Bakuman 2 – 17

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Pretty much everything in Bakuman is going to hell in a handbasket at the moment.  I’m pissed off at pretty much everyone and everything in it – but in the end, I guess that’s much better than not caring at all.

At the moment, maybe the one I feel most sorry for is Takahama.  He’s seeing his life’s dream collapsing around him, his editor it both useless and a complete tool who tossed him aside when his manga got into trouble, and his assistants continue to have annoying conversations at work about a non-existent relationship that one is pursuing, and the other would like to avoid at any costs.  It’s not surprising that he finally lost his cool and popped up at Nakai and Katou, or that he finally went directly to Saski to express his frustration.

Not that turned out well for Takahama, of course.  If you recall from my post on episode 10, I predicted that Sasaki would back the incompetent Miura to the hilt, and never support a writer in a conflict with an editor.  It would have been nice to be proved wrong, but I’ve worked for too many corporate hacks to believe there was any possibility of that.  What Takahama tried to do – go over hos boss’ head – almost never works, because politics is more important that right and wrong in almost all corporate environments.  And Takahama went about it badly, obviously not having prepared himself to fight back when Sasaki challenged him.  Sadly, I feel as if he was backed into a corner though – by an editor who didn’t have his best interests at heart and wouldn’t know how to promote them if he did.  The fact that Sasaki was able to have Ashirogi witness his humiliation of Takahama – just in can’t they were getting any ideas – was just gravy for him.

I hate the see Miura portrayed as a comical character, because what he’s doing is anything but funny.  He’s destroying people’s dreams with his incompetence, and there’s seemingly no end in sight.  Given the “choice” Sasaki presented Takama, I think he – and Ashirogi – would be better off letting their contracts be ripped up and walking to another magazine like Shounen Sunday.  I certainly don’t expect that to happen, especially with Ashirogi, but I hope Takagi and Mashiro put their foot down and demand to write the manga they feel they should.  It was good, at least, that Sasaki and his committee rejected “Tanto” for serialization, both because it’s a crap manga and because it puts off the ill-advised premature nuptials of Takagi and Miyoshi.  For God’s sake, I’m sick of “Tanto” – can we please be done with this monstrosity already?  It’s a giant black-hole in the middle of the story sucking all the joy out of it, and I’m monstrously sick of it.  Enough!

What makes Miura’s feeble ineptitude all the more galling is seeing Hattori display the complete opposite traits as an editor.  He’s smart, he’s fearless, and he’s willing to think outside the box – as witness his outlandish but ingenious scheme to get Niizuma to do the art for Iwase’s manga.  Eiji is a freak of course, as witness his ability to do a storyboard in about three minutes – and Hattori knew full well he’d buy into the idea as soon as he saw Iwase’s script.  It’s a win-win, even if an artist has never had two “Jack” titles in serialization at the same time – it gets Eiji fired up again, and it potentially makes Hattori and Hattori look like geniuses – and Hattori also correctly guessed that Hattori would relent and allow Eiji to do the art when he saw the potential upside.  The fact that he’s doing it in secret just makes Hattori look that much more GAR.  I’m no Iwase fan, but the potential good in this plotline – it gets Eiji involved, and it might piss Ashirogi off enough to make them stand up for themselves – outweighs any concerns about Iwase.

Finally, we have Nakai – who seems to have finally realized he’s been acting like a complete douchebag, which is good.  Alas, his response to that is to pack up his things and flee back to the apple orchards of his hometown.  It’s amazing that after getting their mangas rejected and cancelled Mashiro and Takahama found space in their hearts to worry about Nakai and try to help him, and that Aoki was willing to accompany Fukuda to his apartment after the way Nakai treated her.  I can understand it especially from Mashiro, as Nakai was a mentor to him as an artist – but in this case Takagi was probably right, Nakai did have it coming.  I suspect we’ll see him again, though, once he realizes that he’s not cut out for apple-picking.

A quick note: as you’re probably aware comments in Blogger can’t be spoiler-tagged.  Please be courteous and avoid posting manga spoilers in the episode comments.  I’ll delete them when I see them, but that can be too late for some readers.  Thanks for your cooperation.

