The Bakuman recap experiment continues as this episode there is in fact no recap, but instead a scene right before the opening theme that shows Takagi has come back to school.
Takagi and Mashiro are joined by Miyoshi, on their usual spot on the roof, who tries to convince Takagi to go on a date with her. Takagi turns her down, reminding her that he told her beforehand he wouldn’t have time for dates if they were a couple. Because, as we all know, to become a manga artist one must first cut off one’s balls.
Or Miyoshi could just crush them. She seems good at that.
They meet with Hattori at Yueisha, who realizes that he forgot some paperwork before coming down. He asks them if they would mind coming up to the editorial office with him while he gets the papers. They are of course excited to do so, as anyone that loves manga would be. I want to go to the Yueisha…I mean Sheuisha…offices dangit!!!
The halls to the offices are covered in posters and cardboard cutouts of characters from other series. Real life series I might add. Naruto, Bleach, One Piece, among others are all present. Which really makes the name change of the publishers, and the magazine, all the stranger. If it’s because of copyright issues, how the heck did they get permission to show that much imagery from other people’s intellectual property?
But yes, this is the most you’ll see of other anime and manga in any anime ever again. It’s kind of fun to see it all there, as it’s really quite novel. Not to mention I can only imagine how awesome it would be to actually be in the real offices. If I ever manage to go on a vacation to Japan, I’m going to be doing my darndest to go on a tour of those offices. Who knows, I might even make a blog post out of it. Feels like I should be posting news as well as reviews if I want to be a relevant blogger.
While Hattori sits down with the other two to go over their submission, Mashiro notices the Editor-in-Chief coming out of the main office complex area, and recognizes him as having been at his uncle’s funeral.
Hattori explains to them that the biggest issue with their work to date is that they don’t have a strong protagonist suited for Jump…sorry, Jack. They discuss several more things, including how much Nizuma has gotten done. Mashiro asks what they need to do to get serialized as quickly as possible. Hattori starts to explain the various factors involved in which works get serialized, when the Editor-in-Chief shows up behind him and says that the only thing a manga needs in order to be serialized is to be good.
He goes on to tell them that their work isn’t good, but that they can become good. He goes over how payment works, and how an artist that fails to produce is let go. This is what happened to Mashiro’s Uncle, who decided after being let go to start over drawing new manga, leaving with the words that all manga needs is to be good.
The Editor-in-Chief explains that the main difference between Nizuma and Mashiro and Takagi is that Nizuma does nothing but draw manga. Though while this allows him to get a lot done, it also means that his lack of life experience makes it impossible for him to create anything other than shallow manga.
Hattori realizes that a strength of theirs is that they have a surprising amount of depth for two so young. He tells them to focus on creating a protagonist more suited for the magazine, and to turn in only names, not full manuscripts from now on.
When Mashiro gets to the office the next day Takagi and Miyoshi are there. Mashiro is annoyed at Takagi for bringing her, since it is a bit of a private place. Miyoshi tells him that Azuki told her about the two of them only seeing each other after their dreams come true, and not to talk to each other until then.
For some bizarre reason she thinks this is a bad idea, and chews Mashiro out for it. She calls Azuki and invites her over to hang out with them, but Azuki says no. Mashiro forbids Miyoshi from telling Azuki about the office.
There’s another montage, methinks we’ll be seeing plenty more of these. This time it has a much more mellow track playing.
They take the result of their work to Hattori, who declares that it’s all terrible. Basically they did a series of stereotypical shonen protagonists, and in doing so lost what made their work unique. Realizing that they aren’t well suited for typical shonen fare, Hattori decides that they need to focus on creating a cult hit.
Takagi tells him about the idea he had about people buying and selling brains, and they decide to go with that idea.
This episode wasn’t terrible, nor was it excellent. It was just one of those inbetween episodes that you’re less likely to remember when considering the whole series in retrospect. Though I guess since this isn’t a very episodic show, the entire thing will be like that. There really aren’t any concrete stopping points between action, the entire narrative flows more or less together, creating something that is remembered for its whole, not its individual pieces.
Whether this is a good thing or a bad is debatable. On the one hand I do like an ongoing narrative more than the episodic format. On the other hand it does mean that when trying to convince someone to watch the show there is no set of episodes that can be watched on their own. The entire show has to be viewed as one whole, and that takes up a lot more time.
At the moment it seems like anime prefers the overarching narrative as a medium, while western shows prefer the standard episodic format. Though there are some shows like Avatar: The Last Airbender that fuse the two formats together, creating a nice balance. But since Bakuman is firmly in the overarching story camp, it has to be considered as a major time investment for someone getting into the series.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that grading each individual episode is starting to become a pain, since the pieces of the show aren’t what stands out, but the show as a whole. But since I started giving grades, I can’t well stop, even if it becomes hard to grade at times. I guess the best I can do is ask you not to consider my grades too concrete, as a lot of the time they are either a spur of the moment decision, or they aren’t accurate indicators of the show’s quality.
That being said, I guess I can give this episode a: