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Bakuman – 07

November 14, 2010

Urgh, another Mashiro X Miho centric episode.  This week just further highlighted to me the fact I really don’t like the romance element of Bakuman – I clearly skimmed over all these chapters in the manga, since I sincerely do not remember it being quite this awful.  The only saving grace this week is Takagi being Takagi, the scenes with the Shounen Jack editorial staff and Niizuma Eiji!

I’ve decided that Miho annoys me.  I can’t relate to her character at all, and her reactions to things just seem bizarre.  Mashiro is painfully shy, which is why he finds it so tough to talk to Miho, but once he gets more comfortable around her due to their new seating arrangement, Mashiro feels a bit more confident and tries to step up their relationship a bit, before they’re separated by graduation…….but then Miho bursts into tears and reestablished the distance between them – solidifies it even!

Its mystifying behaviour as Miho really isn’t a complete shrinking violet – she wants to be a voice actress and has absolutely no hesitation in pushing for that dream, but when it comes to Mashiro she seems to want to cultivate this grand pure romance, even if it would be more natural to let their relationship develop on its own.  Mashiro is at fault too of course since he’s a romantic dreamer to a fault and places Miho on a gilded pedestal, but Miho usually takes the lead in the relationship so this weird courtship is mostly due to her wishes.

The romance element is all at once frustrating, hilariously cheesy and boring.  I did laugh when Takagi looked incredulous and declares Mashiro & Miho’s relationship dull, when Mashiro looks so pleased that he can ask Miho mundane questions through notes; its somewhat reassuring that a character in the show feels the same way!

Anyway moving on to stuff I actually liked (even if it was a tiny fraction of the episode) Mashiro and Takagi have a new goal in mind – the Tezuka Award, and they’ve got a very short time scale this time – just a month.  The boys seem to work best when they have a clear goal and timescale to work with – it seems to get their competitive streak going.  It’s good that they didn’t become depressed when Hattori informed them their first manuscript didn’t make the cut – nothing worse than moping protagonists!  However it does kind of irritate and amuse me in equal measure that Mashiro’s entire reason for pushing for the Tezuka Prize is to please Miho…….although he does acknowledge that his wishes are very selfish which is refreshing.

Takagi is a bit more sensible to start with, but he’s easily fired up when told their first story wasn’t good enough to make the cut.  Mashiro’s desperation to succeed, feeds into Takagi’s desire for glory – they fuel each other which is what makes them such a good pair.  The only danger is that neither one of them is any good at putting on the brakes  – they’re both running the risk of burning out if they’re constantly so worked up.  Hopefully next week will deal with the pair attempting to get a new one shot pinned down, Takagi is pretty smart going for another sci-fi so he can gauge improvements – these two are firmly in the ‘calculating’ category of mangaka.

In stark contrast, we get our first real look at Niizuma Eiji – a high-schooler who is being hailed as genius.  Eiji’s talent is undeniable given his ability to turn out a one-shot every month while still going to school – Shounen Jack is understandably keen to have him come to Tokyo and turn pro, which is why the Editor-in-chief goes himself to Eiji’s home town.  Eiji is definitely an eccentric character, where most budding mangaka would be polite to a fault to their editor, Eiji ignores them and then places an outrageous condition on his moving to Tokyo – if he succeeds at reaching the top of Shounen Jack, he wants the power to end any series he doesn’t like.  Really looking forward to seeing more of Eiji – he’s lots of fun to watch; utterly nuts, but massively talented – the ideal contrast and rival for our protagonists.

Next week looks like another school based one, centered on Takagi by the looks of things – hopefully it won’t be a boring as this week!

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. November 14, 2010 9:13 pm

    The most boring episode of Bakuman yet. Miho Shmiho — I don’t particularly care.

    On the positive side, I liked the fact that their 1st attempt didn’t reach finalist. It makes the story seem more credible to me. It was interesting that the editor was worried both by how the pair would respond to losing and winning.

    I’m looking forward to the Tezuka Prize. Struggling against worthy adversaries to achieve recognition is the core of the shounen narrative. In fact, I hope they lose the competition to Eiji (while gaining minor recognition as a finalist), because that builds up more RAGE they can use to win a later round. 🙂

    • November 14, 2010 11:03 pm

      Hattori is a good editor, but among the editorial staff its ultimately a competition to see who can cultivate the next big mangaka – Hattori sees potential in Mashiro & Takagi so he’s being careful in how he deals with them…..they are only 14 at this point afterall.

      The shounen motifs are what I love most about Bakuman – wish the anime would spend more time on that than the rubbish romance!

      • November 15, 2010 12:39 am

        “wish the anime would spend more time on that than the rubbish romance!”

        Here here!

  2. November 15, 2010 10:50 pm

    I clearly skimmed over all these chapters in the manga, since I sincerely do not remember it being quite this awful.

    Oh man, same here! I can’t believe scenes that I originally thought were great may have actually sucked. I blame it all on the anime, perhaps more so on the director.

    Btw, I liked the lip detail during Miho’s crying scene… just sayin’ :3

    • November 15, 2010 11:09 pm

      But Kenichi Kasai is a really good director for slice of life/romance stuff usually – I think the romance is weak in the source material and the anime is making that really apparent unfortunately.

      Glad I’m not the only manga reader that felt this way about the anime though!

      • November 16, 2010 1:59 am

        I do like Kenichi Kasai (Nodame ftw), but this adaptation is just meh. You make a good point on the source material though; it was never Bakuman’s strong point (well, not the strongest at least). It’s just too iffy! I consider Bakuman more shounen than slife-of-life, so I’m rather confused by the route they’ve taken. Now that the main supporting cast come into play, we’ll just have to wait and see how they adapt the exciting parts.

        Hmm, now that I think about it, there’s also the Takagi/Kaya/Aoki quarrel! If they mess that up, it’s over between us. OVER!! :< (me and the anime, that is)

        • November 16, 2010 6:23 pm

          I would also consider Bakuman to be firmly in the shounen genre, even if its a bit unconventional; and am a touch worried about the focus on slice of life….althougth I’ve been worried about that since I first heard the OP!

          Guess we’ll just have to wait and see what the anime does once the Miho stuff takes a backseat to the new characters and manga related excitement.

  3. November 16, 2010 8:14 pm

    Niizuma Eiji needs a slap and all the sugar taken out of his diet 😐

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