Bakuman 3 – 07

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It probably hasn’t escaped your notice – it certainly hasn’t escaped mine – but Yoshida Kouji really is a terrible person.

There’s a line in Woody Allen’s “Deconstructing Harry” where Woody as the title character says “Do you smell sulfur?” when his best friend runs into he and his wife at a bookstore.  What we know and Harry doesn’t is that the best friend is about to steal Harry’s wife, but even though I don’t know what’s going to happen, the events at the end of the episode this week had that sort of vibe to them.  When Bakuman drops new info at the end of an episode like that, it usually means something major – and probably traumatic for Saiko and Shuujin – is about to come down.

But before we get to that, I pretty much smell sulfur whenever Yoshida walks into the room.  I’ve never found his abuse of Hiramaru especially funny, but I was always just a little unsure where Ohba and Obata came down on this issue – by repeating showing Yoshida in action and never paying any consequences for it, there seemed to be an implicit approval of the way he handles Hiramaru – a belief that if it’s not admirable, it’s at least harmless.  Because Hiramaru is well into the second tier as a character, it never seemed like a high priority for the series – just one of those things that got under my skin.

Well of course, what Yoshida does to Hiramaru isn’t harmless – it’s harming Hiramaru, and I would argue pretty badly too.  He’s basically made Hiramaru into a miserable person for the sake of his own career, pushed him hopelessly into debt and dependence and controlled every aspect of his life.  At the very, very least it’s highly unethical and highly unprofessional – and while Hiramaru’s life is usually played for laughs, Bakuman isn’t the sort of absurdist comedy where things like that should never be acknowledged.  Yes, people like Yoshida to exist and certainly some of them are editors, but it was still galling to me that there seemed to be no point-of-fact statement that he was thoroughly in the wrong.

So you can imagine how glad I was to see Hiramaru finally fight back this week, even if I wasn’t totally satisfied with the end result.  Even Yamahisa, who isn’t the most ethical or professional guy around himself, told Yoshida flat-out that he had no business messing with his author’s love life and he wasn’t about to mess with Aoki’s.  If you ever dug a little deeper into Hiramaru’s story there was always an element of the tragic to it, and while it’s true that only a true genius could churn out high quality manga week after week despite hating his job, unhappy is still unhappy.  I’m not sure there’s any future between he and Aoki, but at least he showed Yoshida that he isn’t a total pushover.  I would have preferred that he stick to his guns and take the break he so desperately wants rather than rush right back into syndication, but baby steps I suppose.

As for our heroes and that ominous ending, while they weren’t at the center of the story this week it was still an important one for them.  Fukuda’s “Giri” got an anime – another series less popular and less worthy than their own work – and while they took it well, it’s clear that Mashiro and Takagi are once again failing to be rewarded at a level commensurate with their talents.  Takagi’s idea of “unorthodox battle manga” defining the next generation of “Jack” is certainly an interesting one – I think a person might even call Death Note an unorthodox battle manga, and it seems as if Ashirogi Muto’s talents are uniquely suited to that genre.  It certainly wasn’t dropped into the story by coincidence – one way or another that’s where I expect them to go with their second serialization.  Patience is a virtue but too much gets you nowhere – and makes for a less interesting story.  Either PCP is going to get a surprise anime or Ashirogi will be doing two serializations, and likely soon.

Finally there was that ending, which slips into the story through Saiko and Shuujin acting as judges for “Treasure”.  There’s one manga in particular that Hattori found impressive, and he even made the rather shocking proclamation that it was “maybe even better” than Ashirogi’s work.  That more than anything clues me in that this is major – Hattori is such an Ashirogi fanboy that even if he was mostly trying to motivate Mashiro and Takagi, he’d never go that far unless his socks were blown clear of the scene.  I’m assuming this is the author of “Classroom of Truth”, and that he’s going to be the next major player added to the scene, as soon as next week.

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  1. B

    Almost done with season 1 of this show. Excellent so far, can't wait to get caught up with it!

  2. s

    I found all of the scenes with Yoshida and Hiramaru funny, but this episode opened my eyes to the dark side of Yoshida's character. I'm glad Hiramaru stands up for himself. I'm excited for this new mangaka. Will he give even Eiji a run for his money?

  3. Was this really the first time you've seen Yoshida as a dark character? I've found him to be pretty despicable since day one with Hiramaru.

  4. T

    It is true that it isn't the best way to handle the situation and in a more serious note its rather dispiciple, however I never found any reason the whole time to really CARE about it that way. In fact I was more or less laughing the whole episode because the setup just seemed so odd and sort of ridiculous to me. Their whole relationship was sort of like Tom and Jerry to me: who cares about who's right, so long as I laugh.

    I am glad Himaru got a chance to stand up for himself and accomplish his goal of confessing to Aoki (I SERIOUSLY didn't expect these two to be a couple, and am unclear of their future) however with the brand of 'genius' Himaru has, it would be a total waste to just ditch it without and fight back, but I suppose thats just me speaking out of the bias that anything involving creating comics, animation and etc, is my primary passion.

    As for the new mangaka however, I have read a few random chapters of this arc, enough to know how it starts off what the main issue is and how it ends and all I can say about it is this: Damn. You'll know what I'm talking about when I get to it.

  5. s

    All of Hiramaru and Yoshida's previous interactions left me in stitches, so I didn't really think about the implications of Hiramaru's treatment. It's great that you looked past that and saw the indecency of the whole affair.

  6. A

    Think about what has happened and you can figure out whats going to happen:

    They want to write a manga that can be turned into an anime so Miho can voice the lead actress AND PCP WON'T ever get a anime due to the nature of the series itself (which has already been explained).

  7. S

    You should remember that Hiramaru also hated his previous job.

    He's just lazy, he doesn't want to do anything.
    So, I think it isn't wrong that people (Yoshida) encourage him to do what he is good at, even if he doesn't enjoy working.
    Otherwise, he would be lying around doing nothing all day.

    I don't see Yoshida as a bad guy, though certainly was wrong to intervene in the relationship between Hiramaru and Aoki.

  8. I don't care what Hiramaru's past is, lying and manipulating someone to help your own career – which is his own admission – is wrong. And pushing someone into debt so they'll be dependent on you is truly vile.

  9. R

    I think he feels like he is responsible for Hiramaru as well and feels like this is the only way to actually get anything out of him.

    It's like Yoshida is on "Mashiro Duty" but instead of this "Mashiro" being incompetent they are lazy and don't want to do anything.

  10. Look, he guy admits he's been lying and manipulating Hiramaru for the sake of his own career. They're his own words. The only concern Yoshida has with "getting anything out of" Hiramaru is because if Hiramaru crashes, Yoshida will look bad with Sasaki. When Hiramaru finally does buckle under the strain of Hiramaru's constant badgering and being so far in debt he'll never escape it, Yoshida will toss him aside and move on.

    And anyway you slice it, who Hiramaru dates is none of Yoshida's Goddammm business. Even Aoki's sleazy editor had enough decency to draw the line there.

  11. S

    Might want to rename the post to Bakuman 3 – 07. Bakuman 3 – 08 airs tomorrow afternoon.

    Yay Hiramaru!

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