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Bakuman – 02

October 10, 2010

I couldn’t resist, this is the only series aside from Arakawa S2 that I felt I could write about every week.  However I will keep my knowledge of the manga away from these posts, so don’t worry about spoilers for future events.  Of course my familiarity with the characters will colour my perception of the anime but that can’t be helped, I will also attempt to tone done my fangirling and try not to go off on ‘they changed it and now it sucks’ rants…….although no promises!

Anyway this episode continues to keep the focus on Mashiro as he comes to terms with his decision to become a manga-ka and breaches the subject with his family.

I was glad they didn’t make Mashiro’s situation with his family into some overblown drama.  It would have been very easy to milk a few episode of Mashiro clashing with his disapproving parents, so it was refreshing to have the only stumbling block be his protective mother while the men in the family supported his decision to become a manga-ka readily.  Even though his father’s statement of ‘men have dreams that women can’t understand’ sounds a bit sexist (ok a lot sexist and it did annoy me), it not really meant that way (plus this is a shounen series so it kind of fits), and its his grandfather that spells out the reason why they’re supporting Mashiro’s decision when he says that he had been worried about Mashiro over the past few years.

Mashiro has been lost since the death of his uncle.  The younger Mashiro had always had aspirations of being a manga-ka, but the struggles and ultimate demise of his manga-ka uncle knocked his confidence and caused Mashiro to completely shut out the manga loving side of himself (although not completely abandon – he may seal away the memorabilia, but keeps it close at hand).  The result is the Mashiro we see in the first episode, drifting through life with no real purpose in mind and letting his artistic talent go to waste.  I can imagine it being distressing for Mashiro’s family to see their previously enthusiastic and talented son/grandson become withdrawn and listless, and it comes as a relief to the father and grandfather when Mashiro expresses his desire to chase his old dream of being a manga-ka.  The grandfather’s turning over of his deceased son’s studio keys to his grandson is a massive confidence boost to Mashiro as it is physical evidence that his family supports his dream, and seeing the passionate spark back in Mashiro’s eyes must be a relief to his family.

The rest of the episode focuses on Mashiro continuing to tease Takagi about whether or not he’ll work with him.  Mashiro’s reasoning is sound though, he barely knows Takagi and most of his opinion stems from the fact Takagi is the most academically gifted student in the class (even if Takagi really does not act like your stereotypical swot).  I found their conversation on the roof about different kinds of ‘intelligence’ interesting; Takagi is book smart, but he’s also good with people and has a good dose of common sense, he notes that Mashiro and Miho both have good heads on their shoulders in a completely different way to the academically strong, but snobby Iwase. Takagi’s answers to Mashiro’s leading questions convince him that Takagi would be a good person to work with.

Their partnership is cemented when Mashiro, rather than take the first step into his uncle’s studio on his own, rings Takagi so that the two can go together.  This kind of highlights that these two are going to be a manga-ka duo from the very start, and its nice that Mashiro is happy to share the moment when he sets foot in his uncle’s studio again – especially since the place has been untouched since the man’s death.  Next week should be interesting as Mashiro and Takagi take the first real steps to becoming manga-ka – the have the drive, a place to work and the blessing of their families, all that remains is getting started.  Mashiro’s earlier conversation with Takagi on the roof reveals that while Takagi is passionate about manga, he knows very little about the actual creative process (“whats a ‘name’?”) so Mashiro’s expertise will be invaluable.

Looking forward to next week as the boys take stock of the treasure trove of manga they’ve inherited.

 

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14 Comments leave one →
  1. October 10, 2010 7:45 pm

    It’s kind of funny to see a shonen mindset applied to a “real-life” scenario. Like, the whole idea of keeping the dead uncle’s apartment pristine just so that Mashiro can eventually inherit it (I guess they knew that one day he would decide to be a manga artist?) is such a shonen idea, and yet it’s completely impractical in real life unless the family has a nice chunk of change (seems like the family makes a solid living but isn’t bursting with cash like Scrooge McDuck) or owns the building or something.

