Bakuman, episode 22: Worst episode ever

Ooh, forbodding music, dark silhouettes, nervous office managers, editors rounding up the troops. All that’s missing are the mangaka holding pitchforks and torches. Will the JACK editors toss money from the heavens to make their escape?

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This episode was a complete and utter waste of time. First, Fukuda leads a strike only to see Mashiro scab them in the back, and instead of disagreeing, Fukuda inexplicably agrees with him and decides their whole protest of Koogy’s underhanded tactics was a waste of time. Then the gang all get together to critique each other’s names, only for Aoi to blueball everyone by refusing to provide any critiques because she thinks her story of the best – and Fukuda again inexplicably falls in line and agrees that the whole critiquing thing is a waste of time. As a last ditch effort to not make the episode a complete waste of time, Fukuda does ask for Nizuma’s opinion. Nizuma alludes mysteriously to one loser and two winners, without offering any details, which sends the previously confident Mashiro into a tailspin wondering if they should redo their name, since based on Nizuma’s opinion they only have a 50-67% of winning. The episode finally ends with Mashiro unilaterally deciding that he’s going to rewrite the name, for no better reason than seeing Miho’s ganbare! text message.

Where did this train go off the tracks? Well, for one, I’m pretty sure the train was prepped with a payload of C4 before it even left the station. But if I were to point the finger, guess where it would be?

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You! Mashiro, the cock-sucking, line-crossing, wannabe tyrant who can’t seem to make a single move without coming off as a complete asshole. If you support or empathize with Mashiro for any reason, you’re probably also a-ok with things like running over a den of girl scouts who are helping a group of Alzheimer-stricken kittens cross the street.

Why is Mashiro a punk ass?

Example #1 – Mashiro is gung ho and ready to help Fukuda storm JACK to call out shenanigans for Koogy’s cheap tricks. Instead of providing any support for Fukuda at any point of the argument, Mashiro pulls out his fountain pen and proceeds to stab Fukuda right in the back straight through to the aorta, by completely denouncing Fukuda (and by extension their demands for fair treatment), and goes rogue by parroting the Chief Editor’s speech about "manga just needing to be interesting." Nice Mashiro. Way to make it seem like you were opposed to the plan all along and you were actually the chivalrous one. Apparently, there’s a DVD-only OVA planned in which Mashiro spends the whole episode trying to dislodge his lips from the chief editors gold-plated ass.

If Bakuman followed any sort of standard narrative, the next event would’ve been Fukuda punching Mashiro in the face for double crossing him, but in a turn of events that’s just as inexplicable, Fukuda himself turns a complete 180. Way to stand up for yourself ecchi-boy.

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Example #2 – I’ve been watching Bakuman for 22 episodes now, and I thought I had the story straight, but I realized I was totally wrong. Mashiro isn’t partners with Takagi, he’s partners with Miho. Apparently Miho is the puppetmaster. All she has to do is clap her hands *pachi pachi pachi* and Mashiro’s off dancing like a jangling fool. Based not on any feedback he heard from the editors, nor from his rivals, nor from his not-really-partner partner, but a completely innocuous text message from the girl he’s actually never even really spoken to, Mashiro makes a unilateral decision to rewrite his name. I can’t blame Miho for Mashiro’s stupidity anymore.

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Shut the hell up Aoki, you ruined the whole scene and made it pointless! WHY!?

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Nakai and Aoki are such mismatches, let’s just spend the last three episodes on these two. Nakai can be the creepy stalker otaku. Aoki can be the robotic, human with no soul. And IBM’s Watson can be the love triangle interest who breaks through to Aoki and teaches her how to love.

8 Replies to “Bakuman, episode 22: Worst episode ever”

  1. A bit harsh on poor Mashiro aren’t you. πŸ˜›
    Well, I haven’t been watching the anime so I can’t agree or disagree with your assessment of the above episode, it’s strange though, everyone seems to hate Mashiro, but as a manga reader, I actually like him now.
    Sure, he was a bit silly back then (but never totally detestable), but he has grown quite a bit, well that is to be expected given the significant age gap between this Mashiro and the one in the manga.
    Oh and, Aoki is awesome, true say.

