of this design is unknown, Orion, the Rance Series' lead artist, later posted the image on his Twitter account and categorized it under "fun" (遊び) rather than "planning" (考案) as he generally does with scrapped story ideas, suggesting that it was never intended to actually appear within the game.
- Kechak's name is derived from the nickname given to Japanese-naturalized American fitness instructor and television personality Charles "Chuck" Wilson on the panel show Sekai Marugoto HOW Much. The name "Ke-Chuck" is a combination of "kechi", a Japanese word for stinginess, and Wilson's first name, in reference to his tendency to make extremely conservative estimates on the prices of items presented on the program. The origin of the name is further referenced in Orion's description of the artwork of cyborg Kechak in the Rance IX manual, where he claims that he "can't call him Kechak anymore!", which HOW Much host Kyosen Ōhashi would exclaim whenever Wilson went against his reputation and made a large estimate.
- The kana that make up Kechak's name (ケチャック・バンゴー) can be rearranged to spell out "Ketchup Rice" (ケチャップ・ゴハン, kechappu gohan), a Japanese-Western fusion comfort food.