A couple of things stand out from this week’s Bakuman for me. First, that 9th grade is really awkward. And second, that creating a manga is hard. Really, really hard.
I’ve seen complaints that the romance in this story isn’t very compelling so far, but I think that’s rather the point. Masahiro and Azuki are so shy they apparently never said a word to each other for three grades. And now, even though he’s pledged to put her in an anime and marry her, he’s too bashful to even ask for her email address. As for Takagi, his romantic counterpart in Kaya, Azuki’s best friend. She’s as rash and outgoing as Azuki is quiet and introverted, but she doesn’t have an especially high opinion of herself apparently. Still, he confessed – sort of – and she seems interested. Masahiro’s expert opinion as an authority on romance is that she’s into him.
I think the romance will pick up, but really this is more of a bromance series than a romance one. Not literally of course – though it looked pretty close there for a bit – but it’s basically about male friendship and chasing a dream. What a dream, though. It’s not as if I didn’t know writing a manga was hard, but this story does a great job of portraying just how brutally hard it really is. I write and I know how exhausting that can be when you’re really into it, but with a manga – wow. I can’t even imagine what it’s like for the mangaka who do both the writing and art. And the really brutal thing, despite spending literally their entire summer vacation crafting their manuscript, it’s almost sure to be rejected. All that work is basically practice. Not that they didn’t get something out of it – they boys basically had a vacation-length sleepover at their very own condo, and in the process bonded as an artistic (and only artistic, OK?) couple. Their manuscript is titled “Two Earths”. Is it a good idea? I don’t know – I flipped back and forth on that as they were describing it – in the end, I think it’s the kind of idea a kid in 9th grade would think is really cool. We also get more hints in this one that Niizuma Eji is going to be both an inspiration and a rival – in fact, I thought for a minute that he might’ve been the kid in the convenience store with the headphones.
Next week: editors! That could get ugly.