Bakuman 3 – 02

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This is what happens when a shounen manga about shounen manga gets serious about being a shounen manga.

[SFW-sage]_Bakuman_S3_-_02_[720p][6B42DA91].mkv_snapshot_00.45_[2012.10.17_11.55.46]While this was a pretty busy episode, it pretty much came down to Niizuma dominating the narrative.  He tends to do that whenever he’s on-screen anyway, but that’s usually in short bursts – when he’s got as much screen time as this week, he’s going to make a big impression.  I think it’s pretty clear at this point that Niizuma’s savvy about the business exceeds anyone else in the show, including the editors, and is matched only by his ridiculous combination of talent and energy.  There’s just no slowing him down – as he says, “I’ll be a boy forever – that’s why I draw shounen manga.”  Of course that doesn’t stop Iwase from deciding to make a man out of him…

[SFW-sage]_Bakuman_S3_-_02_[720p][6B42DA91].mkv_snapshot_02.53_[2012.10.17_12.03.14]About the only person whose talent really seems to get Eiji charged up is Mashiro, and that’s why they make pretty much ideal friendly rivals – each capable of pushing each other to heights they wouldn’t achieve alone. Friendly rivals is very much the theme of this episode, with Takahama having survived Miura’s sabotage and gotten a new syndication (a courtroom manga) and Fukuda launching his racing series.  So with the Sasaki’s inane deadline for PCP (which blabbermouth Miura told Iwase about) approaching the competition is intense – especially with +Natural’s anime about to start.

[SFW-sage]_Bakuman_S3_-_02_[720p][6B42DA91].mkv_snapshot_06.20_[2012.10.17_12.07.11]It also seems as if this is the point where Mashiro goes all-in on his manga career.  He drops out of college to devote himself fully to his art, which he’s come to realize – with Niizuma’s help – is what’s keeping PCP from breaking through against the top hitters.  The degree to which Niizuma is able to see everything clearly is probably a bit unrealistic, but he and Mashiro do have a kind of sync with each other, and thus Mashiro comes to realize that just because PCP is a realistic story – by Shounen Jump terms anyway – that doesn’t mean the art should never be flashy and wildly creative.  Spurred on by Mashiro’s improvement – and PCP’s rise in the polls – Eiji ups the ante, giving Crow a completely dialogue-free chapter (is this based on a real event?) just to show Ashirogi-sensei that it’s possible to tell a story in manga form with just art.  Of course if Ashirogi tried it Takagi would be out of a job.

[SFW-sage]_Bakuman_S3_-_02_[720p][6B42DA91].mkv_snapshot_07.26_[2012.10.17_12.08.30]As heroic as Eiji is this week, his actions in the final part of the episode seem a bit dodgy from an ethical standpoint.  Iwase talks him into doing a crossover between Crow and +Natural, which is kept from Ashirogi and Hattori – and not only that, it’s placed in the issue where PCP gets its full-color cover spread.  Fierce rivalry is one thing, but this seems a bit different from anything else that’s happened in the Eiji-Ashirogi battle – and even if it was Iwase’s idea, Eiji still had to go along.  This feels more like a stunt than anything else, and that’s not normally Eiji’s style.  Of course Sasaki is fine with it, because cross-promotion certainly doesn’t do the magazine any harm – but in a battle among men, this feels a little underhanded. 

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  1. a

    Oddly enough, the dialogue free chapter was done by Naruto recently. Not based on real events (that I know of) but inspired one maybe.

  2. G

    I think that was not the only case. I seem to remember something form HunterXHunter…? Not sure though, but yeah.

  3. A

    Fairy Tail did it recently too.

  4. A

    Of course, this was based on a manga chapter that came out before both.

  5. A

    For the record, a dialog-free chapter doesn't at all mean that there's no writing. Takagi would still need to come up with what happens, how the characters react, etc. Certainly more of the burden would be placed on Mashiro to convey it, but he still wouldn't be creating the story.

