There was a pattern in the first season, where manga-heavy eps tended to be followed by romance-heavy ones. So far it holds up here, as next week looks like we’re back to the business side of things. But the main focus here was on Mashiro and Azuki, and I know this pairing didn’t appeal to everyone. I rather liked it for the sheer oddness of the relationship – the both of them being romantics to a fault. And I do mean fault – they whole notion that they wouldn’t see each other until after each was successful in their respective dreams was carrying purity to the point of absurdity, especially before Azuki moved a long train ride away. But in a sense, I sort of admire them for their stubbornness.
Of course, this type of relationship inevitably leads to problems for teenagers, and while the series doesn’t really worry over the most obvious one (sexual frustration) it does spend some time chewing on the subtler ones. The crisis this time is instigated by Miho’s agency putting pressure on her to do a photo book, an idea about which she’s naturally ambivalent. Her response – to tell Mashiro that she’d want him to see her naked before she posed in a bikini – was a novel one, and I was really hoping he was going to take her up on it. But this being anime and teens actually having sex being almost unheard of in the mainstream, of course he didn’t – and in the end it sort of brought them closer together.
So what do you think about her putting so much weight on his opinion in making her decision? Well, at least Mashiro was honest and I can’t fault him for that. Fact is she clearly didn’t want to do it anyway, and I think he knew that. I was also a bit bemused at the notion of Takagi being so horrified that Mashiro would actually miss a day’s work to go and see Miho. Frankly, considering that Takagi has earlier bailed on Mashiro for weeks while he was supposed to be working on names and spent most of that time with Miyoshi – not to mention the fact that he can see his girl whenever he wants – I think Takagai had a lot of gall to call Miho and get her to stop Mashiro from going to see her. Their partnership has never seemed an even one to me, but that’s just me.
As a writer with no artistic talent whatsoever it pains me to say it, but it really seems like the artist half of a mangaka pair has the worst of the deal. Once the writing is done, the writing is done – if Takagi wants to slag off and be with Miyoshi, no biggie. But the entire team of assistants’ work schedule crumbles if the artist doesn’t stay on track. It’s the artist who faces most of the stress of the deadlines, that’s for sure. And even if the writer wants to help, there isn’t a whole lot he can do. At least in this case Mashiro has a very capable lead assistant in Ogawa taking care of him, but man – the tension in that studio was unbearable, even as a viewer. Things were sure livelier with Niizuma-sensei and his assistants!
Am I nuts, or was that KOOGY I saw in the preview? Hmmm – back to try and buy his way to success as a mangaka again?