Bakuman – 08
Oh yeah, now this is the Bakuman I know and love! No cheesy teen romance, just pure manga fanboying and hard graft. This week sees the boys strive for their next goal – the Tezuka Award.
You have to admire Takagi’s ability to fill entire notebooks with ideas for a new story – he really went all out trying to find an interesting story for Mashiro to draw. It’s a major step forward for the duo that Takagi is now involving Mashiro in this first stage of the manga creation process, Mashiro’s feedback pushed Takagi to reach ever deeper to find that one story that leapt off the page. Once again the most interesting aspect of the episode was just watching Mashiro & Takagi bounce ideas off each other and get increasingly more excited about the story there were creating (robots! swords! BEAM SABERS!!). I do like this mix of showing Mashio & Takagi’s very mature approach to their work, and this childish, excitable side of theirs that really shows their passion for manga.
As for the story the boys settled on, ‘One in a Million’ sounded like a very interesting concept, and Mashiro’s art has dramatically improved from ‘The Two Earths’, even Hattori was impressed with their speedy improvement and ability to take all his past criticism’s on board. Hattori may have been a bit too complementary about the manuscript though – his lack of any real critique kind of threw Takagi & Mashiro, and further inflated their expectations for the Tezuka Prize….they are only teenagers after all, its extremely easy to get overly excited when you’re that age!
The boys are so distracted by the possibility of their winning the Tezuka Prize that all productivity fizzles out. I found it strangely adorable how Takagi constantly goes back to the Dragonball series whenever he’s at a loose end – its like his security blanket! Takagi can’t concentrate long enough to write any new story concepts, and Mashiro even cuts back on trying to improve his art (his ancient Greek themed Azuki fantasy was hilarious though). Unfortunately the boys’ manga fails to make the cut at the last hurdle, which completely crushes Mashiro and is a real knock for Takagi’s confidence. I was pleased that this manuscript failed though – it just goes to further highlight how hard it is to get anywhere in manga. Their manga may have been interesting, but there were other manga that were just better…….like Nizuma Eiji’s who took 1st & 2nd place, our duo still have a long way to go before reaching Eiji’s level. Mashiro’s fragile self-worth was also further highlighted this week – he places the blame on his artwork for their failure to win. Mashiro completely crumbles and it takes Takagi’s eternal optimism and passion to get him back on track – it’s a good thing they’re a duo, Mashiro would have no hope on his own if this is how he deals with rejection.
The drama in the final section of the episode felt a bit forced to me and didn’t really fit with the tone of the rest of the episode. However it was interesting to see Takagi’s reaction as it highlights just how loyal he is to Mashiro, and how much faith he has in Mashiro’s talent. I doubt that Takagi would have reacted in that manner if it was his story that was insulted – he’s far to self-assured to take much notice of that; but when its Mashiro being insulted its a completely different kettle of fish. Takagi knows that Mashiro is his own worst critic, he also knows just how hard Mashiro pushes himself to constantly improve and above all he knows that Mashiro is painfully shy and won’t defend himself, especially if the abuse is echoing Mashiro’s own insecurities. It just goes to show you how highly Takagi values their friendship, and just how close the two have gotten………it would be amazingly easy to ship these two you know!
Next week should be a Takagi centric episode – his fist-fight in the school corridor’s won’t go unnoticed, nor will his slipping grades. Iwase also rears her head along with Kaya in the preview – really looking forward to this episode, Takagi is so much more interesting to me than Mashiro! XD