  6. J

    It's time for Bakuman calisthenics:

    Enter studio, sit down, hand over new WSJ issue, duo reacts, discuss WSJ voting, stand up, place hands on desk, yell, answer phone, look shocked, yell, end call, look excited, motivated, and/or pissed, yell, sit down, randomly draw or read WSJ issue while time passes, get new voting results, look shocked/excited, yell at Mashiro, Mashiro reacts and starts internal dialogue, initiate cliffhanger (there's a few more steps, but you get the point)

    Repeat, rearrange steps, and/or change locations when necessary
    Also add Hiramura or Eiji scene to keep fanbase satisfied

    This was fine in the manga, but it gets rather old and boring in the anime. Also, the family restaurant probably doesn't appreciate Iwase standing up and yelling at her celebrity friends on her phone, but we already knew that Iwase doesn't care about what's socially acceptable.

  7. If that sort of thing doesn't interest you, watching the series seems an odd choice – it's never been deceptive about what kind of series it was.

  8. J

    Correct. Two seasons/fifty-some episodes later, I'm still watching the same scenes replaying in different scenarios with only a few hints of artistic license. I guess that just makes me a M.

  9. S

    I watch Bakuman because getting insights into a creative industry like manga production is interesting and I'll watch anything with Kenichi Kasai's name on it. However, I've noticed a couple of issues.

    The first two seasons were good, but were a little repetitive with the whole "our manga's not good enough" -> redo name/redraw -> "now its so much better!" cycle that occurs repeatedly. As someone who is attempting to write stories, this pains me because that is NOT how writing improves.

    Yes, editing and fixing your narrative is paramount to creative writing, but there's a limit where "fixing" your story becomes a crapshoot and its difficult to be objective to gauge if the revision for better or worse. And if revision is the key to making good manga, why not do revisions for every chapter you submit?

    The other thing about Bakuman that bothers me is how the duo has such a hard time achieving success while the side characters gain prominence seemly effortlessly. While I enjoy the subversion of the normal "Main character is special -> Will easily win opponents with or without effort" trope that occurs in most anime/manga, its kinda getting depressing and uncharacteristic.

    I mean, Eiji is drawing TWO manga, the first concept that Iwase thought up is a smash hit, Fukuda easily sustains his old serialization while coming up with Racer which is also a hit. Aoi is doing well despite missing her artist, Hiramaru's Otter (also his first manga) is still surviving over the years, and Takahama had a setback with Business Boy but is now being serialized again.

    Our heroes, on the other hand, failed with both Trap and the gag manga, and has fallen behind on +Natural despite PCP being comparatively new. So why, despite being a duo, (meaning two sets of brains and hand separately for the story and the art), despite having a genius writer and a brilliant artist, are they struggling so much just to survive in the manga industry? It really boggles my mind.

    What are your thoughts on Bakuman as a series though, Guardian Enzo?
    other than the unintended misogyny made by the original author due to his style)?

    PS: Don't get me wrong, I really like that series, but it frustrates me that I can love it like I love my right hand. Here's to hoping they go two cour to complete this series.

    PSS: Previous post removed due to spelling errors

  10. A

    I always thought it was funny that Eiji could draw the best series in "Jack" if he felt like it or as the plot permitted.

  11. t

    The shonen jump system is very reliant on editor feedback and constant rewrites,manga in general is as well though maybe jump is the most extreme.
    Just read an interview recently with a french editor,they decided to work with a mangaka on an original manga for a french audience and they said that he was used to the japanese system where he was in constant need of guidance and feedback (more so than an european author) and didn't want to be left alone with his work.

    "So why, despite being a duo, (meaning two sets of brains and hand separately for the story and the art), despite having a genius writer and a brilliant artist, are they struggling so much just to survive in the manga industry? It really boggles my mind."

    You forgot the part where they had a really bad editor who had no idea what to do with that set of brains and hand.
    Mirua will drag down anyone he works with.Now that he's off the team it makes things much easier.

  12. S

    Miura isn't that bad.

    Besides, they were under Hattori for until high school (so like a few years?) before they actually got serialized with TRAP, but Takahama broke in with Business Boy within a year or two, despite being a one-man writing/drawing mangaka.

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