Bakuman 2 – 24

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One of the great bromances in anime is on again – and it’s a three-way.

I’m happy about the way the committee mess was resolved, but sort of conflicted too.  I really hate to see Sasaki let off the hook by his subordinates, who really saved his ass from being a victim of its own stupidity here.  Sasaki really deserves to lose Ashirogi over this and have his reputation sullied and his staff pissed off when it becomes a hit for “Shounen Sunday”.  On the other hand, though, this is what they want – to write for “Jack” – and they do have good friends there who like them and recognize their talent.  Big kudos to the rarely heard-from Oonishi (Suzuki Tanuma) who changed his vote and set the process rolling.  The good thing is that he told it like it was, which reflected horribly on Sasaki in front of the group – “It’s ridiculous to decide this by a vote.  We should take better care of out authors!”.  Once the majority had shifted, the other rats began leaving the sinking shift and Sasaki could take his graceful exit and be grateful that a little humiliation in front of six other guys was the only price for his inflexibility.

Of course fairness dictates that I give him some credit, too, because once the decision was made that Perfect Crime Club was going to be serialized, he undid his horrible mistake and put Hattori back in charge of Ashirogi Muto.  Just how deeply he realized Hattori’s stamp was all over PCC is hard to say, but he likely saw that Miura would never have come up with the idea on his own.  And the fact is, Hattori was also struggling for a change – for all his skills as an editor, he’s lousy in dealing with stalkers and I have no doubt it was showing up with +Natural.  So this was really a win-win for everybody – except Miura and Iwase, but he’s an idiot and she’s a psychotic, so who cares?

Did I feel sorry for Miura, you may ask?  Maybe briefly, just for a second, when he saw the joy on Ashirogi’s faces at seeing Hattori and when Iwase was torturing him (not even Miura deserves to have to deal with that terrible woman).  But no, I didn’t really – because he might have wrecked Takahama’s career and only Ashirogi’s talent and Mashiro’s stubborn idealism saved theirs.  Miura does have to deal with a crazy woman but he also inherits a highly successful serialization, and the main reason why it’s so successful – Eiji – is actually an incredibly easy author to deal with, and pretty much idiot-proof.  +Natural and Crow are probably the two series not even Miura could screw up, and he’ll end up looking better by nature of +Natural continuing to succeed.

And then there’s our bromance, our dream partnership.  Simply put, it’s a joy to watch Ashirogi – especially Mashiro – and Hattori working together.  Whoever the model for Hattori is it’s pretty clear he’s an amazing guy and had a huge influence on Ohbata and Ohba.  The chemistry is great here, and it’s a blast to watch the creative sparks fly when Ashirogi and Hattori get together.  As clever as Hattori is at feeding ideas to the pair, I think they’re at their best when they simply free-associate, bouncing thoughts off each other and letting their imaginations run wild.  I’ve said it before, but Mashiro’s face is the best barometer of how things are going in Bakuman, and the key expression this week was when he simply closed his eyes and let his imagination run wild.  That was the result of Hattori showing him the script for +Natural, and it gave Mashiro the idea that I suspect will transform the way Ashirogi works and elevate their game to the next level – no storyboards from Takagi.  Mashiro is the one with the encyclopedic knowledge of manga, and with his imagination totally freed of everything but Takagi’s words, he can transform them to the page in whatever way his mind takes him.  It works for Eiji, and it’ll work for Mashiro, and it’s exciting just to think about the results.

It’s been a long, roller-coaster of a season, but now we’re more or less back to the most natural setting for Bakuman – the authors competing for series they believe in against each other, trying to come out on top.  Fukuda realizes Miyoshi Knight probably can’t be #1, so he’s easing his way into following Ashirogi’s path of bailing on the series they know can’t win.  Eiji is Eiji – unfazed and unbothered, cranking out his ingenious stuff effortlessly, and more motivated than ever by having Ashirogi back in the game (and having guessed their new direction just from knowing them better than anybody).  Hiramura is getting more and more successful, and more and more miserable.  I worry for Takahama, though he’s not officially in Team Fukuda – I hope he overcomes Miura’s incompetence and gets back in the game.  And what of the wayward son of the team, Nakai?  Have we heard the last of the lovesick artistic genius who gave up on his dream?

