I guess things are a little bit different in the world of mangaka than they are for aspiring writers in the States. I’m not an artist and I can’t speak for aspiring comic book authors, but as someone who’s submitted written work for publication many times I can tell you this – you don’t just pick up the phone and get an appointment for the next day with the editor of the largest circulation literary magazine in America. You can certainly tell it’s a bit of a heartless experience, but that’s still a pretty cool thing. Given how the authors have focused on realism here and I’m confident something so organic must be drawn mostly from their own experience, I suspect that’s really how it happened.
I thought the entire trip to the offices of “Jack” was handled very well. Obviously the boys were going to be exceptionally nervous given the importance of the day, but their reactions were interesting. Takagi was hyper, terrified, desperate to please. Masahiro, by contrast, seemed very calm and composed. His exposure to his Uncle’s professional life has made him something of a pro himself, whether he realized it or not. The editor, Hottori, was a well-drawn character and the mood of the office – bored and hectic at the same time – will be familiar to anyone who’s ever worked in a big organization like that.
And what of “The Two Earths”? Well, the anime staff made an interesting choice in “animating” a good chunk of it. I thought about what the editor thought – it’s a good idea that didn’t feel like a manga. For me, it was like the idea of a really clever 14 year-old boy – for Hottori, it was an idea better suited to a light novel. “If you can’t tell the story with the characters and illustrations, why draw a manga?” Hilariously enough, cucumber-cool Masahiro thought the same all along – but per their agreement offered no feedback on the story idea. As for the art, Hottori felt it was beautiful but not manga art – too detailed, the lines too thick. His ears certainly pricked up when he found out Masahiro had only been using manga pens for two months, though. They walked out of his office with an email address and their manga submitted to the submission contest – a success by almost any measure.
Now it appears at least part of the drama will shift back to the relationships as Masahiro got a huge surprise when he got back to class – he and Azuki are seated right next to each other. Guess that not seeing each other till 18 thing is out the window, now. And it finally looks as if we’re going to see Eiji Niizuma next week – the great “rival” of our heroes. Hottori opined that Masahiro and Takagi might be better than Niizuma by the time they’re 17. I hope he doesn’t get set up as a cartoon villain – his character design is certainly extreme enough. So far, what I’ve loved about this show is it’s determinedly realistic tone and avoidance of dramatic cliches, and a “villain” would run contrary to that. A rival, on the other hand, could spice things up nicely on the manga side just as they’re clearly about to be spiced up on the romance side…