Bakuman 2 – 18

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Tanto was serialized?  That’s the most depressing “good news” ever.

It’s looking inevitable that the crap gag manga (well, it is making me gag) is going to swallow up the rest of this season and deprive us of any coolness or GAR from Ashirogi Muto.  No good manga from the MC pair until the Fall at least?  Damn, that sucks – and it kind of just makes me want this season to end as quickly as possible.  It’s fortunate that there is some other interesting stuff happening, because if this series was all about Tanto is would be close to unwatchable.  I get that Ohba-sensei is trying to deliver a comprehensive look at what writing a gag manga is like, but it really feels like a questionable dramatic choice to me.

The irony here is that even though Hattori isn’t even their editor, he’s still doing far more for Ashirogi than Miura is.  You can see in Mashiro’s eyes this week that the light has finally clicked on – Miura just doesn’t get it.  He’s been trying to play the adult and think positively, but in this case he (and Takagi) should have trusted his first instincts.  Meanwhile Hattori has landed himself a major talent, and is using that to try and motivate Ashirogi to aim higher and do more.  Hattori’s main motivation is certainly in developing a successful manga in +Natural, and the little scheme involving Niizuma serves that goal – but Ashirogi seems to have been on his mind at every step of this process.

Of course, the sharp-eyed Yoshida lamped out the Hattoris’ little scheme as soon as he saw the artwork for +Natural – the Niizuma Eiji talent shining through through despite the pseudonym “MONEYS”.  There was turmoil inside the serialization meeting and out, but the quality of the work shone through.  Of course Sasaki had to punish the Hattoris for scheming behind his back, so he names Oonishi (who I don’t even recall seeing up to this point) as the new Lead Editor.  Every editor on the staff immediately starts whining about Eiji working on two serializations, and what do you know – we’ve finally found something the editors and authors agree on, because they start whining as soon as they find out, too.

It won’t be a surprise that it was Fukuda who was behind the dissent about this – as Hattori #2 says, he spends way too much time butting into other people’s business.  Often he’s in the right, but here, I think he’s wrong.  He calls an authors meeting ostensibly to share ideas, but really to bring their bitching to Eiji – who as usual comes up with the good and says effectively, “Tough shit.  If you don’t like it, write manga better than the ones I’m doing.”  Again Niizuma is the smartest guy in the room, which sometimes gets forgotten under all his theatrics and sill behavior.  Also behaving in a silly manner is Hiramaru (nothing new there), this time in his decision to pursue Aoki.  Alas, his plan to driver her home from Niizuma’s is foiled when his expensive German car is towed and she ends up riding on the back of Fukuda’s motorcycle.  Hilarious, but also quite telling about who Aoki ends up dating, I suspect.

Finally we have the matter of Takagi’s personal life to deal with, and Iwase isn’t making that easy.  Talented though she may be, Iwase is one of the most obnoxious characters in anime.  She’s arrogant, dismissive, judgmental, and worst of all her borderline-stalking of Takagi is genuinely creepy and scary.  If being beaten by her manga motivates Takagi, fine – but she just doesn’t know when to quit, even when he quite clearly tells her to get bent.  With all obstacles to his marriage to Miyoshi (who’s better than he deserves) out of the way – and I assume the meeting with her parents next week is a comedic formality – perhaps Iwase will finally have the decency to back off.

Now – please cancel this moronic gag manga already, and give me my show back.

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  1. A

    Now this might be the part of me that has the flu talking, but I honestly love how they are going about this part in the anime here more so than the way it went down in the manga. In fact the way Season 2 of Bakuman in general I think has developed in a better way and had a better pacing to the point I don't mind them going to cover to the end the entire Tanto fiasco.

    Yeah I know crazy but hear me out.

    This entire situation to me is far more interesting than the previous one we had at the end of season 1 where the entire Team Fukuda teamed up in order to knock down the rock star’s manga. In that situation, we had a clear good and bad side (a team of mangaka who want to draw manga as something they can feel proud of presenting vs. a jerk musican who is drawing manga as a way to promote his CD without any care on how it will turn out) even the conclusion was the typical shonen one, with the good side proving that yes, you need to put in every bit of effort into drawing your manga and make something amazing.

    In here though … alright, I'm the first one to admit that Miura is quite possibly the most obnoxious character in this entire show (I remember having to stop reading the manga for while because of how bad he had gotten ugh) but let's look at this situation from a further perspective … putting aside Miura's annoying and pushy attitude, is he really in the wrong to make the mangaka something different? Sure, it's outside of their comfort zone, but isn't the entire point of growing more successful as a creative person is trying to branch out and explore other genres to see if you can learn things from to improve on yourself? Furthermore, since the magazine they are published doesn't have a lot of gag manga in it, doesn't that mean they could theoretically monopolize that and eventually use it to their advantage once they get an anime (the end goal for Mashiro)?

    Of course, the problem lies in that the duo don't want to draw a gag manga, which as creators they have every right to choose what to draw and write … but even if they have that choice, is it the best thing in their interest? After all, maybe they hate the work, but what if Tanto ended being the best thing they do (no spoilers here by the way, just a hypnotically)? What if it's their best chance at an anime? Also, aren't editors jobs is to nudge mangaka in the right direction to produce the best quality work?

    Add to the pot all the personalities and attitudes of the two sides and you get a nice grey looking situation, with no one being completely in the right and no one being completely in the wrong either (though you get the impression on who your meant to root for).

    That's what I like about this. It's the behind the scenes battle between the mangaka and their editors, executive meddling unveiled for all to see it's face. There is no clear way out of this, not with guts like the last situation, not with the mangaka teaming up and upping their game, since it’s not the game they want to play. To me, it's interesting, and makes Bakuman 2 even better as is near wrapping up.