I also have to say that I like where the romantic side of the story has gone lately, though it hasn’t been in much focus since the wedding.  Takagi and Kiyoshi are a very natural and likeable couple – better than I expected, to be honest, though I still don’t see that much evidence that he thinks about her all that often.  Mashiro and Azuki continue their romance by gesture, this time a fairly decent rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” (though the worst Engrish pronunciation of “year” I’ve ever heard) she smuggles inside a cake on a flash drive as if Mashiro was trying to escape from prison.  I would like to see some actual development between these two, though I suspect that’s still a good long way off – there’s that promise to consider, and I don’t see an anime of PCC happening anytime soon.

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17 comments

  1. d

    I have to admit, I was taken by surprise by the editing department but looking back in retrospect, I shouldn't have. I'm glad it went down the way it did and the editors decided that the best way to see if PCC can beat Nizuma is with the reader base.
    In a way, I feel that this was a Hattori episode. He discovered Ashirogi, predicted their growth and was the man behind the scene at every step of the way. Him being Ashirogi's editor is vindication for his efforts in trying to propel Ashirogi to greatness. However, I think Miura got a good deal too because now he can learn manga from Nizuma. I mean who to best learn manga than from Nizuma? I chuckled a bit when Nizuma called him out for Tanto.
    As for Iwase, if she wasn't such a yandere, I think she would have less love problems. I mean she is pretty dam hot ;D.
    I'm actually liking Mashiro and Azuki's relationship more. It's like watching a mash-up of adolescence puppy love with a mature sense of love. Very strange but enjoyable to watch. I also cringed during the song when Azuki pronounced "year" in English but overall she did get better at singing. I wasn't loling like last time.

  2. D

    And even after the next episode, there's still a whole other season next Fall!

  3. A

    And probably another after that if you know the lenght of the manga and the slow pace of this anime

  4. D

    What volume are they ending this season on? I think they're up to 19 volumes worth of material in the manga.

  5. M

    Not sure about volume but they are ending this season on either chapter 90 or 91, depending on whether they want a cliffhanger ending or not. The manga is currently in chapter 171.

    I'm actually not looking forward to the new season as much, though this is probably not the place to discuss why.

  6. Z

    One of these days, we should have a nice long talk on IRC eh. Our anime tastes/views are just insanely similar, Bakuman… the picks for shows to cover next season on RC. Man. Insane stuff. 😀

  7. But seniority wins for those choices, right? 😉

    I don't get on IRC as often as I should, as just about every second I free up I end up either watching or writing. I do plan to try and get over there more often. Thanks for commenting here, and please do so anytime.

  8. K

    Just a small typo, the abbreviation of Perfect Crime Club is PCP, not PPC.
    Thanx Enzo for great post. Next week is final episode, keep up the great work!

  9. K

    Sorry, I mean Perfect Crime Party.

  10. K

    Just a small typo, not PPC, but PCP (Perfect Crime Party).
    Next week is the finale, keep up the great work, Enzo

  11. t

    PCC (Perfect Crime Club)

  12. M

    It's not a typo.

    There is however a typo in Miyoshi's name (Kiyoshi).

  13. t

    you havn't watched the episode have you?

  14. t

    disregard that,posted this at the wrong place.

  15. J

    This show has too many interesting characters, and a tendency to focus on only the boring ones (aka the girlfriends). I would love more of Nizuma, Hattori, Hiwamaru, and even Iwase.

  16. Honestly, I don't find Miyoshi boring and Azuki and Mashiro's weirdness is fun, as long as it's meted out in small doses. For me, the less Iwase the better.

  17. z

    I don't think we have to be worried about the series not continuing anyway. I don't know the stats for the anime, but the manga was top 7 in sales last year, beating Bleach for instance. It's a bit strange that they take breaks, but on the other hand so is it not a series where you can insert anime original fillers either.

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