Sunday, December 18, 2011

Bakuman 2 - 12

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This week’s Bakuman is officially the first anime episode of the season that had me yelling at the screen…

I hate to keep harping on this, but Miura is a bad editor.  He’s not only a man of poor taste, but he’s immature and completely unprofessional.  And I’m now supposed to feel sorry for him because Hattori ordered him to apologize?  No, I’m sorry – no amount of groveling and banging his head on the floor is going to make up for the fact that he’s bungled Ashirogi’s career at pretty much every opportunity.  No amount of old data is going to convince me that writing a gag manga is the right thing for the boys to do, either professionally or personally.  And I don’t feel any sympathy for him just because he worked very hard and wasted a lot of time to back up his dumb idea.

So at this point, to retain my sanity when it comes to Bakuman, I’m going to refuse to believe that what we saw at the end of the episode means what it seems to mean – that all is well, Miura’s proved himself and it’s gag manga all the way.  Instead, I’m going to have faith in Ohba Tsugumi as a writer, because this season has been tremendous – surprising and subtle and far too smart for that episode ending to be taken at face value.  I think Mashiro has by far the best instincts – and the most knowledge of manga – of any of the involved parties here, and it was while he was defending his opposition to doing Hitman Ten in the coffee shop that  I shouted “Stand your ground!” at the screen.  He’s 100% right – gag manga doesn’t suit his art and it doesn’t suit Takagi’s writing.  What Miura is describing is taking the path with the least risk and trying to scrape by without getting cancelled quickly.  If you can’t aim high and be true to your ideals when you’re 18, when the hell can you?  Ashirogi has a lifetime of compromise ahead of them – now is the time to be true to their ideals.

Some readers/viewers dislike Mashiro because he’s such a stubborn idealist, I know, but while he can drive you crazy I admire that side of him.  And the fact is, it sounds as if Miura is more interested in doing a manga for himself than for the magazine.  He’d already lost me long before he tried to split the boys up, but in a funny way I was glad he did, because no matter how much he apologizes it’ll always be out there, and Ashirogi will always know exactly who they’re dealing with.  I suspect this is going to be a rough few months, as they continue to struggle with Miura and find a way to get serialized with a work that’s more true to themselves.  Frankly, doing nothing for six months until their contracts run out doesn’t sound like such a bad idea, but that’s where Mashiro’s idealism bites back – his dream is to write for “Jump” and I don’t expect him to give it up.  I get the feeling that neither “Hitman” or Future Watch is going to survive – but it occurs to me that we haven’t heard much about Two of Me for while, and I wonder if that might pop up again…

There was also a thread following Aoki this week, but to be honest the drama and suspense surrounding the main pair is so compelling that I don’t have a lot of patience for side stories at the moment.  It certainly appears as if her new editor Yamahisa (Sakamaki Manabu) is a sleazebag, but it does make sense that a “Jump” manga can’t really be a romance told entirely from the POV of the girl.  It was interesting to see that she’s a graduate student and acclaimed in the literature department, but I’m not quite sure what the point of the encounter with Iwase was, apart from giving Aoki a chance to declare her love for manga.  The interesting question for me is, who is she going to turn to for the “man’s perspective” on love?

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12 comments:

  1. Wow, great episode. I was so shocked when Miura suggested that Takagi get a new artist to do the gag manga but was really please with Takagi's respone to that. I for one have always liked Mashiro's idealism. Hell, it has helped Ashirogi to stay on the right path so far. I don't mind if they go for the gag manga because I suspect that by the time their contract is over, that manga will be dropped and they will have more ammo to argue for a serious manga. Who knows, it might help them with their central problem with the writing and that's getting the demographic of Jack readers to relate to their protagonist.

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  2. I'm with you and Mashiro when it comes to staying true to their style. I'll admit I wanted to hit him during those hospital episodes, but that's a different issue. This is their future and the direction they are going towards.

    There's no doubt gag manga doesn't suit them. They might be able to scrape by doing that, but they won't meet their dreams. Right now they are setting up their reputation and can't afford to mess up.

    I have a wild idea, how about have Miura overlook someone who wants to write gag manga? It's stupid to have him in charge of these two when their tastes are completely different. It's not that they can do it by themselves (Future Watch only barely beating Hitman 10 helps prove that), but they need an editor that can work with them. I had a bad feeling when they replaced Hattori with this guy from day 1 and it's been proven time and time again.

    It's good that Miura is a hard worker, but he's not the editor for these guys. Now I'm worried they will waste time on this stupid gag manga idea.

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  3. The greatest source of frustration for me is the lack of compromise. The Miura hate is pretty well founded at this point, he's becoming a joke, even groveling on the floor to apologize. He does not have my respect at all.
    Having said that, Mashiro's youthful, stubborn idealism is getting in the way of their progress just as much as Miura is.

    I Don't understand why they can't combine gag and serious stories together. When Takagi agreed with Miura in the cafe I was screaming "Yes, think about it more, what if Ten become more serious over time after having established itself as also being reasonably funny? A dark comedy?!"

    Why can't there be compromise, why does Miura as the editor need to work toward giving Ashirogi what they want, or rather what Mashiro wants. There's evidence that gag manga works, likewise history shows that serious stories tend to be Takagi's forte. There's potential here for a lot more than the current Ten or Future Watch. I hope that, whatever these three bring to "Jump", it will be one due to their collaborative effort, and I think Hattori can get the ball rolling both ways!

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  4. I don't see collaborative success with Miura. If Ashirogi succeeds (and they will - this is their story, after all) I think it'll be in spite of Miura, not because.

    The problem with compromise is that Mashiro doesn't want to draw Hitman Ten. He doesn't believe in it. And when you order an artist to work on something they don't believe in, it will always ring false.

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  5. in the opening sequence, near the end, we see Takagi staring wide-eyed at a woman whose face is hidden. isn't that the author who talked to Aoki? until now I thought she might be a love interest for Takagi (well, the guy has a way with women, despite his incredibly poor taste in clothing), but now I'm thinking she might 'blow his mind' as a literate senpai..

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  6. Not sure if you recall but the "anti-manga LN author" you referred to is Iwase, the girl who, back in season 1, thought she was going out with Takagi just because they shook hands. The importance of this subplot will become clear next week.

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  7. "but I’m not quite sure what the point of the encounter with the anti-manga LN author was, apart from giving Aoki a chance to declare her love for manga."

    As said by Murkel that's Iwase from season 1,the point?Start what was to me the most fustrating arc of bakuman (as if Miura wasn't enough).
    I'm getting scared for your screen,whatever you do in the upcoming episodes please don't punch it.

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  8. Dammit, stop with the spoilers.

    I didn't recognize Iwase - it's been too long and she was too unimportant!

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  9. If my post counted as a spoiler I apologize.

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  10. LOL, I was actually talking about totoum's "mood spoiler"...

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  11. Sorry about that,I don't personally mind when someone "mood spoiler"'s me but I forgot that just because I don't doesn't mean others would feel the same.

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