Bakuman – 25 (End)

Again, apologies for the belated nature of this review and wrap-up. I finally have a hotel with wi-fi now, but I’m still in Japan for 5 more days and I’m not going to be able to really catch up (Infinite Stratos, Gosick, loads of First Impressions – uguu…) until I return – I love anime but I’m only in Japan a few times in a lifetime, so there’s only so much time I can devote to blogging for now. It does make a nice way to end the day, though…

Buy boy, Bakuman sure went out with a bang. This last stretch of episodes is where the series really started to feel like a shounen title – they were breathlessly exciting. The exposition of the innards of the shounen manga industry continued, this time with a focus on what a serialization meeting looks like. In addition to being really, really tense it was also very educational – I loved the little details, like how each team leader gets a turn “leading” the meeting – but it’s the editor-in-chief who makes the proclamations. It was also interesting to hear the back and forth of how and why a series (and writer) should be chosen. There are lots of crass commercial elements to this, no doubt, but talent is a little factor too.

Of course the one manga out of the whole batch I would be most likely to actually read lost – and that’s “Hideout Door”. That and Fukuda’s “Knight” got initial yes voted from the Chief, but didn’t make the final cut. What did also make the cut was “Otter # 11” – and non-manga readers finally get to see who the guy on the train with the manga was. Given the love those readers seem to have for this character I’m looking forward to seeing him in S2 this Winter.

All of the loose ends were tied up pretty well. Masahiro spent some time with his family, and I got a little verklempt when he started talking to the Uncle who inspired him to live out his dream. His Dad repeated the great line from the premiere about “dreams only men understand” – which was joined in the ranks this week by Myoshi’s “Male bonding sure is great.” Eiji officially proclaimed the start of the friendly rivalry with Ashirogi Muto. We even got an actual conversation between Masahiro and Azuki – ironically a phone conversation with he standing right outside her house but hey – it’s still progress, right?

What we didn’t get was any resolution of the Nakai or Fukuda storylines. They both failed again, especially crippling for Nakai since he’s running out of time. We also got an interesting twist at the end when Hattori introduced an unknown guy to the boys as “their new editor”. What’s up with that? Well, I guess we can wait six months to find out – or read the manga…

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