Bakuman 3 – 06

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Who would have thought back in Season One that we’d be hearing complaints about Bakuman moving too fast…

I happened to glance at one of the Bakuman discussion boards, something I try not to do before I’ve watched the new episode of a series, so I knew there were quite a few negative reactions to this episode floating around.  It’s the age-old divide between the viewers who know the source material and those seeing it for the first time, and I can’t really put myself in the other pair of shoes even if I want to – I haven’t read Bakuman and I can’t unread Jormungand – so I can only give my honest reaction from my own perspective.  And for me, this episode worked very well – it was certainly brisk, but to be honest I wouldn’t have known anything of consequence was skipped if I hadn’t read those comments.

In a way, I think this was the episode that Bakuman has been building to since the beginning – Mashiro finally trying his hand at creating a story on his own.  This series is a chronicle of his dream more than anyone else’s, and even if it simply acts to fine tune his role as half of Ashirogi Mutou I think this was something that had to happen sooner or later, for the sake of the partnership if nothing else.  As I said last week I was really kind of disappointed when Takagi jumped in and offered to write the one-shot because I was intensely curious to see what Mashiro would come up with, and as it turned out Mashiro was just as curious as I was.

The ultimate question, of course, is whether he’d be any good.  And I think the answer is yes, based on the fact that he was able to create something good enough to pass Hattori’s muster on his own, with zero help from Shuujin.  As Takagi himself said, there are very few true romantics like Saiko – I’ve commented here many times that as infuriating as his relationship with Miho can be, it’s also charming because it’s so incredibly old-fashioned and principled.  If he was going to write his first manga about anything, it was either going to be his romance with Azuki or his love of manga (for a moment, I almost thought he was going to write Bakuman as a one-shot). 

All isn’t beer and skittles of course, that’s for sure.  Takagi is struggling with Rabuta & Peace, and the writing process still isn’t coming naturally to Mashiro.  I firmly believe there was a definite hint of jealousy on Takagi’s part at the notion of Mashiro doing  a solo manga, and it’s undeniably a more threatening thing than Takagi’s work on Rabuta.   The tension is certainly thick – Kaya seems to get the worst of it – and that tension mostly comes from Takagi.  What becomes increasingly clear over the course of the episode is that Rabuta really is Shun’s manga – he’s the one who feels the passion for it, and he’s the one who understands the dog as a character even if he lacks the experience to express it properly.  I hadn’t anticipated that Takagi’s absence was actually a secret training camp for Shun, but it makes sense – it was clear that Takagi was already drifting away from the notion of working on PCP and Rabuta at the same time.

As it turns out two of the three possibilities I suggested in my final paragraph last week came to pass already – Mashrio did try a manga on his own, and Shun did end up taking over R & P.  And the Super Leader’s Fest ending up being a Leaders Love Fest (“Can’t stop the love!”) with everyone from Eiji and Fukuda to old pro Arai taking a one-shot, and the results – Aoki on top and Hiramaru second – aren’t at all surprising.  Aoki is naturally inclined to this sort of story, and Hiramaru is used to having his heart broken – I’m quite ready for him to stand up to the sadistic Yoshida already.  4th place for Mashiro’s first try (with a little help from Takagi in the final stage) is pretty good, considering he beat Eiji and Fukuda – and happily, Iwase finished dead last.  The story surely shifts now, and the question of Ashirogi Mutou getting an anime hasn’t been resolved, only delayed.  Will it be PCP after all, or – their wild oats having been sowed with Rabuta and A Small Time – will Ashirogi get cracking on a second manga, one better suited to eventual adaptation?

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  1. S

    It is true that it is moving WAY to fast. As someone who read the full series I understand where they want to finish this season if they are planning on a fourth. But this episode I was waiting for one of my more favorite Eiji moments, and I never got it.

    Eijis' love story was so incredibly stupid that his rant about his story and trying to explain it to others was funny. In the manga it also shows the hero of his series spouting something that was incredibly funny.

    For those who love Hiramaru, prepare to eat your heart out next week. *Not a big spoiler as it was in the preview*

  2. S

    Season 1 was too sloooow.
    Season 3 is too fast.

