I have a lot of thoughts as I reflect back on this episode, starting with this one: I really want to know if the Nanaime story is based on a real person. The whole thing has a ring of truth about it, in a manga that’s littered with events and people based on real-life counterparts – if it’s strictly invention, it’s a brilliantly realistic construction. But given how well the authors understand the subject matter they’re writing about, that really isn’t a surprise.
All I know is, when you’re yelling “Stand up to him!” at a character played by Kaji Yuuki, you’re in pretty bad shape as a viewer. Seriously, the guy’s name must be first in the rolodex every time the CV says “No Balls”, and Kosugi certainly fits the bill so far. If there’s any credulity-stretching element of the Nanamine storyline so far it’s that he would have been gifted with the one editor he needed to make his plan work – I think even Miura would have had enough sense to stop before things had gotten this bad. It’s only too clear that things are going to blow up sooner or later, and in a pretty ugly way too – and that Nanamine, while he’s crafty and talented, is too young and naïve to know that yet.
The hook here is a good one. We have a guy who lives his life as a sort of Ashirogi Muto manga come to life – inspired by Money and Intelligence to try and job a system that has legitimate reasons to be criticized. As I said last week Nanamine’s core notion undeniably has merit – as Miyoshi with her relatively unbiased eye points out when Takagi somewhat recklessly tells her about it. But as I also said last week Nanamine is the wrong messenger, and that’s all the more clear after this episode. He’s already crossed well over the ethical line towards certain destruction, and the holes in his plan are big enough to drive a Shinkansen through. Apart from the fact that he’s perpetrating intellectual theft – even if the others involved know it – those others will surely turn on him when the money starts to flow, and he’ll go down in a ball of flame that would make do for the “bad end” route of Robotics;Notes. I’m amazed Kosugi can’t see that.
Of course, even if Kosugi is being steamrolled, the ever-canny Hattori Mark I clearly senses something is amiss (as does Eiji, naturally). There’s something in Nanamine’s demeanor, in the oddly vague identity of the work and the unnatural speed at which it’s being produced that sets off his alarm bells – what remains to be seen is whether he’ll take any action based on a hunch. I was skeptical that a manga called “Nervousness and the Farts it Causes” would do as well as it did, but I guess it’s easy to see it targeting the same oddly-split demographic as PCP (as Hattori rightfully points out). With Nanamine going into the next serialization meeting and likely to succeed, it seems it will be up to the master to smack down the student.
As for Ashirogi themselves, things continue to evolve towards something that sounds more and more like “Death Note”. We’re on the “unorthodox standard battle manga” template, but not we’ve added the “one idea” model – inspired by Nanamine’s committee. Takagi has – correctly in my view – realized that his characters lack depth and his manga are very story-driven, and has hit upon the inspiration to build the next one around the characters first – and to do so bringing Mashiro into the creative process much earlier. This is a wise move, as Mashiro’s manga gut is almost unerringly right, and he’s proven himself a capable writer in his own right. I can’t help but wonder, though – is anything ever going to come of those anime adaptation proposals for PCP that we saw Sasaki looking at?