    Also, in reading about the sexism, I can’t help but laugh because it’s so dumb and goofy. I’m not offended by it so much as it makes me react like, “Wait . . . what?! LOL”

    • October 10, 2010 11:04 pm

      Perhaps the manga-ka uncle bought the apartment outright with his earnings from his only hit series, and grandda just paid the utilities for three years? Tis probably best not to try apply real-life to anime! 😆

      The sexism is weird, but then again it is the kind of stupid thing men tend to come out with occasionally so no real point in getting on my high horse about it! 😄

      The amusing thing is that Tsugumi Ohba (the writer of the series) is rumoured to actually be a woman 😀

  2. October 10, 2010 10:11 pm

    I don’t really get why both the men in the family were instantly so accepting of his newfound manga plans. Teenagers come up with grand plans all the time, yet they were all acting like it was what he genuinely was going to do with the rest of his life. I suppose he must have been a really apathetic son before that for them to make such a big deal over this one statement

    • October 10, 2010 10:34 pm

      Haha, reminds me of when I told my dad I was going to write for a video game magazine. (Which never really happened because by the time I graduated college, basically every gaming mag was dead fffffffffff) He was basically like, “. . . Sure, do you what you want, as long as you’re not a bum.”

    • October 10, 2010 11:09 pm

      Mashiro had always said he wanted to be a manga-ka and had shown some real talent in the area (he won national art awards etc), but he stopped talking about that when his uncle died. Suppose his Dad and Granda always knew he’d come back to that dream again.

      Although the condition Mashiro has given (well decided himself) is that if he and Takagi fail to get published by the time they finish college, he’ll give it up and get ‘a real job’. Basically he has to stay in education so he has something to fall back on.

  3. October 11, 2010 1:15 am

    Actually, you know what the sexism in Bakuman reminds me of? Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin would totally fit in with Bakuman.

  4. Heinsia permalink
    October 11, 2010 5:37 am

    I take it you’re still reading the manga?
    A little off topic but I dropped it out of disgust with the way they treat female characters and all the stupid drama since I only want to know about “drawing manga”. Do you mind telling me your thought on sexism and drama in Bakuman?

    • October 11, 2010 7:32 pm

      Yeap I’m still reading and really enjoying the manga. I quite enjoy the personal drama in the series, as it provides interest and accessability. Without it the series would be more like a manual or documentary and a bit too dry for my tastes.

      I don’t really have much issue with the supposed sexist slant in the series, in fact I had never really thought about it till now. Since the series deals almost exclusively with shounen manga (and specifically Shounen Jump manga) its to be expected that the majority of the cast will be male and the entire series is seen through a male filter. As such I do acknowledge that the female characters tend to fall into two categories – meek or harpy; but its not like the women are portrayed as useless or weak – the majority are shown to be talented and determined to succeed in their chosen fields.

      I’ve never been offended by this slightly sexist setting as I generally dismiss such statements as men being idiots; and hey I’m plenty guilty of being a bit sexist myself sometimes (usually to avoid doing things like changing a flat tyre or going up into the attic – “thats a man’s job!”) 😄

      • Heinsia permalink
        October 12, 2010 1:01 am

        I think you’re misunderstanding so I must say the statement “women don’t understand a man’s dream” or the settings of this story doesn’t count as sexist to me. What I was getting at is the way they use female characters like plot devices, their thoughts and actions are really shallow. Take Katekyo Hitman Reborn for example, most of female characters are weak and doesn’t do anything, but they are treated with enough respect that I don’t see anything sexist there.
        I don’t pay attention to sexism in anime/manga and often miss them, so for Bakuman to get on my nerves like that I think it’s really going overboard. I suppose you’re just…well.. care less about things like that than me.

        About the drama, all I see was forced, unnatural events. I’ve nothing against drama, but I do against shitty ones.

        I dropped it at chapter 90s, btw. Getting the feeling you may have thought I dropped it after 1 chapter or something.

        • October 12, 2010 10:06 pm

          Ah you see the women in Reborn irritate me because they’re potrayed as delicate creatures that have to be protected at all costs. I quite like the way the women in Bakuman have a bit of backbone and are shown to compete with the men; although I do feel that the characterisation definitely could be better.

          But I suppose you’re right, I don’t really care about such niggling factors in the grand scheme of things – I like the drama in Bakuman, but acknowledge that its really not to everyone’s taste – what works for me obviously didn’t work for you.

  5. October 11, 2010 3:28 pm

    I just watched this anime, and I am very enthu about it! Will be waiting to read your comments after every episode then!

    GAMBARE!

    • October 11, 2010 7:33 pm

      Glad you’re enjoying it – I’m quite looking forward to covering it every week!

  6. November 11, 2010 8:17 pm

    Yes, there’s sexism. Bakuman’s just a portrayal of real life.

    I did write something about the issue of sexism in Bakuman. You can read it at:
    http://www.mangatherapy.com/post/1543578362/sexism-in-japan-bakuman

    There are series probably FAR worse than Bakuman in terms of sexism.

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