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Bakuman – 06

November 8, 2010

Moving swiftly along, this episode sees our duo taking the plunge and getting some professional input on their manga – and it goes pretty well considering this is their very first attempt!

I’ve always been impressed by the realistic approach Bakuman takes when portraying the path to manga publication – it’s quite enlightening.  It was nice to see the boys get some real professional criticism on their work, and Hattori really gives them some sound advice to work on.  Takagi’s inexperience is again highlighted – he may be fully capable of crafting interesting and creative stories, but if they’re not tailored to be specifically told through the media of manga, they’re not going be successful.  Mashiro’s struggle with the professional tools is also evident as Hattori points out that his lines are too heavy and the characters aren’t standing out from the backgrounds enough.  However its abundantly clear that this pair have got a lot of potential, which is why Hattori happily hands them his e-mail (but crucially not his phone number), takes their manuscript to be entered in Shounen Jack’s (I’m never going to get used to calling Jump, Jack) monthly prize and encourages them to work on the issues he’s highlighted and come back when they have something new together.  Like all editors Hattori is searching for the next big thing, and he’s definitely interesting in Takagi & Mashiro.

Hattori also mentions that there are two different kinds of mangaka who get serialised – the geniuses that just write whatever they want and sometimes alight upon a massive hit, and the clever strategists who use all their knowledge and research to craft a series they think will be a hit with a given audience.  Hattori feels that Takagi is the latter kind of writer, and he’s probably right – Takagi is constantly thinking of concepts and stories, and picks whatever he thinks will work best for shounen manga to show Mashiro; he tailors his stories to the intended market.  Hattori notes that this kind of mangaka may find it harder to get serialised, but they’re also less like to burn out when they do.

It was also interesting to see how the pair dealt with the pressure of having their work critiqued.  Surely there is nothing more nerve wrecking for a couple of 14 year olds than to walk into the offices of their favourite manga publisher and meet one of the editors who proceeds to pick apart their hard work.  Takagi wears his emotions on his sleeve, but he’s also the one more likely to do all the talking and ask questions.  Mashiro, on the other hand, is much more reserved and prefers to sit back and evaluate the situation – the looks he shoots Takagi when the other boy gets too highly strung were deeply amusing.

The two make for a good balance, but its clear that they’ll need to work more closely to craft a better manuscript – a lot of the criticism’s Hattori pointed out about Takagi’s writing were things Mashiro thought himself, but chose not to mention given the boys agreement to strictly split the work.  Once again we see that even though Takagi is the source of the energy and drive, he’s also the one that takes criticism harder.  Mashiro as an artist is his own worst critic, and there’s nothing Hattori can tell him that Mashiro hasn’t already realised about his drawings, and as such Mashiro spends more time observing Hattori to see if he is an editor worth their time appeasing.  Mashiro’s experience with this uncle tells him that its important that the boys get an editor who understands what they’re trying to achieve – Hattori repeating the golden rule that Mashiro’s uncle felt about manga being a gamble, greatly elevates Hattori’s stock in Mashiro’s estimation, and as such he’ll take all Hattori’s suggestions to heart – starting with helping Takagi create a name better suited to Jack and manga in general.

We finally got some insight into Takagi’s background this episode too.  We see that Takagi’s impressive academic record is the result of lots of hard work and the domineering control of his teacher mother.  However once Takagi realised that his mother was using him to fulfill her dreams having a family member in  a high-flying job (after her husband lost his bankers job), he snaps and takes control of his life back.  It should be noted that he doesn’t have an unhappy home life, his mother is supportive of Takagi’s desire to make his own way in the world.  Once again Bakuman thankfully manages to serve the pitfall of unnecessary home drama.

Finally the boys discover a new seating arrangement for their class – which lands Mashiro right beside Miho!  Ah the awkwardness!  How are they going to ignore each other when they’re sitting right next to each other!? 😆  Once again Takagi shows some touching concern for his friends plight – by half killing himself laughing at the pair – gotta love Takagi’s sensitivity.  Looking forward to seeing how our chronically shy couple deal with their predicament next week.  It also seems like Eiji and more of the Shounen Jack editorial staff are getting a proper introduction into the story – very excited about that!



2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 9, 2010 6:41 am

    It was very interesting to see the inside of “Jack”, and some of what an editor does. I was a little surprised that they tried to contact an editor to show their work, but obviously those cubicles were set up for exactly that.

    I thought the bit with the coffee was kind of strange. There was a woman shown outside the cubicle, as if she had just delivered the coffee to them; does “Jack” staff the lobby area with young women to serve drinks to the editors and potential artists? Sometimes watching anime is like looking backwards in time.

    • November 9, 2010 12:38 pm

      I assume the coffee woman was one of the receptionists, does seem a bit weird otherwise 😆

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