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ED2: “Parallel=” (パラレル=)” by Fumiya Sashida (指田郁也)

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  1. K

    I worked for a fortune 500 company for many years. Its pretty commonplace for companies to have useless managers and supervisors that don't have a clue what they are doing and yet because they have a degree the company backs them no matter what happens because thats the way it has always been done. When workers go over the supervisors head to "their boss" that person says to follow the chain of command and go back and talk to your supervisor.

    Miura is a career killer and anything he touches (manages) turns to shit. The quicker the boys get away from his incompetence and back to a good editor the better they will be (I do read the manga so I will refrain from spoiling whats gonna happen).

  2. S

    This is the EXACT end of volume 8 and I am so psyched for next week. Now that the drama of Nakai is gone, we can actually get onto some manga action! The transition of Aoki over the past few episodes has made her one of the characters I look forward to and she seems to be helping in shifting things in this series. It will be interesting to see the pairing of Niizuma and Iwase with the rivalry of Ashirogi.

    Volume 9 has not been released in USA so this episode is new territory for those that do read physical translated copies. Comes out early February.

  3. Thanks for joining the discussion, Snuckerpooks (is it me, or does that sound like a name Gundam would be proud to use).

    I see this Iwase-Eiji pairing as part of a master plan by Hattori (who i still think sees Ashirogi as potentially the greatest shounen mangaka of them all) to motivate and help them, without being able to do so directly. He's just smart and GAR enough to pull it off.

  4. b

    Manga spoiler or not, it's pretty obvious Tanto won't last long.
    How exactly is the thing to look forward too.

    And I've been wondering about Niizuma being the artist in Iwase's work.
    Because Bakuman is mostly using the facts and data from WSJ, like with the oneshots before(Beelzebub and NuraMago which started as oneshots becoming full-fledged mangas), and the data for gag mangas(mentioning Bobobo-bobobo, Reborn, and others).
    So I was wondering if this has happened before in WSJ, an author running two works in Jump. I know for a fact that there are authors running 2 or 3 mangas, just in different magazines. Seo Kouji for example. He's running Kimi no Iru Machi(weekly) in Shounen Magazine and Princess Lucia(monthly) in Comic Blade. He even ran Love Plus:Rinko Days as well, though only a short run(11 chaps).
    I need to look more into this.

  5. R

    im dal young, nuff said. He have to many work that make him to drop and end prematurely his series, example unbalancexunbalance, this series have potential but he go hiatus 2 years ago and recently ended this series badly.

  6. b

    Dunno if Im-Dal-Young counts coz I think most of his works are manhwa, not manga, regardless if it's read from left to right. I haven't checked though if he is running his works on the same magazine. I'm guessing no but I could be wrong.
    And I was looking for an example as similar as the situation of Eiji and Iwase now. Eiji is drawing "Crow" while he'll draw the art of Iwase's work. Im-Dal-Young only does the story and has different artists for his works.

  7. d

    Hahahahahaha! Oh man, I soooo called Hattori's crazy secret plan. What got me was how he wanted Eiji to do the art but that makes perfect sense since his art is the only thing that rivals Mashiro's art. Even with so little screen time, you can predict what's in Hattori's mind if you pay close attention. Just this development alone is enough for me to push away the scrap plots that have been scattering around in this arc. I for one hope to see Ashirogi really stand up like how they always would when they wanted to do something. I think they need their strong-head teenage naivety to come back to push them back on the right track. That's their story driven manga. Oh yeah, I soooo agree with you about Sasaki being a corporate shill especially since I think he did it not for Takahama but to scare Ashirogi.

  8. N

    Nakai and Miura have both been asses, for sure, but more than anger and annoyance I find myself feeling sorry for them. In both cases, what it all boils down to is insecurity (which, in Miura's case, is greatly assisted by inexperience). This show is about Mashiro and Takagi, so naturally anyone who stands in their way is an antagonist, but right now, I find Miura a lot easier to relate to (possibly because I've recently started working in a place where I feel I'm doing a pretty crappy job, not due to lack of motivation but because of sheer incompatibility)

  9. TBH, I dislike Miura much, much more than Nakai. Nakai is mostly hurting himself, while Miura is hurting other people. I don't dislike him for being incompetent, but he's also proven himself to be inflexible and frankly, when it comes to Takahama, disloyal and unethical.

    No doubt, Nakai is being a total ass – what he did to Aoki was slimy. But again, most of the damage is to his own career.

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