    Season 2 is juuuuuuust right.

    The audience definitely feels like Goldilocks.

  3. s

    There won't be season four. They will end it here and now.

    I liked the build up so far for Aoki and Hiramaru. If they work out in the end that would be a fine conclusion for me.

  4. a

    Well it wasn't so much the pace – I expected this after the manga ended – it was just disappointing that we didn't get the explanation of how the mangaka earned their rank for the Love Fest.

    I read the manga so I know, but I'm sure some viewers might like to find out more about Ashirogi's first win against Nizuma.

  5. b

    ^Lol. Sums up the 3 seasons of Bakuman quite nicely.

    Well it definitely felt like it was fast but even as manga reader I thought it was an okay episode. I was actually hoping they would rush Shiratori's part since I remember back then that didn't quite like it in the manga and it dragged a lot. Imagine how long it was to wait for the next chapters for things to get resolved.
    It all ends well on this episode I guess. There might have been things cut out that I can't remember and could have made this episode better but they're probably pressed for time and I thought they did well in this episode despite some cuts. So yeah.
    And it seems next episode is that part already. I've been waiting for this. Should be good.

  6. M

    It's true they are skipping a lot of things from the manga (both good and bad). It's a shame they didn't give this Love Fest arc the attention I think it deserved. It was really fun to see the different love stories these characters came up with and how well they fit their respective authors.

    On the other hand, I'm glad they crammed this arc into one episode because of all the drama surrounding Shujin, how he treated Miyoshi like crap (in the manga it's much worse), how Ashirogi Muto was seemingly falling apart, etc. And then it all ends with Shujin saying "Oh, I was just teaching Shiratori how to work on his own" after staying silent and making their lives hell for weeks.

    The Shiratori arc last week also was over in just one episode, whereas IIRC in the manga sparkly Shiratori became the main character for several weeks in a row (he received quite a bit of hate).

    And some trivia: the real Jump did in fact do one of these "Leader's Fest" shortly after this arc in Bakuman, where many authors wrote one-shots for the magazine. Not sure who inspired who, though.

  7. s

    By the way who was Iwase's artist? They never mentioned that, just that the character designs were bad.

  8. s

    I wish they showed us the one-shots that were created, but I loved this episode. It didn't feel rushed to me, and an anime adaptation should be able to hold its own from its source. So the anime-only viewer is more important I would say. Same thing with Little Busters.

  9. t

    "I wouldn't have known anything of consequence was skipped if I hadn't read those comments"

    That's because in the grand scheme of things nothing of consequence was,we all have our favorite supporting characters but this is Ashirogi Mutou's story and so if you need to trim it's better to just really center everything around our main duo,this worked especialy well when it comes to Rabuta and Peace,Shun has got a lot less screen time in the past couple episodes than he did in the manga,but what's important about his manga isn't the manga itself but how it's affecting Ashirogi Mutou and that was portrayed quite well,also the tense atmosphere between Mashiro and Takagi dragged out a bit in the manga,I really appreciated it seeing wrap up in one episode.

    Of course even if I say nothing "of consequence" was skipped doesn't mean there wasn't enjoyable stuff that was cut,I'm sure enzo you'd have appreciated the crash course in shonen romance history the manga gave (complete with mashiro making Adachi references!) as well as each mangaka's take on romance.

    The only real gripe I have is that they didn't expand on Eiji's low ranking more,it really the first time that he failed at something (even Ashirogi Mutou noted that his one shot was just not interesting) showing that Eiji has his limits afterall.

    But overall I'm quite satisfied,come on folks,they've got 2 cours to wrap this up,would you rather they spend time on the love fiesta arc meaning they'd have to rush stuff like the Eiji arc and the last arc?Because to me those are the arcs that are worth spending time on more so than this one.

  10. Heh, after reading that I went and checked out the manga chapters just to see the Adachi call-out. I wonder if Jump was pissed to have their authors talk about "Touch so much.

    Adachi is definitely not conventional shounen, not by any stretch. If anything his series have always seemed like seinen romances to me.

  11. B

    I have begun to watch season 1 of this show, hopefully in a few weeks I can actually catch up and watch this season.

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