    (sorry about any mistakes, I have minor headacke so there might have been some facepalm worthy thing in this comment)

  2. Well-reasoned post, but you're crazy. Take some Dayquil and put down the Kool-aid!

    I get the idea – grey area, subtlety, realism. It just isn't very much fun to watch. A manga about a bad manga is inherently less interesting than a manga about good manga, at least for me. And an anime focusing on obnoxious characters is more annoying than one focusing on interesting and complex ones.

    For me, the Tanto arc is the worst of the series so far, and I include the slow-paced intro arcs that everyone ripped on, but I liked. I still enjoy the show but I'm just ready for it to be over.

  3. V

    "I get that Ohba-sensei is trying to deliver a comprehensive look at what writing a gag manga is like, but it really feels like a questionable dramatic choice to me."

    Personally I felt the intended message with this whole Tanto fiasco was not so much a comprehensive look at what writing a gag manga is like, but more of a comprehensive look at how hellish life can be for a mangaka if they're stuck with an incompetent editor who doesn't understand their strengths.

  4. Yeah, that too. I guess it's all in the service of providing a thorough look at the industry, blemishes and all. I just wish they'd get past this part already.

    If we have to see Ashirogi do battle with Miura – and I concede it has dramatic value – let's at least see them stand their ground and fight rather than roll over and be dominated by the likes of him.

  5. S

    I don't know if anyone else noticed changes in the OP, but Miyoshi finally gets her best look in the wedding dress and Aoki gets her silly face in stead of her serious look.

    As much as you really dislike Iwase, Enzo, I love her for all of the reasons you hate her. She is a determined woman that carries an abnormal amount of pride. She makes me like a stereotype of a black woman in a movie theatre. "DAAAAYYYUUUUMM, DID SHE JUST SAY THAT?" "OOOOOOO, YOU BAAAAAAD."

    I love how Niizuma also saw it as a chance to fire everyone up with some hard reality that they gotta step it up. I think you were right where the amount of Niizuma dictates the quality of the episode.

  6. Pride is one thing – treating people like shit and trying to steal a guy from his fiancé is quite another. But to each his own.

    What I noticed in the OP is the last shot of Mashiro drawing. It's definitely not a Tanto character.

  7. d

    Dam, I don't like saying this but Tanto was a manga that I had hope to not get serialized. Whatever, I can only hope now that it gets canceled soon. OMG, I am just as frustrated with Miura as you Guardian Enzo. Now, I don't have a problem with a new editor like Miura making mistakes but what gets me is that he isn't learning from his mistakes, instead he keeps digging the same old hole hoping to strike oil unlike Hattori. I mean, it's not like he is making Ashirogi do gag manga to learn new skills, but he's having them do gag manga because that is what he likes. He has a goose that lays golden eggs, Ashirogi, and he's killing it. I also don't like Iwase as a person but as a character I do like her. I think she is an important annoyance for Ashirogi to move into the right track. I did notice what Mashiro was drawing at the end of the OP sequence and I hope that is their serious manga that they will eventually do.

  8. A

    So i got a little idea in my little mind. Of course I have no expectations that this will be true AT ALL. Having said that, does anyone else remember what Miura, I think it was Miura, said about gag manga a long time ago. It's much easier for a manga to get serialized as a gag manga, but then over time become more action and serious after its' established itself. Well, I'm sure you can see where this is going. Simply put, what if Tanto the gag manga becomes Tanto the shounen action fighting manga. Similar to the transition between early Dragonball, then the later Dragonball arcs, then full blow change to Dragonball Z. I can see the inventions become more serious, the Black Metal villain become more insidious, revenge can become a motivating factor for his grandaughter Pink later on. There's certainly something of an idea there if I may say so.

    Of course I repeat that this is entirely unlikely, I just don't see it realistically going that way and I expect a full reset with a new manga idea by next fall. Still something tothink about, ne?

  9. M

    Before it started, I said I had mixed feelings about this season as it would cover one of my favorite but also one of the most tedious arcs of the manga. I do feel the same way now but I don't hate it as much as I expected or as much as you, Enzo.

    It's too soon to say the rest of the season is doomed. Things will get better in a couple of episodes.

    Gotta give credit to Niizuma's penname: Moneys -> Ma niizu -> Niizuma.

    Alas, his plan to driver her home from Niizuma’s is foiled when his expensive German car is towed and she ends up riding on the back of Fukuda’s motorcycle. Hilarious, but also quite telling about who Aoki ends up dating, I suspect.

  10. I'm hoping there's no spoilers in there, Murkel. We don't like spoilers here at LiA…

    Someone actually commented here that they were worried about this season for that reason – was it you? Just OOC, has that favorite arc of yours already aired? If not, no need to go into specifics – I'd rather wait for the details till it airs.

  11. M

    No spoilers there, unless you consider things getting better in a couple of weeks (give or take) a spoiler. Just wanted to give you a little hope as you seem pretty distressed with Bakuman lately.

    Might have been me. Not 100% sure if I said it here, though.

    And yes, it has already aired: it was the hospital/Trap arc.

  12. Love the hospital arc. Had me yelling at the screen. Such injustice! That's the Bakuman I love – Mashiro being an idealistic bastard who doesn't know when he's beaten and fights to the death for what he believes in.

  13. F

    This has been a rough second season I think. I didn't really get into the hospital arc and now this Tanto stuff is driving me nuts. Should have guessed this would be rough when Miura replaced Hattori as their editor. The only things I really liked was Niizuma being great, Aoki getting some good development, and that Miyoshi is getting a break with this marriage stuff.

    Guess the rest will be Tanto crashing and burning along with Ashirogi overcoming Miura's nonsense.

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