    1. He’s been my whipping boy all season long πŸ™‚

      I can only guess that the anime adapation has really dropped the ball. I’ve heard a lot about how the manga is exciting and well written, but none of that has really been carried through in the anime. Maybe you can blame it partly on their decision to focus more on the romantic angle, but even when they’ve focused on the manga portions, it’s really missed the mark consistently.

      1. I think the manga is better because manga in general is better at showing the passion of the characters and Bakuman is all about passion.
        Anime’s tend to excel in more plot woven scenarios, Bakuman is no plot, just characters, and these characters rely heavily on facial expressions and random bursts of passion to get their point across. It’s hard to pull that of in an anime without the anime feeling weird.
        Well, maybe my opinion as an amateur to the world of anime isn’t the most reliable, but it is true that techniques shading (coloring certain parts of the face and whatnot) have far more of a dramatic effect in manga.
        The manga’s characters are so full of energy that despite being different from so many other Shonen’s, Bakuman is really very Shonen.
        As for the romance, it was the initial motivation for Mashiro to do well, and even now it comes up now and then again when he is thinking of making a decision, but not very often. Having said that, is Mashiro mocked for his naivety in the anime? Because in the manga, everyone who knows the truth mocks him, and mocks him continuously, especially Kaya.
        Oh, and that was a pretty funny post, I don’t mind Mashiro being your whipping boy if you can write about him like that. πŸ˜›

        1. I think Bakuman’s plot, its premise is not bad. But the way they’ve gone about the show, it feels more like a slice of life than a shounen anime. I think the show is begging for some unique camera angles and random bursts of passion like you mention. I don’t know why it hasn’t translated over into the anime, if it exists in the manga. I think Death Note is probably the perfect example. That show actually had a ridiculously huge amount of talking and very little action. But in my head, it felt like a pretty action-packed show. And I think the big reason was that the direction was really active and unique. With the same style in Bakuman? I think the anime would’ve felt a whole lot fresher.

          Mmm, Mashiro is occasionally mocked for his naivete in the anime. Mostly by Kaya. But she doesn’t have that big a role. Basically, once every couple of episodes, someone will comment about how it’s weird that Mashiro and Miho don’t talk like normal humans. But it’s not a big part of the story.

          Haha thanks. I hope I can keep it up. I’m running out of material to complain about. I’m looking forward to the end of the anime. πŸ˜€

  2. It isn’t possible for me to agree with you more. WTH? πŸ‘Ώ If he was going to say, “Manga just needs to be interesting,” why did he bother marching on the editors? He could have said that at the end of last episode, and then they could have used this episode to advance the plot.

    The real question is: how did everything go so wrong with this anime? With so many lovers of the source material, how is it that the anime adaptation was botched? I don’t pretend to know.

    1. It’s crazy no? Could the adapatation lost that much in translation? Maybe the manga just wasn’t that good to begin with? I don’t know. I might just go straight to the source to do some investigative digging.

  3. LOL πŸ™‚
    Awesome post!You’ve pointed things very correctly there.
    Although I’ve seen many people bashing up this show,I still enjoy seeing it.The characters are very unique.In addition there’s lot of stuff about manga which I came to know after seeing this show.Ohba-Obata duo really know how to make a unique anime!
    This episode is chapter 31 of the manga.Right now the ongoing chapter is 120,so I dont think even a season 2 will wind up with Bakuman.I’m gonna stick to the manga after season 1!

    1. This is really only chapter 31? They’ve been taking a leisurely pace huh? Wow, they’re never going to wrap the anime up unless they do a massive time skip.

      I will agree that the one thing I have enjoyed about the show is learning a bit more about the manga industry.

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