Bakuman – 10
You know, watching this anime adaptation of Bakuman, makes me really thankful I waited for a bit before jumping on the manga bandwagon – all this set up would have bored me to tears if I was reading a chapter a week!
Anyway, this week’s episode was pretty solid and input from both Hattori & the Editor-in-Chief has given both Takagi and Mashiro a clearer idea of what they should be aiming for with their manga in order to get published in Shounen Jack.
Mashiro & Takagi really do have the most amazing luck. Hattori forgets some files and takes them upstairs into the main editorial department office (exciting for any manga fan), and then the Editor in Chief wanders over to dispense some pearls of wisdom on a whim because he happened to work with Nobuhiro back in the day, and thought Mashiro may have been related to him! Yay for coincidences! I don’t mind too much though, as without these coincidences the series would never progress. As it is the Editor-in-Chief’s insistence that a manga only has to be interesting to get published, gives the boys a kick to dig deeper in search of a story and art style that will fit with Shounen Jack’s demographics.
It was intriguing to note that the mangaka and editors judging the Tezuka Prize look for very different things – Hattori points out that the mangaka prize originality and interesting ideas, whereas the editors look for something that will appeal to a wide variety of people and sell well. Takagi’s favoured writing style is quite niche, he’s not going to get the attention of the masses with his brand of cerebral sci-fi with normal, human protagonists; and Mashiro’s art is too realistic to really make use of the freedom of expression the medium of manga allows.
The drawback of giving Mashiro & Takagi such detailed advice is that they’re like sponges. The two thrive on criticism and try to take everything said to them on board, however the result is that they lose their unique edge. Takagi can write typical shounen stuff, and Mashiro is completely capable of drawing typical spiky haired protagonists, but the overall effect is something so painfully generic and ‘Shounen Jack-esq’ that Hattori is horrified and decides to lead the pair in a completely different direction.
It’s really nice to see how passionate Hattori is about manga, he’s going out of his way to help out Takagi & Mashiro not only because he wants to be the one to launch ‘the next big thing’, but because he genuinely feels these two have talent and wants to see what they’re capable of. Takagi’s ‘Money & Intelligence’ story is the kind of plot that will appeal to a niche fan base, so Hattori advises the two to aim for ‘the back door to publication’; that is aiming for a small percentage of people who love their work rather and going for the broad general appeal. I quite like the ‘Money & Intelligence’ premise, as if taken a bit further to include memories & bodies you essentially have the frightening world of Kaiba!
The rest of the episode was basically the misadventures of Takagi’s love life. The fella is pretty much stuck with Kaya as she’s rather adamant that she’s not going anywhere! Kaya has even invaded the male sanctuary of the studio, much to Mashiro’s mopey displeasure (although he didn’t seem too upset when Kaya started bringing him cups of tea!). Mashiro kind of needs to develop a spine – if he’s not happy about something, Mashiro has a tendency to start brooding and seems to expect others to read his mind to figure out what has pissed him off. In this case it doesn’t take too long for Takagi to interpret Mashiro’s frowning as displeasure over Kaya’s loud feminine presence invading this sacred room of Men’s Romance!
I do enjoy Takagi & Kaya’s dynamic, they’re both goofy, outspoken characters and Kaya in particular isn’t backwards about expressing her feelings (with her fists as well as verbally). Their relationship is just about as far from Mashiro & Miho’s as you can get (something that Kaya can’t seem to get her head around when she attempts to get Miho to come round for a double date!), and the normality of their interactions makes for a nice contrast to the abnormal way Mashiro & Miho interact.
Next week seems to be dealing with Eiji & his poor editor and following the boys through their exam period.