Anime Reviews: Bakuman Episode 14 – Battles and Copying

 Mashiro practices developing characters for a battle manga by practicing drawing characters from other manga.  At the same time Nizuma decides he wants to serialize an earlier manga, Crow, instead of the one that was scheduled to be serialized.

Nizuma’s editor takes him down to the offices to have the higher ups talk to him. 

Mashiro and Takagi meet with Hattori who tells them that they aren’t suited for mainstream manga, saying that the popular authors who do mainstream manga are much more talented.  The scene is funny, but still, ouch.

When he comes in Nizuma meets Mashiro and Takagi.  Finally, the meeting of the rivals, the protagonists come face to face with the antagonist…oh wait, he’s a fan of their manga…and he wants to be their friend.  Huh.  Wasn’t expecting that, I was certain he was going to be the antagonist.  Guess the antagonist will show up eventually.  Hopefully sooner rather than later.  (Insert laughter of anyone up to date on the manga)

The editors have Nizuma draw a name, to see if he can get the work necessary done in the amount of time he has left, and he draws it in an hour in front of Mashiro and Takagi.  Hattori hopes they will give up on trying a mainstream manga after seeing this.  But they persevere in their desire to do mainstream, so he decides to give them six months to think of a mainstream manga that impresses him.  Otherwise he will step down as their editor.

EXTREME MANGA DRAWING!!!

A few years ago I was thinking about characters in fiction and how manga and anime characters would never work in a novel or a movie.  In the case of Nizuma I would say that is almost true.  The fact that he’s weird is beyond contest, but during this episode there was a poignant moment where he freaks out when his editor disturbs the layout of his drawing desk by putting a cellphone on it.  His reaction was to freak out and tell the editor not to touch his stuff.  At this point I realized that Nizuma is not just really immature and eccentric, but that he has a very real mental issue.  Combine this with his general lack of social etiquette and you have a pretty bizarre character that normally wouldn’t work anywhere but manga and anime.

In the case of Nizuma I think that he is the only manga character I know of that could make the transfer between mediums.  Only one change is needed.  Namely that the other characters need to actually react to his bizarre behavior.  Sure there are minor reactions, but nobody ever pauses and wonders, “Is this kid all right in the head?”

But that’s what makes him at the same time an interesting and annoying character.  Sometimes you need a little of both, but I could see a lot of people getting tired of him real quick.  Not so much myself, I just happen to have a high tolerance for annoyance. 

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