Bakuman, episode 15: The way of the characters

I really liked the first 8 minutes of the episode, then Miho showed up and… I’m just going to forget about the last half of the episode. Ok, she wasn’t awful, but soooo boring. I feel like the Starbust zombie. Boring. Miho is boring me to death, and I’m already dead. She’s boring me back to death. I wish they’d replace her with her loli sister. She has much more personality. Anyway, in other news, no matter how bad Bakuman gets I vow not to drop it. There’s no chance in hell I’m going to pick it up again when the second season starts up, but I am hanging on to this to the very end.

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I think Ashirogi should write a battle manga called Angry Hattori, inspired by the Dopey Dad comics.

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I loved seeing Hattori school the kids on the basic elements of writing a good battle manga. Seems Hattori’s got a soft spot for the moe stuff as well. The advice isn’t going to blow your mind or suddenly give you the ability to create an award-winning manga or anything like that, but it feels like the type of advice you’d expect to hear, and it helps get you into the mindset that they’re in.

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It was also great seeing Nizuma’s totally different approach to writing manga. His admission that he actually didn’t have any names planned for Crow stuns both Hattori and the Ashirogi gang. Is this the way genius works? Well, perhaps in that Nizuma was somehow able to write basically two more chapters within an hour, all while figuring out where the story should go on the fly. BUT, that’s one of the virtues of creating interesting characters. I haven’t done any creative writing in a while, but like Nizumi, I always found it easier to write a story when you create interesting characters. Then, like Nizuma does, you just let the characters do what they want to do and the story follows them, instead of you trying to place the characters into set blocks of plot.

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Tying this back to the winter season of anime, this may be why most of the shows this season have sucked. It seems like there’s been more focus on creating interesting settings than great characters. Settings are one piece of the story. But characters carry the story. You can have a totally original, crazy interesting setting and screw up the story because the characters suck. Almost all of the shows this season have had shitty, forgettable characters. One anime comes to mind… I’m going to pick on Fractale. I’m going to give it another episode or two before I blast it to smithereens, but the first episode featured a wonderful, unique setting but was held back by a completely generic male lead. Let’s just say my interest was not terribly piqued. Anime male leads more than ever appear to reflect the "herbivore male" trend. But… this is a topic for another time.

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Not good enough for this show dammit! Basically, Miho fails an audition. Gets sad. Gets another chance. Wins a small part. Now, I’m glad they didn’t spend any more time on Miho, but it’s a lot harder to empathize with her when it seems like she doesn’t need to struggle for more than a few minutes, before she has a little breakthrough. I also think she needs a haircut. Seiyuus should be more fashionable.

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Need to replace Miho with the loli version. She has much more personality.